In 1968 the Beetle was highly dated and the market begged for a bigger, more luxurious and modern car. And according to VW, that newcomer had to compete seriously with, for example, the Opel Rekord, of which Opel sold about 300.000 of them annually. The Ford Taunus 17M and the Peugeot 504 were clearly cars whose sales successes irritated the Wolf burgers. The Volkswagen Type 4 was produced as Volkswagen 411 from 1968 to 1972 and as Volkswagen 412 built from 1972 to 1974.
The car was marketed as a two- or four-door sedan and a three-door Variant. That Variant version became popular because you could fit almost an entire household in it. The Volkswagen 411/412 was a more spacious middle-class car than the previously available 1500/1600. And it was the largest air-cooled Volkswagen all time. It was 6,5 cm longer than the VW bus.
Rare, not expensive
The car is now a great example of classics, their rarity and their value. Because: Rare = Expensive. Well, that's the idea. Volkswagens restarting to the larger luxury class is now quite rare. There are still fewer than 85 on the license plate in the Netherlands. But one Volkswagen 411/412 is not (yet) priceless. However, the current approach is "Find one".
Completely according to tradition, this car was also powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled boxer engine. Both aspects were already somewhat dated at the time. A 1679 cm³ and a 1795 cm³ version were available.
This line of large, luxury VWs was the first VW with a self-supporting body. The McPherson struts were not yet fully harmoniously incorporated into the concept. They were actually a bit 'too steep'. And that was a contribution to the somewhat unusual handling of the large VW.
The car had a fastback-like shape and the design had a serious tension. The back was drawn by Pininfarina, but the front came from 'own house' and actually looked quite ... Well ... clumsy. At the Volkswagen As we shall see, this was handled more elegantly. The double headlights made the car a lot more serious and the 412 lost its Playmobile muzzle. The interior was okay and the spring comfort was not wrong.
But otherwise, this series of VWs remained a bit different
With the four-cylinder 1,7-liter boxer of 68 hp, the large VW was in fact under-motorized. That made him very thirsty. And to reach the acceleration time to the top speed of 145 kilometers per hour, you needed a grandfather clock rather than a stopwatch.
Once up to speed, the VW was also very noisy inside
And the weight distribution over the wheels meant that every rider bought an option that was not on the list: A sandbag for the trunk in the nose. Experts later came up with a more subtle approach: concrete in the spare wheel well. But even with that ballast in the nose, the handling remained adventurous. Because when cornering you had to be careful. Initially, the Volkswagen 411 really had to be pushed into the bend, but if that at too high a speed. As if on a slippery road surface, the understeer suddenly turned into enthusiastic upset.
Despite the limited power, you could just end up backwards in the verge. Just like carting. How wrong the handling of these VW's actually was: Gijs van Lennep drove the Monte Carlo Rally a few times.
More articles about Volkswagen Through this link
Also interesting to read:
- Volkswagen 1600 variant
- Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Cabriolet restoration
- Volkswagen Golf. The history of the first generation
- Volkswagen Polo. The great car love of Koen IJff
- The NSU that became Volkswagen: the VW K70