Last Call: Reversed Engineering Edition

The 1980–84 Brazilian VW Gol was notable for combining Volkswagen’s Type 1 Beetle motor with a modified version of the Audi 80/Fox chassis. To the uninitiated gearhead, opening the hood on a front-engined car to find the venerable VW air-cooled boxer staring back at him or her might be enough to induce vertigo.
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20 responses to “Last Call: Reversed Engineering Edition”

  1. Zentropy Avatar

    What an insulting bastardization of the original design.

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      Which one?

      1. Zentropy Avatar

        I meant to the Beetle engine. For some reason, placing air-cooled engines anywhere but the rear seems wrong to me.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          There are probably as many front engine air cooled cars as rear. Franklin, Honda just for starters

        2. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          Don’t look at a Citroen GS or GSA then, they also have longitudinally mounted air cooled flat fours at the front, driving the front wheels.They made 2.4 million of them.

          1. Zentropy Avatar

            Blame my American automotive myopia, I guess!

  2. Batshitbox Avatar

    I’m always confused about where the front of the engine is in a rear engine car.

    1. ptschett Avatar

      In almost 15 years of designing engine-related stuff in rear-engined off-highway construction equipment I’ve found it most efficient (at least when talking to an engine supplier) to call the end of the engine that has the water pump & alternator / closest to cylinder #1 the “front” & the end with the flywheel nearest cylinder #n for an n-cylinder engine the “rear”, even if the engine’s in the machine sideways or mounted so the flywheel end is actually forward.

      1. nanoop Avatar

        I have been working in a “mixed signals” electronics company, where the user id is using “channel 1 and 2”, whereas the underlying digital system is using “channel 0 and 1”.
        My suggestion to move over to “channel 0 and 2” exclusively didn’t ring with the engineers…

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          My campus building, Johnson Hall, used to have precisely two associated outbuildings with the official names Johnson Annex A and Johnson Annex 2.

          1. nanoop Avatar

            This sounds familiar – did we have this discussion already, maybe in IntenseDebate age?

          2. mdharrell Avatar

            Hey, what happened in IntenseDebate stayed in IntenseDebate. Which is to say, yes.

      2. Batshitbox Avatar

        I think it started when I had my B-Motor SAAB 900. They have all the belts & hoses up against the firewall, and the flywheel up by the front bumper (not sure how the cylinders are numbered). And the hood is hinged above the flywheel.

    2. Zentropy Avatar

      I usually think of the front as the location of the crankshaft pulley and auxiliary belt, regardless how the engine is mounted, be it “backwards” as in a Beetle, or “sideways” as in a transverse FWD.

  3. Alff Avatar

    I’m sure these were horrible. I want one.

  4. Sjalabais Avatar

    But does it go as fast in reverse as it does forward? Also, there is a place in Norway where these should be popular for no rational reason at all:

  5. crank_case Avatar

    Wow, that’s mad. My first thought was that’s an Audi 50/Polo platform surely? But no, it is indeed a mashup of Audi 80 B1/B2/Fox.
    This is the sort of stuff very specifically punitive/social engineering tax regimes creates – sometimes it’s terrible, like big cars with tiny engines for the Irish/Spanish/Italian market. Sometimes it’s awesome, like Japanese Kei cars, sometimes it’s just..weird, like this thing.

    1. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

      VW Brazil did eventually see sense and put the ubiquitous VAG OHC 4 in longitudinally like it’s Audi 80 forbear, renamed it the Voyage, and sold it in the US as the VW Fox.
      The Ford Corcel was an equally odd mashup of Renault 12 underpinnings with Ford styling.

  6. dukeisduke Avatar

    The Gol has always fascinated me.