This is an early draft of a report that I created for Scirocco Tech. What is posted below is about 1/2 of the original released MK1 section. Unfortunately the well edited version (that is worded better) is no longer available due to Scirocco Tech going offline. The information below is sometimes difficult to understand because some sections were converted from interviews in different languages. This set of posts is one of the better descriptions that explains how the Scirocco was conceived. In this report you will see that the Scirocco is not really a car that VW wanted or supported in the early parts of the development.
I think it is important to understand who the key people were and what happened from the 1950's to late 1960's. It takes many years to develop a car. The Scirocco (and Golf MK1) were major changes for VW. The Scirocco, Passat and Golf marked the turning point from rear engine, rear wheel drive cars to front engine, front wheel drive cars. The components to make this change came from many sources.
Post World War II European cars were either expensive or minimal. The VW Beetle (known as just The People's Car) was a leader in the minimal category as compared to micro cars like the BMW Isetta. The Type 1 Beetle was VW's serious product for the working class in the 1950s. Outside of the Karmann built convertible Beetle VW did not have a indulgent car. Karmann was an independent specialty coach builder and tooling expert. Karmann designed the convertible Beetle independent of VW and then presented the idea to the heads of VW in Wolfsburg. Karmann's proposal was for Karmann to build the convertible Beetle in Osnabruck. VW approved of the product and agreed that Karmann would be the manufacturer. VW was most interested in the working class customer so allowing Karmann to build the low volume special addition convertible was a good solution for VW.
Karmann Coach Works was founded in 1901, when Mr. Wilhelm Karmann took over the factory of the coach-builder Christian Klages at Osnabrück. Karmann was a full-service-vehicle-supplier. They supply the automotive industry with ideas, solutions, products and they have production plants. They partnered with the many brands in the industry.
Volkswagen asked Karmann to design a sports car on the Beetle chassis. VW rejected all of the prototypes that Karmann presented. Wilhelm Karmann casually mentioned this to Segre of Ghia (Design). Segre had some ideas. Without the knowledge of either Karmann or Volkswagen, Segre procured a standard Beetle, removed the body and built a design study. It was shown to a surprised Wilhelm Karmann in 1953.
On September 14th, 1955 the Osnabruck factory built Karmann-Ghia was officially introduced at the Frankfurt auto show. The Karmann-built coupe differed slightly from Ghia's early prototype. Changes included twin nostril-type front apron vents, curved side glass, full-width bumpers, wider chromes strips around the windows, relocated front signal lamps, revised rear deck louvers and a repositioned Ghia fender badge.
1965 Karmann Ghia replacement study:
Karmann made several different variations of the Karmann Ghia coupe / convertible. As the years progressed Karmann wanted to maintain construction of the sporty VW so Karmann continued to make prototypes. The prototype shown above designed by Giugiaro, when he worked at Ghia, never made it to production but the basic concept surfaced later.
VW had other relationships in the automotive world. Porsche got a royalty for every Beetle sold so if sales of the Beetle dropped off Porsche would get concerned. Porsche and Karmann had a good relationship after building Porsche's 356 in 1961. The "CAR GUYS", Porsche, Design houses and Karmann, proposed several product ideas to VW. The mass people movers, VW headed by Hemnch Nordhoff, rejected most of the CAR GUYS proposals.
Mini's front wheel drive sparked a new trend in compact cars
The 1959 Mini's space-saving front-wheel-drive layout (which allowed 80% of the area of the car's floor pan to be used for passengers and luggage) influenced a generation of car-makers. The mini is considered to be the British equivalent of the Volkswagen Beetle.
Auto Union (transition to Audi)
In 1964, Volkswagen acquired the trademark rights and the Auto Union factory in Ingolstadt from Daimler. At the time a new model, F103, was under development with a four-stroke engine. Daimler / Auto Union created a range of cars that were the basis for Volkswagen's future front-wheel drive models. Volkswagen abandoned the DKW brand (DKW was part of Auto Union) because of association with two-stroke engines. The new Auto Union model was launched in September 1965 as simply the "Audi." The model name Audi was the model designation rather than the manufacturer make name. As more models were later added to the Audi range, this model was renamed Audi 72,(72 being the nominal power output of the engine). The more powerful Audi 80 and Audi Super 90 sports saloons appeared in 1966. In 1968 the arrival of the less powerful Audi 60 completed the range. In 1972 the F103 series was discontinued in favour of the "B1" Audi 80. The Audi (72) provided the later front wheel drive cars with the fender to fender grill and the foundation for the rear suspension.
EA266, was created as the Beetle replacement for the 60's but took too long
VW may have averted a costly mistake by killing the EA266 shown above. This was Porsche's idea of a Beetle replacement, and development was underway as early as 1966. It was a hatchback with a generous greenhouse and wheels pushed out to the edges of the platform, quite advanced for the day. The front suspension was MacPherson struts and the rear was a multi-link system. The EA266 was a rear wheel drive power train layout. Porsche mounted a water-cooled 1.3-liter four cylinder engine under the back seat. The location elevated the rear-seat cushion, reducing passenger space and headroom, and would have subjected the occupants to noise, heat, and odors. Complicated engine cooling and poor engine access were other drawbacks. I will talk about this later.
A serious recession hit West Germany in 1967, coupled with serious competition for VW from Opel and Ford. Hemnch Nordhoff, chairman of VW blocked all Beetle replacement proposals up until his death. Kurt Lotz took over as chairman of VW when Nordhoff died and made it VW's priority to slowly end production of the Beetle starting in 1968. The Beetle looked dated and was becoming more expensive to build. The rear air cooled VW engine layout was becoming outdated. New safety standards were forcing updates and driving up cost on the production VWs.
Kurt Lotz purchased NSU in 1968 with intentions of using the NSU water cooled, four-stroke piston engine with a front-wheel-drive configuration. In1969 the Neckarsulm NSU company was integrated with Auto Union (now Audi), which Volkswagen had acquired from Daimler Benz in 1964.
Kurt Lotz thought the K70 was the perfect way to transform VW's image. The NSU Neckarsulm plant built the NSU K70 version between 1969-1970. The NSU K70 rebadged as a VW sedan went into production at Volkswagen's new Salzgitter plant with little fanfare in August 1970. The change in production location was not popular with the auto workers union. The K70 was launched in export markets soon after VW production started.
To make the K 70 competitive it had to get an improved 411-like rear trailing beam semi independent suspension as well as improved crash safety and better brakes. The front disk brakes were mounted inboard, inside the engine bay, and that created overheating problems. Some further improvements were not ready when production of the K 70 started production at Salzgitter (25 miles southwest of Wolfsburg). In 1971 VW made some interior changes. VW replaced the steering wheel and seats with those from the VW 411 as well as some minor exterior changes that included the use of Audi bumpers.
The VW K70 was not well accepted in Europe. The name "K70" referred to the fact that the engine had a power output of 70 PS and the "K" denoting the German word "Kolben", meaning piston. VW was desperate for a new family sedan to replace the unsuccessful Type 4 (Volkswagen 411), which was intended as an up market move from the Type 1-based cars. The K70, featuring front wheel drive and the modern styling VW was lacking. The engine was longitudinally mounted, placed directly above the differential, between the front wheels, and canted to the right. The engine performance, especially the entry level 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) versions, was just adequate. The K70's poor fuel mileage became a greater issue toward the end of the car's production run with the 1973 oil crisis.
The (sedan) K70's unpopularity carried over to the MK1 Jetta in Europe when it was released in 1980.
Many of the conceptual drive train and underpinnings used on the VW B1 (Passat) platform came from NSU and Auto Union.
The VW Porsche 914 Built at Karmann
On March 1, 1968, the first 914 prototype was presented. Development was complicated after the death of Volkswagen's chairman, Hemnch Nordhoffon on April 12, 1968. His successor Kurt Lotz, was not connected with the Porsche dynasty and the verbal agreement between Volkswagen and Porsche fell apart. In Lotz's opinion, Volkswagen had all rights to the model, and no incentive to share it with Porsche if they would not share in tooling expenses. With this decision, the price and the marketing concept for the 914 had failed before series production had begun.
Volkswagen came up with the EA276 in 1969. The EA276 hatchback with short overhangs and a long roof with a stubby tail featured a front engine, with front wheel drive and a front mounted air cooled then later a water cooled engine. The EA276 was used for testing. Like the EA266 the EA 276 had MacPherson strut suspension. This was the test bead for what became the A1 platform.
Japan was starting to gain entry level sales in the both European and North American markets with cars that used the Mini packaging concept. With pressure from Japan Kurt Lotz decided to move the VW products up market by improving the product design in 1969.
At the Turn automotive show Lotz toured the floor looking for inspiration. Lotz found six cars that he found interesting and it turned out that four of the six were designed by Giugiaro. Lotz arranged a meeting with Giugiaro at the Italdesign stand at the show. In an interview with Giugiaro recalls Kurt Lotz saying 'Do what you want, but do it fast.' The commission was to design a mid range model that would eventually turn into the Passat. Giugiaro was fast and delivered a detailed presentation by May 1970.
Giugiaro worked at Bertonein in 1959, where he established his reputation as a ground breaking designer. By1960 two of his designs had been produced to worldwide acclaim in the shape of the Ferrari 250 GT and the Alfa Giulia GT, the latter entering production almost immediately. In 1965 Giugiaro moved to Ghia as head of their Styling and Design Centre. Despite two sports car masterpieces, the Maserati Ghibli and De Tomaso Mangusta, relations with the new owner, De Tomaso, soured and this hastened the Giugiaro's departure from Ghia. On 7 February 1967 Giugiaro struck out on his own and founded Ital Styling.
Ital Styling/ Ital Design
On February 13, 1968 Giorgetto Giugiaro and an excellent technical project team were assembled at Via Tepice #15 in Turin, Italy. A new car design development company was created. Giorgetto Giugiaro who became an independent design contractor under the name of Ital Styling, formed a new organization with his friend, Hideyuki Miyakawa, and a technical group, Aldo Mantovani, Luciano Bosio and Gino Boaretti. The registered name of the company was Studi Industrial! Realizzazione Prototipi S.p.A. (Industrial Prototype Development Research Corporation) Acronym—SIRP S.p.A. "S.p.A." is the Italian acronym for "Company Limited". The name by which it is best known however, is "Ital Design". The purpose of establishing this corporation was to supply car manufacturers with car production services, from the design level to full scale tests of running prototypes, mass production plans and modernization of assembly lines and also time motion cost studies for each component.
This was very different from typical Carrozzeria (coachbuilders) in Turin, especially where management is concerned and its success drew much attention from the industry. Perhaps nobody thought they would be so successful, but in fact, Ital Design moved to the top of the car design field within a few years of its inception.
Giugiaro's outstanding genius and very high technical ability which carrozzeria do not often possess made it possible for Ital to succeed. Ital Design specialized in new model cars design and production lines, for example, Hyundai in Korea and Skoda in Czechoslovakia, were early customers.
Giugiaro's consultancy services were in demand, leading directly to the creation of Italdesign. Giugiaro designed the Alfa Romeo Alfasud - a mass market car to be made in a new factory in the south of Italy. In charge of the project was Rudolf Hruska, while Giugiaro and Italdesign had to refine the design, all the engineering, build the prototypes and see the project right through to the tooling stage.
To Wilhelm Karmann the young Giorgio Giugiaro is a great talent, he promises the owner of the still very small company "Ital Design" to provide support with at least one order for a prototype per year. Wilhelm Karmann's intuition and foresight would soon be confirmed: Giorgio Giugiaro today is one of the most famous automobile designers in the world.
Abarth 1600 1969 Turin Show, Prototype
Rear engined 2+2 GT with short rear overhang like the "Manta". Giugiaro liked a longer front overhang and a shorter rear overhang at this time. The rear of Abarth 1600 had a flap with an automatic variable angle system like the Corrado. Note how the belt line kicks up after the thin "B" pillar. The curve in near belt line is similar to the reverse of the hood line. The large greenhouse reduces the overall mass. Notice the step in the door panel (rub strip location on the MK1 Scirocco) that is near centered on the wheel wells. Some of the Giugiaro formula for the MK1 Scirocco can be found in the early Prototypes form Ital Design. The proportions of the vertical door section are nearly the same. I don't want to get too far ahead and start talking about the MK1 Scirocco just yet because some twists are still ahead.
1970 Turin Show, Prototype VW/Porsche "Tapiro"
VW and Porsche developed and sold the 914 combining their own strong points as they did with the 356 of the early days. It was not a great success. In order to explore the concept, they asked three designers, Giugiaro, Albrecht Goertz and Jacques Cooper how the near future Porsche would look. VW conducted a design contest and Giugiaro's work was selected as the winner. The VW/Porsche "Tapiro" ended as just a prototype project. This styling theme (Mangusta) was pursued in a more modern and geometrical way. The 4 gullwings were very futuristic. "Tapiro" is an Italian word meaning a tapir, an imaginary animal, that eats dreams.
Giugiaro Karmann Cheetah proposal
As we know the Karmann Ghia is soon to be obsolete. Karmann and Giugiaro propose this 2 seat solution. Now that Giugiaro is no longer working for Ghia they had to come up with a different name for the car. This is an early drawing from some time in 1970.
The EA 398 1970 VW Karmann "Cheetah" shown at the 1971 Geneva Show, Prototype
Giugiaro continued to research advanced design while he developed mass production models with a high chance of reaching production. This Karmann Cheetah and the Tapiro began the start of the Giugiaro's wedge period. This 2-seater spider named "Cheetah" was designed with the intention that it might serve as a replacement for the Karmann Ghia. It was requested by coach builder Karmann. It is a rear engine layout using a VW Beetle chassis. The body is wedge shape giving sharp impression with vivid edges. The bumper nose cone is made of soft material. It had retractable headlights. The frames of the side windows are also used as roll bars. the two B pillars joined up to the door frame and windshield creating a cage. This may have been the inspiration for the Bertone Xl/9. The intention was to share as many components as possible with the forthcoming Beetle replacement (EA 266). In 1970 Volkswagen's President Kurt Lotz was not interested in the Cheetah because it was too much like the 914.
EA 272 1970-1971
Giugiaro recalls Kurt Lotz saying 'Do what you want, but do it fast.'
Giugiaro was fast and delivered a detailed presentation by May 1970.
The first Passat looked like a larger scale Scirocco front, and had Golf styling DNA. Giugiaro made the hood flat to go with the flat tail. Notice that the EA 272 does not have crease rub strip that runs horizontal between the wheel wells. The insets in the fenders that extend the bumpers are not yet integrated into the design. The one in the front fender looks like an afterthought or perhaps a longer bumper was intended. This was Giugiaro's vision for the Passat however he struggled with the overall length of the Audi platform with the slopping rear. This prototype must have been in development in 1971 and finished in 1972.
The big change at VW
Lotz set in motion a massive new-model investment strategy that would help save VW. However, neither the German government (which still had a major stake in VW) nor the out-spoken German media acknowledge it. They called Lotz a failure, an incompetent manager, a time waster, forced changes. One of the most damaging magazine stories headlined: "Volkswagen Lotz of Trouble." It did not help that Lotz was a Christian Democrat politician, at a time when the federal and Lower Saxony governments were at opposition to Social Democrats. Rudolf Leiding, at Audi, could see a final battle brewing. Leiding, a production specialist, had spent time at Volkswagen of North America, had built up VW's Kassel factory, and had been sent south to run the new Audi-NSU division. He served two years in South America, during which he made a success of VW's Brazilian subsidiary, then returned to Audi-NSU. Leiding cannily refused a promotion to be Lotz's vice-chairman, where he would have been tainted by the growing crisis. Lotz, with the end of his four-year contract approaching, resigned rather than be pushed out, and Leiding moved smoothly into his place as VW's chairman. In October 1971, only three weeks after Lotz walked away from Wolfsburg, Rudolf Leiding cancelled EA266.
EA266, Beetle replacement
In October 1971, only three weeks after Lotz walked away from Wolfsburg, Rudolf Leiding can-celled EA266, not delayed, not asked for a redesign, but cancelled it completely. Tens of millions of dollars had already been spent on research and development, and many contracts for production tooling, particularly for body panels, had already been placed. No matter. Porsche was ordered to scrap every single prototype. Apparently, most of them were crushed during military tank testing programs! Drawings were burned, photographs destroyed. One prototype was reputedly preserved.
Even as EA266 work was underway at Porsche, VW technical director Holste and his staff were busy with their own in-house projects. They were inching toward the idea of building a front engine car with front wheel drive. Their first effort, coded EA276, was conceived in 1969. It was a rather boxy affair with an air cooled Beetle flat-four engine mounted ahead of the front wheels, which were driven through a new transaxle. The suspension was inspired by that of the Super Beetle, with MacPherson front struts and rear trailing arms with transverse torsion bars. The EA276 was a one-off, as was the EA272 of 1970, in which Holste's team took the theme a stage further. This time, they used a water cooled inline four designed in house by VW. (It's now clear that there was more rivalry than cooperation between VW and Audi during this late 1960s period, It made no sense for both companies to be developing their own new small four cylinder engines.)
This is the point that I say VW becomes low the end of Audi. True that VW is a large company and Audi is a small part of the overall operation but if you look at the product direction and who is running VW at tis point you may conclude that FWD water cooled Audi type cars are about to replace the Porsche rear engine that VW was founded with. If you have paying attention you will notice that VW is not interested in sports cars. VW is a people mover provider. Killing off the EA 266 sent the Porsche team to develop the Porsche 924 using an Audi motor from VW industrial trucks. Killing the EA 266 meant that the Karmann Cheetah was never going into production. Both Porsche and Karmann were looking to save jobs. Times were tough in West Germany.