Vintage & Classics

Is the mishmashed Biagini Passo a step too far?

The Biagini Passo had a very short lived run in Europe during the early 90s.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

What exactly is a step too far in the automotive world? Some may say the 1933 Dymaxion or the Ford Gyron. Some point to the Pontiac Aztek or Nissan Murano Cross-Cabriolet. Others extend a Vanna White-esque hand in the direction of the Biagini Passo.

The car sits at the intersection of obscene fun and the Volkswagen Golf. It's both a crossover and a cabriolet, like the fabled Murano, but it's rugged with styling that is reminiscent of a Volkswagen Thing. Basically, it's a lot.

The story goes that the ACM model was inspired by the Meyers Manx, among other sunshine-ready models. Thomas Crown would not be caught dead in this, however.

Biagini Passo

Biagini Passo

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

Underneath, the car is almost all VW. It has a slightly modified body of the VW Golf I Cabrio that was meshed together with the technology of a Golf II Country via a unique subframe. The front and rear are completely different than the Volkswagen Golf, with bits borrowed from other automakers giving the car wannabe Suzuki X-90 vibes.

Its headlights are from a first-generation Fiat Panda while the taillights come from a 1983 Opel Kadett D sedan. Its side turn signals are sourced from a 1983 Fiat Ritmo.

ACM designers removed the luggage hatch and replaced it with a large flap that opens downward. The PVC rear window can be folded up separately from the rest of the convertible top, which was sourced from a Golf I Cabrio. The dashboard is also from that Golf model.

With the top down, the model can seat five. It has a bull bar up front and raised ride height over the traditional stance of the Golf.

It's powered by a 98-horsepower, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine.

The Passos was not popular nor long lasting. Very few were sold (some sources say less than 300 while others say less than 100) and poor corrosion protection meant that most headed to a scrap heap long ago.

Trending News

 
 

VW purchased the rights to the iconic Scout name and plans to make new EVs under the brand.

Volkswagen

Automakers bring back names and brands from the past all the time, but it's not every day that a major company purchases a brand name specifically for the purpose of reviving it. That's exactly what Volkswagen just did with Scout, the name of an ultra-popular off-road SUV that was built by International Harvester in the 1960s and 1970s.

As for the types of vehicles we'll see from the brand, we currently only have the renders to go on. The pickup truck and SUV both feature throwback styling that is reminiscent of the original Scout shapes. Beefy off-road tires and lifted suspension are the only other clues available in the drawings.

Volkswagen has its own EVs, and its other brands like Audi and Porsche have made significant progress with electric vehicles as well. That said, VW doesn't really have a solid off-road option from any of its brands at the moment, so the Scout purchase opens doors for the automaker in that arena.

The announcement sounds exciting, but we've still got plenty of time to wait before there's a Scout-branded EV on the roads. Volkswagen said the plan is to release vehicles by 2026, but it won't be sitting idle between now and then. The VW ID.4 is still very fresh and the automaker says it will launch a total of 25 new EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

Trending News

 
 

Toyota patented a dog-walking robot.

Toyota

Pets are one of life's great pleasures, but there's no disputing that they're a ton of work. Cleaning, vet visits, and walks are just the beginning, so it's always interesting to see the products that promise to make pet ownership more manageable. Toyota, the world's largest automaker, filed a patent for a self-driving dog-walking robot that looks nearly as advanced as many cars today.

Toyota Dog Walk RobotLogic helps the bot determine when to clean up a mess. Toyota

The main structure appears to be a platform with various attachments, and though the intention is for the machine to walk the dog for you, there's space for a person to ride. The vehicle is completely autonomous and does not require a person to guide it on walks. Sensors keep the robot from running over the dog and maintain speed.The patent paperwork includes several decision trees and logic for how the vehicle responds in various dog walking scenarios. One uses the vehicle's sensors to gauge the dog's distance from the robot. If the dog wanders too far, the machine can lock the leash and adjust its speed to maintain proper distance. It's the same sort of "thinking" done by autonomous cars on the road, just adjusted for scooping poop and leash management.

Speaking of number-two, dogs tend to poop when they walk, so Toyota had to prepare the robot for some poop scooping. In its decision-making process, Toyota added logic that asks, "Is it detected that the dog has pooped?" If the answer is yes, the machine is then instructed to "Execute collection process." A camera helps determine when the pooping has happened so the machine can do its job. If the dog pees, there's a water sprayer with an onboard tank to rinse the ground.

If your dog is anything like some of ours, it's likely you don't make through more than a few walks without some antics. Our lazy pups frequently get tired of walking and decide it's time for a mid-sidewalk nap, but Toyota's dog walker isn't going to tolerate any of that. The platform features paw sensors that can sense the dog's position and even let it do some driving.

Toyota Dog Walk RobotThe bot will scoop poop and wash away pee during a walk.

Toyota's patent filing is fun to think about and imagine what could be, but it's still just a patent. The automaker could turn its idea into a line of puppy walkers sold at dealers across the country or file it away as a thought exercise, never to be seen again. Either way, Toyota's got an exciting year ahead of it with the GR Corolla release and bZ4X hitting the streets, and there are rumors of a Crown SUV coming to the automaker's lineup.

Trending News