Find of the Day: 1980 Volkswagen Type 183 Iltis

words: Bill, photos: billo317 via Bring A Trailer

In the upcoming Q1_2022 issue of quattro Magazine, we decided to go off the normal path and devote the majority of the magazine to off-roading your Audi. One of the articles talks about the Volkswagen Iltis, a German military all-wheel drive vehicle. Here’s an excerpt (by George Achorn):

By 1976, VW issued a contract to Audi for the building of ten Type 183 prototypes. Wolfsburg would fund the project, and the resulting vehicle, it was agreed, would be branded Volkswagen. It was planned that Type 183 would use the 1.7-liter Audi 4-cylinder engine, with a gearbox from the Audi 100, independent suspension, and rack and pinion steering. The military approved and by mid-1978 the Iltis was rolling off Audi’s production lines.

You’ll have to get the magazine to read the rest but it’s a deep dive into the history of the Iltis to the run-up to the Paris-To-Dakar Rally and as a glimpse into the wonderful world of the quattro system adopted by Audi.

All that to say, here’s an Iltis for sale on Bring A Trailer. It’s a Volkswagen Iltis as opposed to a Bombardier Iltis, a Canadian licensed-built Iltis for the Canadian military. Here’s the ad:

This Volkswagen Type 183 Iltis is an all-wheel-drive vehicle built for German military forces that was imported to the US during previous ownership, and it was acquired by the seller in 2011. The truck is finished in green and beige camouflage with a matching bikini top, and power comes from a 1.7-liter inline-four mated to a five-speed manual transaxle and two locking differentials. Equipment includes a tubular steel front bumper, a tow ball, camouflage-pattern seating for four, and an Alpine CD stereo. This Iltis is now offered at no reserve with a clean Indiana title in the seller’s name.

The Type 183 Iltis was developed by Audi in response to the former West German army requirement for a light military general-use vehicle. This example is finished in green and beige camouflage paint with a matching bikini top. Exterior features include a tubular steel front bumper, street lighting, a tow ball, a rear bumper-mounted jerry can, and dual mirrors. Photos show paint loss on the hood exposing a lower layer of drab paint.

Steel 18″ wheels finished in green wear older knobby tires, and a matching wheel mounted with a Goodyear tire is located atop the rear bumper. Four-wheel drum brakes are accompanied by four-wheel independent suspension featuring control arms, transverse leaf springs, and tubular shocks.

The cabin features seating surfaces upholstered in green, brown, and black camouflage-pattern cloth. Equipment includes an Alpine CD stereo, steel roll hoops, and black rubber floor mats.

The four-spoke steering wheel fronts a centrally mounted 160-km/h speedometer with an inset fuel level gauge. The five-digit mechanical odometer shows 57k kilometers (~35k miles), approximately 15k of which were added by the seller.

The 1.7-liter gasoline inline-four was factory rated at 74 horsepower when new, and the engine compartment features dual storage areas. Corrosion is visible on the radiator support, and an oil change was performed in anticipation of the sale.

Power is sent to the rear or all four wheels through a five-speed manual transaxle, the first gear of which an extra-low crawler denoted by the “G” on the shift knob. The front differential can be engaged by the driver by a lever mounted in between the front seats and includes a locking differential, and the rear differential lock can be separately engaged. Additional photos of the underside are provided in the gallery below.

I love this thing and after reading about the history of it, I want it. Very spartan (with the exception of the added stereo and speakers), tough, very cool. When I first spotted this last night, the bid was @ $5,500. Now just minutes before it ends? $14,250 and that has climbed up from $12,250 in the few minutes it took me to write this article. By the time you read this, the auction will have ended but you can still see it HERE.

Edit: The Iltis sold for $18,000