Monday, December 5, 2016

Type 3: The Second-Generation Volkswagen

Volkswagen management wisely realized that the Beetle would not be a top-seller forever.  So a larger, more powerful model was planned during the late 1950s.  Retained was the Beetle's rear mounted, air-cooled motor layout, but otherwise the new car abandoned 1930s styling for more contemporary features.

This new model, variously known as the Type 3, 1500 or 1600, was produced 1961-1973 (Wikipedia entry here).


The first Type 3s features notchback or bustleback styling.  I think the greenhouse is too soft in the C-pillar - backlight zone.  The wheels are commendably large (I dislike tiny wheels), and the front is sensibly styled.

The rear three-quarter view highlights what I consider the greenhouse weakness.  The lower body, thanks to the essentially straight side character line and fender profile is fairly crisp, though tempered by the curved front trunk profile and the slightly rounded bustle seen here.  As mentioned, the greenhouse strikes me as being too soft and, at the C-pillar, flimsy looking.  A more substantial C-pillar and a bit less back window curvature might have corrected this.

In 1962 the Squareback (station wagon, break) model was introduced.  The very nature of this kind of body eliminated the weaknesses of the notchback model's styling.

Then in 1966 a fastback version appeared.  Its styling was nice, so I have few quibbles to make.

Actually, the only change I'd be temped to make would be to shorten the aft side windows, most likely employing a dog-leg, BMW-type end treatment.  As the photo shows, the window extends abaft of the top of the rear seat, so there would be no adverse effect on back-seat passengers' views.

Rear three-quarter photo.  The Type 3 has a nice, trim appearance from this viewing angle.

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