VW Beetle Fuel & Induction

A Short History Of The VW Beetle (cont.)

The main two vehicles produced during the war period were both Beetle based variants, the flat 4 air cooled engine and rugged suspension being ideal for the harsh desert environments of Africa.

The first was the Type 82 Kubelwagen, a utilitarian off-road vehicle of very basic construction. German military officials had stipulated that the fully laden Kubelwagen (including 4 battle dressed troops) shouldn’t weigh more than 950kg, this left the unladen vehicle with a maximum weight of 550kg. The experienced military coachbuilder Trutz was subcontracted by Porsche to assist with the body design.

Initial testing began in 1938, with successful results, and continued in Poland in 1939. The resulting tests had the German military request some important changes. Whilst the vehicle had impressive off-road credentials, even when compared to some of the existing 4x4s already in service, it was felt it could still be improved, and the vehicles slowest speed of 5mph needed to be reduced to that of marching troops, around 2.5mph.

Porsche responded to these requests by installing “reduction boxes” (effectively a 2nd gearbox, resulting in more torque), larger wheels, and revised suspension. The reduction boxes alongside the self locking ZF differentials increased the vehicles off-road ability, as well as allowing a lower speed to stay level with the troops. Kubelwagens were mass produced as soon as the factories in Stadt des KdF-Wagens had been completed.

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