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To The Kubelwagen!

German Kubelwagen replica on Craigslist

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

I don’t speak a word of German, other than the clichés, but I often find words in the German language pretty entertaining. See, in the English language, we have the Jeep, and the origin of that word is either a contraction of Ford’s GP vehicle designation, or some untraceable soldiers’ slang. But in the German language, this wouldn’t fly.

Germany instead, has the Kubelwagen, and while that sounds like nothing more than an appropriate assortment of sounds for a quirky little car, you better believe there’s more to it. In fact, the Kubelwagen’s full name is actually the Kübelsitzwagen, which means “bucket-seat car.”

Now the Kubelwagen’s tub body could be likened to a bucket, but the translation actually harkens back the bucket seats found in the early iterations of the Kubelwagen. As these cars were originally built without doors, the bucket seats ensured that passengers wouldn’t fly out. So thus, we have the bucket seat car, a very successful, quirky little vehicle that served the German military well in WWII.

American and British forces who captured Kubelwagens in the field found that they exhibited “no special brilliance,” but the vehicles were cheap, versatile and amazingly capable offroad. Largely due to its flat, smooth underbody and portal-style axles, the two-wheel-drive Kubelwagen matched or exceeded performance of comparable 4x4s. Heavily based on the VW Beetle, a fun and authentic Kubelwagen replica is a worthy proposition.

This Kubelwagen replica on Albuquerque Craigslist is exactly what I’m talking about. It makes a pretty convincing case really, but it’s not so thorough that you couldn’t have some fun with it. The seller doesn’t give any information on the car’s construction, but it resembles most of contemporary Kubelwagen replicas built by companies like Intermeccanica and Kubel Kraft.

The car is based on a 1973 Volkswagen donor car, and other than some tune-up work following a few years in storage, the car is said to run and drive.

This thing looks like a great time, with skinny off-road tires and all the axes, shovels, gas cans and so on. For a day of fun in the sun, this little beast would surely make all the buggy drivers a little envious as well.

At $15,000, it’s a matter of personal preference whether you’d choose to use this little rig off-road or not, but I wouldn’t be able to help myself.

Check out the Kubelwagen here on Albuquerque Craigslist.

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