The Volkswagon L1 - 109 km per liter of gas

Volkswagon’s hyper-fuel efficient car?

By Robert Harland
The Volkswagon L1 - 109 km per liter of gas

The Volkswagon L1 - 109 km per liter of gas

I don’t know if it’s true or a hoax, but here’s a story doing the rounds that Volkswagon is about to launch a two seater car in China costing just US$600 (Php26,000). Even better is the claim it will do over 100 kilometers to one liter of gas.

All sounds too good to be true? But there may be something in it. Volkswagon’s PR people declined to comment for this story despite several requests for information.

If its true then I’m definitely going to buy at least two. Let’s look at what one will get for Php26,000.

The two-seater Volkswagon L-1 was originally a concept car designed to prove that one liter of fuel could deliver 100km of travel. It has a carbon fiber body so it’s super light at just 290kg, anti-lock brakes; airbag and an electronic stability program. It holds 6.5 liters of gas and has a top speed of around 120kph.

The power plant is a 299cc single-cylinder diesel engine positioned ahead of the rear axle and combined with an automatic shift controlled by a knob in the interior.

Safety was not compromised as the impact and roll-over protection is comparable to the GT racing cars.

All this for Php26,000? Come off it!

Numerous bloggers claim Volkswagen did a lot of very highly protected testing of this car in Germany, but it was not announced until now where the car would make it’s first appearance. Allegedly, the car was introduced at a VW stockholders meeting as the most economical car in the world.

But the Utility Consumers’ Action Network (UCAN) – a US-based non-profit, public interest consumer advocacy group – claims the bloggers have the price wrong.

UCAN writer Charles Langley says for  600 bucks he wouldn’t mind getting passed by cement trucks, risking his life on the freeway or being outrun by golf carts. But, unfortunately, he says the $600 price tag is fiction.

It is a real car he adds, but the price is closer to US$26,000 (Php1.09m). That sounds more realistic and like most Volkswagens these days, rather pricey.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that the project had been scrapped, but later restarted. It’s critical of the design saying that passengers will have to sit bobsled style with their legs around the driver’s seat. At this stage no information about where the car might be launched have been announced. And there’s no mention as to where the luggage will go.

Oh well, it was a nice thought that I might be able to buy such a cute new car for Php26,000. I’ll keep dreaming.

Hitler’s Bodyguard Gives Up

By Robert Harland
Rochus Misch. Hitler's last  surviving bodyguard

Rochus Misch. Hitler's last surviving bodyguard

Watch any programme about Adolf Hitler and you’ll almost certainly see Rochus Misch happily being interviewed about the Füehrer, especially his last day’s in the famousBerlin bunker.

Misch is Hitler’s last surviving bodyguard. He was by the German dictator’s side for five years and even saw his body after he’d blasted a bullet into his head. It’s believed he is the last of the group that hid in the Führerbunker.

His close association with Hitler has brought him a comfortable living with paid interviews and consultations by film companies including Christopher McQuarrie, the writer who created Valkyrie, the 2008 film about an assassination attempt on Hitler’s life.

Too old at 93 to answer his  fan mail

Too old at 93 to answer his fan mail

While McQuarrie talked to Misch, the film’s star Tom Cruise said: “I didn’t want to meet him. Evil is still evil. I don’t care how old you are.”

Misch has become something of a celebrity and his character has been played in numerous films about the Nazi leader. His memoirs, ‘The Last Witness’, were published in 2008 in Germany and are in the works to become a feature film.

But now at the age of 93 and using a walking frame to move around, he says he can no longer respond to the hundreds of letters he receives from around the world.

He told the Berliner Kurier tabloid that most of the letters are requests for his autograph.

“People write to me from Korea, from Knoxville, Tennessee, from Finland and Iceland — and not one has a bad word to say,” said Misch.

In the past Misch used to send fans autographed copies of wartime photos of himself in a neatly pressed SS uniform. Now the fan mail just piles up in his neat, suburban Berlin home.

Of his wartime experiences he says when Hitler was traveling, he and five other bodyguards would accompany him in a second car.

“But when we were at Hitler’s apartment in the Chancellery we also had other duties. Two of us would always work as telephone operators. With a boss like Hitler, there were always plenty of ‘phone calls”.

Rochus Misch in uniform

Rochus Misch in uniform

After the fall of Berlin Misch was captured by the Red Army and sent to Moscow, where he was questioned and tortured.

After eight years in prison camps he returned to Berlin in 1953. He still lives  in the same two-storey house where he moved with his late wife Gerda in 1942.