Ur-Ur-Quattro: 1979 Volkswagen Iltis

Conventional enthusiast wisdom would say that if you want an older, sturdy German off-roader, you want a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen. However, that stance completely ignores a very important vehicle in Audi and Volkswagen’s history – the Iltis. The story is multi-faceted, but it boils down to two different stories; Volkswagen’s need for a replacement for both the Type 181 (“Thing”) and DKM Munga, and the birth of the legendary Audi Quattro. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Volkswagen consolidated the various Auto Union brands into a revised Audi lineup – the result of which was an opportunity to replace Mercedes-Benz as the German military vehicle supplier, a lucrative contract. To do so, Volkswagen built a new Type 183 vehicle using spare parts from the lineup of vehicles it now oversaw – the chassis was in large part based upon the earlier Munga, and the mechanical components based upon the Audi 100. The second story goes that in winter testing of some Audi and Volkswagen products, snow covered roads seemed to be the undoing of all but one of the lineup of cars brought along; the new Iltis simply left the other cars behind and impressed engineers Jorg Bensinger and Walter Treser (yes, that Treser), who theorized that the drive system could see road use. The result was the blueprint for the Audi Quattro that would debut in 1980, but not before Audi and Volkswagen won the Paris-Dakar Rally in 1980 with an Iltis. While the Quattro legend would take Audi to a whole new level in the 1980s, not much appreciation is given to the father of the Quattro – they’re rare to find for sale but offer a neat alternative to the normal off-roader:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Volkswagen Iltis on eBay

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Ur-Ur-Ur-Quattro: 1958 Auto-Union/DKW Munga

Nearly 4 years ago, Paul wrote up a 1957 Auto Union Munga, rare to see at all in the U.S. and with some practical updates. In fact, it wasn’t really a Munga at all anymore; the body had been taken off and mounted onto a 1968 Beetle chassis complete with the 1600 flat-4. Now listed as a 1958 model and missing the centercaps, it appears this very same vehicle is back up for sale. What does the title of this feature mean? Well, for those in the know, the genesis of the Ur-Quattro started with a bunch of Audi models that were outpaced on a test drive through some snowy roads by a military-spec Volkswagen Iltis. So, the Iltis was really the Ur-Ur-Quattro – but in fact, the Iltis itself was heavily based upon the earlier Munga from the 1950s. That’s right rally faithful, your precious Quattro was an antique long before it was a trend-setter! Okay, so it’s an over simplification, but it is still neat to track the history of these cars and where the designs came from:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1958 Auto Union Munga on eBay

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