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Prototypes were made in 1959-1960. Much of the information below comes from the Type 3 forum, specifically the sticky thread of Type 3 Buyer's Guide on The Samba. Also see Type34 Changes with extensive pictures from the Type34 website.

The following description is meant mostly to be a guide in identifying what year a Type 3 VW is, for details on the color of knobs or interchangeability of certain parts, etc. see the Samba or the parts description.


1962 Model Year

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1962 1500 Sedan
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1962 1500 Sedan Door Panel
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1962 1500 Sedan Driver Seat
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1962 1500 Trunk Script
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1962 Front VW Emblem
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1962 Ivory Shift Knob
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1962 Cat's Eye Mirror

Progressive Refinements

April 24, 1961 Start of Production - 17 cars produced in April first 15 prototypes had no engine, Chassis #000016 has Engine #000001 35 Prototypes built up to Aug, 61

August 1, 1961 Start of VW 1500, 1962 Model Year Notchback Production with Chassis #000036 and Engine #000255 Initial colors: Gulf-Blue, Ruby Red, Pearl White, and Black

September 27, 1961 Anthracite Grey color now available

September 29, 1961 Start of Production of 1962 Type-34 Karmann-Ghia (Chassis#0 000 269)

December 15, 1961 Start of Production of 1962 Variant/Squareback (Chassis#0 006 827)

March 22, 1962 Quarter-Window rubber no longer mounted on frame of Notchbacks (#0 028 883)

March 26, 1962 Factory Steel Sliding Sunroof available on Notchback (0 029 809)

June, 1962 Major Engine changes (Oil Cooler - Oil Breather - Heads) Driver mirror changes from Cat-Eye to Paddle

July 13, 1962 Factory Steel Sliding Sunroof available on Type-34 Karmann-Ghia Coupe (0 050 282)

August 14, 1962 Birch Green color now available for Notchback and Squareback

Body / Exterior

  • High-mounted side marker lights
  • Rocker chrome only
  • Bullet front turn signals
  • Flat rear taillights
  • "1500" badge on rear - larger than later years - See Photo
  • Painted rear reflector housings
  • Chrome bumpers with overriders
  • 2-tone wheels with chrome hubcaps with painted VW emblems. Trim rings/beauty rings optional
  • "Cat's eye" rear view mirror - See Photo
  • Early 1-Year only front emblem - See Photo

Interior

  • Low-back seats
  • Salt & Pepper checkered interior - cloth/vinyl
  • Grey rubber floormats
  • Wrap-around dash that extended to similar piece mounted over the door panels
  • 2-piece door panels with grey Z-shaped arm rests
  • Ivory Shift Knob - See Photo

Engine / Electrical / Suspension

  • 1500cc single side draft carbureted engine
  • 6-volt transmission, swing axle rear end
  • Drum front and rear brakes
  • 5-lug drums and wheels


1963 Model Year

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1963-1964 Light Grey / Ivory Shift Knob

Progressive Refinements

October 1, 1962 Beginning of 1963 Model Year (0 095 100) Hood Emblem and Stick Shift knob changes

November 1, 1962 Hinged Pop-Out Windows now offered on Variant (M-Code 268)

November 23, 1962 Notch Decklid Script changes from large "1500" to small "VOLKSWAGEN" & "1500" (0 123 140)

December 1962 Smaller 1000mm Generator / Fan Belt (0 139 782)

Body/Exterior

  • 1500 badge is smaller
  • External Side Mirror Changed to more round shape

Interior

  • Same as 1962 Model Year
  • Shift Knob now Two-toned Light Grey / Ivory


1964 Model Year

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1964 VW, click for full size
See pictures of 1964 S model Squareback showing turn signals, over-riders on bumper, low-nose on hood (early style), side marker lights. (Are wheels correct?) Back has no reverse lights. Door handle has separate lock.
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1964 squareback, rear view
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1964 squareback, driver door

Body / Exterior

  • 2 models - "N"euter/Standard/Cheap model and the "S"port/Deluxe model
  • S model (more common):
    • Both rocker and waistline chrome
    • Wrap-around front turn signals
    • Wrap-around rear reflectors housings
    • Larger rear taillights (non-flat)
    • Chrome grab handle on front trunk lid
    • 1500 S badging on rear
    • Slotted trim rings over solid black wheels
    • Chrome bumpers with overriders
    • hubcaps with painted VW symbols
  • N model (Similar to S model but with reduced amenities):
    • Rocker chrome only
    • Bullet front turn signals
    • No side marker lights
    • No passenger side door lock
    • Painted rear reflector housings
    • Prop rods instead of springs for front and rear (Notchback) trunk lids
    • 2-tone rims with no trim rings
    • Bumper had no overriders

Interior

  • Needles on gauges are white (used to be red)
  • Striped interior - Perforated vinyl
  • 2-piece door panels have black Z-shaped arm rests

Engine / Electrical / Suspension

  • S model - 1500cc dual carbureted engine with high compression domed pistons
  • N model - 1500cc single sidedraft carbureted engine


1965 Model Year

Exports to United States officially begins (grey market imports, particularly by returning servicemen, existed before this)

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1965-1966 Dark Grey / White Shift Knob

Body / Exterior

  • S model hubcaps do not have painted VW symbols

Interior

  • "S" Model no longer has pushbutton unit, instead uses knobs in the style of the "N" models.

Engine / Suspension

  • 1965 Squarebacks use an earlier master cylinder (20 mm) and rear wheel cylinders


1966 Model Year

Fastback style was introduced. Notchback production was scaled back accordingly (both are type 31)

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1966 Squareback Pigalle Interior
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1966 Fastback Pigalle Interior
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1966 Fastback Teak Interior

Body / Exterior

  • Continuation of Standard(A) and Deluxe(L/TL) models with similar attributes to 64-65
  • 1600 badging on rear for european models, along with the continuation of side marker lenses
  • Larger front trunk chrome "beak" grab handle
  • 4-lug rims with large "nipple" hubcaps
  • Slotted trim rings with larger, more square slots
  • Reverse lights standard, mounted on rear bumper

Interior

  • Black or white interior - '66 was '66 only with a perforated piece of material down the center
  • Grey carpet
  • 1-piece door panels
  • 3-piece Z-shaped arm rests with chrome strips
  • Dark Grey / White Shift Knob
  • Red (Pigalle) and Brown (Teak) interiors were special order for '66 vehicles made in 1965 only. These vehicles known as the "red dash" or "brown dash" models are uncommon and hard to find in excellent condition. The entire interiors were red or brown - dashboard, steering wheel and column, carpet, arm rests, etc.
  • Doors changed from 3-Bolt to 2-Bolt Configuration

Engine / Electrical / Suspension

  • 1600cc engine - dual carbureted
  • 1500cc single carbureted engine continued to be available in Europe and other special markets.
  • 4-lug disc brakes up front, 2-piece rear drums
  • Squarebacks have a "Z" bar to support additional loads in the rear


1967 Model Year

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1967 Black Shift Knob

Body / Exterior

Interior

  • Black or White interior - solid vinyl
  • Black Shift Knob
  • Door lock moved to top of door

Engine / Electrical / Suspension

  • First year for 12 volt electrical system.


1968 Model Year

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1968 Fastback, Front View
See pictures of 1968 VW showing bullet turn signals, fuel door, last year of over-riders on bumper, low-nose on hood (early style), slotted wheel rims. Back has the reverse lights mounted on the bumper. All parts are correct except lack of trim around windshield and rims are painted. Tires have period-correct thin stripe whitewalls.
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1968 Fastback, Rear View

Body / Exterior

  • First year for external fuel filler door (on RHS), this year has a finger indent to open
  • Bullet turn signals, no side marker lights
  • Larger rear reflectors

Interior

  • High back seats (USA) or low back seats (Europe) in various colors based on the exterior paint
  • Black carpet in most cases
  • 1-piece door panels w/smaller arm rests

Engine / Electrical / Suspension

  • First year for fuel injection in 1600cc engine for USA (first mass-produced car to have fuel injection, some high-end sports cars had it previously)
  • 1500cc single carbureted engine continued to be available in Europe and other special markets.
  • 3-speed auto available introduced as an option with IRS (swing axle still on the manual)


1969 Model Year

Body / Exterior

  • external fuel filler door is locked from the inside (on the right, under the dash)

Interior

  • new switch for introduced rear defroster (black and white toggle switch added to right of steering wheel)

Engine / Electrical / Suspension

  • IRS (independent rear suspension) replaces swing-axle for all cars


1970 Model Year

  • Type 34 Ghia no longer made.

Body / Exterior

  • Nose of front hood is more squared-off - single biggest change in the body over the Type 3 production run, so all 1970 and later Type 3's are called "late" or "fat chick" style.
  • Lost the over-riders on the bumpers, bumpers are flatter
  • Larger turn signals, integrated backup lights (no longer attached to top of rear bumper)

Interior

Engine / Electrical / Suspension

  • front calipers have 2 bleed valves


1971 Model Year

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1971 Type3, click for full size
See pictures of 1971 VW Squareback showing wrap-around front turn signals, newer-style bumpers, squared-off nose on hood (fat-chick/late style), slotted wheel rims. Back has the integrated reverse lights and vents on rear post. Door handle has lock in the handle.
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1971 squareback, rear view
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1971 squareback, door handle

Body / Exterior

  • vents in the rear posts for the fresh air system.
  • pop out windows eliminated
  • wiper arms park to the right

Interior

  • "new" dash pad with seperate speaker grill, the 2 vents in the dash, along with a new ash tray
  • smaller headrests on the front seats,
  • the last year for both the 2 spoke steering wheel and the wiper switch on the dash

Engine / Electrical / Suspension

1972 Model Year

Progressive Refinements

Body / Exterior

Interior

Engine / Electrical / Suspension

1973 Model Year

All production was exported to the U.S.

Progressive Refinements

Body / Exterior

Interior

  • Black-Faced Gauges
  • 3 Point Seats

Engine / Electrical / Suspension