VW Type 3 1500/1600
Model Features and History


April 1961
1500 Notchback, 'Station Car' and Convertible announced (convertible never entered production). Engine 1493 cc, 7.2:1 CR, 53 bhp at 4,000 rpm with side-draft 32 PHN carb; torque exceeds 80 ft.lbs between 1,500 and 2,800 rpm. 6-volt electrics, side parking lamps, variable speed wipers. Swing-axle half-shafts; twin lower full-width torsion bars on front; two brake cylinders per front wheel; opening rear side windows, central rear armrest on Notchback.

August 1963
Notchback and Variant (Squareback) available with either 1500N (54 bhp at 4,200 rpm, 7.8:1 CR, torque 83.2 ft.lbs. at 2,800 rpm, 33.5 mpg, max. speed 78 mph) or 1500S (twin carbs 32-PDSIT2/3 66 bhp at 4,800 rpm, 8.5:1 CR, torque 83.9 ft.lbs. at 3,000 rpm, 36 mpg, max. speed 84 mph). Brake lining area increased. 'N' models have single-speed wipers, no parking lights, small front indicator 'bullets', pre-heated intake air, opening quarter lights optional extra.
'S' models have extra chrome trim on side front and rear, wheel trims, passenger outside door-lock, larger rear lights and chromed reflector housing, opening rear side windows, clock, door pockets, side arm-rests and two rear ashtrays, push-button control switch panel, headlamp flashers, second sun-visor, rear interior light, passenger door mirror (Variant or Squareback). No intake air pre-heater.

August 1964
Models as in Aug 1963, except torque quoted as "over 72.3 ft.lbs. in range 1500-2800 rpm".

August 1965
Fastback introduced as 1600TL, and Variant (Squareback) 1600. New 1600 engine (1584 cc, 65 bhp, 7.7:1 CR, 86.8 ft.lbs. at 2,800 rpm, 84 mph max, 34 mpg). Front disc brakes fitted. Weighted flap pre-heater for intake air. Exhaust muffler has detachable upper heat exchangers. Trim as 1500S.

August 1967
Models now 1600A and 1600L Notchback, 1600TL Fastback, 1600A and 1600L Variant (Squareback). 1600 twin carb engine now quoted as 31.5 mpg. 'L' models have Automatic option, which includes double-joint rear axle (max speed 81 mph, 29 mpg). '1600A' models have the 54 bhp 1500 engine (!), and less trim. All models gain dual circuit brake system, 12-volt electrics, safety steering column, two-speed wipers with 15" blades, flexible plastic knobs on switches and vent-wing catches, front-seat backrest release knobs, trigger door handles, larger outside mirror, external fuel filler flap with finger-hole (non-lockable). As 'L' extras:- head restraints, HRW, hazard flashers, reversing lights.

August 1968
Electronic Fuel Injection introduced; double-joint rear axle, internal filler release, hazard flashers. FI Automatic 30 mpg. Radial tyres and petrol heater as extras.

August 1969
Long-fronted models introduced; extra luggage space, Europa bumpers, larger front flashers and rear light units, fresh air box and dashboard modified, bonnet springs replace torsion bar mechanism, inner wings gain external re-inforcement panels. 1600T, TA and TL Fastback, 1600A and L Variant (Squareback).

August 1970
1600TA and TE Fastback, 1600A and E Variant (Squareback); now with rear ventilation slots. 'E' models have FI, HRW, side trim, carpeting, passenger sun-visor, clock. Thermostatic intake pre-heater for twin carbs.

August 1971
Increased brake pad area with early 411 calipers, 'Computer Diagnosis' socket, larger bore single-piece damper/tailpipe, longer outside door-lock triggers (wiggly) and deeper door recess, black-faced instruments, four-spoke steering wheel, wash-wipe lever on column with single wipe option, anti-burst lock on Variant (Squareback) tailgate, aluminium painted indicators, cut-away corners on front bumpers.

April 1972
Centre rail seats; front footwell heater outlets controlled from tunnel. Black wiper arms and blade holders, late May 1972.   Bonnet (hood) and boot-lid (trunk) badge simplified with brushed finish.   No further changes in August 1972 for 1973 models.

General Features


Strengths:-
Spacious body and luggage capacity; good braking; heating air thermostats; engine and gearbox parts common to Beetle; separate body and floorpan.

Weaknesses:-
Cylinder heads crack; overheating; gearbox problems; twin-carb plugs inaccessible; rust traps are front wings, inner wings, rear lower seat-belt mounts, jacking-points, sills, spare wheel housing, later fresh-air boxes, bumper mounts.

Figures:-
Wheelbase 94.5" Track f/r 51.6"/53.2" Overall length 170.9" Height 57.9" Width 63.2" (64.6" with side parking lamps)
Weight Sedan 2227 lbs/1010 kg(unladen) 3109 lbs/1410 kg (laden)
Variant (Squareback) 2281 lbs/1035 kg(unladen) 3274 lbs/1485 kg (laden)
Trailer 1025 lbs (unbraked) 1433 lbs (braked)
Luggage Front compartment 6.5 cu ft (-1969) 7.8 cu ft (1970-)
Rear compartment Notchback 7 cu ft Fastback 12 cu ft
Variant (Squareback) 24.7 cu ft 42.4 cu ft (back seat folded)
Details extracted mainly from UK brochures; other variations were on sale elsewhere.

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VW Type 3 & 4 Club; 1998

Unless written permission in advance is obtained from the author, Dave Hall, extracts and information may only be used for non-commercial purposes.