The history of the Lotus 340R


The Volkswagen Type 3, also referred to as the Volkswagen 1500 and later the Volkswagen 1600, was a range of small cars from German manufacturer Volkswagen (VW). Initially, VW used the Volkswagen 1500 model name to avoid confusion with the older Volkswagen 1200 (Beetle) model.
The range was originally launched in August 1961 with two models: the Notchback with a notchback saloon body, and the Karmann Ghia 1500 (also known as the Type 34 Karmann Ghia) with a coupé body. The first Variant (known as the Squareback in the USA) with an estate body followed in 1962 (VW still continues to name all its station wagon model variations Variant). The Fastback, or TL version, a fastback coupé, arrived in August 1965. A convertible was announced with the original models, but did not enter production.
The Type 3 was introduced to diversify Volkswagen's product range beyond the existing Type 1 (Beetle), the Karmann Ghia, and the Type 2 (Bus). The Type 3 was designed as a more sophisticated car while retaining much of the engineering from the Type 1. Though available to much of the world, the Type 3 line was not exported to the United States through Volkswagen of America until the 1966 model year, when the Squareback and Fastback were added to their line-up.
The most significant face-lift, visually, took place in 1970 when the car underwent a 115 mm (4.5 in) nose-lengthening which added 1.5 cubic feet to the luggage capacity.
Production ended in 1973 at the Wolfsburg plant, with production moving to VW's new Emden plant, which was later retooled in 1973 to build the Passat (B1, also known as Dasher). The Wolfsburg plant was retooled to build the Golf.
The Type 3 was initially equipped with a 1.5 L (1493 cc) engine based on the air-cooled flat-4 found in the Type 1. While the long block remained the same as the Type 1, the engine cooling was drastically changed to allow for a much lower engine profile. This resulted in increased area for cargo stowage with the so-called "Pancake" or "Suitcase" engine. This engine's displacement would later increase to 1.6 L (1584 cc).
Originally a single side draft carburettor was used in the Volkswagen 1500 model. In August 1963, single- or dual-carbureted versions were introduced, respectively the Volkswagen 1500N, rated at 45 PS (33 kW; 44 hp) and 1500S, with 54 PS (40 kW; 53 hp). The extra power achieved by the 'S' model was provided by high compression pistons and the dual carburetors.
The Type 3 engine got a larger displacement (1.6 L) for 1966, and in 1968, it was the world's first volume produced car to feature electronic fuel injection pioneered by Bosch. The Bosch D-Jetronic system was offered on the Volkswagen 1600E version (E meaning Einspritzung or "injection" in German). A similar Bosch injection system was also used in the later Type 4 VW 411 and available for the Volvo P1800. Also introduced for 1968 was a fully automatic transmission.
One notable advance from the Type 1 to the Type 3 was the front suspension — although similar to the Type 1, it was the first Volkswagen system to incorporate transverse torsion bars, as opposed to the Type 1's torsion leaves. The Type 3's torsion bars are cross-mounted in the lower tube, so that each individual torsion bar spans the full width of the car, the upper tube containing an anti-roll bar which connects both upper trailing links to each other.
The Type 3 offered a larger amount of storage space than the Type 1 Beetle, with both front and rear storage, as its engine was located under a panel in the rear trunk space in all three variations (Notchback, Squareback and Fastback). The Type 3 also featured wall-to-wall carpeting, and was available with air conditioning in the US.
Also known as the Grosse Ghia, the Type 34 Karmann Ghia was a larger, more squared development of the Karmann Ghia, and was based on the Type 3 platform.
The three-box Type 3 was launched in Brazil in 1968 with unique styling (similar to the Brasilia) and four doors. It was met with little success, being nicknamed Zé do Caixão (after Coffin Joe, a popular Brazilian movie character) for its boxy shape.
The fastback version, the Volkswagen TL, fared somewhat better, being produced from 1970 to 1976, originally as a 2-door and later as a 4-door version.
As in Germany, the original Karmann Ghia was replaced by a Type 3-based model called Karmann Ghia TC (Touring Coupé), but with a distinct look from the German Karmann Ghia Type 34.
Neither enjoyed as much success as its estate-bodied sibling, the Variant. The 3-door Variant was produced from 1969 to 1977 and then followed by an updated successor with squarer body, the Variant II which was produced from 1977 to 1980.
In 1980 Volkswagen bought the Argentinian Chrysler Ferve Argentina SAIC. With the takeover came a new name, Volkswagen Argentina SA, and the company inherited some Dodge / Chrysler vehicles. One of them was the Dodge 1500 (also the Dodge 1800) which the newly taken-over company re-badged as Volkswagen 1500 for the Argentinian market. The estate was known as the Volkswagen 1500 Rural. Both variants continued to be sold until 1988.
The car, which was based on Chrysler Avenger, had also been sold in Brazil, where it was known as the Dodge Polara — this version ceased in 1981, shortly after Volkswagen's purchase of the tooling in Argentina. Note also that this is the car which was available earlier in the 1970s in North America as the Plymouth Cricket.
These cars have no parts related to any other vehicles in the Volkswagen range, including the Volkswagen Type 3 known by the same Volkswagen 1500 name.

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