This is the place to find out about the "ugly duckling" in the aircooled VW lineup, the Type 4. Produced from the summer of 1968 until the end of the 1974 model year it never grew to be the success it was supposed to be. Volkswagen's Edsel, so to speak, although the final production tally of about 370,000 cars is nothing to sneeze at.
Nowadays they are very hard to find and maintain and somehow the antique VW community seems to have a certain disdain for a car that has amenities like standard gas-electric heater booster, fully automatic transmission, electrical fuel injection and, anathema to any die-hard old VW enthusiast, a unibody construction that does not follow the old "body on platform chassis" philosophy.
In 2008 the VW Type 4 had its 40th birthday. The German Vereinigung der VW 411/ 412 Besitzer pulled out all stops at the annual Techno Classica vintage automobile show in Essen/Germany and managed to get two prototypes for their club display. Both the 411 Cabriolet by Karmann and the 411 notchback sedan were shown, and Gerrit Jan Kreeftenberg from the Vereinigung sent some great pictures for the prototypes section.
Another model car producer, Magic (a Herpa subsidiary), has released a new model in April 2007. You should be able to get it from your preferred model car dealer. See here for more information.
And now for something completely different: A fun research project! Ever wondered what the white stamped numbers on the engine cooling tin mean? Dave Pateman from the Porsche 914 community and I are teaming up to find out. We need your help!
A new page in the Technology section explains where to find chassis and engine numbers on your 411 or 412.
FRAUD WARNING: If you put up a for-sale ad and get a response from someone who shows interest but wants to pay with a cashier's/certified check for an amount much higher than the asking price, you are looking at a very popular fraud technique. The person will ask you to send him the difference between his check and the article price ASAP. The check is a forgery - but your own bank most likely cannot tell you until the check arrives at the supposed issuer bank, which denies it. If you get this type of answer on your classified ad the local FBI office is one place that investigates this type of fraud.
My apologies to Gerrit-Jan Kreeftenberg for sitting on these for so long - he sent me some fantastic pictures and information about what seems to be the only surviving design model for the 411. All of it went into the new Design Model page.
Keven Hamling sent me pictures of something I had never seen before: A 412 with a vinyl roof that belonged to his grandfather. Vinyl roofs were never mentioned in any accessory catalogs, so this might have been a special dealer accessory. See the 1973 pictures page for this interesting option.
Adriaan Pienaar from South Africa sent some very interesting pictures of a 412 converted to a pickup truck along with the suggestion to start a custom car section with it, which I did. See these intriguing shots right here! Also, he recently sent me some wonderful historical pictures he got from Ronnie Kruger, head of marketing at VW of South Africa. See the 1969 pictures and 1971 pictures.
Since there hardly is any information available it took me until now to set up some information about VW 411 prototypes. See the Prototype page for some details. The Pictures section has a picture as well.
If you have suggestions and ideas for content you would like to see here (provided I have the material) please send a comment and let me know about it!