Retrospective

Three big name brands, three Volkswagens: How VW's mid-century models shaped modern America

Domino’ started its delivery business with this Beetle.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Three brands that are modern day household names got a little help in the beginning from Volkswagen vehicles. Domino's, Ben & Jerry's, and Nike all spent their early years growing from little passion projects to formidable businesses. The brands grew up and into Volkswagens, then saw them expand far past the wheelbase limits and into major corporations.

Domino's

Volkswagen Dominio's Pizza

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Dodge brothers aren't the only famous or successful all-male duo from the Detroit area. Brothers Tom and James Monaghan founded Domino's Pizza in 1960 when they bought a small pizzeria in Ypsilanti, Michigan, a southwest suburb of Motor City.

The store purchase cost just $900, about $600 less than the price of a new Volkswagen Beetle at the time. Dominick DiVarti, the original owner of the shop, gave the boys a 15-minute pizza making lesson then turned over the keys to DomiNick's to them.

James, who had a full-time job as a mail carrier in addition to helping run the shop, sold his share of the pizzeria to get the company a delivery vehicle, a 1959 Beetle.

In the 1950s, the Beetle had evolved from its early years into a body style with the features commonly seen in vintage models that are still on the road today. By the time the Mongahan brothers got theirs, the Beetle had larger taillights that combined the traditional taillamps and turn signals. Twin chrome tailpipes were added and U.S. models had taller bumper guards. The rear rectangular window of previous years' models was replaced with an oval one in the late '50s.

By 1965, the brothers had purchased two additional pizzerias and changed the name of the business. There was no going back. Today, there are over 17,000 Domino's locations worldwide.

According to Volkswagen, the whereabouts of Domino's first delivery vehicle is unknown. However, a replica of the original is showcased at Domino's headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's Type 3 Vermont

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Ben & Jerry's was founded in 1978 in Burlington, Vermont by two New York City-area transplants who had taken a $5 ice cream-making correspondence course offered by Pennsylvania State University that same year.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield invested $12,000 into their first scoop shop in a converted gas station in downtown Burlington that sat across from what is now The Vermont Pub & Brewery in the space currently occupied by a public parking lot.

In the land of creemees, Ben and Jerry made a big impact, proving popular thanks to their flavorful ice cream and oversized chunks of filling. They didn't just sell scoops at their shop. The company delivered 2.5-gallon tubs of ice cream to restaurants and shops in Ben's red Volkswagen Type 3 Squareback station wagon for their first two years of business.

The Type 3 had been introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1961. It was designed to fill a hole in the VW lineup between the Beetle and the Bus, as a family-friendly auto. Volkswagen began importing the Type 3 Squareback to the U.S. in 1966 where it competed directly with the Chevrolet Corvair.

By 1980, demand took off and Vermont's harsh winters and road salt caught up with the Type 3. However, the Volkswagen lives on at Ben & Jerry's South Burlington headquarters today and their factory just down the road in Waterbury. There's a Type 2 painted on the wall at their in-office Scoop Shop and vehicle inside their shop in downtown Burlington.

Nike

Nike bus Type 2 Volkswagen

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Long before Nike was Nike, it was Blue Ribbon Sports. Founded in 1964 by University of Oregon track coach, Bill Bowerman, and U of O track star Phil Knight, the company originally set out to cater to runners, selling Onitsuka Tiger track shoes out of Knight's car at track meets.

Their first year of business they sold 1,500 pairs. The next that number grew to 8,000. Blue Ribbon Sports added a brick and mortar location in 1967 in Santa Monica, California near the intersection of Pico Boulevard and I-10.

The company's first employee, Jeff Johnson, marketed the shop and drove his personal vehicle, a Volkswagen Type 2 bus, to track meets where he sold and delivered shoes to runners. The second-generation T2 Bus stood out thanks to its gingham curtains and Onitsuka Tigers dealer sticker up front on the driver's door.

The original store closed just two years later but within a decade, the company, now retreaded as Nike, owned 50 percent of the athletic shoe market.

In 2019, Volkswagen and Nike teamed up to celebrate their shared history. The companies outfitted a Volkswagen ID. BUZZ CARGO concept van to resemble the original Blue Ribbon Sports delivery van, promoting Nike's "Reuse-A-Shoe" program and Volkswagen's electric future.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

This McLaren Senna GTR LM wears the classic Harrods livery.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automobiles

The 1995 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was a milestone in McLaren history. That year, five McLaren F1 GTRs finished in the top 15, placing 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 13th. Five customer-commissioned McLaren Senna GTR models celebrate that iconic race.

The five cars wear a bespoke, hand-painted livery that either replicates or pays tribute to the design of each of the 1995 cars.

Each of the models is a unique creation raking more than 800 hours of craftsmanship by McLaren Special Operations to complete. Two of the five models are headed to the U.S. - one in Gulf livery and the other an art car that required several thousand hours of work to complete its unique airbrush paintwork.

McLaren Senna GTR Le Mans 1995 Tribute Each of the models pays tribute to vehicles raced in the 1995 24 Horus of Le Mans.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automobiles

The McLaren Senna GTR is the fastest-lapping car McLaren has ever made outside of Formula 1. These models include an upgraded twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter engine that puts out 833 brake horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.

Scroll down to see models and read descriptions of each, provided by McLaren.

McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/1

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automobiles

An homage to McLaren F1/01R, often referenced as 'The Ueno Clinic car' and the outright winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995

The car bearing race number 59 was driven in 1995 by two-time Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas, Japanese veteran Masanori Sekiya and former Formula One driver, JJ Lehto.

The race was one of the wettest in Le Mans' history, which played into the hands of the bulletproof reliability of the McLaren F1 and also the skills of the drivers – especially Lehto, who was so quick in the wet his team tried to persuade him to slow down.

The charcoal grey livery branded with the name of Japanese sponsor Ueno Clinic was not widely recognised at the time but has since passed into legend. The MSO team has faithfully recreated it on the McLaren Senna GTR LM, precisely matching the color by mixing a new tone dubbed 'Ueno Grey' – a fitting tribute to achievements of the car, and of course its three drivers.

This car has been very authentically reproduced from the original race-winning F1 GTR, echoing every last detail right down to recreating car 59's unique driving lamps, which have been specially commissioned by the GTR LM's owner*.

The OZ Racing wheels are finished in matching grey, completing the menacing look that still sends shivers down the spine of race fans 25 years after the chequered flag fell.

McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/6

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automobiles

An homage to McLaren F1/06R, often referenced as 'The Harrods car'

Car number 51, driven by an all-British line up of Andy Wallace, Derek Bell and Justin Bell, might well have won had it not suffered a transmission glitch two hours from the flag that saw Wallace have to nurse the car home in third place.

The car's famous yellow livery with bold green stripe bore the name of iconic London department store, Harrods – and that prestigious relationship has been reunited for the GTR LM. While the colors have been worn again by a McLaren since the 1995 race – a McLaren P1™ GTR was finished in the livery in 2015 – this is the first time that the famous Harrods logo has been seen on a McLaren for 25 years.

The MSO paint team used a vivid color called Solar Yellow for the body of the car, and that distinctive wide stripe is applied in Heritage Green, shadowed by a matching green pinstripe and green detailing within the front aero diffuser.

McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/2

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automobiles

An homage to McLaren F1/02R, often referenced as 'The Gulf car'

Brazilian Maurizio Sandro Sala joined Brits Mark Blundell and Ray Bellm behind the wheel of the McLaren F1 GTR for 291 rain-lashed laps of La Sarthe in 1995, eventually finishing in fourth place.

Car number 24 had arguably the most iconic livery of any of the cars. The Gulf Racing blue, perfectly reimagined here by MSO as Gulf 95 Blue, fits the McLaren Senna GTR LM seamlessly. Its 'Gulf 95 Orange' pinstripe traces the rear diffuser and the imposing shape of the rear wing's LMP1-style endplates, tracks along the lower sill and unites at the front with vivid orange blades on the front splitter.

The OZ Racing wheels conform to the theme, being finished in equally vivid orange, while the lower sills and roof stripe are painted in Gulf 95 Silver. The actual Gulf Oil logo appears on the bonnet and doors, and a finishing touch is provided by Ayrton Senna's signature boldly recreated on the rear quarter of the bodywork.

McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/7

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automobiles

An homage to McLaren F1/07R, often referenced as 'The Jacadi car'

Car number 50 was run by French-based customer team Giroix Racing. Two French drivers – Fabien Giroix and Olivier Grouillard – joined Swiss pilot Jean-Denis Deletraz to bring the car home in fifth place, just a lap down on the Gulf car.

The unmistakeable royal blue livery was proudly French-themed and has been preserved by the McLaren Senna GTR LM's new owner by the specification of a startlingly bright color called Le Mans Blue for the body of the car. It looks particularly stunning on the GTR LM's massive rear diffuser.

That blue is complemented by a blue metallic called 'Polaris', and further offset by the use of authentic Elf logos belonging to the French oil company which sponsored the 1995 race car. The car is the only one of the five to wear the French Tricolour flag.

McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/5

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automobiles

An homage to McLaren F1/05R, often referenced as 'The Cesar car'

Displaying the most intricate livery design of all the McLaren F1 GTRs that raced in 1995, car number 42 finished 13th position, completing the McLaren roll of honour of finishers.

Run by French team Société BBA, the striking car was driven by an all-French line-up of Jean-Luc Maury-Laribiere, Marc Sourd and Hervé Poulin. Maury-Laribiere and Poulin were pioneers of 'art cars' and asked renowned artist Cesar Baldaccini to envisage a livery for the F1 GTR they would be racing at Le Mans.

An experienced endurance racer, Poulin's fine collection of racing trophies became the inspiration for Cesar's work on the McLaren.

McLaren Senna GTR LM 825/5 is a modern reinterpretation of the livery, drawing in new elements, such as pole position lap times; contemporary race trophies and Le Mans branding cues.

An immensely complex piece of work produced using many techniques – including extensive airbrushing – this was the car that took longest to paint, to the point that MSO stopped recording the time taken. As an estimate, several thousand hours of work were needed to finish the project to the exemplary standard that is now so evident.

All five McLaren Senna GTR LMs have now been completed and will be delivered to owners in the United States, Europe and the UK. As with all bespoke commissions created by McLaren Special Operations, their value remains undisclosed unless the owners choose to share this detail.

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The 2021 Nissan Rogue is designed with families in mind.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Rogue has been redesigned for the 2021 model year. It continues to bring a lot of what families like to the table. As one of America's top-selling SUVs, the Rogue competes directly with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Ford Escape, among others. Check out the Nissan's most compelling features by scrolling down.

Every Rogue comes loaded with safety technology.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of safety and driver assist technology comes standard on the Rogue. It includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, land departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking.

Additionally, the company's Intelligent Driver Alertness and Rear Door Alert technologies are standard.

The rear doors open wide.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan's engineering team has enabled the rear doors on the 2021 Rogue to open to nearly 90 degrees. That not only makes it easy to get luggage and groceries in and out, but also kids and car seats. All three rear seating positions allow for child seat installation.

Keyless entry has been expanded to the rear doors.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

No need to pull out the key to open the doors of the Rogue. Traditionally the keyless entry function works for the driver's door (and sometimes the front passenger's door) and then the driver must open the door and press the unlock button to unlock the rear doors.

Now, the Nissan Intelligent Key will allow rear doors to unlock by holding the key near the door and pressing the button on the rear door handle. All doors can be unlocked by pressing the button twice in quick succession.

Remote technology keeps you and your family warm or cool, right away.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Avaialbe Remote Engine Start technology with Intelligent Climate Control allows parents to heat or cool the cabin of the Rogue from a remote location prior to entering the vehicle. This allows young children and others relief from enduring climate extremes.

Zero Gravity fills the Rogue's universe.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan's ultra-comfortable NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats are no longer for front-row passengers. For 2021, the Rogue gets the seats in the second row - standard. The seats feature low-fatigue spinal support and are available with heated seat functionality.

Privacy and comfort, please.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

You, your passenger, and your kids can enjoy the three zones of climate control in the 2021 Rogue. The front passenger and driver each have a zone while the third is for rear-seat occupants.

Class-exclusive pull-up sunshades help keep the sun out, aiding in climate control system functionality.

Cargo storage has gotten easier.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan's team has redesigned the Divide-n-Hide cargo storage system for the 2021 model year, allowing it to provide hidden storage. On the inner right side of the cargo area (behind the wheel arch), there is a space for securing wider items like a. bag of groceries or a gallon of milk.

A motion-activated tailgate is newly available for 2021.

Cords are so last year.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Now owners can connect without cords. The 2021 Rogue comes with available wireless Apple CarPlay as well as a wireless smartphone charger.

If you're an Android user, then you'll have to use a cord to connect. For those users, there are USB Type-C and Type-A charging ports.

ProPilot Assist takes the wheel.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan's ProPilot Assist technology doesn't allow for hands-free driving and it's not self-driving, but it does fuse together many functionalities that make daily drive functions easier, especially when your children are doing their best to distract you.

ProPILOT Assist combines steering assist and Intelligent Cruise Control to help control acceleration. It can be used in heavy traffic and on open highways.

For 2021, ProPilot Assist has been enhanced. It has next-generation radar and camera technology that is designed to allow for smoother braking, better steering assist, and improved detection performance when vehicles cut into the lane.

Rogue's drive modes are designed to inspire confidence.

2021 Nissan Rogue

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan has made the Rogue available with all-wheel drive. Those models also get five drive modes: Off-road, Snow, Standard, Eco, and Sport. The modes are engaged using the drive-mode selector mounted on the center console. The all-wheel drive system uses new technology that is designed to respond quicker when slippage is detected.

Production of the 2021 Nissan Rogue is underway now in Smyrna, Tennessee. It will arrive at dealerships later this fall.

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