Is This the World's Ugliest Car?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
is this the world s ugliest car

Actually, it’s not a car. It’s a race car. OK, it’s VW’s “purpose-built” (as opposed to?) Race Touareg TDI Trophy Truck. Ja, it’s powered by a 12-cylinder clean diesel, which produces enough torque to mess with the Earth’s rotation. Clearly, this thing ain’t heading for the ‘Ring; VeeDub’s entering the RTTTT in the 41st Annual Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 desert race. The official press release goes for the techie hard-on, but then blows it (so to speak) by predicting that their hässliches Entenküken will breeze to the finish line. “With a double A-Arm front suspension that allows 25 inches of wheel travel, and a 4-link rear suspension that allows 30 inches of wheel travel, combined with Fox Racing Shocks, Eibach Coils and BFGoodrich Baja KRT 37×13.5×17 off-road tires the Race Touareg TDI Trophy Truck should have little difficulty maneuvering the highly difficult and technical 634 mile Baja 1000 course.” More importantly, at least for the aesthetic police, “The Race Touareg TDI Trophy Truck Body was designed by the Volkswagen Design Center located in Santa Monica, California.” Paging Shy La Boeuf. The German co-financed remake of Mad Max II awaits.


Join the conversation
2 of 16 comments
  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Nov 14, 2008

    So how much of the real vehicle does a race prepped vehicle have to share to still be called the production name? Sort of like NASCAR (which I avoid religiously) - so THAT is a Taurus? Not hardly... FWD vs RWD, V-8 vs V-6, etc etc.

  • 5th Grader 5th Grader on Nov 15, 2008

    1) "Purpose-Built" as opposed to? As opposed to a production street legal vehicle that is then modified to use on a race track, like many race series cars. Speed GT, Koni Challenge, Jetta TDI Cup etc. 2)"should have little difficulty maneuvering the highly difficult and technical 634 mile Baja 1000 course". Yes, that is also true. As the entire class of vehicles (Called SCORE Trophy Trucks) will all use very similar suspension equipment in this race event. The winning vehicle will certainly have similar suspension specs. Compared to just about any other type of 4 wheeled vehicle on the planet, this vehicle will have little difficulty maneuvering the over 100mph in some sections that you would be challenged to ride a bike over. 3) "Is this the worlds ugliest car?" You do know that this is the chassis of the vehicle, right?(Thanks TomAnderson for asking this earlier) Any vehicle with the outer body removed would be quite ugly. VW has annouced that it will show the complete vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov.19th. That was announced Nov. 11th, 2 days before this article was posted. 4) VW could really care less what Robby Gordon did with a Hummer at Dakar (P.S. VW brought the Dakar Touareg to the 2007 Baja 500, and raced in the same class, SCORE International Truck, with Robby Gordon's Hummer. Just like in Dakar, VW faced NO competition from Robby Gordon's Hummer. Driven by legendary Baja racer Bob Gordon, the Hummer did not make it more than about 100 miles before it broke down. The 2 VW Dakar Race Touaregs finished the '07 Baja 500 in 11th and 18th OVERALL, despite being at a complete disadvantage in terms of suspension and power. VW is entering this vehicle to promote it's TDI diesel powered engine technology as it prepares to launch a new V6 TDI Touareg in dealership showrooms in early 2009. 4)Asstex. Can you imagine how ugly that Pontiac would be with the outer body panels removed! 5) "Indy Pace Car Corvettes"? Let's see, no Corvette has ever run in Indy Car Series...They were the pace car, but okay. I have yet to see that V8 Powered Camary, or Indy Car Honda Fit in showrooms. An off-road version of a VW TDI V6 Touareg would be a fairly easy build considering the off-road prowess of the production Touareg. 6) " How much of the real vehicle does a race prepped vehicle have to share to still be called the production name". Let's break this down. NASCAR- Kinda sorta share the layout of an engine block design with production engines. V8 push rod engines, in Taurus, Impala's and Camary's. Toyota had to revert backwards in terms of technology to even have an engine for NASCAR. And they will never sell it in any production version, ever. Beyond the principals of the engine block, NASCAR vehicles share only the name of the car. Check what the "S" in NASCAR stands for. Indy Car - Don't even share the name with any production car. Grand AM and ALMS - Also don't share anything in DP classes. Lower classes do share production items, body panels etc. F1 - Paint color on the Red ones is the same, and that is about it. Oh, the badge colors too, but the actual badge is lighter on the race car! Koni Challenge, Speed Touring Car, GT and also the new Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup do share many items with production street cars. The new Volkswagen Baja Race Touareg will share more stock parts than any NASCAR, Indy Car, DP, DTM or F1, car. But less than Koni, Speed TC or GT, and Jetta TDI Cup. Making modifications to a product or making an complete new product in the pursuit of speed happens in many forms of sport. From running shoes to race cars, changes made don't neccessarily end up in your FootLocker or Nissan dealer, but the learnings often do a few years later. Don't believe me, just try buying Mr. Bolt's shoes from the Olympic Games...sorry, they are not avalible at FootLocker! But maybe the rubber sole compound will be there in 2012. You never know!

  • ToolGuy Here is an interesting graphic, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • ToolGuy Nice website you got there (even the glitches have glitches)
  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.