1974 Volkswagen 412

The direct descendant to the Volkswagen Passat was the VW Type 4, otherwise known as the 411 and 412. These were a rather oddball vehicles to compete in the mid-sized sedan segment with their flat four engine and Pininfarina influenced styling. At the same time, Volkswagen was marketing the K70, a close relative of a similar NSU design with a front mounted, water cooled inline four cylinder engine. In the end, front-engine, water cooled sedans were the ones which would carry on the VW torch, and 412 production was wound down in 1974. Finding a 412 in good condition is near impossible in this day and age, especially in the US. Occasionally you’ll come across one or two at a VW meet, if you are lucky. The owner of this low mileage car has owned several 412s, and is a true enthusiast, having sold an Audi Fox wagon to the Audi Museum in Ingolstadt.

1974 Volkswagen 412 on VW Vortex

Welcome to my 1974 VW 412 4-door Sedan, located in Denver. This is my 10th 411/412. This car has just over 8,000 original miles. It was purchased by me in 2002 from its second owner, where it had been sitting in a barn in Indiana since 1976. Over the last 10 years I have completely stripped the car down to its shell, had it dipped and re-painted. The restoration is now about 95% complete.

The original color was the yellow that was available that model year. The paint had completely died from not being cared for since 1976, plus the roof had dents from things falling on it. I changed the color to the orange that was available on VWs in 1975, so the paint is not stock for the year of the car.

There really is not much I can say more than the pictures say.

Here is what is left to do:

* The rear side windows and rear window need to be installed. I have them. The problem is that the rubber needs to be custom made, as my original source is out of business. I have a piece of the original, so a custom rubber place can match.

* The interior carpet needs to be custom made and installed. I am in the process of starting that process. Here is who is making it: http://www.dgs-autoteppiche.de/shop/…e8009e2612.php

* The car needs to go back to my body shop now that it is reassembled to have small chips and such repaired that happened during restoration, as well as having the doors professionally aligned. The blue painters tape marks things to be addressed. The chrome body strips need to be attached. This is all something that will be done, as it is already paid for. I just have not done it yet.

The car is 99% stock. The exception is that the rebuilt engine now has a bit larger pistons/cylinders, to raise the displacement to slightly over 1,900 CC from original 1,800 CC. This was the max increase that can be done without serious changes to the heads. The camshaft was replaced to match the new cylinders. Everything else mechanical has either been replaced or repaired. There is nothing that is mechanical that is not in perfect working order

A couple of major things that have been done:

* The windshield is new and was custom made for me in Italy. The original was smashed in the barn.
* The shocks and strut cartridges are new. Neither is available any longer but through research I was able to find a custom modification for the fronts (thank you Ray Greenwood!). The cartridges are made for an Audi 4000, and have a custom machined extension attached to the rod to make them long enough. The rear shocks are made for a Ford F-150 and are an exact replacement. The car sits level now, which not only is unusual for old 412s anyway, they never sat level even when new. The handling is very tight now and the ride very nice, probably better than new. It even corners now without feeling like it is going to roll over.

A couple of fun things to notice in the pictures:

* The spare tire and wheel are original. Check out the original balancing weight.
* The bumpers are untouched. Notice the military permits on the front bumper. Notice also the original 1976 license plate.

The Bad:

* The dash is cracked in the usual places.
* The front seats have been disassembled and re-stuffed with new foam. However, the passenger side leatherette ripped on the inside side during reassembly.

The price:

I purchased the car in 2002 for $1,500. Obviously, for a restoration of this magnitude, many thousands more have been spent. The paint job alone was $5,000. The file of receipts is complete. The price of the car will reflect what anyone would have paid for the car plus much of what has been spent to restore it. The advantage for the buyer, however, is that (s)he does not have to worry about restoring it. That is already done. Of course the risk has always been that the Type 4 was a radical failure and they are only worth what those of us that love them have paid for them. I am happy to communicate individually with anyone that is interested in learning more, and to begin dialogue on an agreeable purchase price.

While not complete, it wouldn’t take much to get this car to 100% restored. Even though it isn’t the original color, bright primary colors work well on 1970s designs like this and the overbored engine is a nice touch. While there is no advertised price, with the amount of work done, I would estimate a fair value of anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000. I recently saw a very mint, one owner Variant (estate) version for sale at $14,900, which may be a bit optimistic. Still, for those 412 fans, there isn’t a lot to choose from, regardless of condition.

-Paul

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