Volkswagen’s quest for performance began perfectly just before lawmakers commenced linking emissions to fines. It marketed various fuel-sipping, Formel E-badged models all through the 1980s, and its analysis and development division took fuel overall economy to the up coming level by constructing a prototype named Öko-Polo built to use only three liters of diesel for every 100 kilometers, which represents about 78.4 mpg. 1 surviving prototype life in New Hampshire.
Visually, minimal set the Öko-Polo aside from the common-production variant of the 2nd-era Polo it was based on. It gained rainbow-coloured stripes on both sides, and a roof-mounted spoiler borrowed from the Formel E, but almost nothing about these incorporate-ons exposed the existence of a slicing-edge powertrain under the hood.
Electric power for the Öko-Polo came from a supercharged, immediate-injected two-cylinder diesel motor with a displacement of 858 cubic centimeters. It manufactured 40 horsepower, in accordance to fanatic web page Polo Driver, and it gave the Öko-Polo a top rated velocity of about 85 mph. Electricity was sent to the front wheels by way of a 5-pace semi-computerized transmission motorists nonetheless experienced to change, but an electronic swap in the gear knob activated the clutch.
Even with 40 horsepower, a rounding error in Hemi-communicate, the Öko-Polo wasn’t as underpowered as it seems since it was pretty light. Its engine was loud, nevertheless, so thick layers of audio-deadening materials held decibels in test in the cabin. In hindsight, almost everything came jointly beautifully, and the prototype exceeded expectations. It averaged 138 miles for every gallon on a journey from Marseilles, France, to Wolfsburg, Germany.
One particular of the project’s main aims was to lower emissions, so engineers formulated an exhaust fuel recirculation method, a particulate filter and a coasting operate, characteristics that are typical these days, but which had been virtually unheard of 32 decades ago. They also fitted the Öko-Polo with a variation of the prevent-begin procedure uncovered in the normal-output Polo Formel E.
Volkswagen tested about 60 models of the Öko, and it consigned the undertaking to the attic after accumulating the details it necessary. Series production was not seriously regarded as, partly mainly because the hatchback would have expense as well a great deal to build, but some of the classes figured out later on trickled down to creation vehicles. Volkswagen notably produced the Lupo 3L in 2000. It used 3 liters of diesel to address 100 kilometers, like the Öko-Polo, many thanks in component to visual modifications (like a a lot more aerodynamic grille), the common software of weight-saving tactics these types of as thinner glass and alloy suspension elements, and a cease-start off process for its 1.2-liter 3-cylinder diesel engine.
New Hampshire-centered enthusiast Ross Cupples retains just one of the surviving Öko-Polo prototypes in his individual selection of above 70 Volkswagen styles. Shown in the gallery, it truly is however carrying its primary rainbow-coloured stripes and it hasn’t shed its physique-coloured hubcaps. Its odometer shows about 6,172 kilometers, which represents approximately 3,835 miles. Its experimental motor is extensive long gone, however, so Cupples dropped a gasoline-burning, 1.-liter four-cylinder from a frequent-output product at the rear of the grille in get to travel the car or truck.
Discovering a 2nd-technology Polo in the United States is uncommon, the product was by no means formally bought here, but identifying a scarce prototype is nearly unheard of. How did it get in this article? Your guess is as great as ours even Cupples isn’t going to know. He bought it from a seller in Wisconsin who acquired it from a authorities auction.