Dear Readers: Inspired by the staff at Autocar, we would like to mention that it might be a bit more work than usual to keep the DTW printing presses fed.
Coronovirus has been a major disruptor and DTW is not immune. While this situation persists we’ll be doing our best to carry on providing content on a daily basis. If there are small pauses in output we would earnestly ask you to bear with us and maybe root around in the Archive for material that is crying out for a fourth or fifth look.
You can keep yourself mentally busy by reading DTW, writing comments or even penning articles if you feel moved.
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30 thoughts on “A Word From The Editorial Team”
Do you know the funny thing? I started to read DTW after i saw a parked Astra like the one pictured in the photo, I googled it trying to find something about the design.
Good morning Marco. The Astra F is always worth another look. It’s a really lovely design and the sculpting of the metalwork, especially aft of the B-pillar, is masterful:
This rather faded example shows the detail with fewer reflections:
thank you very much for the pictures, in italy they sold tonnes of the SW, I had to admit anyway that at that time my choice would have been VW Golf III, also very interesting was the Renault 19.
The Astra is indeed a lovely bit of work. I know it has a reputation for problems but there are still so many around, at least where I live. They stopped production of this car almost 20 years ago and they still feature in all car parks. The view from the rear shows a lovely wheel-to-bonnet proportion. And! They almost all had rear centre arm-rests.
Hello Marco – I’ve had both the Astra F (a GLS facelift model, in caribic blue) and a Golf mk3 (CL, in metallic dark green) as company cars. I have to say that I felt the Golf was better resolved, but they were both good in their own way.
Here’s a product training video for the Astra:
thank you very much for the video, archaeology! in my opinion the interior of the volkswagen was definitely superior in terms of construction quality.
Speaking of no front grilles, that Astra video features the then best-selling hatchbacks: Rover 200, Ford Escort, Renault 19. None of them sported a separate front grille at the time. But all of them got one after the respective facelifts.
Great placeholder photo; I owned this model of Passat and chose it because I particularly liked it’s apparent “grille-less” look. The Avalon wouldn’t have suited me at all! My compliments to all DTW writers for keeping us entertained in these “interesting” times. Please stay safe.
Good morning, vwmeister, and thank you for your kind words.
Your Passat’s distinctive front end was supposedly inspired by the classic VW Type 2 Transporter:
Sadly, when VW facelifted the Passat, the front end was revised to this innofensive but entirely generic treatment:
The third generation Passat’s nasal treatment was also inspired by VW’s Auto 2000 efficiency concept from the early 1980s, in which all of the German carmakers participated. I always felt it suited the brand, emphasising VW’s no fripperies product design image – it’s a pity the customer rejected it and that VW’s management caved in. The facelift car was a real climbdown to my eyes. Ironically, it now faces having to abandon the traditional grille entirely for something broadly similar to this, as they transition towards EVs. But as we can all now clearly discern, predicting the future truly is a mug’s game.
VW designers really were determined to expunge all the character from the B3 Passat when they facelifted it. They also removed the bodydside groove that ran from nose to tail. Here’s the pre-facelift version (with neat bodyside cladding that makes look a bit like a Sierra?) :
Here’s the post-facelift B4 model:
VW has no shame Daniel, they stole my ‘red electrical tape in the bumpers idea’. The milk/oil idea was a tip I read but the red tape was my own.
D’you know Daniel I could do a quick analysis of the facelited Passat’s grille :
The approach was to use an “black horizontal slats” in-fill and to use a U-shaped plastic trim piece to enable them to fill the air-intake gap between the lamps, bumper and bonnet.
The more you think about it, the more it seems evident that that a drawing of some graphics led the way for this restyled Passat rather than plain old engineering thinking. The boring old engineering approach would have been to avoid the U-shaped panel entirely and maybe lower the leading edge of the bonnet and extend the bumper upwards. This is a schematic version:
I was thinking this coud be an alternative aperture, minus the trim. Not sure what you think ?
NRj: excellent analysis!
Nice job, NRJ.
For me, the real problem with the facelifted Passat is that the grille and headlamps look too shallow and that U-shaped plastic filler between the headlamps looks weak and innefectual. Couple that with the fatter looking sides, thanks to the deletion of the bodyside groove, and the front end simply looks weak and undersized in relation to the rest of the car.
VW has, I think, a habit of messing up Passat facelifts. This is the sublime B5 model in its original form:
The size, shape and curvature of the light units are perfectly suited to the overall form.
Here’s the facelifted version:
Not bad in absolute terms, but a bit disjointed compared to the original?
The big problem with the original B3 was that that it represented the all time low in VW product quality.
It was even worse than the original Golf Mk3 which in itself was nothing to be proud of in quality terms.
(Remember the CAR cover showing with a big lemon for the Golf VR6 Mk3?)
VW had to do something and newly installed Fugen-Ferdl came to the rescue. Both Passat B3 and Golf Mk3 were fundamentally reworked to improve quality and VW needed to do something to show this to the buying public. the Golf showed this very subtly by omitting the door quarterlights and moving the door mirrors and the Passat got this comprehensive facelift. Part of it was the removal of the crease in the body side because it was not possible to produce this with the precision requested by Mr. Piech with the production equipment of the time. Today VW is one of the very vew manufacturers able to produce randomly placed close together creases with laser precision and they use their cars to show this.
Thank you Daniel. I would not have guessed that. After a period of dull-ish Passat looks, the current Passat catches my eye regularly but I’d really love the AWD Arteon.
I very much enjoy your DTW contributions – thank you.
The Passat (in the title picture) does not even look as if it lacks a grille. That´s a clever conceit. The badge itself allows some air in and deflects one from noticing the absent schnozzle.
We are very grille obsessed at the moment, are we not? All because I saw a Mazda Demio a while back!
The VW badge is the engine’s air intake, there is a tubing running from there to the air filter.
That was part of the problem because in autumn wet leaves could collect on the badge, strangling the engine.
The practically grille-less front of the Volkswagen up! pleases me for the same reason – I think a smoother front looks more efficient / aerodynamic / coherent.
Going back to the Toyota Avalon which was mentioned a day or two ago, I wondered whether Toyota are trying to get us used to massive grilles as hydrogen-powered vehicles seem to need them, and Toyota are / were quite keen on that technology.
On a separate topic, if readers do wish to submit an article for consideration for publication, please could you remind us how to do this?
Charles, that is a well-observed point regarding Toyota’s contribution to the latterday grille wars, although how much can be attributed to this or to the concept of waku-doki is yet another matter of an ecumenical nature.
Regarding submissions, the best thing to do would be to go through the contact form at the right hand top of the home page. It can then be assessed by our team of incorrigible pedants – all of whom are maintaining a safe distance, I can assure you. In fact they really wouldn’t have it any other way since their pedantry is only matched by their disdain for one another.
Charles: thanks for writing. Apart from the technical hurdles, please consider word count. 500-700 words is a sort of lenght. Figure on three or four images. You´ll need to get the html for each one for attribution. We don´t tend to go for personal histories or fiction. Apart from that, write because you like writing but also remember that what is written with little effort is read with little pleasure (Mark Twain said that). We look forward to seeing your text!
Am I allowed to write that I am not keen on that version of the Astra? I preferred the more daring Mk II.
Hello S.V., I think that’s a very brave admission.
Seriously, I’ve been trying to find something on the Astra E / mk2 and found this short promo film. It shows a brief shot of a mk2 prototype.
That was fun!
The F always looked to me how a facelifted Maestro could have been. The Astra E had that quite radical aero look for its time; I remember it being scooped and appearing on the front cover of Car – the impact was quite stunning!
S.V., that’s fightin’ talk ’round these parts!
You do realise you are now firmly off Richard’s Christmas card list?
Dear SV: You are free to write what you like from the safe haven of your Russian troll factory. But we do know how to impose strong sanctions on opinions that stray too far from DTW´s dogma.
That said, the last Kadett was also a very likeable bit of work. It is clearly more of a high concept than the Astra. It is very pure while the Astra is more of a contemporary vernacular sort of design. I must say it has aged very well indeed. The Kadett appears more of a period work, a form of charmingly dated modernism. Good though, very good work and under-rated.
My favorite is the Kadett D.
I know, and friends keep reminding me, don’t be too….square.
But I like it!
I had another look at the Kadett D. Why is that not as good as the much-lauded Golf of the same period? And while VW offered the Golf in one form (or two) Opel offered the Kadett in all available formats: three door, saloon, five door, three door estate and five door estate. And the Kadett as three door looked sleeker than the Golf. It´s a pity they have been savaged by after market kit and the cap-on-backwards crowd.
The Kadett D isn’t too bad a piece of design, agreed. But it also look a bit coarse to me, I think much of this is due to the overly large and square headlights. If compared to the Golf, it lacks the latter’s air of solidity and tautness. It doesn’t have the same good stance, and probably its radii make it look more fragile.
By the way, I’m talking about the Golf I here. With the bloated Golf II and the Kadett E, a lot of this changed.
The Kadett D ‘saloon’ actually wasn’t really that. It was the same fastback shape, just with a small bootlid. I don’t know how well this sold in other countries, but I guess that they sold it in 2-digit numbers in Switzerland.