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Volkswagen

Volkswagen

Initially intended to be an inexpensive ‘people’s car’, the Volkswagen ‘Beetle’ saloon was developed during the 1930s by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, with ‘encouragement’ from Adolf Hitler. The cars were ready for large-scale production when the Second World War intervened. Amidst the wreckage of the bombed-out Wolfsburg factory, the British officer in charge in 1945 (Major Ivan Hirst) saw…

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Volkswagen 1600 (‘Type 3’)

Volkswagen 1600 (‘Type 3’)

PRICE: £300 - £4000

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Fast Facts

  • Produced:
    1961-73
  • Bodywork:
    Two-door saloon estate
  • Engine:
    Overhead valve ‘flat’ four-cylinder 1493cc 42bhp (later examples 44bhp);1584cc 65bhp
  • 0-60 mph:
    18+ sec
  • Top Speed:
    80+ mph
  • MPG:
    23-30+ mpg

PAST: Interesting variation on the Beetle theme was fastback 1600 (‘Type 3’), which arrived in 1965 and followed on from initial earlier 1500 saloon, which arrived in ’61 plus also sported twin carb S and estate off-shoots. Proper 12V electrics for ’67 with semi auto option and improved rear suspension two years later. Estate versions, designated ‘Variant’ also offered. TE fastback and T Variant models (from 1970) even featured sophisticated fuel injection.

PRESENT: Look at the 1500 Saloon and the 1600 Fastback as a more refined and family-sized Beetle and you won’t go far wrong. They are usually more practical and refined, too while the 1600 has acceptable pace for modern traffic.

FUTURE: Fashion dictates that this Better Beetle has nowhere near the popularity of the proper car so it means fine value although no classic status – or likelihood.

Volkswagen 411/412 (‘Type 4’)

Volkswagen 411/412 (‘Type 4’)

PRICE: £200-£2000+

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Fast Facts

  • Produced:
    1968-75
  • Bodywork:
    Two or four-door saloon estate
  • Engine:
    Overhead valve ‘flat’ four-cylinder 1679cc 80bhp;1795cc 85bhp
  • 0-60 mph:
    16 sec
  • Top Speed:
    80+ mph
  • MPG:
    23-30+ mpg

PAST: Fastback 411 made its debut in late ‘68, in two or four-door saloon form, in each case powered by a twin carb 1.7-litre engine. Fuel-injected E and LE (De Luxe) models from October 1969 featured revised frontal styling, improved interiors and dual circuit brakes. Estates (‘Variant’) available too. Minor revisions in the autumn of 1970 were followed in 1972 by rebadging to 412 LE, with further bodywork and mechanical alterations. Oct 1973 saw the adoption of a 1795cc engine, again with twin carbs.

PRESENT: Another overlooked Better Beetle a 98.5in wheelbase means a roomier alternative, plus benefits from ‘1302’ suspension. A decent drive, fuel injection instills lively performance.

FUTURE: Rare, these individualistic, inexpensive VWs are interesting although have little classic worth.