Secretly developed in late 1959 and kept under wraps, despite rumours at the Geneva Motor Show in 1960, the Type 3 Volkswagens were launched in 1961 and continued, with improvements, until production ceased to make way for the front-engine Passats and first Golfs in 1973. The early cars were 1500cc and shared much with the original Beetles, including 6-volt electrics!

Three body styles were offered: the two door Fastback (shown in green on both the model and the 1970 sales brochure), the notchback, in dark red and a two door station wagon sold as the Variant in Europe and the Squareback in the US.

For 1968, engines were upped to 1600cc and the Type 3 ‘super-Beetles’ were the first cars in series production to be offered with electronic fuel injection as standard equipment. Though popular, given increased interior and luggage space, better performance, quieter cruising and more modern looks, the Type 3s never surpassed the popularity of the original Beetles.

Type 3? The original Beetles were designated Type 1, the vans, pickups and ubiquitous Samba passenger vans (probably the first true people carrier!) were Type 2: with Teutonic logic firing on all four air-cooled cylinders, Type 3 was the obvious next step.

More than two and a half million units were sold, excluding prototypes, with build being carried out in Germany, Australia and Brazil.

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Since his Mum fell off the pavement, having been told by her 20-month old son that the car passing the bus stop, was a Citroen, Fraser Martin has never really looked forward. Acknowledged amongst his peers as variously wise, encyclopedic, opinionated, something of a sage and quickly becoming a curmudgeon, Fraser has been in and around the motor industry for the better part of 45 years, if you include pumping petrol, selling, writing about, podcasting on, testing, organizing events for and driving, anything with two wheels or more. Based in Dubai, which has been his home for the last 30-odd years and where he is Clerk for the UAE National motor racing scene, Fraser freelances only for grown up publications, is a bit choosy and is consequently much less well-off than he should be. He has only ever written about car related subjects because it is really the only thing he knows anything about, apart from making an excellent spicy green tomato chutney. Tragically, he knows more about the older cars of his youth, because he thinks they were interesting, and though he has driven many modern cars, some of them quite quickly, he finds the newer ones a bit dull. He spends far too much money on a collection of British 1:43 scale models of these same cars. Weird, huh?

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