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Tram Sat May 21, 2011 2:04 pm

I think it's time that the Type 3 community puts some serious thought into where we want to take our hobby in the next decade.

While we've been busy celebrating the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Type 3, we're forgetting a more sobering milestone: that it's been 42 years since the last Type 34 rolled off the production line, and it's been well over a generation ago- almost 38 years- since the last Type 3s rolled off the production line in July of 1973. Before too long, we'll be celebrating 50 years since the end of Type 3 production!

How much history and know- how have we lost in the last 38 years? I'm not speaking merely of the early '1500' cars, but of the entire line of Type 3s. Early cars are nice, no doubt, but the majority of Type 3 production happened after 1965. Are we to ignore this part of our history until it's too late? The day when a four lug stock Type 3 becomes a "rare gem" really isn't too far off; in fact, it may already be here. And, what exactly is "stock"? What were the dealer approved accessories? do we even know or care anymore? We should!

These thoughts have been spinning about in my turgid mind for years- Often I'll remember "snippets" I've seen in the past from my almost 35 years of "Type 3-ing", not to mention earlier memories of these cars that my grandparents imported privately before they were officially available here. If my relative youth at the time can be excused, I've been a Type 3 fan almost from the beginning. Even as a tyke these cars just fascinated me, and do so to this day.

But what has really gotten the gears going is what's been happening in the hobby more recently: Private manufacture of long- unavailable items ("salt and pepper" fabric and RPM gauges being two such items), increased correspondence with owners of later models asking for my assistance in locating bits for "correct" restorations, and finally, the passing of our very own Russ Wolfe who was THE only other person I knew of who was "there as things happened" far more so than I was.

Over the last few days, I've been trying to assist a fellow Sambanista in Italy to find correct euro cloth upholstery for his 1969 Deluxe, which was swathed in #14 "Blue Stripe" fabric. Now, you'd think that Europe would be a treasure trove of such things, with forgotten warehouses bursting at the seams with such things. But it's not true! While the Mercedes folks have Niemoeller or even the Mercedes Classic Center as a source, on the VW stuff, I'm coming up completely dry!

What we need is some really thorough sleuthing of the anal type... down to what color were bumper brackets painted? What materials were used to
cover the fastener holes for rear fenders?, etc. etc.

In the Mercedes hobby, we can even look up factory color codes for what color the insides of bumpers and hubcaps were painted. A lot of really technical info is available in the Samba archives, but it's often overlooked, and the "nut and bolt" type of info like Progressive Refinements really seem to be lacking for Type 3s- even VW has lost track of what some of their Type 3 M- codes meant!

The Italian car illustrated above begs the question: how many original interiors have been swapped out for "leatherette"- because that's all that's available? And, that's only one small item! There were lots of interior choices available to Type 3 buyers over the years. One of the most shining "lost" examples is that of the Azure interior, which was supposedly offered alongside Teak and Pigalle in the first months of 1966 production. Did it exist, or didn't it? I say it did. Every so often, interior bits show up to substantiate that the Azure interior existed, In addition, I have a memory of a Fastback in for service at a dealer in the late 1970s that had it. I remember thinking how "ugly" it was! But, back then, nobody really cared.

I don't know how the rest of the Type 3 community feels about it, but I think we need to get an ongoing discussion started in which we not only seek to preserve the knowledge, but actively solicit craftsmen and suppliers who might be able to reproduce authentic bits for our cars... which is easier said than done, since only a limited amount of cars with any one given item exist.

So, I guess the time has come to see if there's enough interest out there to get anally serious about the preservation and restoration of Type 3s. Do these cars not deserve a true place of honor in the VW hobby? Or, are they destined to be always the "poor cousin", being shoddily restored with only whatever meager bits are available, until the true history and glory of the entire Type 3 line is gone forever?

Tram Sat May 21, 2011 2:26 pm

To further build on the theme I sort of outlined above, I think it would be great to get photos and documentation of all the various Type 3 variations down to the nut and bolt type of thing, and also create a list of resources where Type 3ers can sleuth correct parts for their cars. the Euro cloth interior fabrics might be a good start. We need to start shedding the limitations of "only what's readily available" by helping each other out.

turbomicrowaves Sat May 21, 2011 3:15 pm

I agree with you, but there will always be several schools of thought: those that want to preserve or restore their cars retaining the utmost of correctness, those that want to preserve them by restoring them in their own fashion and those that don't care about correctness or even preserving the car. There will always be the stock owners and the non-stock owners.

I for one, am in favor of reproducing many of the hard to find bits of these cars. But, creating these parts again is costly and there is a lot of talk in these forums of things that never come to fruition. This happens mainly because of a lack of true support. Not to mention the competition and secrecy in this hobby. This hobby has a "heard it through the grapevine" effect, by this I mean that someone will come up with an idea to reproduce a part and then tell someone and by the time the parts are being made there are five other people making them. Then it becomes a competition between parties and creates rifts in the community. I have had tons of ideas and at times have decided to hold back from telling anyone other than my closest friends.

Then there is the gap between early and late owners, which can be somewhat problematic at times. Considering that all these cars came from the same idea, for some to think that early cars are better and more worth saving is slightly ridiculous. The early cars paved the way for the later ones and the later cars are just an evolution of the earlies. But, of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.

This is a relatively small community and we need all the help we can get.

Tram Sat May 21, 2011 3:18 pm

turbomicrowaves wrote: I agree with you, but there will always be several schools of thought: those that want to preserve or restore their cars retaining the utmost of correctness, those that want to preserve them by restoring them in their own fashion and those that don't care about correctness or even preserving the car. There will always be the stock owners and the non-stock owners.

I for one, am in favor of reproducing many of the hard to find bits of these cars. But, creating these parts again is costly and there is a lot of talk in these forums of things that never come to fruition. This happens mainly because of a lack of true support. Not to mention the competition and secrecy in this hobby. This hobby has a "heard it through the grapevine" effect, by this I mean that someone will come up with an idea to reproduce a part and then tell someone and by the time the parts are being made there are five other people making them. Then it becomes a competition between parties and creates rifts in the community. I have had tons of ideas and at times have decided to hold back from telling anyone other than my closest friends.

Then there is the gap between early and late owners, which can be somewhat problematic at times. Considering that all these cars came from the same idea, for some to think that early cars are better and more worth saving is slightly ridiculous. The early cars paved the way for the later ones and the later cars are just an evolution of the earlies. But, of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.

This is a relatively small community and we need all the help we can get.

Which begs the question of cause and effect: Do Type 3 owners sometimes decide on a restoration or customization because correct examples and parts are not available? Does this therefore make the Type 3 more susceptible to customizers? E.G., "the correct parts aren't available, and besides, nobody knows what's really correct anyways."

supaninja Sat May 21, 2011 3:44 pm

Tram- how many early or late cars are out there that are still complete? Maybe one for every 10-20 that pop up in the classifieds. Say your one of the unfortunate 10-20, now you got to hunt the whole planet for every single correct part that it's missing. I'm going the custom route since I can get a lot more for a lot less. If I wanted it to be 1500 club material it would turn into a 10 yr long resto and cost an obscene amount of money that could never be sold for what I got into it. At least custom route I have complete freedom to be creative/innovative, and the zinger is I get to drive it now not a decade from now. I respect the shit out of the 1500club guys and the 1600club guys but unless you have one of those rare unmolested/complete cars to start with then you are pretty much fucked since there is very little aftermarket support for us. By aftermarket support, I'm talking about high quality, correct reproduction parts...when I see the letters NLA, it makes Hulk angry >:(

turbomicrowaves Sat May 21, 2011 3:45 pm

Tram wrote: turbomicrowaves wrote: I agree with you, but there will always be several schools of thought: those that want to preserve or restore their cars retaining the utmost of correctness, those that want to preserve them by restoring them in their own fashion and those that don't care about correctness or even preserving the car. There will always be the stock owners and the non-stock owners.

I for one, am in favor of reproducing many of the hard to find bits of these cars. But, creating these parts again is costly and there is a lot of talk in these forums of things that never come to fruition. This happens mainly because of a lack of true support. Not to mention the competition and secrecy in this hobby. This hobby has a "heard it through the grapevine" effect, by this I mean that someone will come up with an idea to reproduce a part and then tell someone and by the time the parts are being made there are five other people making them. Then it becomes a competition between parties and creates rifts in the community. I have had tons of ideas and at times have decided to hold back from telling anyone other than my closest friends.

Then there is the gap between early and late owners, which can be somewhat problematic at times. Considering that all these cars came from the same idea, for some to think that early cars are better and more worth saving is slightly ridiculous. The early cars paved the way for the later ones and the later cars are just an evolution of the earlies. But, of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.

This is a relatively small community and we need all the help we can get.

Which begs the question of cause and effect: Do Type 3 owners sometimes decide on a restoration or customization because correct examples and parts are not available? Does this therefore make the Type 3 more susceptible to customizers? E.G., "the correct parts aren't available, and besides, nobody knows what's really correct anyways."

That is probably true but there are those with loads of NOS and original parts. I guess what I'm saying is If someone wants to build a correct car it is possible if they know the right people. Which brings us back to the layer of exclusivity in this hobby. The rift between the younger and the older. My friends and I are in our early to mid 20's and we don't have the same connections as some of the guys who have been doing this for 10+ years. For some, finding good original parts for a fair price can be daunting at times and I'm sure that is why some turn to customization and Chinese parts. I am in favor of correct restorations, but I also like mostly correct cars that have reversible customizing ie. wheels, lowering, bigger engines, brakes, etc.

flyinglow94 Sat May 21, 2011 4:10 pm

Unfortunately these car's have not sparked the interest of the other VW community due to lack of production. They have no interest in outsourcing Quality parts for the type 3 unlike the Bug and Bus that were so mass produced the type 3's are the 914 of the VW's. Shoot even the 40's fords and the XKE jags have better sources then we do.

When I was younger working for Bill and Steve's I had seen a lot of documents from the aerodynamics of the Bug,Bus,Ghia and the type 3. It had info like the early type 3 had only 20lbs of lift on the front end at 80mph compared to the type 1 Ghia that had 80lbs of lift at the same speed. I had also seen the dealer option books and many more.

I would like to see a sight with as much scanned manuals and literature on these cars. That should include wright ups from any one that had worked for VW back in the day like you Tram.

I wish I had the funds to put into making a quality part or parts for these cars . I think it would be more for love than money though.

Tram Sat May 21, 2011 4:15 pm

turbomicrowaves wrote: Tram wrote: turbomicrowaves wrote: I agree with you, but there will always be several schools of thought: those that want to preserve or restore their cars retaining the utmost of correctness, those that want to preserve them by restoring them in their own fashion and those that don't care about correctness or even preserving the car. There will always be the stock owners and the non-stock owners.

I for one, am in favor of reproducing many of the hard to find bits of these cars. But, creating these parts again is costly and there is a lot of talk in these forums of things that never come to fruition. This happens mainly because of a lack of true support. Not to mention the competition and secrecy in this hobby. This hobby has a "heard it through the grapevine" effect, by this I mean that someone will come up with an idea to reproduce a part and then tell someone and by the time the parts are being made there are five other people making them. Then it becomes a competition between parties and creates rifts in the community. I have had tons of ideas and at times have decided to hold back from telling anyone other than my closest friends.

Then there is the gap between early and late owners, which can be somewhat problematic at times. Considering that all these cars came from the same idea, for some to think that early cars are better and more worth saving is slightly ridiculous. The early cars paved the way for the later ones and the later cars are just an evolution of the earlies. But, of course everyone is entitled to their opinion.

This is a relatively small community and we need all the help we can get.

Which begs the question of cause and effect: Do Type 3 owners sometimes decide on a restoration or customization because correct examples and parts are not available? Does this therefore make the Type 3 more susceptible to customizers? E.G., "the correct parts aren't available, and besides, nobody knows what's really correct anyways."

That is probably true but there are those with loads of NOS and original parts. I guess what I'm saying is If someone wants to build a correct car it is possible if they know the right people. Which brings us back to the layer of exclusivity in this hobby. The rift between the younger and the older. My friends and I are in our early to mid 20's and we don't have the same connections as some of the guys who have been doing this for 10+ years. For some, finding good original parts for a fair price can be daunting at times and I'm sure that is why some turn to customization and Chinese parts. I am in favor of correct restorations, but I also like mostly correct cars that have reversible customizing ie. wheels, lowering, bigger engines, brakes, etc.

Well, shit. I'm in my fifties, and have been around these cars all my life, began wrenching on them back in my highschool days... and even I can't get a lot of the things I'm looking for. So don't feel like an outsider. :lol:

This is why I started this thread. It's highly likely that everyone has a piece of the puzzle, and there's strength in numbers.

Aaron M265 Sat May 21, 2011 5:06 pm

Your on the right wave length Tram.

We need to document as best as possible everyt nut bolt and cotton thread while it is still possible to do so- for every T3 model. Early, late, notch, fast, square, K-G and variations such as the cab, panel van, 'N' & 'S' etc.

I have personaly owned about 40 Type 3's now and every car is slighty different but going from the documentation that exists (the readily available stuff), you wouldn't read about 1/2 of it. Which is strange because VW made about 2.5 million Type 3's. It's not exactly a small production run. But as these cars were general transport back in the day, I suppose it makes sense. These cars aren't Mercedes or Jaguars, they are VW's, produced at a time when they were's exactly an exclusive car, except for the T34.

What to do about the lack of information? I would like to see all the owners of the original cars buying in on this by taking high resolution photo's of every component of their car when performing work to it. If you know your working on an original car with all original parts, take photo's of all the parts of the assembly your working on and put a description against the photo.

Idealy, someone would put their hand up to create a database (I am not going to get into a debate over Access, SQL etc) and create a simple easy to use source of truth for all users. Example- click on a parts diagram to high light a distributor cap and enter your chassis number- bang up comes the photo with details such as what engine numbers and chassis numbers used it etc.

Imagine this sort of database for every single nut and bolt with photo's of the head markings of your floor pan bolts? Every single colour of fender beading with chassis number's listed, every single azure interior trim etc.

I would stick the database or something similar such as a web interface on the web under one of the established web sites such as Samba and let someone manage the information coming into a dedicated email account.
Someone with half a brain with building this (or something like it) could impact on every Type 3 owner in the world.

Your right about the M codes too. VW don't have a clue about some of them. We should be documenting all of this information now, not later. Remember that VW were in the business of selling cars, not documenting when a particular Kamax bolt was replaced with Verbus!! It's now potentialy our job to document this if we choose to do so.

henry roberts Sat May 21, 2011 5:26 pm

i think that everyone seems to have forgotten the 2nd most important heirachy of cool in the type 3 world. the notchback, squareback or donor car err fastback divide.

i would imagine that there are many many out there who woud happily chop up/part a decent early fastback to rebuild thier 64-67 notch or square, without even thinking to check it's production date to see if it was one of the "first" built.

i'm not a type 3 person but wanted to pitch in as IMHO this is a very relevent thread for all those who like aircooled volkswagens.

jimmynotch Sat May 21, 2011 5:59 pm

I think the main reason there isn't the sources for restoration quality T3 parts (unlike busses and early bugs etc) is that the type 3 never 'defined' a generation. Hippys/surfers/etc had the bus and the beetle was Americas first foriegn compact car lave affair. The Type 3 never came to the US till the mid 60s and by that time the other VWs were turning into bay windows and the later bugs.... which similarly also lack the "cool' factor and disirablity of the splittys and the like. The bay window bus guys have more of a fan base than we do for goodness sakes.

Our notches, squares, T34s and yes, even the fastys are, will be and always have been the bastard step children to the busses and bugs. It will be up to us in the community to decide how many of these cars remain as OG as possible. When my notch comes up for sale for instance, I will not sell it to anyone under 30 yrs old or to anyone who wants to molest it any further than what I have done to it.... which ain't much. As beat down as she is, its still 90% original with everything that was removed carefully stored way for reference or posterity.

MLTIGGER2 Sat May 21, 2011 6:14 pm

I see a problem in the Volkswagen community as a whole and it's worse for Type 3 owners. Alot of the parts are not the quality of the original, and if they are, will VW owners pay the increased price?
I am not sure if other makes of classic cars went through this quality difference, ie Ford and Chevy parts.
The problem we run into is some parts are just not available and, some of the parts like window rubbers, don't last as long as the original.
I know the chrome parts that you can get are not as good as back in the 60's due to EPA restrictions.

FASTBACKDON Sat May 21, 2011 6:19 pm

MLTIGGER2 wrote: will VW owners pay the increased price?

I know I would and have. I understand the rarity of these parts and though I do look for a deal I don't squeek when I know I either want it or need it.

Tram Sat May 21, 2011 7:04 pm

jimmynotch wrote: I think the main reason there isn't the sources for restoration quality T3 parts (unlike busses and early bugs etc) is that the type 3 never 'defined' a generation. Hippys/surfers/etc had the bus and the beetle was Americas first foriegn compact car lave affair. The Type 3 never came to the US till the mid 60s and by that time the other VWs were turning into bay windows and the later bugs.... which similarly also lack the "cool' factor and disirablity of the splittys and the like. The bay window bus guys have more of a fan base than we do for goodness sakes.

Our notches, squares, T34s and yes, even the fastys are, will be and always have been the bastard step children to the busses and bugs. It will be up to us in the community to decide how many of these cars remain as OG as possible. When my notch comes up for sale for instance, I will not sell it to anyone under 30 yrs old or to anyone who wants to molest it any further than what I have done to it.... which ain't much. As beat down as she is, its still 90% original with everything that was removed carefully stored way for reference or posterity.

it's funny you should say that. my experience growing up and in early adulthood was that there were actually more Type 3s- especially Squarebacks- visible on the roads during the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. the problem is that people drove these cars till they dropped, and beat them to death.

Tram Sat May 21, 2011 7:11 pm

FASTBACKDON wrote: MLTIGGER2 wrote: will VW owners pay the increased price?

I know I would and have. I understand the rarity of these parts and though I do look for a deal I don't squeek when I know I either want it or need it.

I guess that maybe because I have one foot in the classic Mercedes camp, I don't see cost as a deal breaker. You can't! "Customized" and "Hoodride" Benzes just don't exist, at least not like in the VW scene. I mean, could you picture someone ripping their D-jet fuel injection of a 280SE 3.5 or 4.5 and sticking a Weber on it? It ain't gonna happen. Of course, the argument can be made that M-B supports its classic car drivers, but by the same token, you cannot afford to worry about cost on an M-B. You just can't "Mickey Mouse" these cars.

I guess that what I'm saying that we, as a community, need to do is to just say that we demand the same respect given the other Types, and if we customize our rides, we'll do it because we want to, not because we have no choice. But the will and the commitment needs to come from us.

We need to start with documentation. It's not going to happen overnight. But it can be done, as our 1500 Club guys and gals have demonstrated.

I want to make it clear that what I see happening with 'The 1500 Club' is what has really inspired me to start this thread, and to state that I *think* it can be done.

Tram Sat May 21, 2011 7:19 pm

henry roberts wrote: i think that everyone seems to have forgotten the 2nd most important heirachy of cool in the type 3 world. the notchback, squareback or donor car err fastback divide.

i would imagine that there are many many out there who woud happily chop up/part a decent early fastback to rebuild thier 64-67 notch or square, without even thinking to check it's production date to see if it was one of the "first" built.

i'm not a type 3 person but wanted to pitch in as IMHO this is a very relevent thread for all those who like aircooled volkswagens.

I'm the NUMBER 1 non- fan of Fastbacks. :lol: But, they're a part of us and our history. Just because a Fastback or a "Fat Chick" (ugh.. they're Second Design!!!) doesn't appeal to everyone does not mean they're not worth properly preserving. Like I said, what do we do when they're "extinct"? Second design Notchbacks and automatic Type 34s are almost there! So are "N" cars and Standards. We have an historical obligation to future generations to get serious about this- now, before all the info is gone.

FASTBACKDON Sat May 21, 2011 7:58 pm

Tram wrote: henry roberts wrote: i think that everyone seems to have forgotten the 2nd most important heirachy of cool in the type 3 world. the notchback, squareback or donor car err fastback divide.

i would imagine that there are many many out there who woud happily chop up/part a decent early fastback to rebuild thier 64-67 notch or square, without even thinking to check it's production date to see if it was one of the "first" built.

i'm not a type 3 person but wanted to pitch in as IMHO this is a very relevent thread for all those who like aircooled volkswagens.

I'm the NUMBER 1 non- fan of Fastbacks. :lol: But, they're a part of us and our history. Just because a Fastback or a "Fat Chick" (ugh.. they're Second Design!!!) doesn't appeal to everyone does not mean they're not worth properly preserving. Like I said, what do we do when they're "extinct"? Second design Notchbacks and automatic Type 34s are almost there! So are "N" cars and Standards. We have an historical obligation to future generations to get serious about this- now, before all the info is gone.
True Tram the absurd cutting up of Fastbacks even though they are considered the bastard child has reduced the number of type 3's. What happens when there are only a few examples of the entire family? People will start wishing the attitude would have been to save everything no matter what model it was. As you have stated it is time to record and save every bit of data.

ALLWAGONS Sat May 21, 2011 8:01 pm

Good Point Tram,

I started a thread a while back asking how long the type 3 fad would last to no positive response. Like most of you, I swore I would be buried in my notch when I was a teenager. then, I grew up, got married and moved on to some thing serious. Later in life I came back to the hobby with a vengeance. Never keeping track of parted cars, or what was what. Now, because of my squareback restoration, I appreciate all the little tidbits of info about correctness for my car and all type 3's. It has not been cheap, which I think is the main deterrent for people to restore a type 3. I have done two busses, a '60 15 window and a '64 21 window that where way easier, faster and cheaper to restore than my '65 sunroof Variant.

jimmynotch Sat May 21, 2011 8:26 pm

I would love a later model notch. Out of all the post '69 type 3s, they are my favorite. And what is weird is I am starting to like fastbacks too, but I really only like the 66 and 67s.

I wouldn't call t3s a fad... bugs and busses still way outnumber us at shows.

supaninja Sat May 21, 2011 8:53 pm

Definitely no fad, I've had my notch in 3 VW shows...2 of them it was the only type 3 and the third it was one of three but the only notch. At the Texas classic, out of 500 VW's only 7 type 3's...friggin 7!



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