How Rare? 1973 Volkswagen Sedan Delivery


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Featuring cars that are advertised for sale with only one photo, is not our favorite thing to do here at Barn Finds. But sometimes, the vehicle is so interesting, so rare, we can’t resist. Offered for sale here on craigslist in St. Louis, Missouri, but apparently located about a hundred miles away in “mid-Missouri”, is this very scarce 1973 VW sedan delivery. The text in the seller’s ad is not any better than the photo, and it reads in its entirety: “1973 Vw sedan dlivery. Fair to restore. 3000.00 cash. Mid mo rare. Type 3 eng. runs n drives needs. Restored”.

Learning how to spell “delivery” would be a good place to start on getting this car sold, but in the meantime, maybe one of our readers can snap it up, take lots of better photos, and write up an article about the trip to pick it up, more about restoring it…hey, I can dream, can’t I? So how rare is it? The short answer is, I don’t know. I couldn’t find any production figures for it, and a quick Google image search failed to yield a single other example in a quick scan of the first 400 photos. The regular VW station wagons are uncommon enough at this point, but I can honestly say I don’t remember the last time I’ve ever seen one of these. As BF’s resident “big American car guy”, this VW is not my normal forte, but it was far too interesting to not do a quick write-up on it, and I’m very much looking forward to our knowledgeable readers to tell us all about it.


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    • K-Dawg

      It may not be original since it lacks the window indents.

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      • Bobsmyuncle

        Without the detents it isn’t likely to be an Australian built version. But we don’t yet have proof Germany didn’t make them.

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  1. Bill

    Cool looking. I’ve never seen one like it. I wonder if it’s some sort of conversion? HOWEVER>>>>Pet peeve (even more than “needs breaks”) What the heck is Needs Restored”? simple English people! “Needs TO BE restored”, or “Needs restoration” even “Needs restoring” would be better. Ugh!

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    • Trickie DickieMember

      Thank You Thank You BILL…….this has been an irritation for me for a long time, Or worse are sentences than run on and on with NO punctuation. There seems to be a general Dumbing Down going on in America that is really disturbing. So many young kids take pride in not even speaking in complete sentences! Oh, the Humanity!!

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      • AMCSTEVE

        If you’ve ever been to mid-mo you would understand.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Another one, “I need to sale…” see it all the time.

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      • grant

        Or “for sell.” I really like it when they post a picture of the nameplate and then misspell the name of the car…

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    • Gavin

      Hey Bill. This whole sentence irritates me. “1973 Vw sedan dilivery. Fair to restore. 3000.00 cash. Mid mo rare. Type 3 eng. runs n drives needs. Restored”.
      However this is just one ad out of thousands on the internet that are either misspelled, lack punctuation, have no grammar, etc. It’s not just USA ads either.
      The other thing that gets me is when someone advertises a vehicle and can’t even get the name of the vehicle right, what gives there? Can’t even be bothered to look at the badge. Incredible!!

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      • Joe Nose

        Welcome to the 140-characters-or-less world. Must have to pay extra for each properly-spelled word.

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  2. Fred W.

    Don’t think it was a production model. I was able to find a couple of similar cars, but I suspect they are customs.

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  3. Fred W.

    One more…

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  4. boxdin

    They make a good looking sedan delivery like the silver/black one shown above. Outstanding!
    The factory did build many commercial vehicles from the type 3 chassis and cab/chassis w bodies of all sizes. German postal comes up w some interesting vans.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      Interesting, any example? I don’t know of any.

      The Fridolin is a cool little vehicle (Postal) but not based on the Type III.

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  5. Stephen

    Looks homemade to me. The Type III was an expensive platform to build a commercial vehicle on.

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    • boxdin

      This would be one example.

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      • boxdin


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      • Bobsmyuncle

        Yep that’s the Fridolin but not Type III based. I’m a big fan!

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  6. rmward194Member

    Disclaimer: I may not have the correct model.

    According to Wikipedia:

    Australian production
    The Type 3 was manufactured at Clayton in Victoria, Australia from 1963 in sedan, station wagon and sedan delivery body styles. In 1965, the Fastback was introduced, fully imported from Germany. [8]

    Panel van versions (based on the 1500 ‘N’) feature a marine ply wood loading area with zinc plated steel protector strips, 1 x sun visor (for the driver), a clock delete panel and no side windows. All Australian assembled panel vans were fitted with a metal ID tag behind the spare wheel with a prefix of PV then the number hand stamped in. There are approximately 20 known surviving panel vans from the estimated original production run of 150.

    Following the cessation of all local manufacturing by Volkswagen Australasia in 1968, the Type 3 was assembled from CKD kits by Motor Producers Limited at the same Clayton facility through to 1973.[9]

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    • Dave Wright

      It seems to me that an Australian built car would be a right hand drive.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      I don’t think this would be the same vehicle. The Type III has the spare up front, between weight management and the source of propulsion for the windshield washers I doubt the element would be altered.

      I’m not confident any such beast was available OEM in the European or North American market.

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    • Bobsmyuncle
  7. Tony S

    Always liked the Type 3s – more utilitarian than even the Type 1.

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  8. Spridget

    I’ve seen one, in a similar condition, at a local repair shop. I don’t know if it’s a production model or not though.

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  9. Luki

    That is a VW factory made panel delivery.
    I’ve seen pictures and heard of them but I’ve never seen one in person. First time I’ve seen one for sale.
    Quite rare and the real deal.

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    • Bobsmyuncle

      How would you be able to ID a ‘real’ one if indeed such a thing exists?

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  10. Tom

    google it. not real

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  11. fred w.

    Would love to know for sure if the factory ever made them. If so, looks like almost none survived.

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  12. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskeyMember

    Well I have the answer to your questions on the type 3 panel vans. I lived in Germany in the mid 1970s, and had a friend, Herr Schmidt, who owned a VW franchise in Ladenburg, between Heidelberg & Mannheim. He had sold several of the actual panel vans before they stopped making them. Local shops who made deliveries loved them, and when he saw a need for the vans, his body/paint crew built them out of regular 2-door wagons, building their own platforms for the rear area. They were built either with or without rear glass in the rear lift gates. The removed parts were added to the parts department stock.

    I remember seeing several of these conversions being created, as they would build a few at the same time. They simply removed the interior aft of the front seats, the side glass, and gas-welded sheet steel over the body supports. To keep costs down, the new panels were painted white, because the shops would put their own lettering and logos on the panels.

    I’m sure Herr Schmidt was not the only VW dealership to make their own panel vans after the factory stopped offering them. I was friends with him because he collected vintage cars, and had a Ford “A” Tudor, a 49 VW “Farmer” version with cable brakes, a pre-war Opel sedan, and others I don’t remember. I used to help him work on the Ford.

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  13. Bobsmyuncle

    Okay enough conjecture, here’s the deal. Anyone in the scene will recognize the author. You can take this info to the bank;

    I think there is much confusion about VW Type 3 panel vans. I have a Volkswagen AG options and accessories loose leaf manual for sales staff published Germany in 1964 and in English. In dealing with the Type 36 panel van it states:
    “Here you have the possibility of ordering the VW Variant N as a pure utility vehicle.
    M 264 : Welded in metal plates instead of glass in the middle and rear side windows.
    M 265 : Welded in metal plates instead of glass in the middle and rear side windows with welded partition behind the front seats.”

    So, the panel van was essentially a version of the Variant N (the Variant N being the basic plain jane no frills version of the wagon). You could choose to retain the rear seat and have welded in side plates instead of glass (VWOption M 264) or you you could have the welded in panels plus have the rear seat removed and a metal partition (bout 18 inches high) behind the front seats (VWOption M 265). In those days many owners would remove the middle and or rear side window metal plates and replace them with glass. (Fitting pop-out hinges would require much skilled cutting and welding. So, I doubt whether it was done often.) Often owners with the partition would remove the partition and fit the normal Variant (wagon) seats from a wreck. I did exactly this with my 1968 VW Variant panel van which I bought new in Zambia in Central Africa. I also removed the side metal plates which were just spot-welded in and fitted fixed glass windows those from an “N” Variant wreck.

    From 1967 the term “N” for the basic plain jane Type 3 was replaced by the term “A”. So, the panel van was essentially one of two options (M 264 or M265) added to the basic N or A versions of the Variant.

    From August 1967 all Type 36 vehicles fitted with Option M 264 or M 265 also had to have swing axles fitted with VW Option 263 which was a special stiff or stronger “Z” bar to control camber on the rear swing axles. Many were also fitted with VW Option M 103 (heavy duty shock absorbers). This means that all Type 3 panel vans right up to July 1973 (with the long nose and big tail lights) still had swing axles instead of the CV-joint half axles on normal Variants and all other Type 3s from 1969 models onwards. And, like all “A” model Variants and notchbacks, a 1500 single sidedraft carburettor engine or a twin carburettor 1600 engine could be specified. I am not aware that any Type 3 panel vans had 1600 fuel injection motors but it is theoretically a possibility. Likewise, it was possible to specify a Type 3 panel van with a steel sliding sunroof.

    There was also an Australian production of the VW Type 3 panel van in production in Melbourne with most of them made in 1965 but with a few even in early 1968. They were all drum brake 6 volt models built to early specs and the Japanese Type 3 panel van featured/mentioned in this thread is one of those Australian-built Type 3 panel vans. While all German-built Type 3 panel vans featured the rubber mats found in the load area of ordinary passenger Variants or wagons, the Australian-built panel vans featured plywood floor sections in the rear load compartment with aluminium rubbing strips. This feature was unique to Australian VW Type 3 panel vans.
    Australian VW Type3 panel vans also had a small plate (4cm long) welded into place just behind the spare wheel which showed the “Body number” as distinct from the Chassis number or VIN. This body number for panel vans began with PV and was followed by three digits.

    For more detail on the Type 3 panel vans and other panel van versions of the Golf, Polo, Passat, Gol, Caddy and even the Beetle see Chapter 30 of my book “Volkswagens of the World” (2nd edition 2003).

    Simon Glen or “Bature”

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    • YellowjaxMember


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  14. Eamon

    It’s looks a conversion of the European VW Variant known as the Square Back in the US.

    If ther are any mistakes in the above sentence keep the to yourselves. Wordsmiths irate me.

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  15. Gunter Kramer

    You have to enter the German type description into google or google images to get results: VW Typ 3 Variant Lieferwagen

    The VW built version has ventilation slots in the rear panels that the car in Missouri doesn’t seem to have. But the picture is so bad that you can’t really tell.

    Here’s a youtube link:

    Here’s a German type 3 club page link with more pictures (scroll all the way down):


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  16. Scotty G

    Nice find!
    I have an old VW factory drawing that shows a Type 3 panel van that I’ll dig up when I get home. I would love to have this car. Great write-up, too.

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  17. DrinkinGasoline

    Type III Panel Vans had steel in place of side glass.

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  18. DrinkinGasoline

    Another Factory photo

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    • ScottyStaff

      You nailed it, DrinkinGasoline, it wouldn’t have been smooth from the factory so it must be a custom job.

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  19. DrinkinGasoline

    Interior pictures would surely tell the tale, which of course, are lacking. :)

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  20. Bobsmyuncle

    Haven’t we put this to bed already?

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