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1985 Bombardier Iltis: G-Wagen Beater

Military Off Roader

Here’s a find from Canadian reader J. Clark for all our readers up north: a 1985 Volkswagen Iltis, also known as a Bombardier Iltis, here on kijiji classifieds. These battle-ready machines featured what was essentially a preview of Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system, and this example is one of 2,500 vehicles built under licence in Canada by Bombardier for Canadian forces. They were considered supremely capable off-roaders and even took the crown away from Mercedes’ venerable G-Wagen after being chosen by the German government as the country’s primary military transport vehicle over the more expensive Gelandewagen. YouTube is full of videos showing these camouflaged VWs flogging through dirt trails and waterways, and the price of entry is far lower than buying a Unimog. This looks like a fun way to get into 4-wheeling with an unusual military vehicle that has plenty of street cred. Have any of you driven an Iltis?


  1. Dave Wright

    Pretty cute…….

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  2. Mark E

    You missed out on explaining that iltis is pole cat in German! ^_^

    It DOES look cute but must be very capable to have taken an award from the G-wagen, though if cost were a factor you can probably do without things like portal axles and the like to save tens of thousands of $$! Locking diffs were optional so I wonder if this one has them?

    I’d love to buy it, slap some VW emblems on it and park it next to a shiny G-wagen in a parking lot! Ha!

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    • Mark E

      Forgot to add that they look even more like a military bad-ass with the doors on and canvas in place!

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  3. Dave Wright

    I agree Mark…….but the comparison to a GWagon is a bit ls a stretch. It is like comparing 4 inexpensive fighter planes to one F15, it might make economic military sense but in a one on one fight……the F15 wins every time.

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    • kman

      That ain’t necessarily so. Ever see “Top Gun”? Heavier F14 Tomcats up against (F19 Tigershark ?)? A lighter quicker more maneuverable plane with less toys but simpler to fly, operate and maintain. Not expensive enough for the Pentagon but recognized by Israel as a bargain that they bought, modified and used to great success. A good match for it’s Russian competition. Think Cadillac vs Alpha.

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      • Dave Wright

        Yea……..Top Gun was real………

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  4. Matt Tritt

    Something they didn’t mention about the Iltis is that they also float. There are drains in the floor to allow water to drain after fording/swimming. They were originally made as a progressive design of the great DKW Munga ( my favorite “jeep”!) but with a VW-Audi 4 cycle engine instead of the Deek 2 stroke. We can’t get them into California. :>(

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  5. MikeW

    They look to much like a THING for me.

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  6. skloon

    Nope nothing like a g-wagen there is a reason the Canadians got rid of these

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  7. 365Lusso

    I bet Bruce Meyers has or lusts for one as his 4-wheeler……:)

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