One of the 20th century’s truly great automobiles, the Volkswagen ‘Beetle’ transcended its origins as the German ‘people’s car’, going on to become an all-time best-seller and cult classic. Originally conceived by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, the Volkswagen inspired unusual loyalty and enthusiasm based on its practicality, reliability, adaptability and affordability.
Over eighty years ago today, initial production began, and 70 years ago post-war production commenced at Wolfsburg, which was under British military supervision. In 1945 it acquired subtly altered coachwork, improved running gear and a larger engine. Development proceeded slowly in the immediate post-war year but within a decade, one million of these cars would be produced.
The Type 82E was a military version of the iconic Volkswagen Beetle. Based on the Kübelwagen chassis and therefore benefitting from the increased ground clearance and off-road ability while clothed in the Beetle bodywork.
As many as 546 models of the Type 82E were built between 1941 and 1946. Featuring road clearance 75mm higher than the civilian model, the Type 82E offered improved driving performance and was a favourite amongst military personnel.
With a remarkably modest 15,300 km recorded on the odometer, this military specification example has been the subject of a comprehensive restoration in recent years. This 1947 example spent all of its life in the East German DDR as a normal VW Beetle, and was restored in South Germany about 10 years ago, during which time it became the current Type 82E evocation. Now found in very good condition throughout, what a fantastic opportunity to purchase one of the earliest post-war VW beetles built. Careful inspection shows it to possess many of the details that are so individual to these early cars, including a Bakelite instrument cluster and a three spoke steering wheel, – an exceptionally rare survivor of an icon in its pure form.
Offered at No Reserve on 18th May 2019 at Chiswick House.