I’m pretty open about admitting my under-appreciation of air-cooled Volkswagen products. I know how iconic they can be, I know there is a fan base, and I’ve seen some blisteringly fast Beetles at drag strips. But I can trace about 80% of my issues to the one time I drove a friend’s Karmann Ghia about ten years ago. If memory serves me right, she let me borrow her baby, a canary yellow coupe, to go check on my lemon of a Chevy Blazer, which was in for warranty work for what felt like the thousandth time. All I knew of the car prior to getting the keys was that if anything happened to it, my hind end was grass. And that the driver’s side seat was stuck all the way forward. The ensuing trip was painful, to put it mildly. The Ghia moved pretty well, the handling was better than I expected, and the engine was even pretty eager to please, but between the tittering exhaust note, the sketchy pedal placement and even sketchier brakes, I decided that I didn’t like the Ghia…or any VW product that resembled it…very much.
So why does this Type 34 intrigue me? Is it that it looks to be a good sized car? It should…instead of being made on the Beetle’s chassis, it’s based off of the Type 3 (Squareback) platform. Is it that body styling? I’m getting hints of NSU Ro80, Alpine A110 and early Alfa Romeo Giulia in the shape, which isn’t too off the mark…the Type 34 was designed by an Italian, and the look shows. Air cooled VW maintenance, Italian looks and rarity…is this VW worth looking at twice? I might be convinced it is.