Beach buggy concept may be on the way

UNDENIABLY cute, but will we ever see it in Spain? Volkswagen has been granted US patents for its Buggy up! concept.

That suggests it is a stage nearer going into production, certainly in the US market, birthplace of ‘buggy’ style cars.

It would not look out of place on Spanish roads, and would bring the California feel to summer motoring over here.

It was the iconic VW Beetle that became one of the most famous buggies in the US, so the German manufacturers seemingly want to keep the VW flag flying over the buggy concept.

Buggies first say the light of day in the 1960’s when the floorpan and basic mechanics of the Beetle were coupled with new fibreglass bodies, often by enthusiasts.

But whether the car, even if it is ever produced, will go on sale in Europe is unknown.

The concept car was first unveiled in 2011 at the Frankfurt Motorshow as one of a series of variations on the up! theme.

Instead of fibreglass it boasts high-tech, lightweight construction steel body panels. Yet the conceptual approach for developing the two-seater, as original as it is, still follows the lead of historic models from California, said VW.

The under body, running gear and drive technology of the up! were kept, while the roof-less exterior skin of the body was completely redesigned, and the ride height was lowered by 20 mm.

The designers made it a pure bred buggy, but went to great pains over safety.

Although it has no doors, it does have extensive body reinforcements and a sturdy roll bar behind the two seats. And the open side sills are designed to makes the experience of open-air driving even more exciting than in a conventional convertible.

The new interior styling is completely waterproof. Drains in the vehicle floor and the open side sills prevent flooding. Even the neoprene coated shell seats have water drains, so that no water accumulates in the vehicle after a swim in the ocean. If it should rain for a longer period of time, it is possible to stretch a sail between the window frames and the roll bar. 

The buggy has a lower seat position then the conventional up! The specially designed seats were lowered by 58 mm compared to the production model. To ensure that everything makes ergonomic sense for the driver, engineers reduced the basic angle of the height-adjustable steering wheel by 4 degrees to an angle of 21 degrees. The result is a go-kart feeling. A sturdy handle is installed on the dash panel for the front passenger – just as it once was in the Beetle, because one never knows what lies over the next dune.

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