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All Tests

Type 3

VW Type 3 (notchback/hatchback),1500/1500 S/1600, Flat-4, 1,493/1,584 cm3 (83.0/85.5 mm * 69 mm), 7.2/8.5/7.7 : 1, 1/2 flat/downdraught carburetor/D-Jetronic, axial fan, 106/110 Nm, 2000/2200/min, 33/40 kW (45/54 hp), 4000/4200/4000/min, rear engine, longitudinal, four-speed, three-speed automatic, 4.23/2.4/1.61/1.48 m, double crank arms, torsion bar suspension, stabiliser, double-jointed swing axle, torsion bar suspension, worm-roller, 6.00 - 15/165 SR 15 (4.5''), body and frame bolted together, 900-1,035 kg, Variant +30 kg, approx. 125-135 km/h, 1961 - 1973, 6,400-9,455 DM

After all, around 2.5 million of the rather unloved Type 3 are built. Why is it unloved? Probably most likely because it looks so conventional. But if you look at the prototype below, you can see an enormous development, because this one looks really sad. The technology is based on that of the Beetle, but it's by no means as backward as the shape would lead you to believe.

Let's make it very simple for ourselves. Let's pretend that we keep the complete floor system. The front and rear axles are attached to it, as well as the gearbox and the fuselage engine. So far, there is no fundamental difference. Now we tilt the spare wheel in front of the front axle slightly at first and in later versions a little more forward to get of more space there . And at the rear, all attachments that significantly increase the engine's height are dropped.

You will have realised by now that we have to keep the wheelbase but add something to the front and rear. At the front because of the new spare wheel situation, combined with a in the rear because of the cooling system together with the heating and exhaust system. The fan wheel is now attached to the rear end of the crankshaft. Axial blower is what this is called. The cooling air now no longer flows from above, but from behind past the cylinders and the cylinder heads.

And why all this? Because we want additional luggage space in the back as well. Take the Transporter as an example. The floor above the engine is getting lower and lower and the tailgate is extended downwards more and more. Now it is also possible to have a Variant, which is the VW designation for an estate car. It is so popular that so popular that even the later real estate car, the VW Passat, benefits from it.

It's amazing how flat you can build a four-cylinder boxer engine. Later, with the first Transporter Diesel, we will see how much you have to tilt an in-line engine to the side to achieve the same overall height. And it's light, too, the Type 3's powertrain, firstly because of the air cooling and secondly because of the many light metals, including not only aluminium but also magnesium. So much for just outdated technology.

All right, the swing axle will be retained for the time being, but other mid-size cars still drive around with rear rigid axles. Not quite as dangerous, but not a paragon of modern technology either. Of course, the wheelbase, which has been retained because of the workshop lifting platforms, is probably a bigger obstacle. It massively prevents the four-door design, which would have suited such a car well.

One thing all Volkswagens of this era lack is power. This is due to the not exactly oversized crankcase. The crankshaft is forged and also quite short. It would withstand a lot, but not the housing in which it rotates. Together with the important stud bolts, it also has to support the cylinders and the cylinder heads. the cylinder heads, because only these are bolted to the crankcase and clamp the cylinders. How little additional load the engine can bear was shown by the later later conversion to double-channel cylinder heads, where cracks frequently develop.

At least the tired 1500 N with 33 kW (45 hp) is not the only one. There will be more powerful examples, whereby the higher compression of the 1500 S will probably not prove its worth, but the increase in displacement by 100 cm3 and above all the two-carburettor system. Now you at least have the feeling of greater spontaneity that is lost with the long intake manifolds with only one carburettor. Admittedly, the workshops will now have to be a little more sensitive to adjustments.

One may also wonder whether the potential buyers of a VW Type 3 are not also a little conservative. And thrifty, because there is already a variant under 6,000 DM to begin with. And once inside, you notice a thoroughly well- shaped dashboard with three openings for round instruments and the now familiar VW finish. And if you want to go 135 km/h, you have to go for the more powerful engine. With the exception of the 1500 S, all the engines are in some respects full-throttle.

Strange is the introduction of the 1600 Tours-Limousine with hatchback. Not a saloon and not an estate, with slightly enlarged luggage space in the rear but without a large tailgate and not for loading through into the interior. Its production will probably remain the secret of the responsible departments in Wolfsburg forever. Maddeningly, the strange shape also increases sensitivity to crosswinds, more or less a disadvantage of all Volkswagens of the time.

Anyone who mentions the type 3 must also report beyond the year 1967. The eminently important seat belts are introduced, refuelling with the front luggage compartment open ceases, 12V becomes the on-board voltage and the hydraulic brake becomes dual-circuit. But two changes are sensational: the partial introduction of electronic petrol injection (still without a lambda probe) and the new rear axle with double-joint shafts.

Well, the latter is initially reserved for cars with automatic transmission, but compared to the old swing axle, a reversal of a disadvantage into an unconditional triumph. And petrol injection, although very expensive, also enormously reduces the sensitivity of adjustment without the disadvantages of the single carburettor. As a rule, the 40 kW (54 hp) are even more fuel-efficient. The main reason is, of course, the stricter American exhaust emission legislation.

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