Friday, 18 December 2015

Sixty Years Apart

In my last post I explained the departure of our last family car. A pug 307 hdi wagon. What I'm guessing is that most of you are wondering what the heck I replaced the French terror with.

Ok, time to fess up...

Volkswagen Golf TDi 110 wagon.

A few of you will say, "of course you bought a VW". Well that's the weird thing really. Coz I didn't hit on the Golf straight away. I tried a Hyundai i30. In fact I was super keen till I dealt with the local dealers. I got lied too, and the fleet buyer we got our car through advised we pick the 2016 spec Golf. We were keen for white, but that would have taken 4 months longer, so we've got silver... or is that just fancy grey?

So there. Least that's my excuse now. I'm a lot more excited about the car a few months after delivery than I was when it arrived. When it arrived, it was just another car. If reminded me strongly of the BMW we drove in the UK in May this year. I will say though, I do really like it now.

We found about the emissions fiasco the day before it arrived. I didn't care then. I care less now and car is not effected anyway. On that note, if VW were guilty you can bet there were/are a number of other manufacturers doing the same thing. You can be sure of that.

The weird thing is I now have TWO grey VWs. Two grey VWs, SIXTY years apart. My wife and I have been laughing about it. That was not the plan. Still, it's an opportunity to compare how driving has changed in that time (or not).

Whether you agree with me, I think comparing the Judson supercharged 56' beetle to the 16' golf wagon is actually pretty fair. Let me qualify this. Both cars are/were;

1. Budget family cars.
2. Designed to be frugal.
3. Designed to be comfortable.
4. As safe as anything else in the period.
5. Respected by the public and motoring experts of the time.


What has changed about motoring in sixty years?

Some will be tempted to say, "everything". I'd say actually there's plenty that remains the same but lets compare for a moment.

Differences; I could talk about tyres, suspension and metallurgy, but really the electronic nature of the new car is the biggest single thing. Everything else on the golf is jazzed up 50's or pre-50's technology. Everything, well almost everything on the Golf is electronic or automated. There's a key on the key fob, but I have no idea where it even goes. Everything that is electronic is also connected in some way to the ECU. Lots of cars have engine computers, the golf also has a very complex computer for the gearbox and clutch. The beetle on the other hand came with few electrical things, all summed up in just 4 fuses. That's right. No transformers, no relays even, just 4 simple circuits and 6 volts. The beetle highly mechanical and sounds like it compared to the quiet hum of the golf. Mechanical things kill beetles, electrical dramas will kill the golf, probably.

Same, same; Curiously, having noted so many differences (and having left a bunch out), there are still so many similarities. The beetle was curiously ahead of it's time in lots of ways. Both cars are at their best at around 80km/h. Sure, both can go faster. I'm confident the golf could sit on 100mph all day for the next decade. The inside of both cars can best be called cozy. Sure there's more room in the new one than our old pug, but it's not huge. Neither car makes you want drop a gear and give it a bootload. Instead, what they seem to enjoy is that smooth, torquey push, style of driving. I'm sure VW didn't do this, but somehow there is some of the same philosophy left in the new car from Heinz Nordhoff's prime. I'm also confident, they're in about the same price bracket for their eras.

I'll leave you to agree or disagree with me about all this. In the meantime, there'll be a few people asking...

"so what is going on with the beetle anyway?"


The good news is. Plenty. The whole car has been rewired and 99% of the engine work is finished. Let me put up a few pics...

Engine in, intercooler mocked up.

Exhaust done, it's painted now too.

Headers and boosty things.

Intercooler radiator and fan.

We're in the throws of getting sensors sorted out while I finish off custom tinware to try and seal the engine bay... which is a pain btw. If I did my time again, I might have used a wasserboxer and turbo charged that... but then I'd need a proper radiator up front I guess.

Till next time...

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