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The VW TL. Finally appreciation

VW TL
ER Classics Desktop 2022

A VW TL 'Fastback'? That was my first car. As a conscript, I paid 300 guilders for it. The Volkswagen had a few spots, but cleaning the rear brake drums was the biggest job I had on it. But a good driving VW TL for 150 euros? It won't be him anymore either.

In an unexpected place

To see such a VW TL again at a Ford Mustang specialist is surprising. But Harry Heideveld from Zwolle bought the VW from the States because he looked like nice cars. The light blue VW Fastback has run such an 38.500 mile. With his standard 54 horsepower, he is of course no match for the real American Steel in Harry's company, but 'enough is enough'. And those around 54 hp are fed by a Bosch D-Jetronic injection. The 1600 in 1967 was initially only available in the States, but later also in Germany and the surrounding area. The resulting 1600 LE (inspritzung) was thus a pioneer in the field of injection. The VW was the first German series-produced car with fuel injection.


By maintaining the Beetle concept - including the wheelbase - Volkswagen had a large mid-range in the program with this model with limited development costs, with the Ponton and the TL version offering luggage space under both the front door and the tailgate. The reborn boxers had their fan on the crankshaft. That is why the overall height of the engines was very low (approx. 48 cm). The Americans quickly named that power source 'pancake engine'. And the fact that the people at VW had managed the cooling so well was worth a compliment.

Other than the beetle

Such a Type 3 drives very differently from a Beetle. The other torsion bar suspension and the angled rear wishbones make the ride in these Volkswagens much smoother. In addition, the VW feels 'big & mature'. The VW drives unexpectedly dynamic, but quiet, civilized, restrained.

The Ponton (sedan) Fastback and estate car (Variant) had the same performance abbreviations. If there is an 'A' after the 1600 designation, it is about the basic model. Without a letter, the car has decorative moldings, carpet on the floor, two sun visors and a clock. The 'L' indicates that the luxury package is mounted. This includes: reversing lights, rubber strips on the bumpers, a day counter, more luxurious upholstery and better insulation material. Oh yeah; and the "E" stood for Einspritzung. (source “Autotests, Kluwer company information, ISBN 902012915 5)

Technical details VW TL 1600 Fastback

Engine: four-cylinder, air-cooled boxer engine, 1.584 cc, bore x stroke: 85,5 x 69 mm, compression: 7,5: 1, max. Power 54 hp at 4.000 rpm. Max torque 110 Nm at 2.200 rpm. Chassis: Bodywork on chassis plate with backbone. Front suspension: independent with torsion bars. Rear wheel suspension independent with torsion bars. Telescopic shock absorbers all around. Tires: 6.00-15-4PR diagonal, Brakes from a: discs / drums, separate braking circuit. Turning circle: 11,4 m.

Top speed / cruising speed: 115 km / h
L x W x H: 4.368 x 1.605 x 1.470 mm, wheelbase 2.400 mm, track width: 1.310 / 1.350 mm, tank capacity 40 l, luggage capacity: 560 l.

The production

1980 VW 1600s were made in Brazil. But those deviated strongly from The Original. Because Germans keep track of their production numbers better than Italians, we know exactly how many T3s were made: 2.583.015. There were 1.202.483 Variants.

The club: the Air cooled VW Club The Netherlands.

Thanks to Harry Heideveld, Heideveld Classics in Zwolle.

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