What's a Classic?

Early automotive ads played a big role in how we viewed the cars we bought. Shapes that caught our eye, like that of the Beetle, weren't always "iconic."



You Can Design VW’s Baja Truck Concept; Baja Experience at VW’s Chicago Show Booth

Feb. 7 Chicago:  VW’s Mark Gillies announced its Baja Cross Sport R truck design challenge.  You can whip out some paper, ply your crayons and submit your proposal for its off-road racing entry.  See details on the website pictured below.  VW, by the way, recently entered professional desert racing.  Tanner Foust will drive an Atlas Cross Sport-like Baja truck.

Chicago Show goers can park their behinds on the passenger seats of its new Cross Sport at McCormick Place.  There’s an indoor Baja track with dirt, stones and other outdoorsy items.  A Baja Cross Sport R concept is one off-course attraction.   What’s behind this seat-of-the-pants Baja experience?  Well, VW thinks those who ride in its cars are more likely to buy them.  This strategy thrilled Jeep fans several years ago at an earlier Chicago show.


2019 VW Jetta GLI Review: Cooking with Gas

While other carmakers ditch their cars for crossovers, VW fights back with a saucier front-drive Jetta sedan—the GLI.  VW’s chef added sports-car RDA to the GLI stock pot.   The healthy ingredients include a lusty 228-hp, turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine; a six-speed manual or seven-speed direct-shift gearbox; an independent rear suspension; 18-inch wheels clad sporting donuts; supportive seats and beefier front brakes.

The result is delicious.  Your hands and feet enjoy what they control.  This Jetta’s firm ride thumps on choppy pavement, although big dips don’t punch through.  Brakes are firm.  There’s launch control.  Follow a NASA-like launch checklist, then press left foot on brake pedal and then mash the right pedal.  Hear it grunt?  Let go of the brakes.  Tires chirp and then the Jetta gets serious.  Boom!  You’ve hit 60 mph in about six seconds.

Hop in.  The cockpit has soft-touch materials, red stitching, carbon fiber-look inserts and piano-black plastics.   VW shaved pfennigs.  Only the left heated-and-chilled front throne has adjustable height or lumbar.  A two-height front-center armrest covers a bin with USB port.  A 12-volt socket and USB port wired to the infotainment system reside ahead of the shift lever, near a phone bin.  Rear room is generous but door cards are hard plastic.

The GLI’s Digital Cockpit is a bright multi-purpose display.  The flat-bottom direction finder’s switchgear is thoughtful.  Play them like a Bosendorfer competition.  One button depicts a car amid broken arcs.  This summons the driver assist menu for blind spot, forward collision and rear traffic alert.

Before stirring the Jetta’s pot, tap the drive-mode switch.  Eco allows you coast with reduced engine braking.  Sport lets the engine rev higher before upshifting, and generates more engine braking.  Steering effort is greater, too.  An engine start/stop system cuts idling emissions.

This swift Jetta simmers quietly.  It loafs at about 1500 rpm at 60 climbing to about 1800 rpm at 70 mph.  VW’s electro-mechanical power steering is precise with good road sense.  On twisty byways, the GLI complies, as if VW buttered this skillet.

I observed 31 mpg overall.  EPA ratings:  25 city, 32 highway and 28 combined drinking regular.

A GLI Autobahn lists for about $31,185, which includes a sunroof.  With its chilled seats, you can drive the hot one while keeping your backside cool.  You might say that’s cooking with gas.


The VWCA (Volkswagen Club of America) is a not-for-profit hobby club for owners and enthusiasts of Volkswagen and Audi automobiles. Founded in 1955, the Club has followed the evolution of Volkswagen from the early air-cooled Beetle to the latest models to roll off the assembly line. We are not owned by, affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen AG or Volkswagen of America, the Importer. The Club is operated and managed solely by volunteer members who contribute their time and energy in pursuit of our motto, "to help Volkswagen and Audi owners enjoy their cars to the fullest." Read about the club's history.



May 16 , 2020
Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Festival

Riverside Park, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Jun 28 , 2020
NIVA Bugfest 2020

CHANGE OF LOCATION TO: Fox Valley Volkswagen, 4050 E. Main Street Saint Charles, Illinois

Jul 05 , 2020
Bartlett Independence Day Parade
Kirk Schulz 630-837-7887 Firebugman@aol.com
Bartlett, Illinois

Jul 12 , 2020
33rd Annual Vintage Picnic - Rockford, IL

Alpine Park Rockford, Illinois

Sep 04 , 2020
Buses Nowhere Near the Arch
Bill Bowman: bill@bnnta.com
Hannibal, MO