Miles Through Time Exhibits
1944 Volkswagen Kubelwagen
Make/Model: Volkswagen Kubelwagen
Owner: Jake Raby
Original Price: $4,195
About the 1944 Volkswagen Kubelwagen Type 82
The Kübel for short had its roots in the Volkswagen, or people’s car, a government-initiated affordable car project given to Dr. Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 to fully develop. The first cars appeared in 1938 but militaristic priorities soon overshadowed the project and few were actually delivered to German citizens before WWII began in 1939.
The Type 82 was two-wheel drive, despite the military originally asking for a 4×4. A 4×4 was developed but did not go into production, likely due to cost and production issues. As it was, the Type 82’s light weight, low gearing, high clearance, and F locking differential gave it off-road performance “comparable” to many 4x4s of the period.
The Kübel was no hot rod; its 985cc air-cooled flat-four only cranked out 23.5hp, but with a 6.2:1 final drive ratio, it put just enough grunt to the ground to adequately move it’s 2,557 GVW. Empty, it weighed just less than 1,600 pounds and was easily manhandled by four passengers.
The inevitable question is, “How did the Type 82 stack up against the WWII American jeep?” Surprisingly well, it turns out. It was far more comfortable and roomy than the jeep. Rode better, too. The Kübel’s fuel economy was lots better, delivering typical high-teens mpg in the field versus the jeep’s 10-11 mpg. On the high way, the Jeep’s 20 mpg at the standard military 45 mph gave it a 300-mile range to a dry tank on 15 gallons. The Kübel could go 285 miles on its 7.9 gallons for 35 mpg.
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