Volkswagen Kübelwagen (translation: 'Bucket-seat car'), Model: Type 62,82 (1940-1945)
In the above picture, you see the two most popular whicles of the war - one, an American Jeep; the other, the German Volkswagen. The battle rages on between their respective fans but given our brand, our focus is on the vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen during World War II for use by the German military - the VW Kübelwagen. It is widely reported that just over 50,000 were produced due initially to demand from high ranking Third Reich army officials for an inexpensive. light-weight military transport vehicle for on and off-road use - the VW Beetle provided the basis for such a vehicle.
While the KdF wagen (Volkswagen Beetle) was not designed specifically from the outset to have military application, it was clear to the military planners that it had the potential. Already in January 1938, prior to the completion of the VW factory, an order to develop a miltary version was given. The first version, the Type 62 (prototype above), cobbled up by Ferry Porsche in a month, was essentially a Type 1 (Beetle) with a primitive body and 19″ tires to give it added ground clearance
When the German military took delivery of the first vehicles, they immediately put them to the test on and off-road in snow and ice to test their capability at handling European winters. Several four-wheel-drive vehicles were used as reference points. The two-wheel-drive Kübelwagen surprised even those who had been a part of its development - reportedly it out-performed the other vehicles in nearly every test.
Test DescriptionThe car has no frame, but uses a base stamping consisting of the floor, part of th ebody sides, and a central tube to impart strength to the whole. Independent suspension is used on all four wheels. The front wheels are capable of moving up and down relative to the car on a parallel linkage supported by two torsion rods mounted transversely. Steering is accomplished by a conventional steering box operating a tie rod to each wheel. At the rear of the vehicle, the engine, gear box and differential housing are mounted as a single unit - the engine being behind the centerline of the rear wheels. Separate axle housings are arranged to move about universal joints placed in the differential housing. Radius arms hold the outer ends of the axle housings in position, and these arms transmit the motion of the wheels to torsion rods. The axle shafts inside the housings drive reduction gears at each wheel. Transverse motion of the wheels is prevented by the universal joints.