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More Volkswagen wackiness, kids;

161742241_brubakerboxpresspic.thumb.jpg.cf7c3e340e8dc46edf15c48a7809cde7.jpg

1597882058_brubakerbox.thumb.jpg.c3166e46e78659f4f7cd8950dfb71cf4.jpg

A new one on me: the 1972 Brubaker Box.

A glassfibre one-box body that bolted directly on to an unmodified Beetle floorpan and mechanicals, this proto-minivan was designed and built by Curtis Brubaker, a Los Angeles industrial designer and dubnut who saw the potential of marrying the twin early-70s crazes of beach buggies and surf vans. Apparently, these were almost semi-official vehicles, not a kit car, to be marketed and sold fully built-up using new VW components and with VW dealer support.

1712746592_CarDriver-BrubakerBox.thumb.jpg.79a48d0139b76b19e26a8699fb477cfe.jpg

Prototypes featured in the US motoring press and reviews were highly favourable. Car and Driver put the Box on its cover for March 1972, and Motor Trend were also impressed by the high standards of fit and finish for a projected price of $3,995, including the 'lounge' rear seating (the 'stool' actually concealed the centrally-mounted fuel tank). Their approval was justified: Brubaker wasn't some backyard bodger with a big barrel o' wob, but a former design consultant for General Motors and Toyota who had also worked with Bill Lear developing the LearJet.

1148065458_BrubakerBox-exteriorMT.jpg.617380890e6c253286a46b8258b86e99.jpg

The huge shock-absorbing bumpers were made of glassfibre and steel, finished with simulated woodgrain. Other parts-bin components included a front windscreen sourced from the AMC Javelin, a rear window from the Ford Pinto wagon, and rear lights taken from the Datsun 1300 pickup. Ingress and egress were via a single sliding door - and it's fair to say it all adds up to more than the sum of its (multiple) parts.

1954466134_BrubakerBox-interiorMT.jpg.58029a3621640903a4bcd0da1c38082b.jpg

But despite the positive press, Wolfsburg developed cold feet and at a late stage pulled out of the project to supply the necessary CKD platforms and dealer access - citing liability concerns.

With a 17,000 square foot factory already rented and a plan to build five Boxes a month, in desperation Brubaker bought some brand new Beetles and fitted his own bodies to their floorpans, while selling off the surplus VW panels to subsidise costs.

129487714_brubakerboxfront.thumb.jpg.1ce1cf68760eb5709100ec90cd774208.jpg

Although a brave attempt, the time and effort involved proved unsustainable and Brubaker's company folded before the end of 1972 - after completing and selling only 3 vehicles with his name on them. 

After being passed through several sets of hands (some of whom knocked out a few kits, some of whom didn't), the glassfibre bucks eventually ended up with one of Brubaker's former investors, Mike Hansen.

Hansen owned a Californian company called Automecca, and in 1974 he made a serious effort to market the former Box as a self-assembly kit under the Roamer SportsVan brand. He also offered fully built-up versions based on donor vehicles.

brubakerboxscan1-27.thumb.jpg.e68ab4e01bb000692d6cd952c83c8430.jpg

These were not terribly cheap - $3,950 for the basic kit, $4,875 for the deluxe kit, and $5,265 for Automecca to take your old Beetle and return it to you as a SportsVan.

To put it in context, at the time a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette would have set you back about $6,000, while a basic 6-cyl Camaro could be yours, brand new, for $2,800. So you'd have to really want one of these.

Hansen also competed in local baja races using one, possibly in an effort to drum up some trade:  

802952592_BrubakerBox-AutomeccaVan-MikeHansenbaja.jpg.5268cd1e1c4a74cf79aeb57088776da6.jpg

Which recently resurfaced...

708873396_BrubakerBox-AutomeccaVan-MikeHansen.jpg.d2c19dd245e418d84f61e60caf1d62e3.jpg

The SportsVan sold only a few dozen examples before Mike Hansen called it a day, and the tooling was sold on again.

Other efforts were made right into the 1990s to produce kits, and apparently the original bucks still survive, though in poor condition.

As with most heroic failures featuring VW ancestry, surviving Brubaker Boxes are rare old things. With only around 50 or so versions ever made, if you happen to find one of these in your yard, you can pretty much name your price...

340078583_brubakerboxresto.thumb.jpg.99e24be648affb1bc07bc3ce6af1b0de.jpg

And, perhaps typically, there are recent plans afoot to crowdsource brand-new Box kits, based on moulds taken from an unbuilt kit recently discovered. Apparently the plan is to allow them to not only fit original Beetle floorpans, but also the new VW EV platform.

https://www.autoblog.com/2019/04/03/brubaker-box-reproduction-kit/#slide-7553688

You might also wonder if a Matra executive happened to draw some inspiration from the Box when dreaming up their P16 prototype, which ultimately became the Renault Espace...

958274963_MatraP16.jpg.508b1a3ebb67a157078afbab217a0338.jpg

 

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On 6/4/2019 at 8:04 PM, chaseracer said:

Basically a drop-top Insignia.

 

Cascada?

natalie-horler-performs-at-g-a-y-in-london-02-24-2018-7.thumb.jpg.444b4c6ecab11b62f2eab07cf6fa63ab.jpg

"Every time I drive it , I get the feeling 

The roof is going to leak and the engine is shite

Can you hear my Ecotec* thump, i hope it's not fatal

I should have bought a golf."

 

*Artistic license - no idea what engine it is.

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1 hour ago, TheDoctor said:

 

Cascada?

natalie-horler-performs-at-g-a-y-in-london-02-24-2018-7.thumb.jpg.444b4c6ecab11b62f2eab07cf6fa63ab.jpg

"Every time I drive it , I get the feeling 

The roof is going to leak and the engine is shite

Can you hear my Ecotec* thump, i hope it's not fatal

I should have bought a golf."

 

*Artistic license - no idea what engine it is.

Funnily enough there was a Cascada lurking in the corner of the car park at Vauxhall Heritage yesterday, the first one I've knowingly seen up close. This one was brown and had a diesel engine so it looked stunning*. Amazing that GM seriously thought of that Insignia in a party frock as a Merc and Audi rival and I'm not surprised it was the first thing PSA pulled the plug on.

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2 hours ago, spartacus said:

There's a thread on 'Boxes' on the blue forum, I'm not sure how much extra info is there though, you seem to have it nailed Datsuncog.

Cheers, I'll have a look! One just popped up earlier on my Pinterest feed; an hour of frantic Googling ensued and, well, I couldn't think of anywhere else to share my new-found knowledge than here with you fine folks...

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On 6/10/2019 at 2:07 PM, Datsuncog said:

More Volkswagen wackiness, kids;

161742241_brubakerboxpresspic.thumb.jpg.cf7c3e340e8dc46edf15c48a7809cde7.jpg

1597882058_brubakerbox.thumb.jpg.c3166e46e78659f4f7cd8950dfb71cf4.jpg

A new one on me: the 1972 Brubaker Box.

A glassfibre one-box body that bolted directly on to an unmodified Beetle floorpan and mechanicals, this proto-minivan was designed and built by Curtis Brubaker, a Los Angeles industrial designer and dubnut who saw the potential of marrying the twin early-70s crazes of beach buggies and surf vans. Apparently, these were almost semi-official vehicles, not a kit car, to be marketed and sold fully built-up using new VW components and with VW dealer support.

1712746592_CarDriver-BrubakerBox.thumb.jpg.79a48d0139b76b19e26a8699fb477cfe.jpg

Prototypes featured in the US motoring press and reviews were highly favourable. Car and Driver put the Box on its cover for March 1972, and Motor Trend were also impressed by the high standards of fit and finish for a projected price of $3,995, including the 'lounge' rear seating (the 'stool' actually concealed the centrally-mounted fuel tank). Their approval was justified: Brubaker wasn't some backyard bodger with a big barrel o' wob, but a former design consultant for General Motors and Toyota who had also worked with Bill Lear developing the LearJet.

1148065458_BrubakerBox-exteriorMT.jpg.617380890e6c253286a46b8258b86e99.jpg

The huge shock-absorbing bumpers were made of glassfibre and steel, finished with simulated woodgrain. Other parts-bin components included a front windscreen sourced from the AMC Javelin, a rear window from the Ford Pinto wagon, and rear lights taken from the Datsun 1300 pickup. Ingress and egress were via a single sliding door - and it's fair to say it all adds up to more than the sum of its (multiple) parts.

1954466134_BrubakerBox-interiorMT.jpg.58029a3621640903a4bcd0da1c38082b.jpg

But despite the positive press, Wolfsburg developed cold feet and at a late stage pulled out of the project to supply the necessary CKD platforms and dealer access - citing liability concerns.

With a 17,000 square foot factory already rented and a plan to build five Boxes a month, in desperation Brubaker bought some brand new Beetles and fitted his own bodies to their floorpans, while selling off the surplus VW panels to subsidise costs.

129487714_brubakerboxfront.thumb.jpg.1ce1cf68760eb5709100ec90cd774208.jpg

Although a brave attempt, the time and effort involved proved unsustainable and Brubaker's company folded before the end of 1972 - after completing and selling only 3 vehicles with his name on them. 

After being passed through several sets of hands (some of whom knocked out a few kits, some of whom didn't), the glassfibre bucks eventually ended up with one of Brubaker's former investors, Mike Hansen.

Hansen owned a Californian company called Automecca, and in 1974 he made a serious effort to market the former Box as a self-assembly kit under the Roamer SportsVan brand. He also offered fully built-up versions based on donor vehicles.

brubakerboxscan1-27.thumb.jpg.e68ab4e01bb000692d6cd952c83c8430.jpg

These were not terribly cheap - $3,950 for the basic kit, $4,875 for the deluxe kit, and $5,265 for Automecca to take your old Beetle and return it to you as a SportsVan.

To put it in context, at the time a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette would have set you back about $6,000, while a basic 6-cyl Camaro could be yours, brand new, for £2,800. So you'd have to really want one of these.

Hansen also competed in local baja races using one, possibly in an effort to drum up some trade:  

802952592_BrubakerBox-AutomeccaVan-MikeHansenbaja.jpg.5268cd1e1c4a74cf79aeb57088776da6.jpg

Which recently resurfaced...

708873396_BrubakerBox-AutomeccaVan-MikeHansen.jpg.d2c19dd245e418d84f61e60caf1d62e3.jpg

The SportsVan sold only a few dozen examples before Mike Hansen called it a day, and the tooling was sold on again.

Other efforts were made right into the 1990s to produce kits, and apparently the original bucks still survive, though in poor condition.

As with most heroic failures featuring VW ancestry, surviving Brubaker Boxes are rare old things. With only around 50 or so versions ever made, if you happen to find one of these in your yard, you can pretty much name your price...

340078583_brubakerboxresto.thumb.jpg.99e24be648affb1bc07bc3ce6af1b0de.jpg

And, perhaps typically, there are recent plans afoot to crowdsource brand-new Box kits, based on moulds taken from an unbuilt kit recently discovered. Apparently the plan is to allow them to not only fit original Beetle floorpans, but also the new VW EV platform.

https://www.autoblog.com/2019/04/03/brubaker-box-reproduction-kit/#slide-7553688

You might also wonder if a Matra executive happened to draw some inspiration from the Box when dreaming up their P16 prototype, which ultimately became the Renault Espace...

958274963_MatraP16.jpg.508b1a3ebb67a157078afbab217a0338.jpg

 

OMG! It’s even more of a looker than an LDV!

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Its a well kept* secret that I actually luster after an Cascada once they drop in value. Have a massive soft spot for them. Side note, one of the drivers at my work (could be the same one in the photo, as Aberdeen) has one with a fruty sounding exhaust! Honestly though it was something more than a 1.4 or 1.6! (That said, Abarth's sound meaty for a 1.4)

 

Here's a car that oddly escaped me...

autowp.ru_nissan_crew_6.jpg

Nissan Crew Sedan. 

Nissan's answer to the Toyota Crown Comfort. A very basic, boxy car which was favored by police, taxi's and driving schools. Made from 1994 till 2009.  Like the Crown Comfort, Id have one in a heartbeat! 

 

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Laddles and jellyspoons, the Riversimple Rasa;
 
DAW_6323-Last-650x415.jpg
 
riversimple-rasa-header.jpg
 
Rasa-239-650-650x450.jpg
 
https://www.riversimple.com/


774ac319d8c94596a7470bf97eff4dbc.jpg

I had the chance to see one of these in person last week, they’re fascinating things and the guy who runs riversimple (framed between the doors!) is so passionate about the product. They’re a really cool, basic, commuter car.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The Riversimple is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and has a range of approx 300 miles. They are not intending to sell them, instead you hire them under a contract that includes the hydrogen. They will install hydrogen pumps in 'hub areas' priority will be given to areas where a high interest in the car is shown. The whole thing will be crowd funded. More details here - https://www.riversimple.com/

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Not terribly compatible with this forum but this popped up yesterday, anyone's guess why but kind of interesting in a "cute but no-one needs it" way.

Apologies for the 'blondie'.  American - can't help it!

https://youtu.be/dsWxMoh3_50

 

Video not embedding despite various links tried.

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17 minutes ago, chaseracer said:

 

Any idea why it wouldn't embed as usual - this has happened before on a few occasions but copying and pasting an alternative link usually fixes it.

I see it happening to others too.

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Mitsubishi is an Eclipse; most commonly seen stateside where they were also sold as the Eagle Talon. Had a starring role in The Fast and The Furious, which is a film about brightly coloured cars and tattoos.

Quattroporte IV is probably my very favourite Marcello Gandini work – puts me in mind of a four-door Diablo or Cizeta Moroder V16T.

Interesting fact about the Quasar is that it was actually designed by Pythagoras.

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Skoda Scala, Fiat Palio Weekend and Fiat Scudo Combinato - all models or variants I wasn't aware of
 
2019-07-01_09-16-21.thumb.jpg.d7d5438a366b6cca6afae8090b1e6b11.jpg
2019-07-01_09-15-55.thumb.jpg.1d0adbd50c026dbd80a95dcae7c869f9.jpg
2019-07-01_09-16-06.thumb.jpg.d85f362ae9985901a4c70a9c5d3ceb27.jpg
2019-07-01_09-16-13.thumb.jpg.590e551af1a5aef8d749ead27e4888d9.jpg


That Skoda replaces the current Rapid, from that picture it looks more like a facelifted Fiat Tipo than a Skoda


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On ‎7‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 9:32 AM, bunglebus said:

Skoda Scala...

 

2019-07-01_09-16-21.jpg

 

 

 

I think Lancia could reveive their fortunes by suing the hell out of Skoda. Compare and contrast with the back end of a  Lancia Delta from 2010 ish -

LANCIA-DELTA-0.jpg.7913e50eb2eaafafda22de0e248cbbe2.jpg

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