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
2-door coupe utility
LayoutRear engine, all wheel drive
PlatformVW Typ 166 / KdF-Wagen
RelatedVolkswagen Typ 166 Schwimmwagen
EngineVolkswagen Type 1 petrol (1131 cm3, 18 kW)
Transmission4+1-speed manual
Wheelbase2,400 mm (94.5 in)
Length3,830 mm (12 ft 6.8 in)
Width1,620 mm (5 ft 3.8 in)
Height1,720 mm (5 ft 7.7 in)
Kommandeurswagen in Oslo, Norway.

The Volkswagen Typ 87, also known as the Kommandeurswagen, was a World War II, four-wheel-drive version of the Volkswagen Beetle.[1] It was produced from 1941 to 1944 by the Volkswagen plant, primarily for the Wehrmacht (German armed forces).[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 amphibious vehicle.[1] 564 units of the Kommandeurswagen were produced;[3] in November 1946,[4] the Volkswagen plant - by then under British control - produced two more vehicles using parts from stores.


The Typ 87 is a two-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 (4.4 imp gal; 5.3 US gal) fuel canister instead at the same place. The spare wheel is located on top of the 40 l (8.8 imp gal; 11 US gal) 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 driveshaft to the hubs.[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 (Fichtel & Sachs K10)[2] transmits the torque from the engine to the manual Porsche four-speed (plus reverse) gearbox which is equipped with an additional offroad gear.[1] The lever that engaged the offroad gear also engaged the front wheel drive.[1] With four wheel drive engaged, the top speed is 10 km/h (6.2 mph) and the maximum slope climbing angle is 33.75°.

The Typ 87 is powered by an air-cooled flat four-cylinder 1,131 cm3 (69 in3) four-stroke OHV petrol spark-ignition engine fed by a single Solex 26 VF3 carburettor. It is rated at 18 kW (24 PS; 24 hp).[5]

Vehicles made for the German Afrika Korps were often equipped with the tropic equipment which protected the air filter, the carburettor and the electrics from dust.[5] In addition, sand tyres known as Kronprinzräder were part of the tropic equipment.[6]

Technical specifications[edit]

Engine type Volkswagen air-cooled engine
Engine layout Four-cylinder, flat engine (spark-ignition (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 (3.0 in × 2.5 in)
Displacement 1,131 cm3
Rated power 18 kW (24 hp) at 3,000 rpm
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
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) 3,830 mm (151 in) × 1,620 mm (64 in) × 1,720 mm (68 in)
Ground clearance 255 mm (10.0 in)
Wheelbase 2,400 mm (94 in)
Track width front: 1,356 mm (53.4 in)
rear: 1,360 mm (54 in)
Turning radius 5 m (16 ft)
Max. allowed weight 1,240 kg (2,734 lb)
Max. payload 450 kg (992 lb)
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 (50 mph)
Battery Lead-acid, 6 V, 75 Ah
Starter Bosch EED 0,4/6
Generator Bosch REDK 130/6/2600


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Mayer, p 30
  2. ^ a b c d Mayer, p.34
  3. ^ Mayer, p.33
  4. ^ Mayer, p.47
  5. ^ a b c d e Mayer, p.32
  6. ^ Mayer, p.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. (in German)