The Futura was rounded, with the nose sloping down to meet the sloping side of the windshield. Then it was swept back and combined with two glass side doors that didn’t open or slide like a regular minivan but rather like a four-seat sports car. The glass extended over the roof to the rear window (which could be removed) and created what sounded like a military airfield.

The movie “Top Gun” dropped in May 1986 and was a cultural hit when Futura hit. It wouldn’t be surprising if Volkswagen deliberately created a dangerous environment that would evoke the same lovin’ feelings in consumers.

But Futura didn’t just look dangerous; it had advanced technical equipment that a modern fighter jet would envy. It had an on-board computer that operated the steering system, electric parking brakes, navigation system, and distance sensors. All of this is now standard on almost every car on the road.

The 1.7-liter diesel engine only produced 82 horsepower (not quite as fast as a jet), but it was plenty for a 2,200-pound truck. It also featured a supercharger and an intelligent cooling system that eliminated the need for a cooling pump and fan. In addition, several speakers have been connected to a noise canceling system that muffles the sound of the engine.

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The Futura has yet to be produced, but when Volkswagen’s ID.3 appeared at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, some of its designs were, shall we say, obvious.

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