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Subaru Flat-Four Swapped VW Type 3 is All the Looks With None of the Maintenance Headaches
There are more than a few drawbacks to owning any Volkswagen circa the 1960s through the mid-1970s. While the majority of the flack gets thrown at the T1 Beetle and T2 Bus, the same issues also apply to the admittedly much nicer-looking T3 coupe.

Subaru Flat-Four Swapped VW Type 3 is All the Looks With None of the Maintenance Headaches

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Be it the chronic lack of horsepower, engines that won't run correctly on modern fuel without major modifications to the cylinder heads and the compression ratio, or the ox cart suspension and weak drum brakes. There are more headaches with old Volkswagens than most people are willing to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

But what happens when one takes the pitiful drivetrain found in Type 3 and replaces it with something similar but altogether more modern? Do you have the recipe for a tasteful restomod? We sure think so. This Subaru boxer engine-swapped 1971 VW Type 3 Fastback is all the timeless looks without the headaches of a medieval drivetrain. It comes to us via the Bring a Trailer user 64Bug out of Tracy in Central California.

From the factory, early VW Type 3s came equipped with a 1.5-liter air-cooled boxer engine that wouldn't look out of place on a Second World War Kubelwagen instead of a 60s fastback coupe. If you were lucky, you got a 1600cc boxer-four stroked by 69 mm over the previous 1.5-liter unit. Well, safe to say the Subaru 2.5-liter flat-four and a four-speed manual transaxle takes that chronic lack of power and turns it into enough to be a heck of a fun drive.

It'd be one thing if this was just the rusty shell of a burnt-out old jalopy, but this Type 3 is clearly thoroughly restored on the outside. So much so that there's almost no indication whatsoever that what lurks under the hood is anything but stock. This Type 3 is finished with a vibrant, almost Ferrari-adjacent Iberian Red paint with stunning 15-inch aftermarket wheels that don't look at all break the classic restomod aesthetic that someone clearly went above and beyond to achieve.

There are a couple of blemishes and hints of the previous paintwork if you observe every inch of this VW's left fender, passenger side door, and rear apron with a fine-toothed comb. But with the help of a very nice camera, it's as if they're completely nonexistent. Underneath this beauty, we find a tweaked suspension modified to handle the extra power the new engine can crank out.

It starts with a lowered front suspension, rear sway bars, and aggressive 185/65 R15 Continental ControlContact tires for a ride that corners with the poise and the grace of a modern car but with all the charm of an old-school hippy car. It's all made to stop as well as it accelerates thanks to upgrades disk brakes at all four corners.

Inside, this Type 3 is just as impressive in the interior category as it is in the engine and exterior. The front bucket seats are re-upholstered in a frankly comfy and tasteful-looking leatherette material, as have the headliner and the door panels. The original instrument cluster features a 100-mph speedometer and has a water-temperature gauge since the original engine didn't need one. The passengers are spoiled with modern amenities like an external subwoofer paired with a Kenwood stereo.

Even with all these custom touches, the owner still has all the paperwork that came with this VW Type 3 from the dealership back in the early 1970s. Including the original window sticker with MRSP pricing at $2,722.50, or $19,918.68 in modern money.

Well, with two days left in the auction and a current bid of $15,500, we're at least a good portion of the way to breaking even on the original cost of the car. Which, if you think about it, must be the deal of the century, of the week.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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