Just after college, Douglas Sonders traded his classic convertible sports car for some professional-level digital camera equipment gear to document a tour with a rock band. It’s a gamble that’s still paying off today. From his days on a tour bus, Sonders’ award-winning career as a photographer and filmmaker now spans everything from celebrity magazine-cover portraits to industrial applications for virtual reality. But it was a new challenge to take a Volkswagen Arteon, the striking new flagship that goes on sale late this year, and apply his creativity. The results: a dramatic and beautiful photo series unveiled recently at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. European model vehicle shown. Specifications may change. “I’ve never had a car company just toss me the keys to a pre-production car and give me carte blanche,” says Sonders. “The Volkswagen Arteon has a beautiful modern edge, from the shoulder lines to the grille, and I wanted to do it justice.” Working with models Shelby Bay and Krislian Rodriguez, along with a Phase One XF IQ3 100MP camera, Sonders crafted a series of images with the Arteon as a central feature. The look was designed to evoke the early techno era of the 1980s and some of its influences in modern life, with sharp-angled slices of color and clothing playing off the Arteon’s curves. (The LED-lit room was also an inspiration for a certain moody superhero’s lab.) “I loved this space, and thought the symmetry and drama of the ceiling with the dark background worked well,” Sonders said. “It’s important to capture a car’s essence. I develop an emotional attachment to my cars, and they each have a personality in their designs.” The photos didn’t just hang statically. Visitors to the unveiling were able to try out an interactive augmented reality experience through an app Sonders and his company, eXpanded eXistence, developed. Each photograph would trigger a pre-programmed interactive 3D visuals that would emanate from a given print. “All of it eventually ties back to how we look at the world. I love the idea of exploring different platforms and technologies to give viewers a unique perspective towards a concept. I loved being able to incorporate my love for photography, film, and augmented reality into one campaign,” he says.
If you were lucky enough to be driving along the West Coast last month, you might have seen a few more classic Volkswagens than usual, and a couple that you might not have recognized. That was the 2018 edition of the Highway 1 Treffen, the annual 1,700-odd-mile cruise from Canada to Mexico along some of the most beautiful roads in America. This year, dozens of VW Buses, Beetles, Karmann Ghias, Type 412s and other models from Volkswagen’s air-cooled era took part in the caravan. The Volkswagen Type 3 wasn’t as beloved as the Beetle in the period between 1966 and 1973 when it was sold in the United States, but the surviving wagons and hatchbacks have a devoted following today. The ride even included a few cars that were never officially sold here, including a Volkswagen Type 147 – a two-door panel van sold in Europe mainly as a postal delivery truck and nicknamed the Fridolin. You can check out our photos below, then set your calendar to check out Treffen when it returns in 2019. of
Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross proved the class of the field as the Americas Rallycross Championship (ARX) made its maiden visit to Canada and the Trois-Rivières circuit last weekend. Championship leader Scott Speed scored a clean sweep, leading every session on the way to the second back-to-back ARX victory. Close behind Speed in the Final was his teammate, Tanner Foust, who bounced back from a big accident on Saturday afternoon to claim a third consecutive podium finish. “I’m really proud to get the win this weekend, particularly on a track like this,” said Speed after the checkered flag. “This type of rally-style racing on thick gravel and with constantly changing conditions was totally foreign to me a few years ago, so I’m happy to see the results of my study and the team’s hard work pay off with a dialed-in Beetle and a great result in the race.” Speed led from the outset on the tight Trois-Rivières track, winning his two qualifying rounds on Saturday. Despite the reigning champion’s early success, the closeness of competitors’ lap times prompted Speed and the Volkswagen Andretti engineers and mechanics to make changes to the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle Rallycross overnight. The team’s work paid off on Sunday, benefiting Speed to the tune of three more round wins, before ultimate victory in the Final. Speed’s sweep of the weekend was the first such accomplishment in ARX history. Foust’s path to the podium was more complicated than Speed’s while moving up through the field from his third-place starting position on Lap 1, Foust was forced into the wall by a competitor, causing significant damage to his No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle Rallycross. Unable to restart the red-flagged race, Foust’s team set about the task of rebuilding his car for Sunday. “It’s been a tough weekend for the Rockstar Energy Drink guys, but they’ve done an incredible job not only to put this car back together but make it competitive in a quick, overnight rebuild,” said Foust. “I’m hoping for some better luck in the next events, because I know we’ve got the speed to grab another win as payback.” The overnight rebuild was successful, and Foust returned to the track with a vengeance, easily winning his third qualifying heat. Foust returned stronger than ever, rising from a second-row starting position in the first Semifinal to finish second behind Speed. He duplicated the same move in the Final with a dynamite start and was the first driver to challenge his teammate, chasing the championship-leader to the checkered flag. With their 1-2 sweep at Trois-Rivières, the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross drivers extended their lead in the championship table, making it a virtual certainty that the inaugural ARX title will go to one of the two Beetle Rallycross drivers. Before the final round of the inaugural running of the Americas Rallycross Championship at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) at the end of September, Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross will make an exhibition appearance at the Nitro World Games at the Utah Motorsports Campus, September 22-23. The ARX highlight broadcast show of the Trois-Rivières round will air on CBS Sports Wednesday, August 8th at 7:00 PM (ET).
Modifying vehicles can adversely affect reliability, warranty coverage, & compliance with safety and other standards. Jason Mariani always knew he wanted to own a wagon; it was just a matter of time and choosing the right vehicle to meet his needs. When he found the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, he knew he discovered much more than he was looking for. The Golf Alltrack arrived in the U.S. in 2016 and has been gaining momentum among adventure-seekers, outdoor enthusiasts and families since. Mariani knew the Alltrack was the perfect car for his lifestyle because he could fit both his growing family and bicycles – ideal for the avid cyclist and new father. “I wanted a sporty, fun car that also worked for my ‘dad’ responsibilities,” he explained. That would have been enough for many owners. Not for Mariani, who’s since embarked on personalizing his Golf Alltrack into one eye-catching wagon. When Mariani first purchased his Alltrack, he wanted to see what other owners were doing to customize their vehicles. Starting in a popular VW owners forum, Jason landed on the Alltrack Owners Facebook page created by a community of Alltrack owners. Since joining as a member where he observed conversations and learned tips and tricks from other owners, he has watched the group more than triple in size and he has taken on the role of page moderator. Today, the group has three moderators representing three regions: West Coast, Midwest and East coast. Members are from across the country and use their vehicles for a variety of purposes, ranging from shuttling kids, to going on adventures off the paved road with their all-wheel-drive capability. The Alltrack Owners page also offered inspiration for Mariani as he made the Alltrack his own.1 Other owners gave ideas for headlights, taillights, accessories and more to make his car fit his lifestyle and interests. Additionally, he’s had the opportunity to meet other owners when he’s traveled around the country. “This group is one of the most unique communities I have been a part of,” said Mariani. “Everyone is incredibly welcoming and they are always willing to lend a hand, offer advice or share their personal experiences of working on their cars.” Recently, Mariani packed his Alltrack with his family and cycling gear, drove from New Jersey to Boston, Massachusetts for a 100-mile charity race. Late this summer, he plans to meet up with other Alltrack owners at Waterfest, an annual Northeast gathering of Volkswagen enthusiasts from all over the country. “The beauty of the Alltrack community is we’ve got everybody,” says Mariani. “We’ve got moms who use this car for soccer duties, or those who turn the car sportier, and others who lookto take it off paved roads. Within the community, everyone is respectful, supportive and it’s great to see the versatility of the vehicle.”
Josef Juza may not own the world’s largest private collection of Volkswagen Golfs – but with 114 examples, many of them rare and odd, it’s hard to imagine a more passionate fan. Juza, a chimney sweep from Austria, began his collection as part of his job, driving a second-generation, European-spec VW Caddy pickup for work. From there the collection began to grow; a normal Golf for the family, a Cabrio for summer, a GTI for driving fun and even a Golf Country for wintertime, or as Juza calls it, “the right Golf for every occasion.” “When I sat in a Golf for the first time I just had the feeling that this car had been built for me alone,” Juza says. “The seat position, driving fun, everyday usability — it was all exactly as I like it.” Then, at a car show in the mid-1990s, Juza picked up his first Mk1 Golf with a dovetail spoiler. That sparked the collection that now fills a warehouse outside Vienna. How it grew so fast will sound familiar to anyone who’s ever been tempted by shopping online: “I only had to have a quick look on the Internet and I soon found another great vehicle that cost practically nothing,” Juza says. “The transport was often more expensive than the price of the vehicle.” Today, several of what Juza calls his “Golf Pack” stands out as rare and desirable examples. Start with one of the oldest, a 1974 pre-production Golf fitted with a forward-sliding door. There’s not one but two early all-electric Golfs, known as CitySTROMer I and II, which used gel-electrolyte batteries. Juza has one of only 71 Golf G60 Limited models, which were hand-built by Volkswagen Motorsport and produced 207 hp from a supercharged four-cylinder engine, and a slightly less-rare 1989 Rallye Golf, the 181-hp race-bred model. of From there, things can take a turn for the weird. Juza owns two of the three stairway cars built off VW Pickups that were used by the Bremen airport, and several campers. And then there’s a first-generation GTI that was customized by a German tuner for a Middle Eastern sheikh with wood inserts, topgrain leather and that most important of mid-80s luxury items, a carphone. “These are all mementoes for me of a certain time,” Juza says. “Back then you were the king of the disco with a Golf like this.” If taking care of 114 vehicles sounds like a challenge for one man, it is. Juza plans to open his collection to the public as a sort of Golf museum next spring, with more space for display. And when asked which five he would take above all others, Juza has an answer that offers a bit more perspective on his attachment: “I think I would close down the entire collection,” he says. “I would prefer to do without all of them than have to choose just a few.”
Ten years ago this week, Volkswagen made it official: It wanted to build one of the world’s most advanced automotive assembly factories in the hills outside Chattanooga, Tenn. And since then a series of successful milestones – from the 700,000th Passat to the new expansion for the growing Atlas line – has shown how VW and Chattanooga have built a partnership for the future. Since its launch, the initial investment of approximately $1 billion in Chattanooga, and the commitment to hire 2,000 team members has grown to more than $2.3 billion, resulting in 3,500 jobs and the assembly of nearly 800,000 vehicles. “Volkswagen Chattanooga’s success is important to the overall strategy of the Volkswagen Group,” said Antonio Pinto, president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “Reaching this milestone has only been possible through the contributions of each of our 3,500 team members and through the collaboration with the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County and the State of Tennessee. We look forward to many more years filled with growth and progress.” From award-winning vehicles to standout education programs to sustainability efforts, Volkswagen Chattanooga’s presence goes well-beyond the walls of the world’s first LEED Platinum certified automotive factory. Watch the video celebrating ten years of Volkswagen in Chattanooga below.
Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross is on a winning streak, extending its Championship lead with first and third-place finishes this weekend at the second Americas Rallycross Championship (ARX) race at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. Scott Speed claimed his first victory of the year ahead of his VW teammate, Tanner Foust, who earned a hard-fought third-place finish on Saturday afternoon. “Getting the win this weekend is a great accomplishment for the Volkswagen Andretti team,” said Speed. “The track conditions changed throughout the day and I enjoyed the challenge of trying to find where the grip was. It is great to back at COTA, and to be racing rallycross in America.” Speed dominated the event from the outset, winning his first three qualifying heats. In the fourth and final qualifying round, contact with another competitor knocked the No. 41 Oberto Circle K Beetle Rallycross to the back of the field. The resulting fourth-place finish was the only blemish on Speed’s winning day, and the reigning champion bounced back to secure his first victory of the season. Tanner Foust shadowed Speed for most of the day; securing second place finishes from difficult outside grid positions in the first three qualifying rounds. In the fourth qualifying heat, Foust took advantage of his teammate’s troubles to earn a win, setting up a first-place starting position in his semifinal. Victory for the No. 34 Rockstar Energy Drink Beetle Rallycross in semifinal 2 granted the championship leader a second-place grid position for the final. Forced to take the longer Joker on the first lap of the race put Foust at the rear of the field, but the rallycross and drifting veteran raced hard to work his way forward, finishing in a gritty third position at the checkered flag. “There was a lot of decision making in the first 100 feet of the track, and the only hope was that as many vehicles as possible would follow me into the Joker,” explained Foust after the race. “Our strategy did not work in the end, and I had to work hard to get the third-place finish for the team. It was great to see all the new fans that came out in this Texas heat and I’m looking forward to coming back in September.” The results of the weekend place the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross drivers at the top of the championship standings — Scott Speed holds a one-point lead over teammate Foust. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross will return to action next month north of the border in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, August 4-5. The ARX highlight broadcast show of the COTA round will air on CBS Sports Wednesday, July 18 at 8:00 PM (ET). of