Volkswagen Type III Reviews from North America

1970 Volkswagen Type III Fastback 1.6L carburated

Model year1970
Year of manufacture1969
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 1.6L carburated Automatic
Performance marks 2 / 10
Reliability marks 0 / 10
Comfort marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.0 / 10
Distance when acquired46389 miles
Most recent distance46401 miles
Previous carFord Mustang

Summary:

When you buy a classic, be prepared

Faults:

At some point the fuel injection broke, so it was switched to dual-carbs (like almost every 70's VW).

Rarely shifted into 3rd gear.

Engine was running on 3 cylinders.

Brakes barely worked.

The car's entire electrical system was toast; had to hot-wire it to start.

Plastic blinkers and tail lights were cracked.

Rust everywhere.

The levers for both trunks were starting to give out (this I expected, due to age).

Steering wheel wasn't in the dash all of the way.

Steering had a bit of a dead space in the center.

One wheel could not hold air due to rust.

Nothing in the dash worked (this I expected for the age)

Smoked due to oil leaking in the engine bay.

Radio didn't work (no surprise, I'd actually rather have a bad radio than a bad custom radio/speaker hack job).

General Comments:

Looked neat, but it'd be better as a display piece.

Rear-engine set up causes some awkward feelings during driving.

Headliner was in great shape, strangely.

I test drove this thing, knowing that the electrical stuff would need to be fixed, and the brakes. Everything else came AFTER spending time with this thing.

Parts are hard to find, and are often a bit high, even the Chinese re-production parts.

Turning radius was disappointingly wide for a RWD, but on the plus side, the car was a tad quicker than I expected.

The VW community isn't the most helpful sometimes; questions will go unanswered, and they tend to be a bit greedy.

It's crucial with these old cars, that you have a good amount of room in the engine bay. This didn't have that much room, thanks to the engine being under the rear-trunk.

If you want an old VW, buy a Beetle; they're easier to fix, and parts are easier to find.

When it comes to costs vs reward, I don't believe that it's wise to invest into these old VWs.

If you want a unique classic car to fix up that will reward you for your work, buy something that's Japanese, and make sure that it's stock. The parts may be difficult to find, but the communities are nicer and the cars are better.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd May, 2012

15th May 2012, 15:30

Did you actually buy this thing or was your entire review based on a 12 mile test drive?

1972 Volkswagen Type III Squareback 1.6 FI

Model year1972
Year of manufacture1972
First year of ownership1972
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 1.6 FI Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired6 miles
Most recent distance155000 miles

Summary:

This car was a real work horse and joy to drive!

Faults:

Shortly after purchase, during scheduled maintenance, the dealer replaced all fuel injectors under warranty.

At about 35,000 mile intervals, the generator would need serious service or replacement. Probably because of heavily used air conditioning on a stock electrical system.

At about 95,000 miles, a valve burned off and virtually destroyed the engine. Replaced with a VW rebuilt engine. (just like new)

At 155,000 miles (13 years) I retired the car to be a restoration project. Original upholstery was in bad shape, paint was faded, oil consumption was a problem, occasional ignition problems.

General Comments:

This was a versatile car. It would go camping in the mountains loaded with a camping trailer, camping gear, two kids, two adults and a dog.

Steering was always quick and very easy to handle.

Dealer installed A/C worked very well.

Maintenance was very easy, particularly with the computer diagnostic plug.

Highway driving was comfortable for front seat passengers and sometimes a little crowded for rear passengers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th July, 2007

1973 Volkswagen Type III 1.6

Year of manufacture1973
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 1.6 Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired38611 miles
Most recent distance41662 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Type II

Summary:

An excellent, honest, humble, loyal little car

Faults:

A no-start was traced to a loose connector at the manifold sensor.

General Comments:

An excellent little road car. Bravely slices and dices urban traffic, just a little anemic when you need to point and squirt. The little 165 tires hung on good when I pulled off the accelerate-on-the-diminishing radius onramps to see if the Hyundai would keep up with me which it would not.

Settles in very nicely at 73-75 mph with a decent pull in 3rd gear to 50 mph as you enter the onramp (it'll give you 60 in 3rd briefly), it has a rather busy chassis movement on CA expansion joints and very nice communicative steering, the key is to ignore most of the feedback or you'll find yourself correcting things that need no correction. The rubber suspension mountings do add a little rear wheel steering tendency to any chassis loading. An avoidant swerve to miss a large piece of truck tire had the suspension seemingly coiling up against its rubber. When the transient swerve came in, the car was a little too happy to assume an oversteering attitude. A little unnerving at first. Wind was not an issue, it pushes the front end a little, but never did it threaten to shove the car into an adjacent lane.

This particular Type III was a real pussycat in traffic. I refuse to try to keep up with the stupid acceleration into the next clot of brake lights like so many people do. So, like in the bus, some people behind me were not expecting my 1st/2nd shift at 15 mph when they were all ready to launch up to speed seamlessly.

Days on end, this car grabs you with its plucky loyalty on the road. You get in on day nine of freeway driving with the same sort of anticipation as day two. When the temperatures plummeted in eastern Texas, I discovered that the heat is truly fierce. It burned my bananas right in half on the floor behind the driver's seat.

A surprise to me, the dowdy little Type III engenders as many comments and recollections as the bus does. It is an air-cooled VW in every way.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th February, 2007

15th Nov 2013, 14:54

I have the same car. It does have some rust issues, which I'm going to fix soon enough. Otherwise, this car is the rest of my life!

Average review marks: 7.0 / 10, based on 9 reviews