Long ago an old friend who owned and loved red Squareback asked me to take photos of any of them I came across for his photo album. Here are some of them that I found and shot in many locales, over the past some thirty years.
This white one sat in this lot in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago for a few years back in the 80s and early 90s.
Above is the same car, I think the following year or so.
I wish I remembered where this image was made, dusk at restaurant parking lot in a small town in North Central Illinois in the late 80s seems about right.
This next one was on a lot in some desert town north of Palm Springs, California.
Up in the mountains of Colorado in the mid 90s
I just happened to catch this red one in a light rain as the maple leaves were falling, a few autumns ago in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. Sometimes you just get lucky.
This most recent Variant I’ve seen and shot. I saw it in New Plymouth, New Zealand at the beginning of this year.
Great photography! I was always a squareback fan. I spent a little time in two of them, one owned by one of my scoutmasters and another that my mother was furnished with for occasional trips she had to make for her job. On certain days, this could beat out the Karmann Ghia for my favorite air cooled VW.
It is strange to me how uncommon these have become, especially given how big of a fan base the air cooled VW has. These were quite common when new, but I cannot tell you the last time I saw one.
I think the lack of collect ability of these is mostly the lack of “cuteness” or at least a unique style. I do consider this the Honda Fit of its day and my father had one for a while as a practical commuter.
There is also the EFI “pancake” engine that precludes much hot rodding and shadetree repair, big attractions within the air cooled VW enthusiast crowd.
Restoring a station wagon interior is inherently more expensive than a sedan. The bus is a recent exception, since high restoration costs are exceeded by the overheated collector market for those right now.
We had not one but two of these, in the same shade of orange as the NZ car. I see those little fender grilles and feel them against my fingers…but once I also slammed my thumb in the door and lost the nail.
I like orange cars but never want a VW. Nostalgia is a fickle mistress. 🙂
Nice shots of a car that I always admired. I am old enough to remember when they first appeared as an alternative to the Beetle. Most people simply didn’t get them. Marketing problem? No niche for this model? Not sure. I rarely if ever see them any more. I think that I would consider buying one if I could find one in decent condition.
Interesting human dynamics in one of the Palm Desert pics. Those people look like they’re Heading For The Big Event!!!!! Makes me want to join them.
But if they were just getting ready to look at the squareback, I’ll take a rain check. Owned and ‘sort of liked’ squarebacks for 25 years. Never found them interesting, but didn’t want to abandon acquired skills and tools. (I guess that’s one definition of growing up: Amortization conquers affection.)
Pics 1 and 5 should be on a gallery wall. The rest are merely great photos of cars. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the kind words it means a lot to me.
Good photos indeed and the old Texas plate really adds to that photo. Amazing how that in the leading photo Squareback was not vandalized despite sitting for a while and anyone else think rust caused it to be parked.
Texas that where I was, now I kind of misremember.
I think the Squareback in B&W shots in Pilsen was vandalized, the passenger door is ajar in the top shot, that or a homeless person may have taken up residency.
I’m not sure why it was left to rot, rust possibly but to me it didn’t look too bad (for around here), broken down and not worth fixing but too precious to junk is a possibility, who knows, every car has a story.
Glad you liked the images, I’m going to put together other compilations here on this CC.
Beautiful photos and ever so timeless. Thanks for sharing!
Nice shots. I do some photography as a hobby, and old cars are a favorite subject. I don’t remember the last time I saw a VW Squareback in the wild. Some old neighbors had a dark green one in the early ’80’s, later replacing it with a Dodge Aries wagon…and that would have been one of the last ones I’ve seen. Ontario winters aren’t kind to old cars.
Nice photos of a familiar face I rarely see anymore, even though I’m here on the west coast. I’m sure rust killed off most of these cars, but I wonder if parts availability for the fuel injection system finished off the rest. I admired the brand new 1973 Bright Orange Squareback that my ex-wife’s neighbors got before we were married.
Great photos, nice car. Our neighbors had a squareback as a second car, when I was very young. I don’t remember what their main car was, probably a late 60s-early 70s Ford or Mercury. Always seemed strange that they had a car that sounded like Dad’s Volkswagen, but looked more like a “regular” car (than a Beetle).
I spent quite a few hours in the back of one of these things. My uncle owned one in the early 1980s and me and my cousins must have driven him nuts over the course of several long trips. My uncle was a cellist and the Squareback was the perfect car to transport the cello – just big enough, economical, no need for rear doors. Add three loud kids, though, and the space no longer seemed adequate, and climbing in through the trunk a hassle. But even though my cousins were quite vocal about the lack of rear doors, he refused to buy a bigger American wagon – too big, not thrifty enough.
A few years later, my uncle showed up with his replacement vehicle, raving about the great new body style that was relatively small, had as much utility as the old Squareback, AND came with two huge sliding doors. The vehicle was a Nissan Stanza, and my uncle was an enthusiastic early adopter of the newfangled minivan, his first of many.
What a coincidence !! My mom was a cellist too, and transported her big cello in the back of our 71 Squareback, along with my dad’s violin, which dwarfed in comparison. They had to fold the seat down to get that in. My uncle who owned a much larger Ford Torino wagon couldn’t believe we had such a small car for a family of 5 and a dog. During vacations we had to put all our luggage in the roof top carrier, and small front trunk. I learned to drive in that car,and got the shifting and clutch action down real well, while my brother had a harder time with that.
I remember reading about a VW van with a transplanted Toyota engine. It was dependable and did everything well. I cannot see a VW (other than the type 1 engine) without thinking of it. My overall impression when I think of the flat engine is one of breakdowns and I saw a batch of them during their heyday.
Other than that, this is a great collection of photos. Wish I had your skill.
Nice photos all ~
The Typ III was rather expen$ive for an Economy Var when new , they were very good but simple didn’t make the American grade in sales although plenty were sold .
Mom bought a new dark blue Squareback in 1967 and it served well for many years in the Boston area .
’67 was the last year for carbys , had twin port cylinder heads so the breathed very well , revised tranny and final drive ratios so it flew like a flat rock across a pond .
I’ve owned more Typ III’s in all body styles than I can remember , all of them, ever the beat up ones , were good little cars .
Economical , handled well , good heaters in New England , took lots of abuse etc.
Typ III specific parts were always rather expensive , this helped kill them off as cheap used cars .
nice work. it really brings me back. when i was a little kid, i couldn’t for the life of me figure out where the engine was…