Vintage Vehicles

This cute Volkswagen cabrio was compared to a picnic basket but buyers loved it

The Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet is a classic convertible that has been forgotten by many.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Remember the simpler times? Before amusement in the car was measured by whether or not it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there was a tremendous amount of joy that people received just from having a car with a sunroof. Pop-up, pull-down, electrified - it was all good. Even more fun was had by those that were lucky enough to have a convertible.

The original Beetle was a popular cabriolet though the top didn't win many accolades. It was often ill-fitting and less rainproof than what is ideal. Owners found carwashes to be a perilous experience. Volkswagen sold 332,000 Beetle Convertibles worldwide.

Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet The model was beloved though its roof was not.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In 1976, Volkswagen replaced the Beetle with the first-generation Golf, which was known as the Rabbit in the U.S. But that wasn't good enough. VW wanted to make a Golf cabriolet with safer and affordability in mind. The result was the 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet with a five-layer roof that folded all the way back.

Globally, the model was sold under a number of different names and in a variety of special editions including the Wolfsburg models in the United States.

The Rabbit Cabriolet was the first model in its class to have a permanently installed roll bar attached to the B-pillar. This feature improved rollover protection and structural integrity, and quickly led to the model being compared to a picnic basket. However much fun of it people poked, they couldn't ignore its relative spaciousness and fuel efficiency.

Five years later the Rabbit was updated for its second generation and the Cabriolet received slight exterior updates though it kept its original underpinnings.

Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet The Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet was sold in the U.S. up until 2002.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen continued to sell the model in the U.S. through 1993 updating it over the years adding options like power windows and larger wheels. By the time production of the first-generation Cabriolet ended in 1993, Volkswagen had sold 388,552 of them worldwide.

The second-generation of the Cabriolet was launched in the U.S. in 1995 and included updates from the third-generation Golf as well as an available power roof with glass rear window. Buyers loved it and would make this version of the Cabriolet the best-selling convertible in the world with more than 600,000 produced over the next seven years.

In 2002, production of the model halted as customer preferences changed and safety regulations became more stringent.

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Improved hot hatch

The 2022 VW Golf GTI gets new handling tech

Improvements to the GTI's handling and steering should make it even faster in the curves.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is one of the most recognizable and popular cars the automaker sells. After a bumpy few years that ended with the standard Golf model being nixed from VW's U.S catalog, we're starting to see concrete details on the upcoming performance variants of the car, which will thankfully end up heading our way. The eighth-generation Golf GTI and Golf R will make landfall in the United States as 2022 models, and will both feature a load of new tech and refinements. VW just announced the changes that are being made to the GTI's handling and performance systems, and they are extensive, to say the least.


2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI VW is offering the 8th-gen Golf only in high-performance GTI and R configurations.Volkswagen


Volkswagen is giving the legendary hot hatch a host of improvements, which the automaker says will give the car more precise, stable handling at its limit. The GTI's front suspension has been reconfigured with new wishbone bearings and damping hydraulics. VW says that the car's springs and buffer stops have also been revised, which will give the font axle spring rate that is five percent higher than its predecessor. A new aluminum subframe is also in place, which will reduce weight by seven pounds over the previous car.

The eighth-generation Golf brought a new VW Vehicle Dynamics Manager system which will also benefit the upcoming GTI. The system integrates the car's electronic stability control with its electronic differentials, and in GTI models equipped with the optional DCC adaptive damping system, the system adjusts individual wheel damping up to 200 times per second. The differential itself will now come standard with all GTI models. It's an electronically-controlled torque-sensing limited-slip unit, which varies the levels of its intervention based on how the car is being driven and on how the other traction control functions are being used.


2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI The GTI's steering is now more responsive.Volkswagen


The GTI's steering system has also been revised to now include an enhanced progressive steering function that uses software to help turn the vehicle with less steering effort, depending on speed. Volkswagen says that the GTI's steering takes just 2.1 turns of the steering wheel to go from lock to lock when it's equipped with 18-inch wheels.

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Tesla claims that its Cybertruck will go into production this year.

Photo courtesy of Tesla, Inc.

In a presentation to investors this morning, Ford Motor Company revealed that it has received 70,000 reservations for its just-debuted F-150 Lightning electric truck. Its on-paper chief rival, the Tesla Cybertruck, has over one million according to data acquired by Finbold. Rivian, who is nearly ready to start production of its R1T all-electric truck, has over 30,000 reservations, according to reporting by InsideEVs.

Reservations are not orders or sales though they do serve as an indicator of the buying public's enthusiasm for a new model. More and more automakers are switching to online reservations to gauge buyer interest, determine proper product mix, and stay in touch with clients on a more personal level. Hyundai did this with the 2022 Tucson and Ford has successfully used it to launch the Mustang Mach-E.


2022 Ford F-150 Lightning The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning has an all-electric powertrain in its familiar body. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Tesla opened reservations for the Cybertruck immediately following its debut around the same time as the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show where the Mustang Mach-E also debuted. Last July, Finbold revealed that their data showed that there were around 650,000 reservations. In 2018 and 2019 Tesla produced 612,120 vehicles.

Finbold's fresh research indicates that as of May 25, 2021, estimated Cybertruck reservations had reached 1.08 million. That number is more than the 866,750 total vehicles delivered by Tesla in two years between 2019 and 2020.

Though construction at the future home of the Cybertruck, Tesla's Austin, Texas plant, is ongoing, Tesla no longer features the Cybertruck alongside its existing models. The truck's homepage is currently housed in a "see more" style hamburger menu as a singular link alongside the Roadster and Semi. The Cybertruck was originally slated to begin production later this year.

The F-150 Lightning is expected to reach consumers ahead of the Tesla Cybertruck despite the fact that the Cybertruck was unveiled years ahead of the F-Series model. Both have fully electric powertrains. Ford will also offer the electric truck in a fleet version.

Ford has given more specifics about the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning than Tesla has about the Cybertruck. It will look much like a traditional F-150 but have an electric powertrain that gives it a maximum of 563 horsepower and 773 pound-feet of torque. The truck is being built to be capable of towing though doing so will likely decrease the truck's 300-mile maximum range considerably.

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