I didn’t really plan to buy this car. It was whilst I was working on my Variant conversion project that I heard about someone who had a 412LE fastback with only 22,800 miles on the clock and wanted it to go to a good home. So I arranged to go and see the car after work one evening and agreed to buy it. I took possession on 4th February 2000.
It had been stored in a lock-up garage for a while and the battery wasn’t holding its charge. After struggling for a few weeks, I discovered that the battery made frying noises when the starter motor was engaged, suggesting serious and terminal internal problems! A new battery transformed the car and all was well until the MOT which became due the following June. That resulted in a need for three new tyres and a fair bit of welding on the exhaust, the brakes also needed some attention.
I used it as my daily transport to work, some 22 miles of a round trip, for more than 5 years and it was a joy to drive. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the Eberspächer heater to work (although I have to admit that I didn’t try very hard) so winter mornings were a little trying! I had always intended to run the car until my conversion project was finished but that has been delayed for several reasons (such is life) and Goldie had to endure more winters on the road than were good for the bodywork. In November 2005 she failed her MOT in convincing style, the main problem being excessive corrosion around the rear subframe mountings. Nothing that a normal restoration project could not deal with but not something for a wet and cold weekend in November! So, after a shade under 40,000 miles in my possession, she has come to the end of the road for the time being. She was finally sold courtesy of eBay in November 2006, having decorated my drive for a year.
Imagine my surprise to find Goldie advertised again on eBay in May 2008! The car has received a great deal of attention and looks good in the sunshine ... and is now known as “Ralf”. The posting included a detail of a scratch on the roof ... to which I have to plead guilty. It was the result of carrying a sunroof down to Kent for my project!
I can see the radio I fitted still there but I’m not sure that I like the smaller Porsche wheels the car now has.
The highest bid was £3,600 which failed to meet the seller’s reserve. The last I heard was that it was being offered in a magazine elsewhere for an asking price of around £8,000!
The car was also featured as the “Ride of the Month” in the June 2008 issue of VolksWorld Magazine (below) and it was spotted at the 2008 Bristol Volksfest (right).
It wasn’t really a one year special as suggested although VW tended to update certain features for all models every year. The “original stereo” was a mono radio that I acquired secondhand and installed myself, displacing the original blanking plate. The first year of production featured the oval lights mentioned in the bottom left picture caption. These are now highly sought after and are affectionately known as “Cyclops”.
This page last updated 15th September 2021 © J S Rastall
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