The journey of the VW from the “people’s car” envisioned by Hitler to the world’s top selling car had slow beginnings in Europe as people began to discover its charm in the post-war era. Among those people was a Scotsman named George La-Haye, who after being stationed in Germany during the last days of WWII and the post-war occupation purchased not one but three new Beetles produced at Wolfsburg as it was rebuilt from the wreckage of the war. He brought them back to the UK with him when he finished his service and really had a passion for the cars.
Back home, George encountered a gentleman named John Colborne-Barber who immediately took a keen interest in the VW. Supposedly John drove the car for 10 days and then decided to begin importing the cars for sale in Britain. John offered to buy the VW from George for a partial exchange on a Wolseley 6/80.
All cars produced by Wolfsburg around this time were painted in dark colors, mainly black as the paint was inexpensive and resilient. To make the VW stand out Colborne had a custom two-tone paintwork sprayed, as well as chroming the hubcaps and adding some brightwork trim. The car, a 1947 model known then as the Type 11, was registered as JLT 420.
Colborne saw great success bringing the VW to Britain and the Colborne dealership still sells VWs today. Colborne can also be credited with bringing the first VW camper to Britain, more on that later…
The familiar Type 1 body got a significant upgrade following the production of the Kubelwagen. Using the offroad ready capability of the Kubelwagen chassis, Type 1 bodies were fitted to make a somewhat more comfortable field vehicle for commanders and officers. These versions can be easily spotted by their increased ride height, usually sporting military tires.
The impressive ground clearance can also be seen clearly in the blueprints.
There were many variants and prototypes produced. The traction of VW’s rear engine is impressive enough, yet some featured locking differentials and four-wheel drive technology borrowed from the development of the Schwimmwagen.
Presenting the latest in a series of wartime VWs, a 1941 KdF Sedan, fitted with all the right accessories one might need to survive wartime Germany, including a center mounted NOTEK blackout lamp, A-pillar Hirschmann radio antenna, blackout headlight covers, and a military-spec Hella horn and foglamp.
Have you ever wondered what those funny-looking accessories that look like helmets are on wartime German vehicles?
They are called NOTEK lights. They are for driving under blackout conditions. The idea is that the device produces just enough light for a driver to safely drive at night. This is applicable for military or civilian vehicles under wartime conditions. The German company that made these devices was Nova Technik from Munich. The NOTEK nickname was derived from this (NOva TEchniK).
The NOTEK lights were usually mounted to the front driver’s side fender of KdF derived military vehicles including kubelwagens and schwimmwagens.
The first production of the “Samba” 23 Window bus made in Wolfsburg, known there as the Kleinbus. The lower color is Sealing Wax Red, and the upper tone is Chestnut Brown. This fantastic paint job is one of the most popular original color combinations on the type 2, the other being Sealing Wax Red and Beige Grey which was a huge hit in the 60’s.
Introducing 2 new designs. I based these off of some “element” themed shirts I have seen floating around. The numbers in the “element” are not so cryptic references to some numbers relevant to these cars… see if you can figure them out!