$525K Museum Piece: 1944 KDF Type 82E

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Here’s the thing about Volkswagens: when you cross into the earliest examples, models used in wartime, or vans with lots of windows, the price of entry changes dramatically. No longer is it just an air-cooled ‘Dub; it is an artifact. That wasn’t always the case, I’m sure, but given the significance of this 1944 KDF Type 82e here on eBay, I’m not at all shocked by the half-million dollar asking price. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Wiley R. for sending it in. 

The history factor on this 1944 “Beetle” – not its official name, at this point – is incredibly high. As one of the few of the earliest examples to survive the bombings of the factories in World War II, that alone makes it historically significant. Adding to its museum-ready status is that it was delivered new to Hermann Goring, a member of Nazi party and World War I fighter pilot. I’m not saying that’s a positive anecdote, but the historical significance of this car is impossible to deny.

The fact that the KDF/VW has survived with so much of its originality intact is downright incredible. It retains its matching numbers engine and transmission – even if it was removed for servicing, it was bolted right back in. The interior retains all of its original paint, but the exterior has been repainted to a mediocre quality at some point. So many of the parts are unique to the KDF, including the engine lid and smaller details like the tail lights and hubcaps – and they’re all still attached.

How on earth does this car still exist? That’s the question in my mind. To survive Allied bombing in WWII in unbelievable on its own, but to make it all this time without being more seriously altered with newer Beetle components is mind-blowing. I do think this KDF/VW is important enough that it should, for lack of a better word, be institutionalized and retained as a historical marker as one of the biggest shocks to happen to the automobile industry. Does anyone think it will fetch the asking price?

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Comments

  1. MH

    Any more information on the history of this car? How is it worth so much? There are cars alot older then that for alot less then the asking price.

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    • stefan schleissing

      Well, these car might be worth more than average beetle..but..this is just a 82E so basically the front and rear axle of the Kuebel, if this would be the 87 different price range for the Kommandeur car and much rarer 4 wheel drive version.
      The car has not the stock interior,rusted through,chromed tail lights,chromed bumpers and custom clove compartment lids….for that price…

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  2. James

    There were hundreds of square miles of Germany that were not bombed. Every car in the country was not destroyed during the war. I had found a 1938 Adler Streamline “Rennlimousine” that had raced at Lemans in 1937 and 1938 that also survived WWII Germany. I think half a mill is wildly optimistic, but you can’t blame the guy for trying.

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    • DRV

      James, where is this Adler now? Did you own it?

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    • Tony S

      I think this car was at RM Monterey in 2015…

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      • Jeff Johnson

        It’s at Jesse’s place In Dripping Springs, TX. What everyone is overlooking is the tie to the Nazis and hitler. Read the article

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    • stefan schleissing

      Have you put together w my brother, he retsores the engines and gearboxes for Adler and was working on that car….

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      James, why haven’t you sent in the story on this one? We would love to feature it if you have more photos and can do a short write-up.

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  3. House of Hotrods

    Interesting side note to the car is that it’s owned by Jesse James, yep, the West Coast Choppers / Jesse James Firearms guy. 🙂

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    • Vin in NJ

      Jesse James must have gone to the Richard Rawlings school for how much you can sell a car

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    • Thomas

      I was wondering if anyone was gonna make that connection I saw it either yesterday or the day before on his Facebook page

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    • BOOTSY FUNKWELL

      Was’nt dude a fan of many things Nazi as well?
      Either way…I’m guessing that the collector market for the car will be guys of that mold.

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    • MeToo

      Yep, the guy who cheated on Sandra Bullock. He said just the other day in a interview when asked about it that “cheating is part of life”. I mean c’mon……..cheating on Sandra Bullock? She’s richer than him and light years of any chick he will ever get now.

      Point is, I am willing to bet that his philosophy on “cheating” extends to his business practices. I would not touch anything he was selling with a ten foot oil dipstick. He’s proven he can’t be trusted.

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      • CapNemo

        I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve got zero respect for that guy.

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  4. Bingo

    For a half mil you better have the correct bumpers, hubcaps, tail lights and horn button. By the way, could you please clean the hay and straw out of it? I’ll give you an extra $30.00??

    A nice quality paint brush would’ve been a proper investment when it was repainted.

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  5. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    An artifact, but not a half-$mil artifact except maybe for museums that see it as a must-have display piece.

    And with the fanatical Ferdinand Piech, who had to make VW Group the largest carmaker on the planet no matter the cost, there’s a real bad effect left from that. Altho I owned a Beetle for many years and have good memories for its economy and reliability when I needed it and couldn’t afford better, I don’t expect to touch one again at any price.

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  6. geomechs

    Interesting car for sure. I doubt that the vendor will get the asking price but you never know. Maybe at BJ’s or the Lambrecht Chevrolet auction….

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  7. Old man Kerney

    It shouldn’t have any chrome on it. Way to much money for an over restored classic.

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  8. RayT Member

    Interesting car. Sadly, not quite in the shape implied by the ad: there’s body rot (on the left side behind the door) to deal with, and heaven only knows what caused the wavy bodywork…

    Question for the VW/KdF-Wagen mavens: did all the pre-1945 cars have the Kubelwagen/Transporter reduction gears on the rear axles? This one sits high, as if it was perhaps intended for desert duty. Others I’ve seen — in photos — had lower ride heights.

    It’s a piece of history, all right, at least for a WWII fan or a VW enthusiast. Would either cough up $525K for it? Somehow, I think not. Like Jeff, I’m not shocked by the big number, but would be if the seller got it.

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  9. survivor

    Not nearly as original as stated. Interior materials are wrong, as are glove box doors. And Herman Goering’s car? I think not.

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    • RayT Member

      My German is so rusty as to be virtually nonexistent, but the paperwork suggests the KdF-Wagen was delivered to Herman Goering’s “staff.” I would doubt ol’ Herm ever even sat in it.

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      • Dean

        …by this time in his life “Fat Herman” wouldn’t have been able to GET in the car, let alone sit in it!

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      • RayT Member

        Just to add another piece to the puzzle: During WWII, the German Army (either Wehrmacht or SS, don’t remember) had a “Hermann Goering Division.” I seem to recall the troops’ duties were largely ceremonial at first, but toward the end they were sent out to fight. I’ll bet they were the ones who got this car….

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  10. Woodie Man

    So……serious frame rust. The interior strikes me as weird for the time. As Ray T mentioned was a Kubelwagon tires and reduction gear installed ab initio? Obviously someone painted it and chromed the lights or added them. There must be a trail for this car over the last seventy years. Still has obvious historical value.

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  11. CaptMark

    Hitler’s telephone $230,000. Goering’s car worth the price if proved positive. Cool car with history I would own but not at that price point.

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    • Tony S

      Agreed. Thanks for posting!

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    • Chebby

      Srsly, Hitler’s red phone was just a spray-painted black phone?

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    • survivor

      LOL. It’s Goering’s car as much as that is Hitler’s telephone. Regardless of what was paid for it, it is an easily-proved forgery.

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  12. Tony S

    Kraft durch Freude (Strength Through Joy) was a large state-controlled leisure organization in Nazi Germany – more than just a name for the early type 1s. Wolfsburg, Germany (Volkswagen AG’s headquarters and the world’s biggest car plant) used to be called Stadt des KdF-Wagens (Strength Through Joy car city).

    The Nazis envisioned millions of blond-hair blue-eyed families zipping along the Autobahn on their way to joyful activities in these little cars.

    There must be a lot of history to this car to make the ask so high. I bet the VW Group will pick it up (if the history is that significant) for one of their museums. I’ve never seen one like this in them.

    I’ll avoid a tirade about government overreach… 🙂 Just thought some history would be interesting.

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    • Brakeservo

      I suspect VW will avoid the car, any remembrance of the Beetle’s Nazi past and connection to Hitler. A friend owned Dr. Ferdinand Porsche’s 1933 – 1938 identity card and work permit. It had a large swastika on the back. VW and Porsche wouldn’t touch it and even Bonham’s chickened out of offering it at one of their premier automobilia auctions. While it has finally been sold, I’m not at liberty to disclose to who, where and for how much. This piece of paper could perhaps be considered the ‘birth certificate’ of the VW as it was what allowed Dr. Porsche to legally work as an automobile designer when he designed (or plagiarized Tatra) the VW. I think VW would like us dumb Americans to think that Volkswagen had no history before the first formal imports in 1953. And it is ironic that the original importer of Hitler’s baby was Max Hoffman, a gentleman of Jewish heritage!

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  13. David C

    If the provenance is correct I say it will reach $500k.

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  14. racer99

    I’m sorry but it looks like if someone heavy sat is the driver’s seat he’d end up on the ground. Sure, the history (if true) makes it worth more than another car of that era but with the driver’s sill plate gone and the real questionable exterior body work it needs to go to someone who will put it into a museum IF the history can be proved. It’s also interesting that there are no drivetrain pictures in the ad. In my world a car is worth what someone will pay for it but I just can’t see it getting close to the asking price. We shall see.

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  15. KO

    Also following thread for this car on thesamba.
    http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=674478

    I would love to have this car and believe it will go for close to the asking price. Glad to see it has not been altered much.

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  16. S.S.McDonald

    Page 44 from the 1981 Beetle Book by L.W. Steinwedel is the following quote: “May 26, 1938, Hitler laid the cornerstone [Building of Volkswagen plant]….The Volkswagen plant was completed and it was a legitimate masterwork. However, it never produced a single Volkswagen for a private German citizen for nearly ten years. Before the factory was completed it was converted to military contracts and 630 VW’s were built and delivered to the government in 1940 before the plant was converted to production of the type 82, a four- door reconnaisance vehicle which evolved as a rugged and versatile German Jeep. The Kubelwagen (literally ‘bucket car’) was initially suspect by the military, but one officer who saw its potential was Erwin Rommel…”
    If I may be allowed one observation, I believe VW foot pedals first came up from the floor in 1948.
    Let the buyer beware.

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  17. Luke Fitzgerald

    Lets pool our money – buy it – – and torch it

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  18. Doug Towsley

    I knew a guy who had a BMW 2002 (early 70s version) and it was a similar desert tan faded color, He lived in Central Oregon so the sun is intense so might have washed it out a bit. He fancied himself something of a fan of Nazi Germany in a weird creepy way. I even bought a book about the Afrika Korp for him that was on sale just as a joke and he enjoyed it far too much.
    So, I lost contact with him later but allegedly he painted Afrika Korp symbols all over the car (Palm trees with swastikas) and other typical military markings on the car. The story I heard was it did not make a positive impression in the town he lived in. I can only wonder how that worked out for him.

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  19. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Agree with RayT and those who suggest that this vehicle was ordered by or delivered to an office or a unit, but not necessarily to Hermann Goring himself.

    The Ebay listing says “This car was issued to WW1 Luftwaffe Ace and WW11 Reichmarschal Hermann Goring, February 8th 1944.” But the evidence in the Ebay listing does not say that.

    From the photo of the VW ‘vehicle identity document’ shown in the Ebay listing, the car was destined for “the registry office of Hermann Goring Berlin” [‘Stabsamt’ translates to ‘registry office’].

    The document does not say that Hermann Goring himself was the recipient. Goring might have received and used the car, or any number of other people in that unit might have used the car instead.

    Does it matter? As it stands the car has a lot of value, but my guess is that the car would sell for more if it could be documented and proven beyond doubt that this was Goring’s personal car. But the listing does not prove that.

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  20. Edward

    Looks to me that this car was used as a “daily driver” for an extended time before someone else bought it. Cheap door panels, seat covers, and unrepaired rust holes infer the owner had no idea what he actually possessed. Discovery is one way to get rich, the newest owner is believing. When all the docs are laid on the table, the car will be sold as-is!

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  21. Adam T45

    I was prepared to lend some credibility to the seller until I scrolled down to the questions part of the Ebay ad and found the following exchange between the seller and one potential buyer:

    “Q: Can you please send or post a better picture of the serial number plate below hand brake handle and a picture of the body number behind the spare tire and general pictures of this area with spare tire removed. Also of… Continue reading
    A: Sorry we don’t do picture requests. Plenty of pics in the description.”

    “Q: “Sorry we don’t do picture requests. Plenty of pics in the description.” Really. But you’ll ask half a million dollars for a car based on its alleged rarity while providing essentially zero credible evidence… Continue reading
    A: Keep stepp’n window shopper. This is the High Roller section.”

    This sort of arrogance can only damage the reputation of classic car sellers on Ebay, and gives us all a black eye.

    If you want to see what one of these should actually look like, may I suggest that readers watch Episode 1 (Series 1) of James May’s documentary “Cars of the People”. He drives a genuine and correctly restored KDF that runs rings around this one.

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    • Mike

      I was thinking the same thing. The seller comes off as an arrogant prick. How is that not a reasonable request? If I’m selling a car for $5,000 and someone wants a better picture I’d do it. If you’re asking over $500K and someone wants a clearer picture of a vehicle’s serial numbers that will help them determine the legitimacy of a car (not to mention the price) you take the 5 minutes and do it.

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    • CJay

      When some one asks a question or has a photo request, I do not feel the seller should take such a abrasive position so quickly. Unless some thing is about to be uncovered as a fraud, the seller should send an employee out to take and post the photos.
      I would have no first hand knowledge as to what would be correct for this car. But, the person asking the questions might be highly knowledgeable. They could actually help the seller by verifying what ( correct rivets, screws, weld placement or what ever) is right or wrong. Thus justifying or obliterating the price!

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  22. Harley

    I had a 57 with a cloth sunroof in High school.
    Bought it for $40, fixed t up–sold it for $400 a year or so later.
    I had a gf named Sandy–we left some DNA on the seats.

    I wonder if Jesse was lucky in his—-
    If so———–These are real moneymakers!

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  23. Andrew

    I think it’s very wrong to profit from Nazi propaganda and artifacts. I remember that there was even a ban on items thereof from the 1950’s onward, at least within Europe.
    Has that been lifted?
    My dad fought them in the trenches near Arnhem. 43.000 Canadians alone lost their lives amongst the poppies. I think he would love to purchase it, then crush it, giving it back as a square block of olive coloured steel.

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  24. Anthony Platts-Baggs

    I’m surprised no-one has mentioned the old adage that any publicity is good publicity for that seller. I agree with the comments regarding his attitude toward enquirers in the eBay comments section. I hope it continues to pass in. For everyone’s sake.

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  25. David Miraglia

    should be in a auto museum. I like Beetles in all form, even the hated KDF version.

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  26. GEORGE

    this car has alot of bad karma attached to it,

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  27. Robert

    I don’t know about this one. You know vin tags can be reproduced. I would have to have a lot of supporting evidence on this one. And that evidence would have to be very solid evidence, because I don’t really trust the owner, he’s made a few bad decisions (concerning cars) in the past. He seems bipolar to me, and it’s hard to trust a bipolar person.

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  28. atlmachine

    Its been pulled ,

    What an arrogant A-Hole
    Had anybody else noticed the pic of the vin tag , Where there were scratches running underneath the Tag ??
    The tag had to have been removed at some point in time

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    • Andrew

      They never had the chrome bumpers, tail lights or door handles either back then. The headlight rings are wrong, and who knows what else.

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  29. VWHistory

    Know these car well. There was 121 82e hand built in 1944. In terms of comparison, if this car was a 356 Porsche, it would be a Gmund Porsche.
    These cars are very misunderstood. Value is derived by what ever someone will spend to buy it. Over time more people will really understand the significance of these cars.

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