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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Hot Wheels 1969 Volkswagen Squareback Panel

The most notable air-cooled Volkswagen's are the Beetle, Bus, and Karmann-Ghia, but also VW started to invest more in the platform with a more traditional sedan, coupe, and wagon body style to join the Karmann-Ghia.  While Hot Wheels has invested in the Karmann-Ghia and 1965 Fastback as drag racing vehicles, the squareback panel is more of a traditional road car.

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The Type 3 family was made from 1961 to 1973 as a more traditional commuter car compared to the compact Beetle or larger VW Bus.  The look may suggest front-engine vehicle, but it still uses the same rear-mounted air-cooled 1.6L flat-4 motor that produces 53 horsepower through a 4-speed manual transmission.  Despite the neat panel look it does not have the flexibility of an Austin Panel Van or a Ford Transit as the engine hump at the rear eats up cargo space and only allows for a rear liftgate.  To make manners worse there's no side door so access to the cargo area behind the rear seats is a challenge (I can see why these squarebacks never worked as panel vans).  The dashboard has a flat design with two-spoke steering wheel and round gauges just behind the wheel.  The shifter lies just between the bucket front seats.  The design is simple and reminds me of the same setup in a Porsche 356.

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This casting debuted in the 2010 delivery series where most wagon's donned the panel van design to allow more room for advertisements on the sides.  2016 marks the first release in the mainline as the green with peace logo and psychadellic graphics, with the white version the Kmart recolor special released after the green version.  The front has round headlights with lower signal lights on a grille-less front-end with a round snout.  The sides have a straight beltline with detailed door handles and vents over the rear wheels.  The rear has oval taillights, vents on the C-pillar, and dual exhausts below the rear bumper.  The wheels are OH-5 and are blacked out give this car a sleek look, while the base shows some engine details at the rear but otherwise not much elsewhere.  And yes it has an interior.  Even though i'm not a huge VW fan, I really don't find much appeal with this casting.  Maybe a nicer deco would resolve that, but otherwise if you really want to enjoy the squareback more you can find better and larger scale models.

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