Unverified Ownership It's Weird Under-Appreciated Aircooled Time! 1971 Volkswagen 411


puffalump? inquire here!
Aug 21, 2009
'10 Lulzcer GTS, '84 Porschelump 944, '71 VW 411

It has come to my attention that my Volkswagen 411 doesn't have a thread yet. It's a good car! Eventually! Sometime when I can make it stop overheating, it will be a good car!

A 24 Hours of Lemons team offered me their Volkswagen 411 for free if I wanted it, and you bet your sweet hindquarters I did. It's the holy trifecta of Stef wants:
  1. Aircooled engine shared with a Porsche 914 (sorta, the 914 had some upgrades—but 914 advice is what's kept mine going, so cool)
  2. Engine in the trunk WHERE IT BELONGS
  3. Weird Volkswagen product you've probably never heard of

Not many people bought the Type 4 when it was new here, but it was Volkswagen's last stab at aircooled, rear-engined glory and the largest, most advanced aircooled car VW ever made. It's PERFECT.

A quick rundown of its history, because race car:


The car first appeared on Jalopnik way before I got it, in Murilee Martin's Down on the Street series. It was a neighbor's car, and he misidentified it as a 1972 when the title says 1971. Whatever, it has internet history: https://jalopnik.com/1972-volkswagen-411-sedan-5517573

Murilee, of course, is Judge Phil to the Lemons racing set nowadays. So, a Lemons team bought that exact car and turned it into a race car. I drove it at its first race, flying out sight unseen only to discover it had no cooling tins at all, and we were running it at roasty Buttonwillow. The car overheated and was slow as hell, but was weird enough and turned enough achingly sluggish laps to earn us Index of Effluency: https://jalopnik.com/im-racing-a-volkswagen-411-and-towing-it-home-in-the-ul-1819018242

I drank out of my shoe in celebration. It was DELICIOUS: https://jalopnik.com/i-now-know-what-winning-tastes-like-because-i-drank-out-1819076998


I towed it home in a then-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas press loaner. Not a bad tow-pig for a relatively lightweight older Volkswagen: https://jalopnik.com/the-2018-volkswagen-atlas-towed-my-classic-vw-race-car-1825590448

The 411 was pretty broken when I got it: https://jalopnik.com/everything-wrong-with-my-free-race-car-1819153463
I mean, melty piston broken: https://jalopnik.com/heres-what-happened-inside-my-badly-overheating-volkswa-1819961495

We attempted to race it at MSR-Houston shortly after I got it back in Texas, but it just wasn't ready and sorted in time. I had the cooling tins back on, but it didn't help enough. Still overheated. I think the carb ran lean, and it appears as though the timing was a bit off. We finished one lap under the Buttonwillow lap count and won I Got Screwed. I drank out of my shoe anyway. It was DELICIOUS.


It also annihilated all of my clothes and I hate laundry: https://jalopnik.com/my-stupid-volkswagen-annihilated-my-clothes-and-i-hate-1821030349

Currently, it runs again! But it still runs hot, and needs a lot of cleaning up. Bees keep building nests in it, too. But all my cars technically run, and did I mention that I love having a weirdo aircooled that few other people seem to recognize? Hell yeah. https://oppositelock.kinja.com/all-my-cars-actually-run-right-now-suckaaaaaaaas-1834932047