Volkswagen Kommandeurswagen

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Volkswagen Typ 87
VW Typ 87-1.JPG
VW Typ 87
ManufacturerVolkswagenwerk GmbH
Also calledKommandeurswagen
AssemblyStadt des KdF-Wagens
DesignerFerdinand Porsche[1]
Body and chassis
ClassMilitary vehicle
Body style2-door saloon
LayoutRear engine, all wheel drive
PlatformVW Typ 166 / KdF-Wagen
RelatedVolkswagen Typ 166 Schwimmwagen
EngineOtto (1131 cm3, 18 kW)
Transmission4+1-speed manual
Wheelbase2400 mm
Length3830 mm
Width1620 mm
Height1720 mm

The Volkswagen Typ 87, also known as the Kommandeurswagen, was a World War II, all-wheel-drive version of the Volkswagen Beetle.[1] It was produced from 1941 to 1944 by the Volkswagen plant, primarily for the Wehrmacht.[1] The Wehrmacht classified the Kommandeurswagen as leichter geländegängiger PKW, 4-sitziger, 4-radgetriebener Geländewagen Typ 87.[2] (light offroad passenger car, four seats, all wheel drive offroad vehicle Type 87). The drivetrain and the engine are the same as in the Volkswagen Typ 166 Schwimmwagen.[1] 564 units of the Kommandeurswagen were produced[3]; in November 1946[4], the Volkswagen plant produced two more vehicles. No new parts were produced for them; instead, old depot parts were used.


The Typ 87 is a 2-door offroad saloon. The visual appearance is similar to the KdF-Wagen, because the KdF-Wagen body was also used for the Typ 87. Due to the 5¼-16 offroad tyres, the wings had to be increased in size with an additional metal strip next to the bonnet and boot.[1] The running-board strips were also made wider.[5] While the boot of the KdF-Wagen holds a spare wheel in front of the fuel tank, the Typ 87 has an additional 20 l fuel canister instead at the same place. The spare wheel is located on top of the 40 l fuel tank, which has a modified filler neck.[5] Chassis and body are connected with screws. By default, the Kommandeurswagen has a sunroof.[5]

Like the VW Typ 166, the Typ 87 has a modified KdF-Wagen chassis.[1] The backbone tube was increased in diameter to hold the additional cardan shaft for the front wheel drive.[1] The steering knuckles were modified for the drive shaft.[1] A worm and sector steering was used.[2] The rear axle is equipped with reduction gears, both front and rear axle differentials are lockable.[1] A single disc dry clutch[2] transmits the torque from the engine to the manual four-speed gearbox which is equipped with an additional offroad gear.[1] The offroad gear is activated with a lever, as well as the front wheel drive.[1] With activated front wheel drive, the top speed is 10 km/h and the maximum slope climbing angle is 33.75°. The Typ 87 is powered by an air-cooled flat-four-cylinder-otto engine with a displacement of 1131 cm3 and a rated power of 18 kW.[5]

Vehicles made for the German Africa Corps were often equipped with the tropic equipment. The tropic equipment protects the air filter, the carburettor and the electrics from dust.[5] In addition to that, sand tyres are also a part of the tropic equipment. Those tyres are called Kronprinzräder.[6]

Technical Data[edit]

Engine layout Four-cylinder, flat-engine (Otto)
Cooling Air-cooling with fan
Valvetrain OHV
Fuel system Carburettor Solex 26 VF3
Firing order 1-4-3-2
Bore × Stroke 75 mm × 64 mm
Displacement 1131 cm3
Rated power 18 kW at 3000 min−1
Clutch Single disc dry clutch Fichtel & Sachs K10
Gearbox Porsche 4-speed gearbox with additional offroad and reverse gear
Drive Rear wheel drive with switchable front wheel drive and locking differentials
Transmission ratio front axle: 5.31 : 1
rear axle: 7.31 : 1
Frame Backbone tube chassis
Front springs Torsion bar
Rear springs
Steering Worm and sector
Brake system Drum brakes
Tyres front and rear 5,25-16 or 200-16
Dimensions and weights
Dimensions (L × W × H) 3830 × 1620 × 1720 mm
Ground clearance 255 mm
Wheelbase 2400 mm
Track width front: 1356 mm
rear: 1360 mm
Turning radius 5 m
Max. allowed weight 1240 kg
Max. payload 450 kg
Additional data
Fuel consumption 8.5 l/100 km
Oil consumption 0.12 l/100 km
Fuel tank 40 l + 20 l canister
Top speed 80 km/h
Battery Lead-acid, 6 V, 75 Ah
Starter Bosch EED 0,4/6
Generator Bosch REDK 130/6/2600
Source [2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Mayer, page 30
  2. ^ a b c d Mayer, page 34
  3. ^ Mayer, page 33
  4. ^ Mayer, page 47
  5. ^ a b c d e Mayer, page 32
  6. ^ Mayer, page 31


  • Hans-Georg Mayer: Der VW-Käfer im Kriege und im militärischen Einsatz danach. Band 114 aus der Reihe Waffen-Arsenal, Podzun-Pallas-Verlag, Dorheim 1988, ISBN 3-7909-0357-4. Page 30–34