All it takes to modify a sedan to be able to push past 200 mph is to acknowledge its limits – and then find a way to break them without breaking the car itself.1 That’s where Tom Habrzyk’s talents come to life. “The power levels required to set records are very high,” explains Habrzyk, chief executive officer of THR Manufacturing, “so to get to those power levels from the drivetrain, we have to basically overcome some of the failure points that would inhibit us from safely reaching high speeds.” That’s part of the challenge Habrzyk considers each time he tunes a vehicle to perform record-breaking land speed runs across Bonneville’s slippery salt flats. This year, he and his California-based manufacturing team joined forces with Volkswagen to push a modified 2019 Jetta to 210.16 miles per hour and smash its class record at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association’s World of Speed event. The Jetta that was prepped for Utah over the course of a seven-month build, was transformed from compact car to 600-horsepower racer. The engine began as an EA888 2-liter turbocharged and direct injection four-cylinder engine. Even though Habrzyk swapped out many internal parts, including pistons, turbocharger and exhaust, the block and crankshaft remained stock. Considering Habrzyk’s no stranger to LSR Volkswagens, other modifications allude to past Bonneville successes.2 His third collaboration with Volkswagen, Habrzyk equipped the Jetta with a similar drivetrain he used to power the LSR Beetle at the 2016 World of Speed. The car earned notoriety as the world’s fastest Beetle for reaching 205.122 mph over a flying mile; this was a well-deserved win for Habrzyk and his team, who recall a tough challenge in overcoming the car’s aerodynamic disadvantages. In contrast, the Jetta has its own quirks. “The Jetta has an aerodynamic advantage over what we’ve done in the past,” says Habrzyk, “though because the rigidity of the factory chassis is so good, we ran into issues drilling holes for mounting certain things in some of the floor panels because they turned out to be high-strength hot-formed steel.” “So we had to use different techniques to attach things in those areas, or even avoid those areas,” he adds, laughing. “It was kind of a new experience for us.” Powering the car is half the battle. To help ensure a car is ready for the salt of the ancient lakebed, Habrzyk lowers its suspension and adds ballast for greater stability that minimizes the need for steering correction on the salt flats. “The consistency of the surface at Bonneville is similar to freshly compacted snow almost at its melting point,” says Habrzyk, “so it’s not as solid as most people would think.” That makes safety a paramount concern. Habrzyk assures each car he works on follows safety regulations put forth by the Southern California Timing Association, which oversees Bonneville’s annual Speed Week and other related events. To do this, the Jetta is outfitted with a roll cage, racing seat and harness, as well as parachutes that help bring the car to a stop. of 2 THR Manufacturing typically takes on a new car build project like the Jetta once a year. While Habrzyk has experience building drift, drag race and road race cars throughout his 12-year career, his more recent LSR projects run at Bonneville. Between the delicate salt track, design hurdles unique to each car and perhaps a penchant for pushing the limit, Habrzyk always welcomes the challenge. “If anybody could do it, everybody would do it, and it wouldn’t be challenging,” he says. “It would just be boring, which it’s not by any means.” On race day, Habrzyk’s not in the driver’s seat; rather, you’ll find him chasing down his creation in a separate vehicle along the side of the race track, all the while listening for a radio announcer to confirm whether the car reached its goal. The Jetta may have just rolled off the salt flats, but Habrzyk’s already hunting for future projects. Namely he wants to tackle electric vehicles for the first time, which currently do not have their own class at Bonneville. “Anything new that’s out there that’s powering something with wheels is always in your head,” he says. “I’m interested in going fast with it.”
What’s New: The VW Lineup The calendar year might not flip to 2019 for a few more months, but it’s time to usher out the old and ring in the new line of Volkswagen vehicles. Here’s what’s happening at your local dealership and always at vw.com: The Atlas will offer two new colors. Terra Metallic, a hue that evokes brilliant fall foliage and rich leather, replaces Titanium Beige (and is also available on the Passat). Pacific Blue replaces Kurkuma Yellow. Available for the Tiguan, the R-Line “Black” package changes the color of a number of features — including the wheels, chrome bumpers, mirror caps, and roof rails — to black. The 2019 Passat base model now comes with standard Blind Spot Detection and Front Assist.1 In the Golf family, the GTI Rabbit edition — with special Rabbit seat tags and 18-inch “Pretoria” alloy wheels that are painted gloss black — is limited to just 3,000 units. Say goodbye to the Beetle: This is the final year that the current generation of the legendary VW will be sold, and the iconic car is being offered in both “Final Edition SE” and “Final Edition SEL” trims. The former comes with 17-inch Knoxville wheels, “Rhombus” cloth seats, and aluminum pedals and scuff plates. The latter comes with 18-inch disc wheels with white accents, diamond-stitched leather, and the Fender® Premium Audio System. Design is the name of the game for the all-new Arteon. It offers a sleek fastback design, an upscale interior, and innovative technology. The newest VW flagship is anticipated to make its U.S. debut in early 2019. Get a sneak peek. Last but not least: There’s a whole slew of new VW parts and accessories to check out — for your current or new VW. A few we love: the Bumperdillo and Muddy Buddy 3D Floor Liner program. VW Is Everywhere Need a new spot (outside of your local dealer) to soak up all that’s new from VW? Sneak a peek behind the scenes and under the hood at auto shows or on a factory tour. VW is scheduled to make a splash at the following auto shows: 2018 Texas Auto Show: September 28-October 21 Miami International Auto Show: October 5-13 Seattle International Auto Show: November 9-12 San Francisco Chronicle Auto Show: November 21-25 Arizona International Auto Show: November 22-25 LA Auto Show: press only November 28-29; open to the general public November 30–December 9 San Diego International Auto Show: December 27-30 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit: press only January 14–15; open to the general public January 19–27 New England International Auto Show: January 17-21 Houston Auto Show: January 23-27 St. Louis Auto Show: January 24-27 Portland International Auto Show: January 24-27 Philadelphia Auto Show: February 2-10 Chicago Auto Show: press only February 7-8; open to the general public February 9–18 Cleveland Auto Show: February 22-March 3 Greater Milwaukee International Car & Truck Show: February 23-March 3 Twin Cities Auto Show: March 9-17 Atlanta International Auto Show: March 20-24 DFW Auto Show: March 27-31 Denver Auto Show: March 27-31 Washington Auto Show: April 2-14 New York Auto Show: press only April 17–18; open to the general public April 19–28 Get a glimpse of the auto show experience here. Visitors Welcome After a major expansion, the Volkswagen Chattanooga factory in Tennessee resumed visitor tours last year. Guided tours of the nearly 2-million-square-foot facility include awe-worthy glimpses into how the updated Passat and the seven-seat Atlas SUV are assembled from start to finish. To schedule a free tour, email email@example.com. Learn more about how the VW Chattanooga factory celebrated 10 years. How to Defy Gravity There’s an adrenaline rush for the athletes (and the audience) in nearly every minute of Face of Winter, the 69th feature film from Warren Miller Entertainment (presented by Volkswagen). The winter action-sports movie — filmed in locations including British Columbia, Alaska, Iceland, New Zealand, and Chile — features footage of extreme winter athletes carving and shredding down some of the most challenging filming environments on earth. This is the second year that Volkswagen has presented a Warren Miller feature film. Last year’s installment, Line of Descent, spotlighted JT Holmes — a Hollywood stunt coordinator, backcountry freestyle skier, and classic VW Beetle driver— and his favorite sport: “speedriding.” “To be chosen to ski in a Warren Miller film was a dream come true,” says Holmes, who first appeared in a 1995 Miller film as a teenager. “Every element of my life and career traces back to my decisiveness as a young teen to become a pro skier. That decisiveness is credited to Warren Miller.” This year’s film pays tribute to Warren Miller, the founder of the production company and a pioneer in action-sports cinematography, who died earlier this year at the age of 93. Face of Winter premieres worldwide in Portland, Oregon, on October 12, 2018. Foust and Furious Tanner Foust may roar around the racetrack in a Beetle Rallycross car equipped with a 2.0-liter, 560-horsepower, turbocharged engine, but cameras recently caught Tanner on suburban streets in a Passat GT. After placing a black box in the trunk and buckling in, Foust heads out to make a special delivery on time. Watch the video to the end to find out what special cargo he’s carrying. VW Fan-tastic Think you love your VW? Check out what Volkswagen and several aftermarket companies churned out in the 2018 Enthusiast Fleet. The fleet began with four off-the-factory models: Golf R, Tiguan, Arteon, and Jetta. Each four-wheeled work of art debuted in May at the SOWO Partners’ European Experience in Savannah, Georgia. See them for yourself here. VW Team Wins Big at Rallycross Behind the wheel of a modified Beetle, VW Rallycross driver Scott Speed headed to victory, sweeping wins in the Americas Rallycross Championship (ARX) held in August. An overnight Beetle rebuild to help recover from the qualifying heat final gave VW teammate Tanner Foust the edge to finish second behind Speed. The final round of the inaugural running of the Americas Rallycross Championship at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) will be held at the end of September.
Thanks to a hurricane, Nina Roedeler found her calling. In late 2012, hundreds of animals were lost or displaced after Hurricane Sandy hit the New York metro region. The pets came from flooded shelters or were left behind when their owners had to evacuate. Roedeler, a New York resident, volunteered to foster one of the dogs left traumatized by the storm. She tended the dog it back to health and eventually helped it find a new permanent home. That experience led Roedeler to her role as rescue coordinator for Friends with Four Paws, an Oklahoma-based nonprofit that finds new families for dogs with limited options. Roedeler holds adoption events for about 20 to 30 dogs a month, and coordinates trips around the New York area from foster pet keepers to forever families. Roedeler says she and the adoption team support new owners with advice and answer questions, but would-be owners first need to show they’re ready to provide one essential need: love. “I’m looking for a match for the dog and human alike,” Roedeler says. “We try to match up the needs of the dog with the adopters to ensure a great start into their new life together. But as every dog is different and situations are different, there needs to be chemistry.” Roedeler racks up major miles on the rough roads around the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region, and needs enough vehicle space to keep her dog passengers comfortable and calm. Roedeler started out at Friends with Four Paws with a 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan, but upgraded to a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas; she calls it her “mobile storage unit for the rescue and my mobile office.”1 Nearly five years later and with hundreds of dogs in good new homes, Roedeler says it’s hard for her to imagine a better way to bring people and dogs together. “I have a blessed life. It’s my job to make families happy and to make dogs happy,” she says. “Uniting a dog with a family is almost like playing Santa Claus.”
It’s official: The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle will be the last production year of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, exactly seven decades after it first came to the United States in 1949. But the Beetle will be getting a year-long sendoff, beginning with special Beetle Final Edition models for 2019 and continuing over the next several months. “The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it. “But as we have seen with the I.D. BUZZ—which is the modern and practical interpretation of the legendary Bus—I would also say, ‘Never say never.’ We’re excited to kick off a year of celebrating one of the true icons of the automotive world, with a series of events that will culminate in the end of production in Puebla in July 2019.” The 2003 Beetle Última Edición The Beetle Final Edition coupe and convertible sports two unique colors that echo the beige and light blue colors chosen for the end of the first-generation Beetle production in 2003. Stonewashed Blue was last seen on the 2016 Beetle Denim, and hearkens to the 1970 Jeans Bug, while Safari Uni is a new variant of the Harvest Beige color last seen on the New Beetle that was built until 2011. For those whose color choices run to more standard options, there are also shades of white, black and grey, while the convertible has an optional brown top. The Final Edition also has unique wheels, either a 17-inch aluminum alloy with a 15-spoke pattern or an 18-inch alloy “disc” design with white trim, similar to the body-color wheels of original-generation Beetles. Among many other touches, all Beetle Final Edition models offer available driver-assistance technology. SE models include standard Blind Spot Monitor Rear Traffic Alert. Final Edition SEL models add standard front and rear Park Distance Control, and like all Beetles, the Final Edition uses the sporty 174-hp 2.0-liter TSI® engine, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Before next July, Volkswagen will have several additional events to mark the heritage and history of its original model. We’ll share our moments online under the hashtag #byebyeBeetle. “The Beetle is more than a car,” says Woebcken, “it’s what made Volkswagen an integral part of American culture.” of
Autumn brings a welcoming committee that goes above and beyond: cooler temperatures, cozy coffee flavors — and most notably, a landscape of fiery foliage. Whether you love leaves, festivals, or simply carving a VW-themed pumpkin, here’s how to make the most of fall. 1. First stop: autumn decorating, VW style Craft-lovers and craft novices alike: Get out your carving tools for these VW-themed pumpkin designs — one with the instantly recognizable VW logo and front grille, the other with the distinctive front of the beloved VW bus. Download VW Bus Template Download VW Grille Template Try these carving tips to help: Use painter’s tape to hold the stencil in place, and a washable marker to trace the outlines. For both stencils, carve the cut-out sections (those that are black on the PDF) first. Once you’ve carved those pieces, leave them in place; this helps maintain pumpkin strength while you scrape away other sections. Scraped-away but not completely carved through sections are tricky. Start by using an x-acto knife to lightly trace the stencil outline. Then use a small sanding or linoleum carving tool to remove the topmost layers of the real or fake pumpkins. 2. Next stop: foliage As the days shorten, summer’s brilliant green leaves can’t survive the transition: They lose chlorophyll and transform into a showstopping combo of reds, yellows, and oranges. Check the fall foliage map for detailed predictions, but find some of these great highlights across the U.S. Northeast Color may show up at the beginning of September, but the beginning of October is the likely peak. By mid- to late-October, the majority of the region may already have passed the prime leaf-viewing time. Road trip in your VW to: Vermont’s Green Mountain Byway for 11 tree-filled miles through two state forests and three state parks. The northern endpoint is Stowe, known as Fall’s Color Capital. Midwest The northern parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan may see changes in early September, but they’ll probably peak early October. The rest of the region peaks at the end of the month. Road trip in your VW to: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which boasts more than 20 forested state parks and a vast array of tree species. Southeast With the exception of the Appalachian mountains (higher elevation cause leaves to change sooner), the best showing is likely late October into November. Road trip in your VW to: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, home to more than 100 native tree species and 800 miles of roads and trails. You’ll probably see the best color in early October. Southwest New Mexico may be a mix of gorgeous hues in early October, while its neighbors catch up toward the end of the month. In early November, central and coastal Texas may peak. Road trip in your VW to: Taos, New Mexico, the start and end point for the 83-mile Enchanted Circle. The loop showcases yellow and dark orange aspens, purple cinquefoil, and red cottonwoods. West The Rocky Mountain Range is one of the first spots in the U.S. to flaunt fall color, with some change in early September. Peak is probably around the beginning of October, when the rest of the region just starts to turn. California may not see much until the end of October. Road trip in your VW to: Oregon’s 80-mile Columbia River Gorge to see a mix of firs, cottonwoods, maples, Oregon ash, and twisted pines. 3. Last stop: food, fun, and festivals It doesn’t matter why or where, there are plenty of memory-worthy to-dos that should pack your list. They include: Food: Visit a local orchard or pumpkin patch. You’ll likely find everything from corn mazes to carriage rides, as well as homegrown produce. Check your state’s tourism or travel department, which may have a full list of attractions. Fun: Host your own backyard fall feast — roasted marshmallows, soup swaps, and cider bars are just a few options. If the weather is warm enough, project a movie from your smartphone outside (a clean exterior garage wall works as a screen, and you can find low-cost projectors at most chain stores), pass around popcorn, and hand out movie-favorite treats for a drive-in done at home. Festivals: Swing by one of these standouts (or make a bucket list-plan for a fall-worthy road trip — it’s never too early to plan for next year). Remember: State tourism or travel departments often publicize lists of statewide events such as these. Autumn at the Arboretum Dallas, Texas, September 22–November 21 Pumpkin Village boasts 90,000+ pumpkins, squash, and gourds; 4,500 chrysanthemums and 150,000 fall plants are also on display. Leavenworth’s Autumn Leaf Festival Leavenworth, Washington, September 29–30 The main event in this Bavarian-themed town’s annual street celebration is the grand parade featuring floats decked in fall foliage. St. Charles Scarecrow Fest St. Charles, Illinois, October 5–7 All you’d expect from a fall festival — crafts, carnival rides, music, and kids’ activities — is centered around more than 100 handmade and mechanical scarecrows. Cranberry Harvest Celebration Wareham, Massachusetts, October 6–7 Cranberry harvesting? Yes, please. Includes cooking demos and bog wading. National Apple Harvest Festival Biglerville, Pennsylvania, October 6–7 and 13–14 It’s like a state fair packed into two weekends. N.C. Pecan Harvest Festival Whiteville, North Carolina, November 3 Whiteville is one of the state’s top pecan producing areas, and the town celebrates with parades, music, arts and crafts, and treats.
First: It is the official position of Volkswagen of America that no one should throw or receive a punch (or even a tap for that matter) simply upon seeing a Volkswagen Beetle. Volkswagen does not condone any form of violence, especially over an icon of the peace-and-love era like the Beetle. That said, it is well known that generations of bored American children on the road have invented and handed down a game around the Beetle. But there’s also a lingering debate that has never been settled: What do you call it – slug bug, or punch buggy? It turns out the answer may say more about where you grew up than anything else. No one may ever know how this bit of childhood came into existence. The Volkswagen Beetle first arrived in the United States in 1949, but it wasn’t until the mid-‘50s that the Beetle became more common, standing out on the new interstate system like a UFO among the more typically massive, squared-off sedans and wagons. After extensive research, we were unable to find someone claiming to be the first to play the game. But we did unearth what may be the first published reference to it, from the May 6, 1964 edition of the Arizona Republic, where a columnist wrote a question-and-answer with his daughter, who tells him “I think the slug bugs are cute.” There’s a bit of etymology to back up “slug bug” as the first name of the contest: Sports writers had used “slug bugs” as shorthand for boxing fans since the 1920s. It would take another 14 years for the first published reference to “punch buggy” to find its way into print — in 1978, in Florida. Today, we have a few more tools to measure how often people use a word, and by those yardsticks, the two terms have roughly equal audiences on search engines and in social media. But our analysis did find something unusual in where those names pop up: “punch buggy” is the term most often used on the coasts, while “slug bug” is more predominant in the Midwest and southern states. Whatever you call it, we’d say again that when you see a Beetle on the road today, hitting someone is never the right response. Try hugs, not slugs.
Nina Roedeler found her calling thanks to a hurricane. In late 2012, hundreds of animals were lost or displaced after Hurricane Sandy hit the New York metro region – either from flooded shelters or being left behind when their owners had to evacuate. Roedeler, a New York resident, volunteered to foster one of the dogs left traumatized by the storm, eventually bringing it back to health and a new permanent home. “I love dogs, because they know how to forgive and they don’t hold grudges,” Roedeler says. That experience led Roedeler to her role as rescue coordinator for Friends with Four Paws, an Oklahoma-based nonprofit that finds new families for dogs with few options left. For about 20 to 30 dogs a month, Roedeler holds adoption events and coordinates the trip around the New York area from foster pet keepers to forever families. Roedeler says she and the adoption team will support new owners with advice and answering any questions they may have, but would-be owners first need to show they’re ready to provide a new dog with one essential need: love. “I’m looking for a match for the dog and human alike,” Roedeler says. “We try to match up the needs of the dog with the adopters to ensure a great start into their new life together. But as every dog is different and situations are different, there needs to be chemistry.” That job means she needs to rack up major miles on the rough roads around the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region, and do so with enough space to keep her dog passengers comfortable and calm. After starting out at Friends with Four Paws with a 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan, Roedeler upgraded to a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas – what Roedeler calls her “mobile storage unit for the rescue and my mobile office.”1 After nearly five years and hundreds of dogs in good new homes, Roedeler says it’s hard for her to imagine a better way to bring people and dogs together. “I have a blessed life. It’s my job to make families happy and to make dogs happy,” she says. “Uniting a dog with a family is almost like playing Santa Claus.”