Military Wagon: 1942 Volkswagen Kubelwagen


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This 1942 Volkswagen Kubelwagen might not be the type of wagon we usually feature on Wagon Wednesday, but this is one rare find. The seller claims it was recently discovered hiding in a barn in Austria. It has since been pulled from the barn and shipped to the United Kingdom. It is going to need a complete restoration, but if you’re interested in taking on this historic project, it can be found here on eBay.


The Kubelwagen was the German equivalent of the American Military’s Jeep. Unlike the heavy duty Jeep, the lightweight Kubelwagen was based on the Beetle. Even though it lacks four wheel drive, it proved to be very capable on even the roughest terrain.


The 1.0 liter air cooled engine was pulled straight from the Beetle and helped to keep weight down. This boxer four only put out 25 hp, but this proved adequate given the 1,500 pound curb weight. When paired with a ZF self-locking differential, the rear mount design proved to be a great combination and helped to make up for the lack of four wheel drive.


These vehicles are very rare and are becoming extremely difficult to come by. This one needs a lot of work, but thankfully they are quite simple. Rust looks to be this one’s biggest issue, but given that most of the body is flat it shouldn’t be too hard to fix. This wagon is an important part of history and hopefully someone will save it!

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  1. niels kroon

    Wasn’t this in a barn next to a green porsche 365, a while ago?

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    • JoshAuthor

      Hi Niels, It’s hard to tell if this is the same Kubelwagen from the Porsche 356 find, but it’s possible.

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    • RogueInLA

      Totally different vehicle, the one next to the Porsche has no fenders, different doors, etc, plus, this was found in a barn in Austria, the other in New England.

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  2. Knut

    The biggest problem with this ain`t the rust, it`s the fact that it sits om a 1968+ chassis.

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    • geomechs geomechsMember

      I see I’m not the only one who saw that it wasn’t sitting on a stock chassis. It’s definitely sitting on suspension that is a lot later than ’42. Those rims lying there loose are more conducive to what the wheels were like. I would imagine that the buyer would have his work cut out for him attempting to find the OEM stuff to make it right.

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    • jim

      could provide some detail on why it is a ” 1968+ chassis “? thanks

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    • mikesafl

      It was the first thing I noticed.

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  3. Alex

    The 4-lug wheels are a definite giveaway that something ain’t right.

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  4. Gerald

    Body may be but the pan is not never had 4 lug bolts in 1942 5 wide lug

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  5. gibbs connors

    ….and it’s missing ALL of the hard to find stuff. every last bit.

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  6. Robert J

    About a year ago, there was one of these in absolutely immaculate shape for sale on EBay. It was in Florida and the ad had a whole slew of great pictures and a video. I believe it failed to sell for several rounds, until the price got down in to the $7,000 dollar range. By that time I was considering buying it myself. It had these great steel tube racks up around the engine.

    I am absolutely sure you could not match that build by starting with this one for less than 20 grand.

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  7. webby

    The shape of the mudguards (fenders) dosen’t look correct either.The RHR one could be damage, but the triangular “filler” plate between the rear of the front mudguards and the rocker panels is missing too.

    My guess is that someone’s put a later model chassis under it at at some point.

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  8. gibbs connors

    if the seller bought that kubelwagen from kieft and klok, he paid big money for it, probably too much. K&K are notoriously expensive (to us yanks at least) and even if the seller has decided to unload the vehicle at a loss it will still be too much money. i think the vehicle is best suited to remain in europe and go to someone who has been thru a few kubels, knows what they’re about and has a nice stash of parts on hand. i can’t see a first timer getting into restoring that car, he will go broke trying to trackdown and pay for all the parts and unless you have a rapport with some of the big woolies that are into these, they won’t even consider selling you the parts….of course the other possibility is just to dump in on the ground with some shiny rims and whatever you can find to make up a dashboard and make it go again

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  9. Brent

    1942 Volkswagen? Likely the product of slave labour.

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  10. John

    I think this is largely a “Volkswagen Thing” with some pieces added to make it look like what it isn’t. I’d almost bet this is a leftover prop from someone’s movie.

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    • Boo

      It’s a balljoint Beetle floorpan. A Type 181 Thing has the wider Karmann-Ghia shape floorpan, where the Kubel was Beetle shaped. This body wouldn’t fit on a Thing floorpan.
      Also 181 Things were all 5-stud brakes and wheels, and had raised suspension. This is low like a Beetle.

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  11. Bernie H.

    Hey Knut, I think your absolutely right on the on the ’68 chassis, look carefully at the sheetmetal around the engine, its definitely from a Beetle chassis, does’nt fit the backend at all!, plus the 4 lug wheels etc,etc. It ought to stay across the pond.

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  12. AMCFAN

    I think this is a cool project. If you are buying it for what it is and have some type of fun factor ability. Lets review;
    1942 VW War machine body.
    It will never be original
    Add 68 VW engine and chassis.
    Understand what you have and know it what is not
    Someone attempted to do some sort of restoration. Let us assume that being a 42 VW (Thing) like most all VW things sold in America in 73/74 do not have an original chassis due to rust. So add a decent beam/pan and driveline from a 68 Bug. You have the makings of a very fun VW based Rat Rod. The body on the chassis already have the lowered stance. I see some German camo paint aged. In the interior dept. I see some seat springs only. A speedo is optional…Oh and the outlet for the phone charger. Keep in mind rough and minimal are cool. Add the 20″ rear/18″front wheels and you have a $15-$20K at any Goodguys event.

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  13. FRED


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  14. RiE-Store

    Yes the floor plan is 1942 but the body is 1943. That’s not unusual though considering the inventive repairs by field workshops. Yes it has post war running gear and drive train but it is the real thing. How do we know? Because we own it and lots of other rarities like it – see for more info.

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    • RogueInLA

      Sooooo….. it’s a body, right? How is it the “real thing” without correct era running gear? Are the parts included to return it to original?

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    • Boo

      The floorpan in the pics is definitely post 1965. You can’t fit balljoint suspension to a linkpin floorpan.

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  15. Foxxy

    this could have a chassis pan from a Thing that was much later

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    • Boo

      It’s from a late model Beetle not a Thing. Kubels were based on the Beetle shaped floorpan.
      The Type 181 Thing is based on wider Karmann-Ghia floorpan, and always has raised suspension and 5-stud wheels.

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  16. KTR-SB

    Had to root around their site. More pix here:

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  17. petitgilou

    I bought it. The chassis and body are really true, from WW2. The mechanics after the war. I’ll bring the vehicle to its original state. If you know someone who has parts for sale, help is welcome.

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  18. AMC FAN

    Good for you! I really thought this would make a great project. Many couldn’t get over the later model engine etc. You see through that. Lots of luck to you and will expect updates!

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  19. Boo

    The chassis is 1965-on Beetle,

    Like 0

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