What If? 1976 Volkswagen Phaeton

Abimelec Arellano

Welcome to What If, a new feature from imaginative illustrator Abimelec Arellano and Hagerty. We’ll be taking you back in time—and possibly forward into the future—to meet alternative-universe automobiles. Even better, our time machine is working well enough to bring “short take” reviews along with the photographs and advertisements. Buckle up and enjoy the ride! — Jack Baruth

(Archived from posts made to the “VW Whirlpool” BBS online bulletin board, Chicago, August of 1975)

Janie: Hey, everyone, we just got back from a private look at a totally insane new Volkswagen coming for 1976. Believe it or not, it’s going to compete with the BMW Bavaria and Mercedes 250! As all of you know, or I hope you know, VW and Audi are now part of the same company, and that’s how we got last year’s Dasher, which is a close relative of the Audi Fox. Rumors are that there is a new Audi 100 coming for next year, and that it might be called the “5000” due to it’s five-cylinder engine — but VW is bringing a slightly beefed-up version of that five-cylinder engine here NOW in a wider, longer, and super-luxurious version of the Dasher! It’s going to be called “Phaeton”.

Hawk: Phaeton? What a dumb name

insanereesie: Not as dumb as “Hawk”. We should ban this guy.

Janie: There’s no real way to ban people from this BBS. Anybody can dial in. We can’t stop them.

Four Speed (Audi) Fox: That’s right! You can’t ban ANYONE! Including ME! This sounds like great news about this mega-sized VW. I think I’ll buy two of them. I have a lot of money, and the chicks dig me.

onemorecar: Well, I already own one of every luxury sedan ever made, and I’m very world-weary about it, so I doubt this will impress me much.

Can we get back to topic, please? Janie, what else can you tell us?

What If VW Phaeton front three-quarter
Abimelec Arellano

Janie: Well, it has a Scirocco-style quad-headlamp grille, with wipers for the lights! The styling is really modern, nothing at all like the air-cooled cars. Total Giugiaro look. The width of it really sets it apart, this is almost as wide as a Granada. which means it’s three inches wider than an Audi 100LS.

jebgli: We’ve figured out a way to ban people, by the way, and we’re starting with Four Speed (Audi) Fox.

Leisure: Thank you, I don’t trust that dude.

What If VW Phaeton rear three-quarter
Abimelec Arellano

Odin Rebelson: So, this is powered by a 2.2-liter take on the 5-cylinder, making 140 horsepower? But no manual transmission, right? Only a three-speed automatic? It’s still going to be a rocketship.

Janie: Right. But it’s the interior that will really blow your mind.

Viergang (Audi) Fuchs:: I’m back, everybody! I’m using a different modem! I’m the greatest! I win a lot of races! Would anybody like to see a picture of my CUSTOM SHOES?

Abimiclec Arellano

Ugh, I hate that guy. And no matter what he tells you, I did NOT crash an Austin Mini at a racetrack event. I just bumped it lightly into a barrier.

Grandmaster Flash: Hey guys, I’m thinking about starting my own musical group where people “rap” over some records. Would this Phaeton have enough room for my turntables?

RogueDI: This Phaeton will be worthless if it doesn’t come with a diesel.

vwbarry: That would be v. good if it did, but I doubt it will.

ok heres the ting take a corner at 35 or 45racing a Pinto had a blow out sled into the crub hit 2 fents 2 burshes 4 brick and a trash can but anywho now I have a load cam knock it sounds like but I’m not sure my oil pan may have got pushed back alittle so I dont know if my oil pump got damgaed and itsn’t get oil to the top of the cams does anyone have any ideas what else it could be and yea I spanked the little hatch back

Ban that guy too. Janie, what else can you tell us?

Like I was saying, the interior is the craziest part. It has four-zone climate control. That’s right. Everybody gets their own knobs to control air temperature and fan speed! The back seat knobs are in the fold-down center seat. The whole cabin is medical-grade air filtered, so that California air pollution can’t get in! All five seating positions have a three-point belt.

Mazda GLCs: So check this out, guys. I was at a car show and there was a shirtless dude wearing sunglasses flexing in front of a Ferrari 365 GT4. In fact he was just wearing shorts and nothing else. If you all post your addresses, I will mail you all a print of this photo so you can cut the dude out of it, put him in front of other things, and mail the modified photos to each other.

vwbarry: That seems v. stupid.

Viergang (Audi) Fuchs: I just called the dealer and ordered two of them! Turns out they have automatic self-leveling air suspension, too, for when I FILL THE CAR WITH GIRLS! Awwwwwwwwwwww yeahhhhh!!!!! I hate all of you! I LOVE MYSELF!!!

Minimum Download: I don’t wish ill or harm to many people, but if you got smeared across the front of a transit bus tomorrow by accident I doubt I could say anything tastefully respectful.

AKARacer: That’s pretty strongly worded, I have to say.

What If VW Phaeton rear
Abimelec Arellano

4cylVWGuy: I hate this dude and I hate the Phaeton. I’m very lonely. I thought I could meet girls on this BBS.

insanereesie: There are no girls here, and if there are, they’ve already been met. Also, Janie is not a girl.

Chris Heap: Nobody’s gonna buy this thing.

AZRabbit: What he said.

Janie: I’ve had enough of this. This is no longer a VW bulletin board. It’s now a model train bulletin board. Goodbye, cruel world!


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