Type 3 Times Two – 1971 VW Squareback & 1972 VW Fastback

Having recently read something about the pancake-engine Type 3 Volkswagens having more power, which I realize may be untrue, I got inspired to try to find one of these for sale within the RustyButTrusty budget (about $3K). Oddly enough for something called a Volkswagen, these are not really priced for das Volk, either being complete heaps with body or mechanical damage and 3-figure prices, or restored/survivor cars in the high 4-figure or low 5-figure range. I was also hoping for the earlier 1960s Type 3 with the more delicate lights and chrome bumpers that give much more of a 1960s European family car feeling. My other mistaken assumption was the oddball Type 3 cars would be more reasonable, much like many other cars documented here. But, no such luck, so I looked at the 1970s cars. Even that was hard, but I did manage to find a couple of interesting examples.

The main feature is a 1971 VW Squareback in yellow. There’s been recent work to the interior and the injectors, and it only seems to have one small dent. Notice the quad (!!!) exhaust tips poking out the rear end. The VW logo is in an odd location at the lower left corner of the hatch, and the wheels are mismatched, so I’d check for previous crash damage repair. The pale yellow does lend it a bit of the feel of the earlier cars – the later ones tended to show up in more bright colors like orange. Find this car in Priest River/Newport, WA, near Spokane, for $2400.

1971 VW Squareback right

As the owner emphasized, the interior is pretty clean. There’s what looks to be a fold of material sticking out of the back seating area, but other than this the car looks good from the inside. Paint in the door jamb is matching, and this car hasn’t yet suffered the all-too-common flat black rattle can job.

1971 VW Squareback interior

The other side looks clean too. Notice that huge Rubbermaid bin in the trunk – these cars have tons of storage, what with the front and rear trunks. Not really too much to say about this car – for the price, it looks to be a clean driver. As usual, you should check the pans and other rust areas these cars tend to have, but western Washington has a pretty dry climate, so cars should do well there.

1971 VW Squareback left

Once you’re resigned to choosing a later Type 3, you might as well go all out and get one of the crazy 1970s colors people bought after tripping on LSD just a year or two before. This particular car is more appealing for being the more unusual Fastback, and is equipped with Empi 8-spoke wheels in contrasting black, twin webers, and lowered suspension. Recent work includes a low-mileage engine. new brakes, fitted seat covers, and a new 12v generator. Seller wants to put the money into his bus, which suggests he’s a VW nut and might have taken good care of the car. Find it in Forth Worth, TX for $2350.

1972 VW Fastback

For those of you who have owned one and aren’t knee-deep in air-cooled VWs, I’d love to hear an outsider’s perspective on what these are like to drive. My experience with these is limited to a later Karmann Ghia I drove 15 years ago, so I’d wonder if these would be fun for someone coming from Alfas & other Italian stuff… drop me a comment!

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6 Responses to “Type 3 Times Two – 1971 VW Squareback & 1972 VW Fastback”

  1. Roger Says:

    I drove a “squareback” in tough condition for a couple of months in the late 80’s. It was the middle of winter and I remember being Cold, with the capital “C”. However, it was an amusing car and I have been glancing at them in the classifieds in my search for a “cheap” winter car.

    Don’t forget the “notchback” and 411 and 412 variety as well, they’re all interesting period pieces now.

    Examples of the “4” cars.

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/1477035598.html

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/1477034046.html

    • Chris Keen Says:

      I looked at 411 and 412 cars, but they’re pretty thin on the ground these days. Someone who lived near where I grew up drove a 4-door fastback for the longest time with the license plate “ARIANE”. Not as good looking as the Type 3s, although weirdness has its own appeal… and it’s not so clear how these didn’t cannibalize each other’s sales, not that that’s relevant for someone considering one today.

  2. Roger Says:

    Chris:

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/cto/1504872984.html

  3. Rick Addison Says:

    I have a 71 square stationary windows all around rear no pop outs for rear? So my ? Is how do I in stall pop outs I have a set the latches where u put the 3 screws to the body r recessed into body so the latch fits secure but the screw hole is smaller than the factory punched hole do how do u mount latch? Is there a clip or something for the body hole to secure the screw? Like the finders use a clip the secure finder . How do u install side window pop out?

  4. Rick Addison Says:

    I have a 71 square stationary windows all around rear no pop outs for rear? So my ? Is how do I in stall pop outs I have a set the latches where u put the 3 screws to the body r recessed into body so the latch fits secure but the screw hole is smaller than the factory punched hole n body how do u mount latch? Is there a clip or something for the body hole to secure the screw? Like the finders use a clip to secure the finder to body. How do u install side window pop outs?

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