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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Retro Bug-Out Vehicle #5: A VW



Not all bug-out vehicles need to be capable of carrying three tons of supplies. Sometimes, something simple makes more sense.

Why not bug out in a VW Bug?

I had two once and should never have gotten rid of them.

Trivia: the VW Beetle was never named “Beetle” by VW. That was an affectionate title give to it by we crazy Americans. Elsewhere, it was called the Type 1.



Trivia: The Type I was first seen as the KDF-Wagen during the Third Reich. It was a part of a bait-and-switch scam. Very few German civilians got a KDF-Wagen.



Trivia: The Type I was designed as an all-wheel-drive chassis. Hitler needed “jeeps”, but he disguised the production as a state-run car company that would sell vehicles to rank-and-file Germans. No 4x4 Beetles were produced after the war for American consumption.

An old Beetle is the perfect anti-EMP vehicle. There is nothing electronic on one.

Everything about it screams durability and reliability, values VW has lost sight of in their modern cars.

The engine is bulletproof. 

The chassis is rugged. 

Parts are readily available.

A conventional Beetle has good ground clearance and the suspension can be raised, but I would suggest not doing so given the swing-axle rear suspension that most old Beetles have. Raising a swing-axle Beetle produces strange handling dynamics.

The Beetle went to independent rear suspension (IRS) officially in 1969, but some 68s had IRS because VW was notorious for making running changes.

Air-cooled VWs prior to 1978 can be reverse-aged legally as they do not have to pass smog.

Thus, if you were to find a pre-water-cooled VW with its electronic fuel injection intact, you can simply rip out the electronic stuff, return to a carburetor set up, and reap the rewards of better reliability.

I have already written about the Type II / Microbus, but there are other VW possibilities as well.


The VW Thing was a Type I variant that will be hard to find, but very reliable.


The Type III was produced in “Squareback” (station wagon) and Fastback (fastback coupe) for the USA and also as a Notchback (conventional coupe) for elsewhere. It’s engine and mechanicals are nearly as simple as the Type 1 to work on. The Squareback has the advantage of cargo carrying given its body configuration.



The Type IV (411 and 412) were disastrously bad sellers for VW and are pretty hard to find, but major parts underneath come from the Type II bus.

None of these VWs will carry major supplies or pull trailers, but should there be an electromagnetic pulse attack, you would be able to get around and or get away from a danger while the getting away is good.

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