Sunday, November 22, 2009

Volkswagen Concept: Kupferner Kopf (Copper Head)

Do you remember the classic Volkswagen 411?

Even though the VW 411 did not break any sales records, this model has an important role to play in Volkswagen’s automobile history as the last large series model with air cooling and a rear-mounted engine.

The Volkswagen 411 began its life as Heinrich Nordhoff's attempt to penetrate the luxury-car market and expand VW's image to include upscale and highly developed products on a far grander scale than previously done. It was to follow the typical VW layout with a rear aircooled engine and rear-wheel drive and to establish the new vehicle in the upper midsize segment which was beyond the reach of the Beetle and the Type 3.

A drivers dream?

Yes and no. It was fairly quiet and comfortable and the front seats were particularly comfortable. The interior was roomy and made for an ideal family car. Since much of the car's weight was over the drive wheels, the car performed well on snowy roads. For this reason, the publicity concentrated on technical innovations and the high level of comfort as well as highlighting typical Volkswagen characteristics such as quality, economic efficiency and service.

The Type 4 was larger than the Volkswagen Type 3 and had a more powerful engine. The ads claimed there had never been a VW like this before. And they were quite right. This was the very first model with a unibody, a four-door option, more space than any other Volkswagen and a longer wheelbase than the Beetle. The innovative sporty chassis with MacPherson strut front suspension and rear suspension with double joint axles, also used in the Porsche 911, made sure the car hold the road well. The midsize saloon featured “the luxury of a luxury car”. “Wolfsburg’s biggie” offered customers space and ride comfort, enhanced safety, a total 570 litres of luggage space in the front and rear and an optional automatic transmission.

Volkswagen Concept: Kupferner Kopf pays tribute to all the technical improvements Volkswagen had made to the 411 but also introduces modern tuning techniques. Radically lowering the front and rear uses fairly common Porsche 911 struts. The engine itself is a much modified Type4. the engine block is native to this car but with performance modifications that were born on the racing circuit. Massive 103mm pistons, counterweighted crankshafts, and a fuel injection system make the stout engine a performer as well.

The wheel of choice are restored 4 bolt Sprintstars shod with Michelin radials on all four corners. The reupholstered VW 411 seats speak volumes on the comfort of these seats.

Forty years have passed since Volkswagen presented the VW 411 in Wolfsburg, at that time the company’s largest and most powerful model yet. All these points make the car so fun and interesting. Someone must take care of these cars, they are Volkswagens, and there aren't many left...

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