It’s known as “Heaven’s Gate” – the world’s highest naturally formed arch, with an opening some 430 feet tall and 190 feet wide, about 5,000 feet up China’s Tianmen mountain. A hallowed and scenic site for centuries, visitors can reach the gate on a road that ranks among the most scenic, and twisting, of any in the world, with 99 sharp switchbacks. Earlier this month, the Volkswagen ID.R team went to the Tianmen Mountain Big Gate Road to set the first benchmark there of any kind for a performance car, let alone a 671-hp, all-wheel-drive electric one. With Romain Dumas at the wheel again, the ID.R glided up the 6.78-mile route in 7 minutes, 38.585 seconds. Professional driver on closed course. The feat was the latest in a string of record-breaking events for the purpose-built electric race car. In June 2018, Dumas not only won the famous ‘Race to the Clouds’ at Pikes Peak for electric vehicles with the ID.R, but also smashed the all-time record for vehicles using any kind of fuel by a massive 16 seconds. A few weeks later, Dumas undercut the record for electric vehicles at the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s famous hill climb in England with the ID.R. Three months ago, the ID. R set a new and dominating electric record on the Nürburgring, and a few days later came the all-time record in Goodwood – demonstrating how electric vehicles can meet extreme challenges. Next year, Americans will get their chance to see Volkswagen’s ID. electric vehicle technology up close when the wraps come off the first U.S. version of an ID. production car. of
Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety & other standards The fashion world gathers in New York City every September for a week-long reveal of the latest works from top designers, all capturing trends that will shape the industry in the coming year. Attendees put their best, well-heeled foot forward and see what the season ahead will bring. The brainchild of designer Stacey Bendet, alice + olivia’s Spring 2020 fashion presentation has long shed the stale catwalk approach for a series of nine “vignettes” – colorful, social-media-ready sets ranging from frothy pink flowered swings to a backdrop of neon orange teddy bears. Among a bustling crowd of onlookers and celebrities, Volkswagen further enhanced Bendet’s dream-like vision this year by displaying its Beetle Final Edition, wrapped in alice + olivia’s whimsical hero print for Spring 2020. Guests were able to partake in the set experience and snap pictures inside and around the personality-packed VW Beetle. “When the colors are right in a space you exhale and tune into your own interior,” Bendet say. “I dream in color and these rooms are fashion dreams come to life.” Designers Everard Best and Stacey Bendet Launched in 2002 by Bendet, alice + olivia has built a sizable following for its mix of whimsy and sophistication that’s a strong reflection of its founder’s personality. Its line of clothing and accessories can be found in more than 800 department and specialty stores worldwide and more than 20 stand-alone boutiques. The collection introduced color block dressing highlighted by dramatic new shapes which included high-waisted trousers, tops with voluminous sleeves, oversized blazers with pleated ruffle details, and dresses that showcased fresh new floral prints and fine embroidery. The brand also introduced a collaboration with Murder Bravado designer Everard Best, a rising star in the fashion world. Best is known for his hand embroidered, dyed and distressed denim, and previously collaborated with fashion designers Virgil Abloh and Heron Preston. “With this collaboration, we wanted to bring our vibe and our design DNA to alice + olivia,” Best says. “We applied our signature dying and distressing techniques then exaggerated the length to keep it super fun and over the top.” of
“Bob” and “Leo,” two camper vans that Bolar has restored with the help of his wife Tasha. Tim Bolar’s passion for restoring vehicles started where many enthusiasts’ do: fixing up cars with his grandfather as a kid. Born and raised in Iowa, Bolar talks fondly about his childhood memories of going for ice cream runs in his granddad’s Volkswagen Bug and afternoons spent working on his Beetle. However, Bolar took his passion one step farther and turned it into a successful career path: he has a 9-to-5 job restoring vehicles and a side Volkswagen-inspired business called Vintage Warehaus. Started last year by Bolar and his wife, Tasha, Vintage Warehaus is a unique concept. The couple sells one-of-a-kind vintage items and antiques out of their bright orange Volkswagen Transporter. Tim and Tasha in a camper van they restored. Over the past year, Tim and Tasha, have taken their colorful VW camper, nicknamed “Bob,” to antique shows around the state of Iowa. In between shows, the couple tracks down unique and uncommon furniture and goods that can be repurposed and resold, with the help of Vintage Warehaus. Through the experience, the pair have met numerous VW owners who jump at the opportunity to share their memories of the brand with fellow enthusiasts. “We are just passionate about bringing older inventory to life again, which applies to both the cars and the antiques that we sell,” Bolar commented. Before Vintage Warehaus, Bolar owned and restored several Volkswagen vehicles as a hobby, ranging from the Beetle to Rabbit, Jetta vehicles and a 1976 Westfalia bus. The Westfalia bus, dubbed “Leo,” was a complete overhaul of the vehicle. Today, Bolar’s most recent restoration project is a blue 1984 Rabbit Cabriolet, Wolfsburg Edition. As he thinks about his plans for future cars and goods, he comments, “These projects just find me.”1 Bolar’s current restoration project: 1984 Rabbit Cabriolet, Wolfsburg Edition.
Troy Rivers Jr.’s obsession with air-cooled Volkswagen cars dates back to his early teens. While his classmates were saving up for newer models, Rivers was pinching his pennies to be able to purchase a bright green 1969 Baja Volkswagen Beetle. “I went and looked at it with my mom and fell in love with it,” says Rivers. “It’s a blast to drive.” He attributes his love of vintage vehicles to his father and grandfather, who enjoyed owning and fixing up classic cars. “Growing up, I just remember being in the back seat of these cool cars,” says Rivers. “I’ve kind of taken the obsession to another level.” Since then, Rivers’ Baja Beetle has become an important member of the family. It was the car Rivers drove off in after exchanging vows with his wife, Lindsay, and played a starring role in the pregnancy announcement of their son, Colt. “He is definitely going to be car crazy, just like me,” says Rivers. Troy Rivers Jr. and his beloved 1969 Baja Bettle. Disclaimer: Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety & other standards. Over time, Rivers has added more Volkswagen vehicles to the family—his growing collection includes a 1970 Volkswagen Type 2 Bus, a 1973 Volkswagen Thing, and four more vintage Volkswagen Beetle cars. “The thing that made me go back to the VW family is that they’re a car that everybody can relate to,” says River. “It seems like everybody has a story with them.” Rivers’ automotive interest blends surprisingly well with another one of his passions: teaching. Initially on a business degree track, Rivers was inspired to switch careers and pursue teaching after seeing how much joy working with children brought his wife. “Initially, I just wanted to make a lot of money,” Rivers says. “Then, one day, something just clicked. I’ve always loved kids, so I decided to be a teacher and I never looked back.” Currently a third-grade teacher in Loganville, Ga., Rivers uses his automotive know-how to help co-host the school’s robotics club. “I kind of relate it to working on cars,” says Rivers. They “have to be good with following directions, because they have to follow very detailed directions [and] go through hundreds of different steps to build the actual robot.” This past year, ten of his students were invited to compete on the state level against middle schoolers. “It was very cool,” says Rivers. In years to come, Rivers plans to continue to share his Volkswagen fervor with his students and son. “Being able to pass on my passion of cars … [and] share that with my son is like nothing else,” Rivers says. Troy Rivers Jr. with his wife Lindsay and their son Colt. Disclaimer: Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage & compliance with required safety & other standards.
The Volkswagen ID. R electric race car that set a record for climbing Pikes Peak last year now owns two more records. Driver Romain Dumas made the climb at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in just 41.18 seconds, breaking a 20-year-old record by half a second. This comes just one month after the ID. R snagged the record for fastest electric car around the Nürburgring. Dumas made the lap in 6:05.336 minutes beating the previous EV record set in 2017 by 40.564 seconds – and in the process, surpassing every fossil-fuel powered record at the track save one. But enough about the ID.R, Volkswagen has been breaking records for decades. Here’s a look back at all of the times we’ve changed the game in the auto industry. Top produced car. Volkswagen Beetle No. 15,007,034 rolled off the assembly line in Germany, surpassing Ford’s venerable Model T as the most highly produced car in history. A 1,900-mile test drive. Golf I “Alaska-Tierra del Fuego” and a second bright-yellow Golf I, completed what was probably the longest test drive ever taken by a new car, almost 1,900 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina Speed record at Nardò Ring. The Volkswagen W12 Coupé concept car set the world record at Italy’s Nardò Ring for all speed classes over 24 hours, with an average speed of 200.6 mph. Speed record at Bonneville. Jetta Hybrid set the land speed record at Bonneville with a top speed of 187.147 mph. Top track speed electronically limited in U.S. Always obey all speed and traffic laws. Fastest lap at Nürburgring. VW Golf GTI Clubsport S broke the record for the fastest front-drive car to lap the Nürburgring at 7:49:21 minutes. Most cars delivered in 2018. VW delivered more cars globally than any other automaker in history with 10.83 million units. Best-selling midsize car. At over 30M sold, the Passat is the highest selling midsize car ever.
Concept vehicle shown. Not available for sale. Specifications may change. From Pikes Peak to the Nürburgring and Goodwood, Volkswagen’s electric ID. R race car has set records around the world, showing how electric power can transform vehicle performance. Its latest challenge isn’t a famous track, but another type of breakthrough technology – a racing drone. Launched earlier this decade, drone racing now sports thousands of players worldwide and several professional leagues. All feature tiny, remote-controlled aircraft capable of reaching speeds of 85 mph or more through wild obstacle courses. For this video, a racing drone took on the ID. R through a twisty course set up inside a Volkswagen factory. Take a look at what happens when two pieces of the future come together.
The class converted a gasoline-powered 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet to electric power. Disclaimer: Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage and compliance with required safety and other standards. When Ron Grosinger began teaching shop class in 2005 at Memorial High School in West New York, N.J., the program was struggling to survive. In a school facing many challenges, the elective course had dwindled from six teachers to two and rarely offered any hands-on learning, Grosinger says. As in many schools across the country, the shop program was on the path to being eliminated. Between the extra cost of running capital-intensive classes and a growing focus on college preparation, enrollment in vocational classes has dwindled from prior decades – even with a growing economic need for future mechanics. To keep the class afloat, Grosinger knew he’d have to get creative to stay relevant. “If you’re teaching students about gasoline cars, that’s basically the equivalent of 8-track players,” says Grosinger. So, in 2008, he approached the school’s administrators with an innovative idea: he would teach his 27 students, step-by-step, how to convert a gasoline-driven car to electric power. “With the electric car, I wanted to prove two things,” says Grosinger. “First, [I wanted to prove] that we could convert it. Everyone was telling me at the time that it was impossible when really, we just didn’t have the option yet [on a large scale]. “Second, and most important, I wanted to prove that kids are super capable. You just have to give them a chance.” Ron Grosinger and one of his students, Isamara Lozano, pose in front of electric-powered 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet. Disclaimer: Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage and compliance with required safety and other standards. He had recently taken an intensive, two-week EV conversion course in San Diego and believed the new program would help teach students applied science and engineering principles through automotive applications. With backing from the school, he was able to purchase his first conversion vehicle: a 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet. Grosinger knew it would serve as the perfect base for this specific build. “Volkswagen vehicles are known for their German engineering and affordability. They’re built with no-nonsense and the parts are readily available,” Grosinger says. “They’re also relatively lightweight, which is great for electric conversion and helps keep the battery costs down for the class. … All the money you put into them is worth it.” Over time, the students learned how to produce the various mechanical parts in cardboard, then wood, then steel. They welded parts, tackled wiring and learned to solve problems as they arose. “We completely gutted the car and put it all back together,” says Grosinger. Ron Grosinger poses with the electric-powered 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet. Disclaimer: Modifying vehicles can adversely affect warranty coverage and compliance with required safety and other standards. Within a year, he noticed the student makeup of the class had expanded to advanced math, science, physics and engineering students. Also, there were many more female students. “The girls in my classes are amazing engineers,” says Grosinger. “Through hands-on learning, I hope they are encouraged to maintain and broaden their interest in STEM careers.” His goal is to get the male to female ratio up to 50-50. Every year since his first year of teaching, Grosinger has upped the ante and challenged his class to take on new projects. In the decade since the program was revamped, enrollment has dramatically increased. The department has now expanded to four teachers and the school added an after-school automotive program. “Teachers should encourage students to explore new and more efficient ways to move a person from point A to point B, whether that system is a train with solar panels on it, a car with an electric motor in it or retrofitting an existing technology with a different energy source,” says Grosinger. “And don’t come up with the solutions for the students.” The various automotive build projects have also led to the award of additional grant money that has helped pay for new and improved equipment. Most importantly, several of Grosinger’s students have gone on to work in the automotive field. Grosinger attributes the popularity and growth of these courses to the promotion of STEM subjects and the infusion of high-tech equipment, like 3D printers, in the programs. “It’s all about giving students options,” he says. Lozano, above, hard at work in Grosinger’s EV conversion course.