Peter Wilding uploaded this intriguing Volkswagen to the Cohort that showed up at local show in 2013. The owner claimed it to be an early Beetle prototype but he suspects it might be built using both Volkswagen and Hanomag components.
Here is his description:
This is an alleged VW prototype. IMHO probably built postwar using a mix of Hanomag and VW bits. The guy who owned it had a credible story to tell about its ‘development’, if I hadn’t read up on VW history and this sort of thing beforehand. Interesting all the same; thought you guys would like to see it! Turned up at a small-town car show in 2013.
Paul chimed in with the following:
This is absolutely not a “VW Prototype”. It’s a well known car, and just a 1943 VW Kubelwagen chassis (as the ID plate states very clearly) that was rebodied using an old Hanomag body. This kind of thing was pretty commonly done in Eastern Europe during the post war years. There was a dead old Hanomag and a running Kubelwagen, and someone wanted an enclosed body, so the two were married. The crude joints where the body was welded on are very clear.
The “Hanomag KdF” badges were made by a later owner to try to fool someone, or just for fun.
Regardless it is a fascinating vehicle of which he has provided us many photos.
While the front does not look too different from the classic Beetle shape, the side proportions are a little more off.
The Hanomag 1.3 seems like a likely donor for most of the body.
I am not an expert on Volkswagen engines but I can certainly tell this is an early one. (ED: it’s a Kubelwagen 1133 cc unit.)
The VIN tag identifying it as a 1943 VW Kubelwagen chassis. After the war not too many folks wanted to drive a stock Kubelwagen so many were re-bodied with whatever happened to be around and available.
There are lots of neat touches in the interior including the original VW VDO speedometer with Kdf Hanomag badging applied.
Wood slats on the floor, just like in the Kubelwagen.
Someone went to a bit of trouble to make all the fake badging.
The VW pedal box.
The rear window treatment is interesting.
The interesting touches continue on the outside.
Around the front, a three light combination is featured which is very reminiscent of the Tatras of the similar period.
Another KdF Hanomag badge at the rear.
While not a lost link in the Volkswagen Type 1 development, it is still an interesting car.
A curious oddity, in more ways than one. Its origins are not that odd, given that there were a lot of Kubelwagen scattered around the former war zones, especially the eastern zone. So they were prized, given the lack of cars at the time. And rebodying them was not all that odd. But the fact that a later owner went to all the trouble to create the “KDF Hanomag” badging, as well as that Porsche sign in the back window is, especially since the builder’s tag clearly identifies it as a 1943 Type 82 (Kubelwagen).
When the Porsches had to leave Stuttgart just before the end of the war, they bought an old sawmill in Gmund, Austria, and used that as their base of operation for the first couple of years after the war. Their first income source was fixing Kubelwagen that folks had found scattered about. And they acquired a number of them, and used them as the basis for the very first Porsche 356s. The platform was not used, but the whole suspension, running gear and drive train of the first 356s was all from Kubelwagen.
This is amazing! I wrote about a Steyr version of this same idea a while back, but I’m not sure I’ve seen a Hanomag one. https://jalopnik.com/the-true-story-behind-this-mysterious-mutant-vw-beetle-1580706620
What’s curious about the one one you featured is that it was obviously re-done at a later time, with a genuine VW front clip. And the wheels are later style too. So at some point, someone really wanted to create a VW-Steyr mash-up.
Maybe I’m just having a touch of the vapours, but I can’t help but feel that the creator of these badges was just a bit too enthusiastic in his zeal. Swastika in the number plate doesn’t help (for a concoction of Hanomagged Kubelbits cobbled up post-war).
I’d suspect less Strength through Joy Hanomag than Length of Ploy Hanomag, that being the ploy to pass this off having been taken some length. A quick Google casting about finds that this thing has dressed in no less than 3 different paint jobs over time.
Owner wasn’t a bit……stiff and overdressed for the occasion, was he Pete?
Oh well. This re-bodying of Kubels is something I knew nothing of, so that’s interesting to learn.
No, he just seemed like an ordinary Aussie who just happened to have a fascination for things from Wolfsburg. Hmm, maybe that’s not so ordinary? Quite a collector, apparently. He used to have about forty old Veedubs of various sorts on a property on the edge of town, sort of a private wrecking yard /sanctuary for retired Volkswagens before council made him clean it up, but they gradually reappeared. Another year he donated an old Golf for the SES to use the jaws of life on to show how quickly they can extract a body from a wreck.
I took so many photos of this because I knew it was a fake, but was too polite to call him out on it. But to buy this from Europe and go to the expense of importing it down to Australia – maybe he really did believe the yarn he was spinning? He mentioned other German companies being involved in this supposed development project – I remember Mercedes and Adler being mentioned. When I got home I searched the net and found confirmation of its origins. Well, a lot of debate, some of it heated to the point of being vitriolic.
I probably spent more time looking at it that anyone else did that day. I was just amazed at the detail somebody had gone to with all the Kdf Hanomag badging. Now that I think about it, a prototype wouldn’t have been so proudly badged. And I had a suspicion that ID plate would tell the real story.
And thank you David for writing this up. It takes me a while to focus my thought to respond, but writing a feature would just be mentally beyond me these days.
If that’s what he’s been doing, it’s downright pathetic. The lengths people will go to get attention for themselves and their cars.
And how many folks who saw it will then regurgitate the story about the KDF Hanomag?
I guess it’s no more pathetic than our current political reality. Tell people anything, and way too many will believe it and regurgitate it, and act upon it.
I think he was actually keen to talk to someone who was displaying so much interest in his car, to the point of taking so many photos. Back then we were only a little farming community of about 2000 people. But the story?
I’ve heard some tall tales over the years from car types, and some almost-true-but-not-quite. At first I used to try and correct them, but I learnt long ago to let these types just have their say and walk away. With photos! 🙂
Interestingly, the permit on the windshield, allowing him to drive an unregistered vehicle on the road, calls it a 1939Kdf. I guess the registration authorities believed the date he told them, or didn’t bother to check the build plate!
I believe the Wehrmacht had military versions of the regular Volkswagen along with the Kubelwagen, this looks like one of those. Good movie prop.
The 4WD “Kommandowagen”, for field commanders.
That turned into the Munga which begat the Iltis and then Ferdinand Piech decided to put an Audi 80 body on it and test drive it up the Tuerracher Hoehe and then boom, the Quattro was born…more or less, anyway, right?
More than less, actually. 🙂
It was a relatively simple conversion, since the transmission’s output shaft just needed to be extended, front or back. The shifter and its rod had to be re-positioned above the tunnel, since that was now given over to the driveshaft. And of course there were a few details to flesh out on the newly-driven front axle. But nothing too terribly difficult.
This AWD system was first used on the Schwimmwagen, then adapted back to the Kommandeurwagen.
Those wings from “KdF Hanomag” badge stem from a movie.
I’m racking my brain, trying to figure out which one it was…
((Thank you CC for this useless vaporization of my brain cells. This can last for days, I’ve had that before)).
It’s interesting to see how similar the side window profile are to a VW Beetle, and that two piece windshield with thick rubber trim makes me glad the real VW has a single piece with metal trim.
The rack of spare spark plugs is reminder of how far we have come in ignition and oil sealing technology.
Does anyone know please what the “hockey helmet” looking device perched on driver side fender is ? I’ve seen the same device in pictures of the “Goering” Mercedes, etc.
Is it some type of subdued lighting for blackout conditions? Thanks!
Yes, that’s what it is. An auxiliary blackout light. The headlights were covered, or had small slits in them, but this unit gave a superior light as it was designed specifically for the job.