The great air-cooled models

MORE PROSPERITY. MORE VOLKSWAGEN.

As prosperity grew in Germany, so did people’s expectations in relation to a car. In addition to the compact Beetle, Volkswagen thus built more spacious mid-range models with air-cooled engines to attract new customers, with appealing features, comfortable seats and generously sized boot volume. The Volkswagen 1500 appeared in 1961, before being replaced by the 1600 in 1965. Volkswagen launched the 411 model (Type 4) influenced by Pininfarina in 1968 under the advertising slogan ‘Der Große aus Wolfsburg’ (freely translated: the next big thing from Wolfsburg). Compared to the Beetle, all of these cars are relatively unknown these days. The Volkswagen AutoMuseum is shining a spotlight on them: ‘the great air-cooled models’.

You can see a small selection from this section of the AutoMuseum here:



Type 3 1500 glass model, 1960

Details
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Year of manufacture

1960

Engine

four-cylinder boxer, air-cooled

Power

54 hp / 40 kW

Engine size

1493 cc

Top speed

140 km/h

Production period

1961-1973

From 1961 to 1973, Volkswagen offered what was called the Type 3 – the Large Beetle – in addition to the Beetle (Type 1) and the Bus (Type 2). It was the first attempt to expand the model range into the mid-range segment. The glass model on show was made for trade fairs and other presentations even before the Type 3 was launched. It demonstrates the technology (rear flat engine with twin carburettors) as well as the interior with seats, doors and roof.

Typ 3 1500 Glasmodell (1960)_01
Typ 3 1500 Glasmodell (1960)_02
Typ 3 1500 Glasmodell (1960)_03
Typ 3 1500 Glasmodell (1960)_04
Typ 3 1500 Glasmodell (1960)_05
Typ 3 1500 Glasmodell (1960)_06

Volkswagen 1500 Convertible, 1961

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Year of manufacture

1961

Engine

four-cylinder boxer, air-cooled

Power

45 hp / 33 kW

Engine size

1493 cc

Top speed

125 km/h

Production period

1961–1973 (series)

With the foray into the mid-range segment in the form of the so-called Type 3, there was also talk of a four-seater convertible: the 1500 Convertible was developed by Karmann in Osnabrück and unveiled at the IAA in Frankfurt in 1961. When opened, the top on this vehicle was fully retractable – despite a rear window made of glass. However, the car never made it to the mass production stage. Of the 16 hand-built prototypes, only two are still in existence.

Volkswagen 1500 Cabriolet 01

412 Variant LE, 1973

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Year of manufacture

1973

Engine

four-cylinder boxer, air-cooled

Power

85 hp / 63 kW

Engine size

1795 cc

Top speed

155 km/h

Production period

1968–1974 (type 4 series)

In 1968 the last new car to be fitted with an air-cooled, rear-mounted engine was launched on the market: the Volkswagen 411 (Type 4). One striking technical feature was the monocoque design. The car was renamed the Volkswagen 412 in 1972 following modifications to the front end. The car shown was supplied as a Volkswagen company car on 15 May 1973. It was later bought by motor journalist Joachim Lattke, who donated the vehicle to the Volkswagen AutoMuseum with a total of 184,000 kilometres on the clock.

412 Variant LE 01