Volkswagen 411 and 412 (1968 – 1974) Review

Volkswagen 411 and 412 (1968 – 1974) At A Glance


+Charismatic engine note, excellent build quality

-All of the Beetle's drawbacks, but only marginally improved

The 411 was another late - and some would say desperate - expansion of the Beetle platform. The ideology behind its creation was simple enough - one of the main issues with Volkswagen’s passenger cars of the 1960s was that none had four doors.

The 1968 411 was designed to change all of that. It was launched as a two- and four-door fastback, and was based on the 1500/1600 chassis - which was effectively a Beetle's with a 4-inch stretch. That meant the increasingly aged air-cooled rear-engined layout was retained, but with a number of improvements.

At the front, MacPherson strut suspension was intrioduced, and disc brakes were adopted as standard, meaning the 411 was a better-behaved machine than the Beetle. The 1679cc engine received fuel injection in 1969 and the styling was updated in a last-gasp facelift in 1972, to become the 412. The final upgrade arrived in 1973, in the form of the adoption of a 1795cc flat-four...