The 24 Hours of Lemons staff appreciates deeply the oddball cars, especially those that come from offbeat car builders. Combine that with a fascination for all of the super-bizarre automotive stuff that happens in and comes out of South America to make a recipe for a guaranteed Lemons discussion point. We could talk, of course, about the turbocharged Brazilian Opel engines in 1980s Pontiac Sunbirds and Buick Skyhawks. Maybe that will come later, but this #LemonsWorld episode instead finds Jay and Nick discussing the Volkswagen Fox.
Like its nocturnal animal namesake, the Volkswagen Fox fits a pretty elusive concept of automaking “ideas.” The four-cylinder engine drives the front wheels but sits longitudinally. The “wagon” versions stretch out but have only two doors. Volkswagen sold them in the 1980s, but Brazilians designed and sold them. And if you believe what you read on Wikipedia, “It was intended to provide Volkswagen dealers with a competitor to the then very successful Hyundai Excel and Yugo low-price cars.”
Unsurprisingly, East Coast Lemons racer Tom Lomino beat his head against a Fox for years and years. Finally, he threw away throwing away the original engine and adapted a normal Volkswagen 2.0-liter “ABA” engine to it. At last, that engine took it from Yugo-beater into something probably almost as good as a base-model Ford Escort.
Tom eventually forsook the Fox and moved onto a normal Volkswagen Golf that only blew up a couple of times, Overall, he found it less of a headache. And to put a cherry on top, Tom sold the Fox to our friends at Grassroots Motorsports Magazine. You can get our take on the Volkswagen Fox here:
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