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b+b Design Cabriolets

1980

Buchmann und Buchmann.  B+B Auto Exclusiv. BB Autotechnik. BB Auto. bb.  B+B.  Or b+b. While known under numerous names,  b+b was founded in 1974 by brothers, Rainer and Dieter Buchmann.  Together with designer Eberhard Schulz and other valuable employees, the Frankfurt, Germany-based company produced cars that were ahead of their time.  The most well-known b+b vehicles are the 1977 Porsche 911 Turbo Targa (dubbed "Rainbow") built for the Polaroid film/camera company, and the 1978 Mercedes-powered mid-engine CW311 (a one-off concept designed by Schultz, that went on to become the 1984-1993 Isdera Imperator 108i).  During the latter half of the 1970's, b+b's creations were featured in magazines the world over, in addition to being stars in the film Carnapping.  However, due to lagging demand and increased competition in the tuning industry, and with Mr. Schultz moving on to found Isdera, b+b went out of business in 1986.  Rainer Buchmann has since revived b+b, debuting another Porsche 911 Turbo Targa in 2014, this one with a more monochromatic decor and dubbed "Moonracer":

While most known for their work with Porsches, b+b dabbled with Volkswagens as well.  In 1979-1980, ten otherwise plain-Jane Golfs went into b+b's facility and came out reborn with fancy iridescent paint (called Iriodin and developed by Merck; the Golfs were the first automobiles to use this special coating), custom interiors, hi-fi audio systems and modern electronics.  Out of these ten Golfs, four were Cabriolets: VA-10 (Diamant), VA-20 (Beryll), VA-90 (Onyx), and VA-100 (Iriodin).

All of these Golfs were fitted with BBS body kits and badgeless dual-round headlight grilles.  However, while the hatchbacks retained their round fender flare appearance with the popular BBS body kit (#25.001), the four Cabriolets received a square version (which is rather rare), along with sporting color-matched BBS wheels.  The bodies also wore b+b decals, the fenders displaying each car's individual paint color.  The Cabriolets were given special iridescent-patterned convertible tops (nicknamed "shower caps" by employees) and matching top boots.  Each car was also equipped with a spare 10 liter spare fuel tank in the trunk.

   

Inside, each car received unique upholstery designs, with the electric front Recaros having multifunction, multi-position controls with memory. Each car had a variation of available technology, which included hi-fi stereo systems with multiple speakers (Blaupunkt, Sony and Clarion), car phones, electronic instrument cluster (DINFOS, b+b's precursor to VDO's MFA clusters), and Blaupunkt's ALI traffic monitoring/route info system… these cars were quite modern in their day.  

 

Onyx (VA-90) on the left, Iriodin (VA-100) on the right

   

Left two photos: Diamant's (VA-10) first dash (early 1980).  Right photo: Diamant's second dash (late 1980).


Sometime in early 1981 (possibly late 1980), VA-20 underwent a complete change for the March, 1981 Geneva International Auto Show:

It's bright green Beryll Iriodin paint, seen in left photo, was changed to a darker grayish green iridescent paint, the dark green being b+b's new company color up through 1985/1986.  The convertible top and interior were also changed from a dark color to white/cream.


These cars were used primarily for trade shows and other promotional events.  The cars were great advertising for all companies involved in creating the Golfs: b+b, BBS, Blaupunkt, Clarion, Sony, Recaro, etc.

If you were impressed by the demonstrations back in 1980-1981 and desired the same treatment for your car, it would have cost you a small fortune:

DINFOS: DM 7900.00

Iridescent paint for the body: DM 4950.00

Iridescent paint for the body kit & wheels: DM 680.00

BBS body kit: DM 1580.00

Iridescent convertible top: DM 2600.00

Recaro front seats: price varies depending on seat style (DM 860-2060.00)

Matching rear seat: price varies depending on seat style (DM 960-1900.00)

Wheels: price varies depending on wheel brand/style – BBS, ATS, Seral (DM 792-992.00 per set of 4)

Tires: price varies (DM 990-1140.00 per set of 4)

Bilstein suspension: DM 1480.00 per set of 4

Clarion G80 sound system: DM 2391.00

And ^that's not the complete list of options.  If we total up ^that list, however, using all of the highest prices, we get a grand sum of DM 27,673.00!  That translates into $12,245 in 1981.  Keep in mind, the car itself cost around $9,000 from VW back then.  If you desired the ultimate in Golfs, it was going to cost you big.  

So, what happened to these ten Golfs?  Around the time that b+b went bankrupt, they were sold off, one by one, to private owners.  Where are they all now?  Extensive research has turned up nothing… no one knows their ultimate fates and none of have appeared on car forums, which does not bode well for these very unique cars.  If anyone out there does have information leading to their whereabouts and such, let me know!

Many hands took part in creating these marvels.  The b+b team, in  part:

Rainer Buchmann: owner and head of marketing/public relations

Dieter Buchmann: owner, salesman, problem-solver, human resources master (made the company team into a family)

Uta Ihmsen: affectionately known as Aunt Ihmi, she was Rainer's right-hand business woman

Eberhard Schulz: Development engineer whose technical knowledge was invaluable, creator of the CW311

Heinz Hofmeister: Shop manager

Peter Baumbach: Brilliant problem-solver

Manuel: Sheet metal master

Michael Becker: Research and development, marketing professional

Mr. Roggendorf: Electronics master

Norbert Rondorf: Leather master

Willi Deißendorf : Paintwork wizard


This page is merely an overview.  For more detailed information about the b+b Golfs, please download the magazine articles linked at left.


Website:

www.bb-frankfurt.com

Books

Die schönsten Autos der Welt (authors: Peter Vann, Dirk Maxeiner; pages 108-124; ISBN 3-87943-964-8)

bb Rainer Buchmann: Innovation, Design, Emotion (author: Gerold Lingnau; ISBN 978-3-86852-938-8)

Links/References:

http://www.wolfsburg-edition.info/wbb3/technik-board/allgemeines-zum-thema-auto/57039-golf-2-mit-multifunktionslenkrad-und-dinfos/

http://www.carpassion.com/forum/thema/11398-unternehmen-fa-bb/?page=1


Literature:

Car & Driver (en)

Automobil Revue (ger)

Adieu Tristesse (fr)

Gute Fahrt (ger)

Motor Magazine (en)



Original MSRP:

ca. $25,000


Anyone know the whereabouts of any these Golfs?  Let me know if you do!