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This is one of the most hyperbolic articles I've ever read. I get wanting to make sure VW honors the Scout name and make a proper off-roader but this is a lot.


No, I was not surprised to learn that Volkswagen plans to resurrect the Scout nameplate with electric pickup trucks and SUVs. We live in a world where the Ford Mustang is a V8 sports car and yet also, somehow, a five-door, all-wheel drive EV. Words mean nothing and we live on the worst timeline. There are no graves left to piss on.

Full disclosure: I’m an International guy. My father and his father before him carried Scout II keys in their pockets. I once bought a full-size D-series pickup from an outlaw biker and built a Scout Terra from the remains of 14 other trucks. I asked my wife to marry me on the tailgate of that same machine. Its hood still hangs in my shop and its fender emblem on my Christmas tree. I and the people like me have been waiting for the return of the Scout for 42 years.

Careful what you wish for.


Car and Driver editor Ezra Dyer says Ford originally wanted the Scout name for the new Bronco II, er, Square Escape — sorry, Bronco Sport. Navistar, maker of big commercial trucks and owner of all the dusty stuff left in International Harvester’s attic when that company quit selling passenger cars in 1980, apparently asked some exorbitant amount of money, presumably because internet cesspools like Bring a Trailer have driven Scout II prices to the moon. Someone at Volkswagen Group heard this and strolled into Navistar HQ with one of those giant Ed McMahon checks and bought the whole outfit, just so VW could claim the Scout name for itself.

Ten years ago, that paragraph would have read like Jalop fanfic. Today, it’s no more alarming than if the heavens opened up and bear scat came raining down.

“Ah,” I’d think. “A Tuesday.”

So the Scout’s coming back. And it’s going to be built by Volkswagen. Finally, someone will marry the legendary reliability of the company that brought us “never buy a German car out of warranty” with the American nameplate that made rust a factory feature. I can see the whole scene in my mind: a generic unibody blob, heavy with batteries and motors, lifting a wheel on a manicured off-road course in dead-flat Texas. An army of automotive “journalists” snapping iPhone photos in excitement, as if a lack of articulation is the definition of all-terrain capability, regurgitating hollow words about “heritage” and “prowess.”

My grandfather is lucky he didn’t live to see this.

The whole thing reeks of cowardice. As if the folks at VW don’t trust themselves to build a product people will actually buy without dredging the ‘70s for a sentimentality play. God forbid they try and cash in on that sweet, sweet Wrangler money with an off-road concept of their own.

This is our fault. We let it happen, every one of us. When Mercedes started calling sedans “coupes,” we snickered into our sleeves and let them get away with it. When BMW stuck a bike pump up the Mini Cooper’s ass and went to town, we called it the inevitable march of progress. When Chevrolet gave the legendary Blazer name to this thing, we shrugged. When Ford slapped the Bronco name on a lifted Focus, not one of us batted an eye. That same company claimed that the original Bronco was “America’s first SUV” (it wasn’t; that honor belongs to the Scout) and bent over backwards claiming how proud they were of the first Bronco’s heritage and design, despite murdering that machine dead before most of today’s car writers were born. And no one said a word against them.

We missed our chance. If we’d jailed the first person who called a black bean sandwich a “burger,” maybe none of this would have happened.

We have collectively agreed that nothing matters. That any manufacturer can bastardize any nameplate without a worry or backlash. No wonder no one gives a shit about cars. They don’t mean anything now. With a few dwindling exceptions, every product by every manufacturer is essentially interchangeable. Pry the badges off of today’s typical cars and even dedicated enthusiasts will have a hard time telling them apart.

Volkswagen has never produced an off-road SUV worth a single damn, Touareg and Cayenne included. Why not have them build a new Scout? Why not add to the jaded EV SUV cash grab? Hummer, Cybertruck, VW Scout. The three horsemen of everything we deserve.

It’s happening for the same reason the last three Star Wars movies sucked ass. Because no one involved in their production cared about anything but getting paid. They could not tell you why Star Wars mattered — just as, I promise you, no one involved in VW’s Scout resurrection ever owned one before they became rich-boy fetish objects and Instagram porn. No VW honcho has put a Scout II up against a tree, or pinched off a rear brake hose with Vise-Grips to get home. They haven’t marveled as the machine drug itself up out of a creek bed with four flat tires and the body busted in two, doors hanging open. They haven’t stood awestruck as a cornbinder started right up after 20 years of sitting in a field, eager to keep kicking.

This new Scout won’t be any of that. It’ll be a disposable thing for disposable people. A Starbucks errand car. The shitshow’s coming, and it’ll be just another Tuesday.
 

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VW did not buy Navistar to get the Scout model nameplate. VW bought Navistar to strengthen their heavy truck business. VW owns Scania and MAN along with truck bus business in Brazil all under the Traton group. The Scout name was just something that came along for the ride.
 

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I read that article yesterday, and reread it again now, and you know what? I get his point, but Zach wrote a lot but hasn't said anything.

I don't know squat about (presumably) the SSP platform. Zach doesn't mention it.

What if VW looked at Rivian and thought "we can do that!" and that's the direction they're proceeding. Would that be good enough for Zach? Would that live up to the glory of this former International nameplate?

Of course it'll be an exercise in nostalgia. That won't make it bad – if it's bad it'll be bad.
 

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Well, you won't have to worry about it for at least 4 years - And if VW's timelines for getting things done are still the same by then, maybe 5 or 6 years. They may still be trying to fill ID.4 backorders by 2026
 

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I dunno, they were on the money with the ID.4 rollout and only delayed half a year with the ID.3.

They're learning valuable lessons, and I imagine with 3-4 years remaining, it's conceivable we'll see the SSP arrive on schedule.
 

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The article is certainly clickbait. But given his family heritage, the author has a right to be skeptical.
On the whole, I think we as a society put too much trust in brands instead of in products. Brands are even personified now, they talk to us and we talk back to them. When did a nameplate get a voice?:rolleyes:
 

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Yeah, he's 'young', LOL. See How to turn your hood into wall art (autoblog.com) from 2012, he's in the last picture at the bottom.

I mean, I understand his point... I 'came of age' in a hand-me-down Jeep J10 pickup truck in the late 80's, vintage circa about 1980.

There is an affinity in my heart for that truck: overhauled it with my father and the shop teacher at school (who a few years later was killed too young in an auto accident, leaving a wife and 2 kids) as a young teen. Drove my then high school girlfriend around in it probably proudly, her sitting close to me in the middle of the flat bench seat (at 50, who the hell remembers how they felt at 16?? LOL). It was a POS, but it was 'my POS'. And I knew how to fix just about everything on it. Never mind that it was a horrible vehicle, cobbled together as AMCs were in those days from a part bin of Ford, Chrysler, and GM parts, along with a lot of the same Dana-based drivetrain as the Scout. Not interchangeable parts mind you, but bin parts nonetheless. The engine block, a Ford, was painted blue by that same shop teacher under the insistence that if we did so 'it (the truck) would think it was a Ford and might actually run'. My uncle stripped the carb emission stuff off of it when he owned it new as it made the truck 'anemic'. And it was still anemic afterward, despite being a 4x4. The new Jeep pickup is 'an abomination' by comparison. There is a strong nostalgia for such things rooted in the time spent and the era lived.

And no, regardless of who we mention (Scout, Jeep, Bronco, etc.), we aren't going back there. shrug That ship has sailed, those cars are gone, and while they hold fond memories, they were shittily built, leaked like sieves, drank gas like a sailor on shore leave, and rusted like the old coffee can your grandfather kept the extra house key 'hidden in' out in the garage. That same grandfather had a 1949 Ford truck that sat for years on the farm, out in the pasture just rotting away. But my grandfather kept it because several of the parts for the motor were the same ones that kept the old Ford Farmall tractor running for brush hogging, putting out hay, and the like. I learned to drive a stick on that tractor to some extent (later highly polished by a dear family friend, the high school janitor, in his early 1980's Toyota 2-wheel drive pickup, a six-pack of beer (for him), and a Missouri country road on a weekend). Dad and I wanted to fix that truck up, I wanted badly to hot rod it and paint it Candy Apple Red. My grandmother talked him into selling it for $300 to someone else.

No, for each of us, there was never a better age than the one each of us lives in. And those other cars each lived in times with their own crappy societal problems that we tend to gloss over in the nostalgia of our own experience. I may not be able to drive my ID.4 out in the back 20 of the family farm, rocks and ruts be dammed, by god. But my garage doesn't smell of the mix of gas, oil, and gear lube that my dearly departed grandparent's garage still smells of to this day. I don't worry about running over something in the road due to the impotent light put out by the halogen replacement bulbs of the day. Who needs air conditioning (that's for sissies)? And who the hell still listens to only AM radio on a single speaker in the sun cracked dash???
 

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Maybe I should write an article called "I Fear the Volkswagen ID.Pacer Will Be a Cowardly Joke" and see if I can get it published by Jalopnik. ;)

Because I firmly believe that other people should deeply care about what I fear a carmaker is going to do when they electrify a classic vehicle from the golden past...
 

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My dad owned one of those too. Blue with the bubble windows.

Along with a Chevy Citation 6 cylinder, a 1970's model Capri Classic with a truck motor and sweaty/cold vinyl seats, a 1980's full size Dodge Van with a crappy 318 and even worse slush box that pinged like mad without premium fuel, and any number of other 'turds of high distinction' in addition to the aforementioned Jeep pickup truck. LOL My grandfather (his Dad) was an Olds man. Drove a '78 Olds until the rear floorboards rusted out along with a GMC truck of about the same vintage.

Not all at the same time mind you, but throughout my childhood. Someday's its a wonder we all survived or at least still have all our teeth from not slamming into the steel dash after not wearing seatbelts and sliding off the virgin vinyl seats in the cold weather. :)

 

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I think the world badly needs electric versions of all the classics: Rambler, Corvair, Vega, Pacer, Pinto, Gremlin, Aztek.

And I'm extremely disappointed that VW (or whoever) hasn't announced any plans to do it... yet. Hey, if people are waxing nostalgic about a POS vehicle like the Scout, anything’s possible. Panel gaps were the least of its problems — more like panel canyons.
 
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I think the cool thing about the current EV revolution is that it makes anything possible. After decades of near-stagnation, all sorts of crazy ideas can find an audience and possibly a market. Just yesterday I watched a Fully Charged episode about an Estonian micro car that is simultaneously nostalgic and super efficient, and it's a three-wheeler. It's great to be alive right now!
 

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Not to mention so many recent ICE advancements have involved complicated valve timing and power delivery and transmission gearing arrangements that are invisible to the eye and understood by few, and it feels like electric platforms have suddenly freed designers (and budgets?) to get away from that minutia and be whimsical.

Maybe it's nothing to do with electric, maybe it's just the time we're in, but I'm enjoying it!
 

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