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#TBT: The Fridolin: A Volkswagen-engineered mail truck

Type 147 aka “Fridolin” Every Volkswagen car has a story, but not all have a historic significance quite like the Volkswagen Fridolin. Originally known as the Type 147 Kleinlieferwagen, the oddly tall wagon has become a rare collector car but was once a common sight on German and Swiss roads – as a sign that…

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Type 147 aka “Fridolin”

Every Volkswagen car has a story, but not all have a historic significance quite like the Volkswagen Fridolin. Originally known as the Type 147 Kleinlieferwagen, the oddly tall wagon has become a rare collector car but was once a common sight on German and Swiss roads – as a sign that the mail was on its way.

In the early 1960s, the German Postal Authority asked Volkswagen to build a bespoke vehicle for transporting mail and packages. Previously, the agency had been interested in the Goggomobil transporter, a miniature SUV that was widely popular at the time, but after a test run decided to look for a larger, more reliable and more efficient alternative.

The Postal Authority approached Volkswagen with a list of specific dimensions and capabilities for their official postal vehicle. Their specifications included an extensive cargo capacity, a payload of at least 750 pounds, and two sliding side doors to allow for easier access.

A 1967 Fridolin

To meet their needs, VW offered up a custom prototype that included parts from several existing air-cooled Volkswagen models: the engine and transmission from the Beetle, the chassis from the Karmann Ghia, rear body elements from the Type 2 Microbus and headlight assemblies and hood design from a Type 3 Notchback.

Weighing in at over a ton, the postal authority was satisfied with this user-friendly utility van and it went into production at Westfalia-Werke in 1964. More than 6,000 models were built until production ended in 1974.

Impressed by the vehicle, the Swiss postal service ordered just over 1,000 vans to be used by their postal service, but not without some modifications. The Swiss version of the Fridolin had different interiors, additional windows, a larger engine, front disc brakes and exterior mirrors on the front fenders to provide better visibility.

Although the Fridolin was state-owned and operated for a decade, its nickname and the meaning of the name remains unknown. One rumor says the “Fridolin” name came from a Volkswagen worker who affectionately exclaimed it looked like a coworker with that surname. Another rumor suggests it’s similar to a German word for small boy or child.

As postal vehicles lead hard lives and weren’t often viewed as worth preserving, less than 200 of these models remain in existence. That’s made them prized collectors’ items, and even Fridolins once considered junk have been restored to driving condition.

The Fridolin was unusual, but in some ways its extreme usefulness foreshadowed the minivans and SUVs of today.

 

 

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Mountain bike bravery with a Proace

Perched on a blustery granite outcrop, Derek Evans sits astride his mountain bike and surveys the scenery. A few miles to the north he can see the Bristol Channel shining dark blue. Further to the south, he can just make out the English Channel through the midday haze. Fifty yards behind him a Victorian folly,…

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Perched on a blustery granite outcrop, Derek Evans sits astride his mountain bike and surveys the scenery. A few miles to the north he can see the Bristol Channel shining dark blue. Further to the south, he can just make out the English Channel through the midday haze. Fifty yards behind him a Victorian folly, hewn from the same stone, juts out abruptly from the scenery. And just below him, an unmade track winds its way through clumps of yellow gorse and past a white van.

There are many routes down from this 738ft high summit on Carn Brea near Redruth in Cornwall. Derek is spoiled for choice. But one thing is for sure – his descent will be fast. “I’ve ridden bikes off-road for as long as I can remember – since I had stabilisers!” laughs Derek as he dances his mountain bike onto its front wheel. 

He’s riding a very smart full-suspension, mountain bike which he built himself around a custom-made black carbon fibre frame. “I ride all over the country – often in the Surrey Hills and the Brecon Beacons in Wales. I’ve also cycled in Les Gets and Morzine in the French Alps” explains the 41-year-old vehicle technician.

His bike’s chain and gears clatter and click as he points his bike down the yellow stony track towards the van. The smart white Proace Compact is his. Perhaps he’s going this way so he can look at his van on the way down. “I love vans,” he said. “I always have done. I’ve always had a van. But I’ve been without for two years. 

“I bought this one from Parklands Toyota at Carland Cross in February after my girlfriend spotted it. Other manufacturers have a string of issues and are very expensive. This is the small Compact version. It suits me well with all the little country lanes around here.

“My dad was a car-nut and got me into Toyotas. I’ve always liked their technology. He imported a Mk 4 Supra from Japan about 20-years-ago. He drove it to Spain and all around Europe and I used it to go out on dates.

“I really like the look of the Proace. I’m going to make a few cosmetic modifications, and turn it into a proper day van so I and my girlfriend can both take our bikes out, have adventures and picnic in it. I’ve already fitted insulation so I can carpet it floor-to-ceiling. I’ll probably put 20-inch alloys on it and maybe a spoiler and splitter, but I don’t want it to be too showy.”

Derek’s Proace is an L1 manual in Comfort spec with leather seats. He paid £12,500+VAT for his immaculate three-year-old van with 80,000 miles.

As he loads his bike back into the van after an afternoon on his mountain bike, he looks fondly at his van and says: “I don’t see me ever getting rid of it”

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World Premiere of the New Lexus “UX” | Lexus | Global Newsroom

Lexus globally announces the new UX 200/250h. The vehicle is scheduled for summer 2022 launch. Introduced to the Lexus lineup in 2018 as an urban compact cross-over, the UX uses the “Creative Urban Explorer” concept, with the aim to be the “CUE” to exploring a new lifestyle. The muscular body exudes toughness and strength, while…

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Lexus globally announces the new UX 200/250h. The vehicle is scheduled for summer 2022 launch.

Introduced to the Lexus lineup in 2018 as an urban compact cross-over, the UX uses the “Creative Urban Explorer” concept, with the aim to be the “CUE” to exploring a new lifestyle. The muscular body exudes toughness and strength, while the flared fenders evoke agile driving in order to create a bold and refined exterior. The interior cockpit combines a sense of driving excitement with a visually expansive space. In addition, we have pursued excellent steering response, handling stability, and refined ride quality.

Since its launch in 2018, a cumulative total of approximately 240,000 units have been sold in more than 80 countries and regions as of the end of March 2022. The expanding lineup of electrified vehicles of Hybrid (HEV) and battery EV (BEV), achieved the percentage of electrified vehicles of approximately 80% of sales globally, making it the leading model in the Lexus electrified lineup. Going forward, we will continue to contribute to the practical spread of electrified vehicles toward the realization of a carbon-neutral society, while tailoring to the diversifying needs and lifestyles of customers.

Based on the “Always On” philosophy of continuous improvement through agile development, the new UX200/250h has further refined and exhilarating driving performance, enhanced its advanced safety systems by expanding the preventive safety technology functions and added the latest multimedia system.

To enhance the driving experience, structural rigidity was improved by adding 20 spot welding points on the body and the EPS and shock absorbers tuning was performed accordingly. It achieved refined and exhilarating performance and to further improve the refined, direct feeling and response through extensive testing at Toyota Technical Center Shimoyama.

For advanced safety system enhancements, we aimed to make driving safer and more reassuring by enhancing the functionality of the “Lexus Safety System +” preventive safety technology. The UX also features a new state-of-the-art multimedia system with a larger/higher-resolution touch screen display. Usability has been improved by optimizing the shapes and switch layout of the instrument panel and console area. Two USB charging connectors (Type-C) have also been added in the front of the console.

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LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 Grand Prix Winner Announced | Lexus | Global Newsroom

TOKYO, Japan (May 12, 2022)―Lexus announced today that “Rewind” by Poh Yun Ru has been selected by the judging panel as the Grand Prix winner of the 2022 LEXUS DESIGN AWARD, the award’s tenth edition, which drew 1,726 entries from 57 countries and regions. The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD was established in 2013 with the mission…

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TOKYO, Japan (May 12, 2022)―Lexus announced today that “Rewind” by Poh Yun Ru has been selected by the judging panel as the Grand Prix winner of the 2022 LEXUS DESIGN AWARD, the award’s tenth edition, which drew 1,726 entries from 57 countries and regions.

The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD was established in 2013 with the mission of supporting and nurturing creators early in their careers to help shape a better future and enhance the happiness for all through design, while articulating the Lexus brand’s three core principles: Anticipate, Innovate, and Captivate. The Grand Prix winner “Rewind” contributes to a better tomorrow by using technology to help people stimulate their memories when their recall ability is challenged, for example by dementia.

The six finalists selected this January spent three months developing their original proposals and creating prototypes under the enthusiastic and highly skilled guidance of Sam Baron, Joe Doucet, Yosuke Hayano and Sabine Marcelis. Mentoring by the world’s leading creators was a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience for these young talents. This process facilitated the impressive evolution of the finalists’ projects, not to mention that of the Grand Prix work, “Rewind.”

Poh Yun Ru commented: “I feel immensely grateful that Rewind is now a step closer to improving the lives of more people. This couldn’t have happened without the unwavering support of my mentors, my team of dedicated engineers, programmers, healthcare experts, and users. This opportunity from LEXUS DESIGN AWARD to turn a project into a real-world product felt nothing short of amazing, and I feel heartened to have met and learned from so many passionate designers from around the world. It has been such a rewarding and inspiring journey, and I am excited to continue designing for a better world and a better tomorrow for all.”

In a new benefit for 2022, the finalists met one-on-one with the design world’s elite panel of judges: Paola Antonelli, Anupama Kundoo, Bruce Mau and Simon Humphries following the 10th LEXUS DESIGN AWARD event. After the judging session, the finalists received not only direct feedback on their work, but also career advice and tips for improvement. This beta-feature of the 10th anniversary LEXUS DESIGN AWARD turned out to be an extraordinarily valuable experience.

After the judging session, all four judges provided comments.

Paola Antonelli told of the overall importance of design in today’s world: “The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 finalists offer a wide range of products in different fields of design, employing different types of technology, but they all have one thing in common: care. Care for the environment, care for the elderly and differently able, care for the needs of families and communities, and more. They demonstrate that at a time of emergency in the world, design can offer suggestions that are poetic and beautiful, and also feasible and scalable. In the hands of great designers, doing the right thing―by society, the environment, the world―also becomes inspiring and elating.”

Anupama Kundoo and Bruce Mau commented on the Award’s feature of mentorship: “I particularly enjoyed the unique feature of the LEXUS DESIGN AWARD, namely, that the talented visionary designers are first identified, and then supported personally in their further development through dedicated mentorship.” Kundoo said, while Mau commented, “The LEXUS DESIGN AWARD’s process, where the finalists are connected to design mentors, is absolutely brilliant. And the impact was plainly evident in the final submissions.”

Simon Humphries praised all finalists for their creativity and imagination in addressing the judging criteria: “The power of creativity and its ability to enrich people’s lives never ceases to amaze me and this year’s entries only reinforced this further. Congratulations to all the finalists who showed such imaginative insights into challenging problems that many just take for granted.”

The six LEXUS DESIGN AWARD 2022 finalists’ projects will be shown at Lexus exhibit during Milan Design Week 2022, the world’s largest design event, to be held in June.

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