1979 Volkswagen Iltis

The Type 183 "Iltis" was Volkswagen's standard issue military mobile. After the Auto Union Munga was retired, Volkswagen developed the Iltis as a replacement for the German armed forces. It was chosen over the more expensive Mercedes-Benz Galendenwagen.

The Iltis actually replaced a Volkswagen, too: the Type 181, or commonly known as the "Thing". They would be sold side by side briefly until 1983, when the Type 181 was discontinued. The Iltis continued on until 1988.

Only 9,457 were built, the vast majority for the military, and a small remainder for civilian and other uses. This is much lower than the 90,000 Type 181 built. As such Type 183 are much rarer, and even more so in North America.

The seller of this example right here in the U.S. states it is a Bundeswehr Radio Vehicle, and has only 18,616 kilometers which is about 11k miles. Being an imported foreign military vehicle, anything could have happened to the odometer as rollbacks might not have been as closely scrutinized as a civilian vehicle would be. The seller claims the miles are low and original, and it is showroom or parade ready (what parade though, exactly?).

This Iltis is powered by a water cooled 1.7L 4 cylinder engine that powers all wheels and it mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The seller says it also features removable top and doors, folding front windshield, seats 4, pioneer kit, steel wheels & off road tires, 24 volt electrical system, military tow hitch, brush guard, rear fuel can & rack, rear spare tire, radio mounts, folding side mirrors, and a roll bar.

It would be fun to have this photographed alongside a Willys Jeep, Mercedes G-Wagen, Land Rover Defender, and Toyota J40.

Find it here on ebay in San Juan Capistrano, Califnornia.


  1. Auction ended with only 2 bids. $6100 total, reserve not met. Rarity and condition alone should have supported stronger bidding. Strange.

    Wish this was closer - I don't know what I'd do with it, but it would be cool to tool around in. At least locally...it's probably not that great for longer trips. As long as it's not too cold outside, how cool would it be to drive this to work?

  2. That said, there are some online used car services like "goo net" but I've not found one in English. You need a Japanese friend to help you navigate it. (That's how my Japanese wife and I bought our cars.) 
    Japanese Auto Auction Service