While legend has it that Audi popularized all-wheel drive with the Quattro, it would not have been the case were it not for the 1970s Volkswagen Iltis – a military vehicle that utilized a normal Audi 100’s underpinnings to create an all-wheel drive vehicle with lockable differentials which easily outpaced Audi’s normal production line cars in inclement conditions. It was this story which sprung the idea for the Quattro to be created, but the Iltis itself had inspiration drawn heavily from another car – the DKW Munga. As Auto Union struggled to re-establish itself post-War under first the leadership of Mercedes-Benz and later Volkswagen, the company’s diminutive DKW brand led the way with economical, smart designs. One of those designs was the paradoxically-named 3=6 model, which had a .9 liter 2-stroke inline-3. Produced in Düsseldorf, DKW helped to keep the Auto Union’s name alive in the early 1950s. Part of that rebuilding included new Auto Union facilities in Ingolstadt, and one of the first production vehicles to make it out of there was the Manga. German for Mehrzweck UNiversal Geländewagen mit Allradantrie (basically, go anywhere all-wheel drive vehicle), the Manga utilized F91 (3=6) underpinnings mated with new all-wheel drive capability. Up front, the four rings of the Auto Union reappeared proudly on the roughly 47,000 models produced between 1956 and 1968 – a full decade prior to Iltis production:
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:
Long before the days of Quattro and rally success, Audi was involved with another experiment in four wheel drive: the Munga. This unusual vehicle was the product from the Auto Union days before the dawn of Audi in the mid 1960s. What makes this particular example attractive is the need for expensive and hard to find parts has been lessened as the original three cylinder, two stroke engine has been replaced by a workhorse 1600 Volkswagen engine from 1968.
This is a very cool 1957 Audi Munga. In 1957, Audi was manufactured under the name of Auto Union. It was not until 1965 that the company was renamed Audi. This car still retains its original Audi emblem with the Auto Union Logo in the center on the front of the hood. I have been a classic car enthusiast my entire life and I have owned many unique cars but I must say that this is one of the coolest, most unique cars that I have ever seen. No matter where I drive it people ask me what it is and give me thumbs up. It draws a crowd at every car show I have ever taken it to and draws a crowd just getting gas at the local gas station.
The body on this car is 100% solid and has no rust or rot anywhere and has no evidence of any previous rust or rot. It is painted a satin finish yellow with new vinyl interior. Head lights and turn signals are functional and this car can be driven anywhere. It has special order military tires with original wheels and hub caps. The soft top is easily removed with about 10 snaps and clips holding it in place. You can easily fit 2 people in the front seat and another two in the rear jump seat.
Originally, the Audi Munga was powered by a 3 cylinder, 2 stroke, water cooled engine. This particular Munga has been customized and the original engine was swapped out for a 1968 Volkswagen 1600 with 60 horsepower. The engine runs flawlessly and is mated with a 1968 Volkswagen 4 speed manual transmission that shifts through all the gears perfectly. It has no known mechanical defects. It has a new power winch on the front. Sitting on most 1968 Volkswagen running gear with the 1968 Volkswagen engine, this car is titled as a 1968 Volkswagen. THIS IS NOT A KIT CAR OR REMAKE, IT IS AN ACTUAL 1957 AUDI MUNGA.
Not sure what the value on something like this may be, but with the popularity of SUVs these days, there’s probably someone out there interested in it, either to preserve or use a unique beach runabout. Cool little piece and a breath of fresh air from your typical dune buggies and Wranglers, nonetheless.