Underneath the futuristic Buck Rogers fiberglass bodywork beats the heart of a 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit diesel with a five-speed - no warp engines, sadly. The rear axle has obviously been narrowed, but otherwise, the drivetrain is intact, and reportedly gets over 50 MPG.
The Volkswagen XL1 was a two-seat, limited production, diesel-powered plug-in hybrid produced that VW introduced in 2014. Volkswagen was developing PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) technologies, and wanted to test them in real-world scenarios. While 250 examples were reportedly built, only 200 were made available for sale to the public.
The idea of Volvo building a sports car in the 1950’s seemed unlikely to most. But after Volvo vice-president Assar Gabrielsson visited GM in 1953 and saw the new Chevrolet Corvette production line in Flint, Michigan, he realized sports cars influenced by European designs were becoming popular in the US.
Former SKF Bearing executives Gustav Larson and Assar Gabrielsson saw an opportunity to build cars in Sweden after WWI, and approached their former employer about using an underutilized factory. SKF liked the idea, and backed the pair for years, even allowing them to use a trademarked name, Volvo (Latin for “I roll”) for the new venture.
Kenny Howard, aka Von Dutch, was a motorcycle mechanic, metal fabricator, artist, and, most notably, a ground-breaking pinstriper of hot rods and motorcycles from the 1950s until his passing in 1992. Along with Dean Jeffries and Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, he is considered a founder of the Kustom Kulture movement of the 1960s and ‘70s.
Max Walker began manufacturing golf carts in Fowler, Kansas, in 1957. Recognizing the company needed a product that could be produced year-round as well as for wider markets, Walker released the Power Truck in 1962.
The five-door Camping-Limousine seen here is but one of half a dozen body styles made available by the nationalized East German manufacturer. Seen as very much a “German Car” and upscale in comparison to the Trabant, which was the only other option available to the general public in the GDR, the 311 was still a far cry from modern designs emerging in the West.
Carlo Lavezzari, an Italian designer, decided to design a microcar, powered by a 125cc Innocenti Lambretta engine, and built by Scattolini in Italy. He unveiled it at the 1966 Paris Salon where Henri Willame, President of Lambretta SAFD, became interested in it.