Cars in Skirts – Volkswagen F1 Concept


We don’t really know why skirts ever went out of fashion. There’s something obvious about the flow of air afforded by fared rear three-quarters. To quote Charlie Sheen (sooth-saying nutcase du jour) “Duh, win!”

And the fact that overt slipperiness has never been everyone’s idea of automotive style shouldn’t be a surprise. Classic car design has always been primarily about aesthetics rather than aerodynamic efficiency.

But VW’s long-drawn-out exploration of the possibility of a one-litre car that can travel 100 KMs on a single litre of fuel has inspired a succession of interesting looking concepts. The idea that covering a car’s wheels leads to quickness and fuel efficiency is essentially a pre-WW2 modernist notion.

And the XL-1 concept captures that futurist spirit whilst at the same time being a realistic exploration of the marketable potentials of hypermiling.

If fuel prices keep rising at this rate, the slippery virtue will soon become a necessity.


One Response to “Cars in Skirts – Volkswagen F1 Concept”

  1. Don Banham

    I can remember my second car, 1953 Chevy which had removeable skirts. It seems that covering only the rear wheels creates a visual imbalance on a cars profile…..heavy at the back. The 50’s cars got round this by creating a cut out at the bottom of the skirt suggesting a wheel arch.
    One way around the imbalance may be doable now with the use of deformable body panel materials on the front fenders or possible front and rear steering to limit the amount of deformation required.
    automotive design has always ben and still is very conservative. Just compare a 1937 Plymouth and Chevy, 1954 Ford and Dodge, 1996 VW and Vauxhall. The public generally are very slow to accept something different. History is littered with failed manufacturers who with new ideas.
    The reinvention of electric cars is an opportunity to try some really novel designs like a personal urban Segway type vehicle or single vertical transporter.
    It’s going to take some time though, hope I’m around to see it.
    Don Banham