Rare Rides: A Rear-engined Volkswagen 412 Wagon From 1973

Air-cooled engine at the back, two upright, circular headlamps at the front, and classic gold metallic paint.

It’s not a vintage Porsche 911, but it is a cousin — a Volkswagen 412 from 1973.

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The BMW 700 and NSU Prinz: Germany's Alternative Air-cooled History

Following in the footsteps of last week’s Karmann Ghia article, it seemed natural to take a look at two other lesser-known German alternatives to Volkswagen’s Type 1 Beetle and the ‘Beetle-in-a-suit’ Karmann Ghia.

Like the Karmann Ghia, both were attempts to capitalize on a new and expanding market for automobiles in Germany during the postwar economic boom times. That meant that the models had to incorporate existing technology, yet also appeal to a crowd increasingly interested in performance and style. However, both had to be at least somewhat economical and practical as family cars.

The result was a series of interesting and mostly forgotten air-cooled, rear-engine, rear-drive sedans, coupes and convertibles from both BMW and NSU.

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Volkswagen's Other Karmann Ghia: the Type 34

The Karmann Ghia is familiar to most automotive enthusiasts as a styling exercise intended to turn the Volkswagen Beetle into a slinky “sportscar” using pedestrian internals. The resulting Type 1 Ghia debuted way back in 1955 and added some (more) Porsche styling to the family sedan. Assembled by Karmann in Osnabrück, Germany, with styling from Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy, the curvy two-door offered little performance, but much style, compared to its stablemates.

However, the Type 1 Karmann Ghia wasn’t the only car to bear that German-Italian nameplate.

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Junkyard Find: 1982 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia
The Volkswagen Vanagon has a global cult following, for reasons I have never understood, and the Westfalia camper version is an object of heavy-duty veneration among Vanagon zealots. You hear about the crazy prices that any Westfalia Vanagon will fetch … but it turns out that most serious Volkswagen fanatics are too cheap to pay the prices they quote so knowledgeably. So, rough examples of the Vanagon show up often at cheap self-service wrecking yards.Here’s an ’82 that I found last week in the Denver area.
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No Fixed Abode: Singer Song of Sixpence

A few years ago, I wrote an opinion piece about Porsche [s]vandal[/s] tuner RWB and the ethical aspects of damaging historically valuable air-cooled 911s. Some of you agreed, some of you disagreed, some of you took it very personally.

This past week the article gained some traction again via a wave of FB shares, which happens often enough that the RWB article is in the all-time top 25 most popular TTAC posts. This time, however, a few of the B&B had a new question to ask: What do you think about the “Porsche 911 Re-Imagined By Singer”?

Good question. As you’d suspect, I have an opinion on the subject. But the most fascinating thing about the Singer cars isn’t what they say about the company or its approach to rebuilding air-cooled Porsches; it’s what the Singer phenomenon says about Porsche itself.

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Review: 2014 Cayman S Vs. 1998 911 Carrera S

My friend Rob Z. is the quintessential nice guy: even-tempered, affable, a firm handshake and a decent sense of humour. We meet up on a sunny Saturday morning in East Vancouver and he rolls open his garage door.

Well.

Clearly I’m going to have to murder him.

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An Air-Cooled Outlaw Re-Imagines Porsche's Past

Though Porsche is sparing no expense — and leaving no corner un-cut — breaking the hearts of their loyal fanbase, not everyone is willing to ride a diesel Panamera into the bleak lease-only future. Magnus Walker has come up with a unique aesthetic for the earliest Nine Elevens. He’s made an impression with a lot of people, he’s made more than a couple bucks doing it, and now he’s made a film.

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  • VoGhost First of all, more great performing vehicles are always welcome. But it really does point to a cancer within GM that their answer is always: 'more models.' They face an existential crisis from a competitor that grows at 50% annually and is stealing their market share. And they are doing it on the back of just two models. And while the commentators moan about where the CyberTruck is and when will they update their vehicles, Tesla now produces two of the top five vehicles on the planet. GM doesn't need more models - they need a few GREAT vehicles. Come on, GM! Show us a vehicle that can sell at 500K+ units, that isn't a third place pickup people only buy because the F-150 and Ram are sold out.
  • Ajla Everything should be branded as a Corvette, Mustang, or AMG.-Subaru Crosstrek AMG-Toyota Mustang GR86-Buick Shelby Corvette Encore AMG
  • SCE to AUX Since I refuse to sign up for Sirius XM, can it still be a gateway into my car?
  • Kcflyer So they are leveraging the Corvette name and leaving off the best feature. Bummer.
  • MaintenanceCosts This used to be my favorite class of car but at some point they just became too much. The V6 S6 is more than fast enough and will have a more comfortable ride, and I can't see what the extra $45k or so for the RS6 gets me except a V8 engine note.