The EA128 was Volkswagen’s vision for a large luxury car. The four-door vehicle was marketed as a six-passenger vehicle (albeit a tight fit) and was powered by a 2.0 liter air-cooled horizontally opposed engine borrowed from the Porsche 911, which also debuted in 1963.
While developing the Type 4, which made its debut in 1968, Volkswagen experimented with various body styles, including this elegant EA 142. The rear engine hatchback sported the same 1.7-liter engine that would appear in the production version of the Type 4.
This was the inspiration for the original Golf, which was sold as the Rabbit in the U.S. The front-wheel-drive hatchback was boxier than many of the other Beetle replacements. Though this car is outfitted with the same air-cooled flat-four-cylinder engine as the Beetle, VW changed to a four-cylinder, water-cooled inline engine before releasing the Rabbit in 1974.
One of the more innovative replacement candidates was the EA266. It was developed with assistance from Porsche and a team led by Ferdinand Piëch, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, who would later become Chairman of the Volkswagen group in 1993. The mid-engine hatchback features a water-cooled four-cylinder 1.6-liter engine mounted under the rear seat in a longitudinal configuration with the transaxle directly behind it to save space. Despite the sporty design and Porsche DNA, the EA266 fell short of the assembly line – destined for the museum floor instead.