Early VW 411 for sale

Check out this early air-cooled family gem. It’s a 1969 411, it’s across the channel in France and it’s only a cool €4500 which is a little over three grand in pounds Sterling!

We spotted it advertised here on a French classified website and the car itself is in the Loire – easily doable in a day if you take a ferry from one of the south coast ports to Brittany.

main 411

Despite being registered almost half a century ago on 30 June 1969, according to the description it’s only covered 25,800km which makes it pretty much ‘as new’. And as far as we can see, the pictures seem to back up this assumption…

The beige paintwork all looks original, as do the wheels and exterior trim. The black rubber insert from the bumper is missing front and rear, but finding a replacement shouldn’t prove too difficult. From what we can see it’s also got the optional opening rear side windows which is a nice period touch.

411 rear main

It all looks reassuringly unmolested inside as well, and although the seat fabric looks a little faded, incredibly there’s no rips or signs of excessive wear. And check out the amount of space up front due to the absence of a central tunnel! The honey coloured thick pile carpet could probably do with a clean, but again it’s all there and would come up a treat with a bit of a shampoo.

interior 2upinterior 2up 2

The plutocratic VW Type 4 was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in October 1968 and was available with either a two or four-door body, the design of which was credited to Italian style house Pininfarina. Early models featured a 1697cc engine with twin carbs, but Bosch D-Jetronic was added in 1969 which raised power from 68 to 80bhp. The same engine was used in the VW Porsche 914 at its launch in that year too. The later injected cars were given the suffix ‘E’ (for Einspritzung) and adopted twin headlamps instead of the more characterful ovalised lamps on earlier models.

brochure 411

Underneath that opinion dividing exterior, the 411 boasted a number of technical advances – not least the fact that it inherited the same sophisticated independent suspension setup as the Porsche 911, an arrangement that VW would later adopt for the 1302/3 Beetle. It also featured unitary construction, getting away for the first time from a separate floorpan chassis.

brochure 1brochure 2

Generally unloved, the 411 never sold in big numbers and was replaced by the redesigned 412 in 1972. Despite having a better interior and a twin carb 1800cc engine from ’73, that also failed to attract buyers and by the time they pulled the plug on that too in 1974, a total of just 355,200 411s and 412s had left the production line, making this early original looking example here very rare indeed.

Now, where’s that passport…


The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage

8 responses to: Early VW 411 for sale

  1. Hi i have a 1960 vw 411 complete chassis with a beach buggy body on it . i believe this is extreamly rare. can any one help .

  2. My first car was an orange VW 411 4-door wagon. I only had it for five months when it caught on fire. The little, blue, cold-start valve developed a pin-hole leak and sprayed the engine with oil. Nearly 40 years later, I still mourn its loss. Has anyone else experienced such a problem?

    Ken in Ranson, WV

  3. I bought a red 411le new in 71 what a load of rubbish, it had no servo brakes the disc pads used to ware out every 3 or 4 thousand miles the rear drive shaft UJ joints had nylon gaiters which split at 10k, I got rid after 18months no wonder VW dropped it.

  4. The advertisement for the VW 411 L four door saloon as mentioned in the article above dates from early 2016 or late 2015. Therefore the chance that this rare vehicle is still on offer seems almost nil. Hopefully the present owner did succeed in finding and fitting the correct rubber inserts on his front and rear bumper. Based on the scarce information the four pictures provide, it looks like he or she purchased a solid and good-looking car, but certainly not a very original one!
    If this VW 411 L was indeed registered on June 30th, 1969 it is a late MY 1969 model. It must have been produced somewhere between September 1968 and June 1969. The wide single head lights, the VW logo on top of the bonnet and the “VW 411 L” script at the rear confirm this. However, the wheels under this car are either from a later date (post August 1969) or have been resprayed, since all MY 1969 VWs 411 were sitting/riding on black painted wheels with hub caps and separate ornamental wheel rings. Black-painted windscreen wipers were not introduced before August 1972 (when the 411 evolved into the 412) on any Volkswagen, so on this particular car they must have been repainted or replaced afterwards. The rear script of the car tells us this is an “L”-model. However, all VW 411 L and LE versions had aluminum side strips as well as ornamental strips alongside the wheel arches… This car hasn’t. Only the correct strip alongside the right hand rain gutter is visible. The ornamental strips underneath the doors (standard on all Type 4 versions) and the stone impact protectors just in front of the rear wheel arches (an exclusive “L”-item) are missing. The beige colour may be correct, but the paint, I’m afraid, is not; it quite obvious that the vehicle is (at least partly) repainted – look for instance at the black piping around the right-hand rear panel, not any VW 411/412 ever left the Wolfsburg or Salzgitter Volkswagen factory equipped with black piping, unless it was painted in black over all. (I’m not 100% sure about the South African-made Type 4 models, but that is not relevant in this case.) The interior of this VW 411 L not only looks nice and solid, but it seems quite authentic as well. However, opening rear windows (in Dutch we call them uitstelbare achterste zijruiten) have never been available on four-door Type 4 saloons, since the windows in the rear doors could be turned down – at least partly. So if this vehicle has got such windows (as it looks like) they must have been fitted afterwards. Also fitted afterwards on this car were the “Volkswagen” script between the head lights and the strange pimp on the lid of the filler cap (probably an extra lock).
    In short: this was – and hopefully still is – a nice-looking and fairly rare VW 411, but certainly not as original as it seems at first sight.

    By the way, did you ever notice that the patina body on the photo taken from an original VW 411 brochure and published above doesn’t show a VW 411 at all? Take a good look at the dashboard, the front end, the air intakes in the engine lid and the heigth and positioning of the holes for the rear light clusters, and you’ll recognise this being the body of a VW 311 Special (EA 158) prototype, from which a complete example is part of the collection of the Volkswagen Museum in Wolfsburg.

    Best wishes from a Volkswagen enthousiast in The Netherlands

    1. Fokko Haanstra: Your wrong about the black-painted windscreen wiperarms, they were introduced on 411 in the fall of 1971. Has owned several of these cars, including a 411 E and a 412 LS (with powerbrakes and sunroof), all station wagons, since I never liked the 4-door saloon. Biggest problem with these was side wind stability. Otherwise absolutely beautiful cars that were faster than many of the comparable cars of the time.
      Best wishes from Norway.

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