Remaking the Ugliest Porsche
By James Grahame
The Intermeccanica Kubelwagen is a Canadian made replica of the WWII military utility vehicle designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen. The updated version is built on a tubular steel chassis and one-piece composite body. It includes modern luxuries such as an effective heating system, optional air conditioning, vinyl interior and a choice of 75, 100 and 140 HP VW powerplants. Prices start at $16,450 for a basic kit, expect to pay substantially more for a turnkey vehicle.
The Volkswagen Kübelwagen Type 82 was one of Ferdinand Porsche's cleverest designs. It was also about as attractive as a motorized washing machine, thanks to its spartan exterior. Dr. Porsche was tasked in early 1938 with the development of an extremely rugged and lightweight vehicle capable of carrying four fully equipped soldiers, and it took two years of development and field testing before the final Type 82 entered production in 1940.
The Kübelwagen was initially powered by a 985 cc air cooled flat four engine that output only 23 HP. Because of its anemic powerplant, the vehicle had to be extremely light and weighed a mere 715 kg, about 50% less than an American Jeep. Even though it lacked a 4x4 drivetrain, the vehicle proved itself adept at handling rough terrain and over 50,000 were produced throughout WWII. Production ceased at the end of the war and VW didn't successfully revisit the concept until the 1969 debut of the Kurierwagen, nicknamed the VW Thing in North America.