Volkswagen Newsroom

The next step in autonomous cars? Helping avoid motion sickness

May 23, 2019

Carsickness can happen to anyone: the confusion between the motion your eyes see, and the motion your body feels, can lead to a queasiness in your stomach or something worse. About a third of all people are susceptible to it—women more than men, children more than adults—but under the right conditions, anyone can suffer from it. And many of those conditions could become more common once autonomous vehicles hit the road.

At the Volkswagen Group research labs in Wolfsburg, scientists are studying what can trigger car sickness and potential ways to help prevent it from happening in a future where the car can mostly drive itself.

“To put it simply, the forces acting on us in the car confuse our sense of perception,” says Adrian Brietzke of Volkswagen Group Research. This happens most often to passengers he says—the “driver’s privilege” of knowing what’s about to happen next allows them to adapt to the car’s motion.

But what could happen with autonomous vehicles?

At the test track in Ehra-Lessien, a female volunteer takes the passenger seat of an Audi A4 sedan wearing various sensors and cameras designed to measure her pulse, skin temperature, and even changes in skin tone. For a 20-minute drive, the sedan will use Automatic Cruise Control to follow a semi-autonomous Passat that travels in a stop-start motion.

During the test, a tablet properly secured to the dashboard plays a video for the volunteer to watch. The visuals are swimming fish rather than a major blockbuster, to help avoid triggering any emotions such as tension or happiness that could skew the data. As the car drives, the volunteer rates her state of health on a tablet—and it doesn’t take long for a change.

“I didn’t think I was that sensitive, but I felt queasy after just a few minutes,” says the volunteer.

In other tests, the Volkswagen Group researchers are exploring whether changes to the vehicles themselves might help prevent motion sickness. Such ideas include special movable seats that can react to driving changes and an LED light strip on the door panel that illuminates in green and red – providing a visual cue for the passenger of braking or acceleration.

Studies have shown that these inventions have already had some initial success. But the team still has some way to go, and further studies are in the pipeline. Their plans include examining not only the longitudinal forces that passengers feel when braking and accelerating, but also the transverse forces when taking corners. With the first truly autonomous vehicles possibly arriving within the next decade, finding a way to help control our propensity for motion sickness will be more important than ever.

Volkswagen Remixes: Seven custom vehicle builds for 2019

May 17, 2019

Just as the summer starts with a dance remix hit or two, Volkswagen annually takes some of its most popular models and builds special remixed versions to inspire enthusiasts across this country. The 2019 edition of the Volkswagen enthusiast fleet ranges from off-road1 haulers to ‘90s-themed throwbacks—all built with the sense of fun that’s an essential part of Volkswagen.


Created at the Volkswagen Technical Service Center in Auburn Hills, Mich., this Golf Alltrack Combi brings a global look to the Golf Alltrack wagon. Starting with a 2019 Golf Alltrack SEL, the Combi includes the front bumper from the European Golf GTE, a Golf GTD short shifter, and rear spoiler from the Golf GTI Rabbit Edition. The look is completed with a set of H&R® VTF adjustable lowering springs, custom 90’s-themed graphics, tinted windows, Volkswagen Accessories base carrier bars with an integrated LED light bar, and a Thule® Motion XT L cargo box.


A homage to the iconic Rabbit logo, this 2019 GTI Rabbit Edition is covered in a wrap decorated with Rabbit logos, plus a few hidden surprises, arranged in a confetti-like pattern. This concept is fitted with 19-inch Rotiform RSE wheels, complete with customized Rotiform Aerodisk wheel covers; H&R® VTF adjustable lowering springs; tinted windows, and Volkswagen Accessories base carrier bars with a Thule® Canyon XT Cargo Basket.


The white-water kayak on the roof advertises the real goal of the Tiguan Adventure Concept. Starting with a 2019 Tiguan SEL Premium 4Motion, this overland concept built in collaboration with H&R® Springs features a topographic-themed wrap, H&R® Adventure Raising Springs, and 18-inch Rotiform WGR wheels fitted with all-terrain tires. The car also features a plethora of adventure-ready Volkswagen Accessories: MuddyBuddy® protection mats, Bumperdillo® protection plate, rear spoiler, aluminum side steps, base carrier bars, and a Thule® Hull-a-Port kayak carrier.


Volkswagen has collaborated with Fifteen52 in the creation of the Super Touring Concept, using a 2019 Jetta GLI Autobahn for the reveal of brand-new Fifteen52 wheels.  Additional equipment includes K&W Variant 3 DDC coil overs, sport spoiler, brake kit, extended exhaust, and tinted windows.


The SEMA Concept builds on a collaboration started in 2018 with Vossen Wheels for the SEMA show. With a 2019 Arteon SEL R-Line as a base, the SEMA Concept features Xpel satin finish paint protector for the Pure White exterior, islowered nearly three inches by H&R® Ultra Low coil overs, and rides on a set of 21-inch Vossen Forged M-X4T wheels. For 2019, the concept was updated with a 380mm front big brake kit by Forge Motorsport, as well as a custom valence kit and aluminum floor mats by Luft Technik.


Many of the 40 colors available in the Golf R Spektrum program this year were bits of visual history from previous Volkswagen models. The Spektrum Concept plays up that history further, building off a 2019 Golf R w/ DCC & Navigation, dressed in Spektrum color Ginster Yellow, a 90s-era color option on GTI. The concept adds H&R® VTF adjustable lowering springs, 20-inch Vossen Hybrid Forged HF-1 wheels, tinted windows, and [black OR yellow] lower rocker panel accents.


The Basecamp Concept unveiled at the New York International Auto Show was the brainchild of Alex Earle, Exterior Design Manager at the Volkswagen Design Center California and avid off-road cyclist. Built from a Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium, the Basecamp Concept comes painted Platinum Gray and Black Uni with a matte finish and orange accents. Wearing 265/70R17 all-terrain tires on fifteen52 Traverse MX Concept wheels, the Basecamp also includes a custom body kit by Air Design, an H&R® lift kit with coil over springs that raise the ride height approximately 1.5 inches, a Front Runner® Slimline II roof rack system with bike holders and off-road LED light bars on the front and rear.

You’ll be able to see the Volkswagen Enthusiast Fleet at the following events in 2019:

  • SOWO: The European Experience | Savannah, GA | May 18-19• ARX Round #2-3 | Madison, IL | July 13-14
  • Waterfest | Atco, NJ | July 21-22
  • Wolfsgart | Essex Junction, VT | Aug. 4-5
  • VAG Fair | York, PA | Aug. 4-5
  • SoCal Big Euro | San Diego, CA | Sept. 1
  • Pacific Waterland | Woodburn, OR | Sept. 9
  • ARX Round #5 | Austin, TX | Sep. 28

“A Defining Moment” — CEO Scott Keogh Talks About the Future of VW in America

May 16, 2019

*Photo Courtesy of St. Louis Car Museum & Sales

How To Speak Smartly About Beautiful Cars, Like The Volkswagen Arteon

May 13, 2019

Even as it hits the United States, the Volkswagen Arteon already has won awards for its unique style. A blend of four-door sedan, hatchback and sport-car cues, the Arteon looks like no other vehicle on the road, and its role as the flagship of Volkswagen in America suggests where the brand’s future designs will evolve.

There may be no more challenging job in the automotive world than designing a vehicle. It’s not just taking a blueprint of a chassis from engineers and making it look pretty. It requires blending art, customer tastes and societal cues – and anticipating how the final result will resonate years into the future. Bold yet timeless design has been one of Volkswagen’s strengths for decades and, as the Arteon shows, will remain one for years to come.

Yet even car experts struggle sometimes to say what exactly it is that makes one car attractive and another … not so much. Here’s a short glossary of automotive design terms that can help you pinpoint what’s turns your head on the road:

A-Line: If you traced a vehicle’s silhouette from front to rear, you’d have the A-line, or main profile. This line often defines the entire character of a car, and a few millimeters here and there can mean the difference between sleek or dull.

Beltline: The horizontal line that divides the sheetmetal from the glass in a vehicle. Just as a higher or lower beltline on a human body drastically alters a person’s look, the height of a vehicle’s beltline can make it look sporty and menacing or welcoming and airy. In the Arteon, the beltline is balanced for a classical feel.

20-inch wheels shown limited and later availability.

Character Line: The creases running horizontally along the side of the vehicle that give it a visual definition. “We have a line,” says Klaus Bischoff, Volkswagen Head of Design, “that runs through the entire car and brings the volume of the Arteon even closer to the ground. This line starts in the radiator grille at the front and runs cleanly over the side profile and into the tail lights.” At the rear, it develops into a sharp undercut, which visually reduces the height of the Arteon and carries the strong shoulder section upwards.

Color shown limited availability

C-Pillar: Car designers have a lettering system for the pillars that contain the passenger compartment when viewed from the side; the A-pillar frames the front, the B-pillar is where the door edges meet, and the C-pillar frames the rear side windows. Over time the C-pillars and the angle formed where the sheetmetal and glass meet have become brand touchstones for several automakers and key models — few more so than the Volkswagen Golf. In the Arteon, the C-pillar follows the long arch of the rear hatch, ending in a discreet angle with a premium touch of glass and chrome.

Down the Road Graphics: If you’ve ever tried to identify a car at night simply from the shape of its headlights, you’ve memorized what designers call “down the road graphics.” With the arrival of LED daytime running lights, there are more ways than ever to distinguish vehicles through light. The Arteon makes the most of this with its dramatic light signature of the daytime running light that angles into the grille, framing the LED headlights.

Fastback: The car body term dates back to before World War II, when automakers first began optimizing aerodynamics. Long roofs that slope down to a car’s trunk provide several aerodynamic benefits, and eventually such profiles were called fastbacks. The fastback shape of the Arteon gives it a dynamic and elegant look among midsize sedans.

Flitzer: The German term for the side badge on Volkswagens where the front door line meets the fender.

Color shown limited availability

Greenhouse / Day Light Opening (DLO): The shape and total area of the glass around a passenger compartment in a vehicle. Owners generally favor open, airy greenhouses, but too much glass can make for awkward exterior design. Sports cars often have the smallest DLOs that emphasize performance at the expense of visibility. The best designs offer a balance between extremes, while panoramic sunroofs such as the one in the Arteon, add a further dimension.

20-inch wheels shown limited and later availability.

Joint Line: Any place on a vehicle where two body panels meet. Joint lines are rarely the centerpiece of a vehicle’s design, but they can add or detract greatly from the overall impression. The joint line where the hood of the Arteon meets the front wheelarch shows how graceful such seams can be.

Overhang: As seen from the side, the part of the car that extends ahead and behind of the wheelarches. Classic American cars commonly had a foot or two of sheetmetal and frame sticking out in front and back. In the modern era, smaller overhangs have become the more preferred style (and provide more assured handling, as more of the vehicle’s weight lies within the wheelbase.)

Power Dome: A term for a hood bulge that gives the impression of power underneath. Once quite common, the industry has been moving toward flatter hoods (or even slightly hoods for electric vehicles.) In the Arteon, there’s only a hint of a power dome; instead, the “clamshell” hood creates its unusual look by stretching the entire width of the car, folding down at the edges to the wheelarch.

Rake: The angle of the windshield as seen from the side of the car. The Volkswagen Beetle was a good example of a vehicle with almost no windshield rake. Modern vehicles have more rake for lower wind noise and better aerodynamics, although glare can be an issue at too great an angle.

Shoulder: The side curve of a vehicle body, typically above the wheels. Many vehicles lack shoulders entirely, as the roof and sides meet in one continuous line. On the Arteon, its shoulders create one of its most distinctive features around the rear fender and hatch.

Track: The width between the wheels. Narrower cars have better aerodynamics, but wider vehicles look more premium. Much of the design of the Arteon emphasizes its width, from the flowing horizontal brightwork in the grille to the taillights and seamless, one-piece hatch.

Tumblehome: A nautical term that describes the inward angle of the greenhouse. Pickups, vans and many SUVs have zero to little tumblehome to optimize interior space (and because looking “blocky” can be a virtue.) Just the right amount of tumblehome can be the difference between an attractive design and a competent, but boring, one.

Wedge: The horizontal angle at which a car sits when viewed from the side. Minivans have zero wedge; drag racers have extreme wedge. The Arteon adds to its overall sport-inspired design with a slight wedge body that rises along its entire length.

Wheelarch Gap: The space between the wheel and the body. It’s a particular obsession for many auto fans, with a whole enthusiast community devoted to “slammed” cars that have no gap at all. Trucks and off-road SUVs require more gap, but even in those types of vehicles designers work to ensure the body still provides an aesthetically pleasing space. With the R-Line’s optional 20-inch wheels1, the stance of the Arteon carries only a modest gap.


One of the first Golf R Spektrums heads north to a true Volkswagen enthusiast

May 9, 2019

Imagine designing your favorite car in your dream color. Thanks to the new Volkswagen Spektrum Program1, Jennifer Jensen was able to turn her vision – a 2019 Volkswagen Golf R in Violet Touch Pearl – into a reality.

Jensen was one of the first customers in the United States to receive the 288-hp, all-wheel-drive Volkswagen Golf R in one of the 40 custom-order Spektrum colors. The Auto Exotica magazine publisher and TV host resides in Oshkosh, Wis., and her collection of high performance and sports vehicles has included multiple Vipers, Porsches, BMW M-series cars, and even a 2006 Ford GT. But when it comes to daily driving, Jensen says there is no better car on the market than the Golf R. She praised the hatchback’s practicality and power.

“The Mk6 has taught me more about performance cars than any other car I’ve owned,” says Jensen. “You can fit four six-footers in there and nine bags of groceries in the hatch.”

She’s also a fan of the car’s reliability. “I’m definitely a huge proponent of all-wheel drive,” says Jensen. “When you live in a climate like Wisconsin, where we get snow, we slap some snow tires on the car.” 2

The 2019 Volkswagen Golf R in Violet Touch Pearl.

To mark the occasion, the Volkswagen Golf R product team coordinated delivery of the hot hatchback at Jensen’s local dealership, Bergstrom Volkswagen in Appleton, Wis.

“I was thrilled when I saw the press release for the Spektrum program,” says Jensen. “The day [it] came out, I forwarded it to Sean, our sales guy, and said, ‘Alright, I think we need another Golf R.’”

She sat down with her entire family, reviewed the color options and ultimately landed on Violet Touch Pearl. “It is just so freaking pretty. It’s not a really bright purple, but it’s got depth,” says Jensen. “It pops more than I thought it would. … I’m thrilled with that color. I absolutely love it.” Other top contenders were Viper Green Metallic – a neon green originally used on the European Mk3 Scirocco – and the bold TNT Orange.

The brand-new wheels bring the Jensen family’s Volkswagen car collection to five. They already own a 2017 Beetle and three other Golfs (a Mk6 R, Mk7 Wolfsburg edition and a 1992 triple white Cabriolet). She recently gave her first Volkswagen purchase – a 2013 Golf R in Rising Blue – to her son as a surprise birthday present. His celebration even featured a bright blue Golf R-themed cake.

“We’re definitely a VW family,” Jensen says.

Jennifer Jensen taking delivery of her 2019 Volkswagen Golf R.

Photograph Your VW Like a Pro

May 9, 2019

There’s nothing better than posting a VW photo that garners all the love. And when that photo looks so good that you look like a real pro? Even better. What does it take to make snaps of your beloved #VW shine? Chicago-based Jeremy Cliff (@jeremycliff), a professional who specializes in auto photography, shares his top tips and insights.

Practice patience

Some photographers describe their job as “chasing nature.” It’s true: The sun (or shade) doesn’t shine on your schedule. Be patient, and, well . . . wait for it. Try your photo in both sunny and overcast conditions — cloudy skies lend a softer, more forgiving light, while bright sun creates cool reflections (but also harsh shadows).

Find your frame

The rule of thirds is a fundamental technique used in art and photography for composition and balance. Here’s how it works: Divide the image into a grid of nine squares — three horizontal sections intersecting three vertical sections. Centering your subject is one option. Or, build drama and interest by placing your subject off to one side and slightly above or a little below center.

Get low

The most impactful images are often not taken at standing height. Squat down to put your camera eye-to-eye (or lens-to-headlight) with the subject. Not only does this angle make your car look more prominent and powerful, it hides a lot of background noise (such as wires and poles).

In addition, try stepping to the right or left to reframe the image and hide distractions such as signage or other cars.

Horizontal — it’s a thing

Although vertical is the default format of most mobile device images and video, don’t ignore horizontal shots. They’re great to capture an energetic scene — and you can still use other techniques, such as the rule of thirds, to make your shot stand out.

Play with shadow

The interplay of sun and shadow is a great way to highlight lines and small details, which wouldn’t be as accessible in a more brightly lit image.

The magic hour

Use nature’s twice-daily symphony of color — known to the rest of us as sunrise and sunset — to your advantage.

Near or far

Experiment with the depth of field. Keep the car in focus but let other things in the foreground or the background fall softly out of focus. It’s a great way to boost visual interest.

Stay off the grass

Pulling onto the green makes your car look squatty, even if the grass is short. Instead, keep your wheels on the pavement and use the grass as a backdrop rather than a surface.

Headlights give life

Turn them on when you’re shooting: It’s a trick photographers use to mimic what it’s like to see a sparkle in someone’s eye.

The pro pose

Keep your wheels straight (not turned) and the windows rolled up.

Check the mirrors

Be aware of what is being reflected in the paint, chrome, glass, and mirror. Can you see yourself, the color of your shirt, or other cars? What about shadows? Is your own silhouette in the way? If so, move yourself and the camera, try a new angle, or wait for the right light.

Use the tools

Social media filters and your mobile device’s basic photo editing software let you play around with color saturation and temperature, depth of field, and more. Don’t be afraid to experiment and learn what each tweak (and command) can accomplish.

It’s all about the hashtag

Use and follow #VW, #VWLove, and others to see and be seen on social media.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About the All-New Arteon

May 1, 2019

The camera flashes popped and the crowd “oohed” and “aahed” when Volkswagen unveiled the 2019 Volkswagen Arteon at the Chicago Auto Show. Two fastback sedans, in metallic red and yellow, rotated on the stage, and although the iconic VW logo adorned both trunks and hoods, the cars were unlike any Volkswagen vehicles attendees had ever seen.

That was by design.

With the Arteon, Volkswagen set out to establish a new design direction for the future, providing a glimpse of the next generation of Volkswagen vehicles.

Here’s your crash course on the new Volkswagen flagship sedan.

The Arteon name is taken from the Latin word for art (artem) and alludes to the emphasis VW placed on its design. The VW team set out to “open a new chapter” in the evolution of four-door coupes with features such as chrome strips on the frameless side windows and a wraparound grille.

The nearly 112-inch wheelbase helps provide drivers and passengers with far more space than most fastback-style vehicles. While most fastback cars can feel cramped in the backseat, especially for taller passengers, the Arteon has space for rear-seat passengers to lean back, cross their legs, and relax.



Three-and-a-half years passed between initial discussions about the Arteon and final production. It is scheduled to arrive in America this spring.



In creating the low, coupe-like silhouette of the Arteon, the Volkswagen design team drew inspiration from nature. In particular, designers looked to imitate the streamlined and athletic profile of predators, including sharks.

Volkswagen introduced a unique lighting architecture with the Arteon: The grille and headlights weave together into a seamless unit, a feature that wowed the engineering team when designers first presented it.



The 27-cubic-foot trunk provides cargo space that exceeds that of most sedans, making the Arteon practical in a way that many similar types of vehicles are not. For example, folding down the rear seat provides a total of 55 cubic feet of cargo space.


The standard DCC adaptive chassis control feature of the Arteon allows drivers to configure the vehicle’s running gear for “normal,” “comfort,” or “sport” driving. The comfort mode helps even out bumpy rides, while the sport mode helps stiffen damping to create a more direct connection between the driver and the road.

The Arteon offers a host of Driver Assistance features, including standard Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, standard Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, and standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking. Available features include Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist, Light Assist, Park Assist, and Park Distance Control.1



Ready for the all-new four-door coupe? Now you can make it your own with the R-Line® package. It’s new from VW and gives you a sportier interior and some enviable, dynamic exterior treatments. It will be available when the Arteon goes on sale this spring.





Sign up here for the latest updates on the all-new 2019 Arteon.

All in the VW Family

April 30, 2019

Zoey. Gretchen. Henry. Izzy.

In any other family, it might be a list of children’s names. But Chris and Erin Scheureman of Oregon aren’t like any other family. They’re Volkswagen enthusiasts who would be hard-pressed to find a family as passionate as they are for their air-cooled models.

The oldest VW in their collection of 8 dates from 1959 (Henry, a red-and-white 1959 SO 23 Westfalia). Erin still has the 1966 Beetle (Gretchen) she got in high school, and it’s still running at 368,000 miles and counting — or maybe it’s 468,000 miles. No one is quite sure how many times the odometer has turned over.

“I remember going out with my sister, and I wanted to be so much like her,” says Erin. “And then I remember my son, who is 18 now, in the back seat. I learned how to drive in that car, and so did my son.” (Between them, the couple has four children between the ages of 11 and 18.)

Nor is the couple content with vintage VW vehicles. They’ve given their 2018 Atlas its own moniker — Heimlich. In fact, each vehicle has a name, and each is a rolling repository of happy memories. “It’s very much like a family photo album,” Erin says of their collection.

Three of the vehicles at a time live in the family’s garage, and another four sit in a carport. The eighth VW stays at the dentistry practice they own in Vernonia, Oregon; they bike together to work most days, then drive home for lunch.

Erin’s love of Volkswagen started in childhood, when her father fixed up and resold VW vehicles for extra money and brought her along to car shows. “There were times he would pick me up from school, and I would have to look really closely, because he might’ve picked up something new that day,” she says. “He’d hang on to the cars for a year or two and then flip them and find another project.”

For his part, Chris fell in love with his 1988 Jetta, the second car he ever owned. The couple has never looked back from their air-cooled enthusiasm, picking up a VW here and there — sometimes after painstaking searches and sometimes on a whim.

Just as Erin’s father sometimes surprised her by picking her up in a new “project,” Chris once bought a bright yellow 1973 Volkswagen Thing (Zoey) on the way to church without telling her. The Thing was one of Erin’s dream cars, and when she arrived at church, she asked Chris whether he’d seen the car in the parking lot. Chris nodded, not letting on that the car was theirs.

Then there’s the time the couple bought a 1959 SO-23 Westfalia (Henry) that hadn’t run in two decades. When Chris finally got the engine running, he was so excited that he jumped behind the wheel and drove down their steep driveway.

Mostly, though, their VW collection has brought the family closer in countless little ways. When the kids were younger, Chris and Erin used to tinker on the cars in the evening while the children played in the back seats. Recently, they’ve driven each year in part of the Highway 1 Treffen, a group ride down the West Coast for lovers of air-cooled VW vehicles.

“There’s a simplicity and a purity to the older Volkswagens,” Erin says. Sometimes they purposely let the kids’ electronic devices run out of power on a trip so they’ll look out the window or read a book.

“I love the fact that I’m a dentist and I drive a ’66 Bug with dented fenders and rust on the front,” Chris says. “Because it works, it makes me happy. And that’s all that matters.”

The Scheuremans’ VW Collection

  • Henry: 1959 SO 23 Westfalia
  • Pokey: 1959 single cab (truck)
  • Izzy: 1964 Type 34 Ghia
  • Filmore: 1965 deluxe Micro-Bus
  • Gretchen: 1966 Bug
  • Leroy: 1971 Westfalia
  • Zoey: 1973 Thing
  • Heimlich: 2018 Atlas

(The couple recently sold a 1965 Ghia and a 1964 Notchback.)


The magic in the Bus: One woman’s push to restore classic car know-how

April 30, 2019
Fallon Taylor poses next to the “Light” Volkswagen bus she helped restore.

Fallon Taylor is not your typical classic-car restorer: she is young, talented and female. She is also an expert at what she considers a “dying trade,” which is repairing and restoring vintage Volkswagen Beetles, Karmann Ghias, and Buses, using old school tools and tricks to regain their former glory.

More than half of U.S. drivers are women, but they comprise less than three percent of auto service technicians and mechanics, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The statistics are consistent with Taylor’s experience in the field: she has always been outnumbered by men in every shop she’s worked in, including her own.

Skilled in auto repairs since her late teens, Taylor turned her passion for cars into a lucrative business of preserving and rebuilding vintage coaches in St. Augustine, Fla. Largely self-taught, the East Coast VW Restorations owner often relies on her limbs and ears – not high-tech scanning and diagnostic equipment – to root out problems.

“I continue to improve, not by only through reading books and taking courses, but through trial and error,” Taylor says.

Her first exposure to a Volkswagen bus was as a child traveling the country with her parents. Her mom and dad spent some time living a nomadic and free lifestyle, and she spent many summers on the road with two siblings. She caught the auto bug in her late teens after performing basic tune-ups on her first car. She studied basic mechanical engineering and ran other businesses before starting a classic car restoration enterprise with her ex-husband in 2003. A few years later, she started specializing in Volkswagen vehicles after renovating a family’s beloved Bay-window camper.

“The couple was a complete 180 [degrees] from the clientele that were buying and fixing up classic vintage cars – the kind of cars that would be taken to a show on a trailer and then stored forever in a garage,” Taylor says. “Their excitement was a breath of fresh air [and] made the whole experience worth it.”

A completed bus restoration project by East Coast VW Restorations.

Thirteen years later, the 35-year-old restorer’s passion for Volkswagen has not waned. She has tackled hundreds of jobs, from repairing frames to complete reconstructions, including a complete rebuild of rare, Type 2 21-window. Her shop’s waiting list is currently 38 months, and the scale of projects can range from $45,000 to over $100,000, depending on the year, make, style and custom options.

Despite her extraordinary success, she still faces sexism in the industry. “The biggest frustrations I have are when … [people] don’t realize that I’m not just the girl who made the curtains for the bus. They comment, ‘Oh, that’s cute,’” says Taylor. “I tell them, ‘No, I restored the whole Bus.’”

Finding and investing in the right talent has always been Taylor’s most challenging obstacle in scaling her business. As cars become increasingly complex and connected, the labor force in skilled automotive services and classic car repair is dwindling. New drivers and budding mechanics aren’t as familiar with the parts that make up VW vans, like air-cooled engines and manual transmissions, and these numbers will likely continue to dip as the industry shifts towards electric, hybrid and autonomous cars.

Fallon Taylor poses a first-place plaque she received at the Lakeland VW Classic Show.

“Body shops nowadays aren’t doing metalwork much anymore. They are just replacing panels and painting them,” she says. Same goes with upholstery: “You just buy a seat cover, slap it on and call it a day. Nobody’s doing sewing like they used to.”

On top of that, entry-level automotive technicians are some of the hardest jobs to fill and the turnover rate can run as high as 20 percent. “It’s not like I can just put an ad in the paper and they’re knocking at my door,” Fallon said. “It’s really hard to find people and sadly, if I do, they are older, have been doing this for a long time, can’t do the physical labor anymore or want to retire soon.”

And Taylor finds some male auto mechanics do not want to report to a female boss. “They say, ‘There’s no way I’m going to work for a female, it’s not possible she knows what she is doing,’” she says. “And then they realize, after a few days of working with me, that’s not the case.”

Taylor hopes to promote a heightened interest in classic car restorations by sharing her decades of knowledge and experience, and encouraging and empowering younger mechanics, including more women, in the field. She continues to be actively involved in training all new recruits in her shop. Given her skills and the popularity of classic Volkswagen vehicles, there’s plenty of work to be done.

“It’s hard work, but it can be very gratifying and fun.”

Tracking down the wild, and wildly colorful, Volkswagen Golf Harlequin

April 30, 2019

Ross Cupples has been chasing down Golf Harlequin vehicles for decades. Ever since the Volkswagen enthusiast first spotted the color-blocked hatchback in 1996, he has made it his mission to own a complete set of the limited-run car in all four base colors.

“I think a lot of people who are into them really like the head-turning aspect of them. It takes a certain kind of person to own one,” says Cupples, a used-car dealer in Belmont, N.H. “When you drive a Harlequin, nobody doesn’t look at you and smile. You’re driving something that makes people really happy.”

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to drive in a car that looks like a funky patchwork quilt, look no further than the Golf Harlequin. The elusive car is one of the silliest, strangest, smile-inducing cars in the history of Volkswagen.

1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin

The idea for the Harlequin drew inspiration from a 1964 Volkswagen Beetle ad that depicted a multi-colored Beetle, touting its easily interchangeable parts over many model years. To demonstrate the colors available for the European launch of the Volkswagen Polo city car in 1995, Volkswagen created a model with multiple paint colors for an auto-show display, dubbed “Harlekin.”

Originally slotted for a small production run, the colorful hatch created enough demand on its own that around 3,100 units were ultimately built. Due to the buzz it generated in Europe, Volkswagen decided to manufacture a limited batch of Harlequin-inspired Golf vehicles for the North American market in 1996.

The Golf featured one single base color with four swapped multi-color body panels that always appeared in a specific order – a car with a certain base color always had a certain-colored front passenger door and hood. The series had four base colors: Pistachio Green, Ginster Yellow, Tornado Red and Chagall Blue. The green and blue shades were never available as a single-color Golf paint options in North America.

Four of Ross Cupples’ Volkswagen Golf Harlequins

While popular, the Harlequin production process was highly labor intensive. The doors, hatches, hoods and fenders had to be bolted in manually from other Golf models. Fans could identify the car’s original color by looking at one of three elements – the roof, C-pillar and rocker panel – which were formed of a single welded piece and thus impossible to switch out. The grey, speckled, “Joker” interior, which featured the car’s four body colors, was also exclusive to the car.

Demand from dealerships was small but intense, and Volkswagen decided to produce an additional run of Golf Harlequin vehicles, bringing the grand total to about 264. The big, bold blocks of color have prompted a large subset of Harlequin-inspired DIY paint jobs and treatments on other Volkswagen models. The Harlequin Registry, an online account managed by Cupples, has 118 original Golf Harlequin vehicles accounted for as of 2015.

Cupples’ first find – a manual, green-based Harlequin – was in 1997. “I drove the car throughout high school and college,” says Cupples. “I met my wife with that car! She worked for the UNH [the University of New Hampshire] parking services … and remembers, before we even met, seeing my multicolored car in the lot.”

Since then, he has achieved his goal and acquired four additional Harlequin vehicles, thanks to relentless online sleuthing. He has begun to slowly offload them, selling them to other devoted Harlequin fans and admirers.

With manual transmission, an original Harlequin would have been priced around $13,000. The 23-year-old car in mint condition still fetches over $10,000 – far more than a monochrome Golf of the same era. Cupples thinks it’s because the weird and wonderful car appeals to young and old alike.

“There are 70-to-80-year-olds on the registry, and 20-year-olds, who are younger than the Harlequin vehicles themselves and are excited these cars are returning to the market,” he says. “They are definitely multi-generational.”


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Rudolph Volkswagen of El Paso

5505 S Desert Blvd El Paso, TX

Phone: (915) 845-8500


Phone: (915) 845-8500

5505 S Desert Blvd El Paso, TX


Phone: (915) 845-8500

5505 S Desert Blvd El Paso, TX


Phone: (915) 845-8500

5505 S Desert Blvd El Paso, TX
31.8570197 -106.5767303
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Rudolph Volkswagen of El Paso
Rudolph Volkswagen of El Paso
5505 S Desert Blvd
El Paso, TX, 79932 US
(915) 845-8500
Rudolph Volkswagen of El Paso 31.8570197, -106.5767303.