A bonkers Kombi-nation
Well, it looks like the Season of Lunacy that kicks off every year in Germany with the GTi-Treffen at Worthersee has been won by Volkswagen, despite Audi’s mental electric-turbocharged TT, Skoda’s brilliant Fabia ute and many other similarly insane concepts.
But there is a twist. The vehicle that easily takes the title of “Most Insane” (not an official award) actually comes from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. And it isn’t even one of theirs ...
What you see in the accompanying pictures is the T1 Race Taxi. While it was showcased at Worthersee by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, it is the result of six years’ work by Swiss customiser Fred Bernhard.
But what you might assume to be an ordinary 1962 VW T1 “Bulli” actually packs the oily bits from a Porsche 993 Turbo — namely the air-cooled turbocharged flat six that produces 395kW of power and 765Nm!
This ridiculous amount of power and torque for a 53-year-old van is pushed through the 993’s six-speed manual transmission to the 18-inch BBS alloy wheels.
Not content with this massive level of insanity, Bernhard used carbon fibre to trim the VW’s weight down to 1500kg for a top speed of 230km/h. In a van. A 53-year-old rear-engined van.
You win, Mr Bernhard. You win at, well, everything. The Good Oil applauds your obvious disregard for common sense.
We are the world
■Police in the English town of Wakefield recently had to chase a man for washing his silver Vauxhall Insignia in public. Not an act that would usually involve police, but this man was using a public fountain as a carwash. The fountain was one of these artsy jobs that squirt up out of the pavement, catching toddlers and pensioners hilariously unaware.
■A record has been set in Britain for the most money paid for a new number plate. A London woman “of Indian heritage” paid a whopping £233,000 ($494,182) for the plate “KR15 HNA”. Bidding started at £27,000 for the Hindu-themed plate. The website www.mirror.co.uk suggests the woman doesn’t even own a car.
Big on awesome
Toyota Prius’ Relax cabin has had a refit.
Mini Big camper — surely it’s just what fisher folk everywhere need.
The Good Oil can say a good number of outrageous, inaccurate and wildly apocryphal things, but one thing we could never say with a straight face was “I need a Prius in my life”.
That was until 2012, when Japanese company Car Taka revealed its first Relax Cabin, a pod attached to the roof/rear of a Prius, turning it into the world’s most awesome campervan/least economical hybrid.
Since then the Relax Cabin has had a refit, making it even more awesome and, well, relaxing.
But that is not the point of this story — the point is that, while trying to find updated pics of the Relax Cabin, we came across another of Car Taka’s products that, if anything, is even more awesome than the Relax Cabin.
It is called the Mini Big — the best name for a tiny caravan ever. It is also amphibious, so you can strap an outboard motor to your caravan and head out fishing.
Although the only visual evidence of it entering water is badly photoshopped and seriously lacking in credibility, The Good Oil would be keen to give it a go. Even if it sinks, it still falls firmly into the “good on ya for giving it a go” category.
In the driver’s seat
The CXC Motion Pro II racing simulator costs $72,585.
While The Good Oil is a fan of racing simulators — they allow us to visit the world’s greatest racetracks and drive the wrong way around them, causing chaos and carnage without costing anything — we wonder about the level of realism with this one.
CXC Simulations builds incredibly realistic — and crushingly expensive — simulators that are so good that professional racing drivers use them to learn and practise tracks. The Motion Pro II simulator costs a frightening US$54,000 ($72,585), but includes three widescreen displays, surround speakers, a working dashboard, a force-feedback steering wheel, pedals and a hydraulic seat that moves around with the action on screen.
Now the company has decided to upgrade the realism by adding the risk of physical harm. Well, not really, but they could if they wanted to.
The Motion Pro II’s steering wheel has recently been upgraded to a new feedback system that does away with belts and gears and connects the servo motor directly to the steering column. This allows the wheel to accurately re-create the feeling of every bump on the virtual track, allowing software developers to get detail-obsessed.
It also means that the Motion Pro II’s wheel can generate 16Nm of torque, enough to break both your wrists if you hit a wall in the game and don’t let go of the steering wheel in time ...
Of course, smashing the wrists of customers is not good for business, so CXC Simulations has restricted the power of the servo.
The Porsche 911 has gone through six incarnations in 52 years.
The first three incarnations were
68k PORSCHE 911S
The number of the last generation of air-cooled 911s produced.
5978 PORSCHE 993S
Total of 993 Turbos built, one of which is now part of a VW Kombi.