So I am awaiting my patient for an eye exam, he arrives, we go into the exam room to sit down, and he tells me he drove up in his new toy. Drove…toy…please tell.
Generally one starts an exam off asking about any changes in the patient’s case history. Instead I start off with the case history of the new toy. What is it? What year is it? What condition is it? Where did you locate it? What needed to be done? With that out of the way I then proceeded onto updating the patient history and the exam so we could get outside an examine the new toy. The whole time I’m professional on the outside but the inside is like a dog saying throw the ball, come on throw the ball!
Since this was unexpected I did not have any of my cameras with me and had to rely on my wife’s cellphone. Obviously, the photos aren’t up to my standards given the haze for some reason. Yet the car was here and I might never ever get to see another in my life. The shot at the top catches the owner talking to my wife as I was so immersed in going over the car. I do have a weak spot for the Squareback as I had the use of one in 1972, only an automatic, yet ironically netted two of my three speeding tickets in my life. Takes skill, sometimes an anal CHP motorcycle officer, or sometimes the backside of a hill in neutral.
As the title says, this is a ’68 sporting a 4 speed manual transmission, dual Webbers, and the standard modified exhaust system seen on many a VW. The owner found the car via TheSamba.com. The car is very clean. There has been a repaint as the car was originally VW blue and now reminds me of the Pebble Beige on my 68 Mustang.
I was amazed at how nice all the window gaskets were. I assume they were replaced during the repaint. The chrome, as you can see, was also in excellent untouched condition. Alloy wheels rather than steel rims but the wheels did look good on the car.
The interior seats have been redone and in the original style rather than transplants in front. Very nice indeed. The vinyl door panels, however, are gone and replaced with wood panels. Reason unknown to the owner but I know they can be duplicated if one so desires.
Headliner also nice to look at. In fact it was such a pleasure to walk around and look over this car several times. A simpler day with simpler cars.
The Squareback I had for one year was the same color in and out. Besides automatic it did have its fuel injection being a one year old company car.
I had noticed awhile back that there was no Squareback under the VW list for European Brands. Till this one showed up I have not seen one on the road in 30 years. Same goes for the Fastback while the Bug can still be seen but it is declining some. Others may know all about the designing of the car and how many units were made and can add. However, I am more interested in the car, getting my hands on the car, and working on the car.
Now that this appointment took double the time, but with Covid 19 restrictions, there was no competition for my time. Still the patient does need to get home. Just listening to the car start and the sound of the exhaust note brought back memories as I watched the car drive off. Just like I can hear the whoop whoop of a Huey from two miles away before seeing it I know one of these are coming before I see them based on their exhaust.
related reading: CC 1969 VW 1600 Type 3 Fastback
Beautifully preserved. Only two non-original items that I can see. The EFI has been replaced by dual carbs, which is a smart move. The injected version works reasonably with automatic, but has an incurable throttle delay that makes shifting unpleasant. I think the radio speaker grille is also non-original, from a later model. The ’68 and ’69 just had perforations in the pad.
I’m not at all an authority, but I suspect that alternator is also an upgrade. And the car has Europe/rest-of-world taillight lenses with real (amber) turn signals instead of the North American all-red items—another upgrade.
Usually I see a Bosch alternator conversion, but this is a one wire Nippondenso. Easy, because the engine cooling fan on the “pancake” engine is not driven from the back of the generator, like the on “upright” engines.
The later speaker grill cover works great to cover a cracked dash pad which commonly crack in the speaker area. Only other non original items are windshield and back and side glass seals, originally had chrome molding inserts.
I owned 2 ’66 Type 3 Fastbacks at different times, one was the VW blue this car was originally, the other the same beige this car now has. Wish I had one of them today in the condition of this example. This car is in great shape, few and far between these days. I used the speaker grill trick to cover dash cracks in both of them. Nice find.
Nice! There’s still a couple on the streets here; saw one go by just the other day.
One of our scoutmasters had one, and I admit, he was the one most us us avoided in terms or whose car to ride in. It was a bit cramped for 4 boys and their gear, along with him.
Seeing this brings back smells, sounds and vibrations of 5th grade carpooling. Funny how a picture can involve all of the other senses. Beautifully preserved example, and well written capsule!
The only memory I have of ours is a massive traffic jam on I-75 on our way from Cincinnati to Miami Beach somewhere in Central Florida. Fortunately, I was only four and didn’t care much that there was no air conditioning. I’m guessing my parents didn’t enjoy it much, though. I still want one.
These have always looked great with an aggressive set of rims on them.
This is one of my favorite VWs! If we were to start a list of cars that were silly-common when they were new and which have virtually disappeared from the roads (while not being replaced by the show-n-shine crowd) this one would be in the top ten. As said above, I cannot remember when I saw the last squareback.
One summer (maybe 1970?) my mother got reduced to part time hours with the Drs office where she was a nurse. She took a second part time job that summer with a medical lab in the same building, and one of her duties was to drive various places to retrieve samples. A twin to this car was what the lab had for her to use. And, like Paul above, I had one of the assistant scoutmasters in my troop who had a light blue one.
Thanks for posting this one!
I have memories going back unusually far, one of which is a very strange memory of this kind of car. One day when I was very small, about two years old, one of the orbital adults (parent of a daycare center “classmate”, I guess) came to pick me up for some entirely legitimate reason. A play date, a group outing to the zoo or something, or maybe just a ride to the daycare center, something like that. My mother picked me up and carried me out of the house, and as soon as I saw the other adult’s car in the driveway I freaked out and melted down. It was a sky-blue VW Type 3, and for reasons I can’t articulate now (and certainly couldn’t then) I found it completely terrifying. I knew, certainly, that I must not get into that car. Any other car, but not that one. As a toddler I had the customary zero say in what happens (or anything else), and only one tool, so I used it: I kicked and screamed and cried and howled at top maximum volume—I viscerally remember feeling like that car was an unspeakably horrifying threat. I was too young to comprehend the words, but the grownups’ tone cycled fruitlessly through reassurance, bafflement, cajoling, annoyance, and finally, in the end, resignation: whatever trip was cancelled; the other grownup got in the wagon and drove off and with the threat gone I was immediately fine.
I don’t believe I’ve ever ridden in one of these. I’m not sure I would, if the opportunity were to arise—especially not a sky blue one.
A Type 3 is kind of a pretty car. I wonder if there was something metaphysical going on there, if there is such a thing. Are you intuitive like that in other things or situations? Just curious and feel free to ignore this as it really is none of my business. Inquiring minds want to know!
I’ve wondered similarly. There have been other experiences, mostly when I was little, that make me think perhaps physicists grappling with the nature of time are right with their conjecture that all moments happen simultaneously; perhaps time’s walls are thinner when one hasn’t yet learnt how thick they’re supposed to be.
Thanks for replying. What a cool answer. I’ve been letting that sink in all day.
I’ve been fortunate in my life to meet many people more interesting than myself. You are now included in that group.
My real name is Mike, BTW. I am 48, have been married since 1993, and have two young adult sons.
(Figure I may as well do a proper introduction.)
Oh, and I’m someone that has coasted through most of my life on looks. People usually just wave at me and throw money.
Pleased to meet you, Mike. (Wow, waving in exchange for thrown money? Nice work if you can get it! )
I can smell the interior just from the photos. My Dad ran the VocEd wing of our high school, and for some reason (may have been on a trip or somesuch), I rode to school for a week or two with a teacher who lived nearby. She drove a Squareback, and as she already had another rider, I rode in the ‘way back’ on top of the engine.
To those clever marketing types in the Noughties who thought their car perfumer was tre nouvelle, it is well known that Eau de Wolfsburg was fitted just above the floor heating duct on all air-cooled Veewees. It was made entirely from concentrated petrol fumes and essence of horsehair.
I have never even been in an air-cooled VW, but you paint quite a picture.
I’m not sure I understand the love for those things. I’ve never heard them called Veewees before. Can you tell me how/when that started, or did you just make it up? Either way, funny.
I’ve never been in a Matador coupe either, but still covet one. Different strokes and all that.
Such an awesome find. Isn’t it great when a car like this spices up an otherwise everyday work day just by its appearance? I normally have yet another coffee in the afternoon, but after seeing and walking around this Squareback, I would have been amply energized. Great pics, and I liked the tie-in with what you do professionally.
I underwrite insurance policies, which sometimes includes classic cars. On more than a few occasions, I’ve come across some exciting finds.
This is a very cool car, I love the color and the wheels look good on it too. I almost bought a light blue Squareback when I was in college, light blue with black vinyl and a manual. The paint was faded and surprisingly it didn’t have any rust, it was a solid little car and drove well although it wouldn’t win many races but it was fun in its own way.
Always liked these and they had a cool radio campaign when they came out that was based on the grade school “telephone” game.
Of course it’s not a station wagon but a Squareback SEDAN, since the Type 2 Kombi/Microbus was what VW called their Station Wagon here in the USA.
I really like this find. It’s kind of a mashup between an MG fastback and Volvo Amazon. On a side note I recently went to my GP complaining about a shitty outlook on life. He said he couldn’t do anything and gave me a referral to an optometrist. He suggested an Optirectomy to remove the optic nerve from my rectum.
Back in late 86 I remember watching headlights of a car driving along the West Side Road of Death Valley. After an hour it rattled up to our campsite on Hanaupah Fan at about 10 pm. It was a beautiful squareback of about the same vintage. The owner later told me about his love for the car and, no matter how much he had to haul, he could always (but just barely) squeeze it in! Thanks for posting!
I have not seen one of these on the road in a long, long time. A couple of friends had these back in the seventies and I got to drive both of them on several occasions. I don’t know that the gear shift linkage is any longer in a squareback than in the beetle but to me the linkage always seemed “loose” and you had to be gentle when changing gears. Of course these were both well used by the time I was around them so it may have just been the wear and tear of years gone by. I always thought that the squareback was the most attractive variation of the VW theme, perhaps because it more closely resembles a “regular” car. One of the many things I have wanted to do after winning the lottery is to find a squareback in good shape and then ditch the VW engine for something with more want to. Not likely to happen but one can dream.
Dad drove one of these, a yellow ’70, as a commuter during the fuel crunch. It was an automatic with A/C, and enough room in the back with the rear seat folded for his lunch time naps.
I too rode in a friend’s one just like this when I was a kid, in about 75-76. It seemed an old car then, but at seven or so, it was as old as my life had been long, so that makes sense in the universe of the child.
And from that perspective, I didn’t like it much. Back windows didn’t open, so it was stuffy and noisy, and smelt like combination wet horse’s ass & hot fumey grease (in the VW tradition) and anyway, Mrs R made rude comments about how hard she had to flog it to move along, so it seems she didn’t much like it either.
I drove one years later, and was disappointed to find I still didn’t much like it. Good gearchange, quite reasonable go – Mrs R must’ve been a leadfoot – but the ever-present WaftomaticWolfsburg steering ruined any further consideration. (Until the later Superbugs, all air-cooled vw’s had off-puttingly vague tillers, in my view). It did look good though. They always did.
So I get the enthusiasm to look at it, though I’m a bit flummoxed by the repaint from sweet VW blue. “Pebble Sands” is seductive name, but when it’s actually “Slightly Depressed Beige”, I can’t see the point. I mean, it’s not awful, no, but it IS beige – as are hearing aids and prosthetic limbs and vaccum cleaners.
Worthy items all, ofcourse, but worthy for their utility, not their appearance.
+1. That colour (must we?) always seemed to me most aptly called “Used Chewing Gum”. I didn’t like it any better on my first car, a ’64 Valiant.
Still, colour is a highly personal choice; my vote only counts on my car.
Now that gray/grey is in fashion, can this color be far behind?
I believe it’s called “Water I Cleaned The Paintbrush With” or “Almost As Nice As Shed Primer”.
In my experience mostly likely cause of the haze in photos is a camera lens that needs to be wiped with a glass cleaning cloth.
I noticed the Nippondenso alternator. Except for the air filters, the twin carbs should be correct, as I understand the infernal Bosch experimenytal EFI wasn’t introduced until 1969. In 1970, my Mom acquired a new ‘demo’ VW Squareback with automatic and AC. Had she known what a lemon that thing would turn into, she might have had a screaming fit herself. Over the next dozen years, there were multiple problems with the EFI, fuel leaks, rocker-arm shaft, cylinder heads & studs, AC, even the forest-green paint.
After a few years, we noticed various body panels fading at different rates. What the !!!! had the dealer done to that car before unloading it on my Mom? I guess in this case ‘demo’ meant demolition-derby!
To be fair, when everything worked, the car ran flawlessly, and we never had any problem with the automatic-tranny or the generator. And the high-end German Blaupunkt mono am/fm radio and speaker was superb. I probably should’ve yanked it before my folks got rid of that car!
Happy Motoring, Mark
How do you reckon the EFI was experimental? As far as I know it was D-Jetronic—Bosch’s first EFI system, but not really an experimental one, and also used by Volvo, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Porsche, arguably Cadillac, and probably other makes as well. I won’t sit here and claim it offered today’s levels of trouble-free dependability, because it didn’t. Partly that was early state of the art, partly it was the filthy, gummy, non-detergent gasoline of that time, and partly it was widespread ignorance and prejudice in the auto service industry. But experimental is not a word I think applies to it.
That is interesting since I ran into those terms on Monday. I come up to a red light and next to me is a 1974 Volvo 144. I lower my window and ask the driver what year? During the long light we had a conversation about the car which I liked a lot as I like the 140 and 240 series. He was telling me the best year was the 74 as the fuel injection worked perfectly unlike the earlier years. I just looked and saw up to 73 it was the D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection and in 74 it was the K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection.
Well, ‘experimental’ happens to be my own opinion. While Volkswagen may have considered this first Bosch EFI perfected, the fact is my folks had to make repeated trips back to dealers or repair-shops to work out all the ‘bugs’!
Happy Motoring, Mark
Ohh, you were being cheeky and I completely missed it. Sorry! Can’t disagree with you—it was quite a technical achievement, but was very much a first, with great room for improvement in just about every possible way.
I was in a horrible car accident in one of these cars in 1976, I was 13 years old. A friends Mom took us to Kennedy Space Center for the day and we were headed back home on I95. The driver ran off the road and the car flipped over several times. I was next to be ejected when the car came to rest. For that reason, In would not step foot in one of these for anything!