Schwimmwagen Type 166
Amphibious 4WD Car
The VW Schwimmwagen Type 166 (Swimming Car) was used extensively by German ground forces during WW2. It was one of the most numerous mass-produced amphibious four-wheel drive off-roaders in history.
The Volkswagen Schwimmwagen was a mix of the VW Type 86 four-wheel drive model with elements of the VW Type 87 command-car. This used the air-cooled “flat-four” boxer and a manual transmission with four speeds. It had two transfer cases and a 4WD capability on the first and reverse gears. The initial prototype was called the Type 128. The 128 was quickly put into production despite showing some flaws that became obvious in operational theaters of war like the eastern front; less than a hundred cars were produced. When all the flaws were removed, and a new reinforced hull introduced the new Type 166 was born. The Type 166 proved far more reliable and was also simplified for mass production.
The first of these vehicles equipped SS units on the eastern front and they proved valuable in marshy grounds like in the Pripet, many served also in Wehrmacht units in North Africa and Tunisia, Sicilia, and Europe. They were seen, like the Kübelwagen, in nearly all theaters of war. It was light and reliable and served for scouting, transport, dispatching, command cars, and regular officer cars on the frontline. They were unarmed but proved versatile, sturdy and reliable. Soldiers sometimes nicknamed them “the Frosche” (“frog”).
From 1941 to 1944, 15,584 Type 166 Schwimmwagen cars were produced. The Schwimmwagen remains the most heavily produced amphibious car in history. Its VW mechanical basis made it popular after the war and 166 survived to this day in museums and private collections, often in running condition.
- Detailed interior
- Foldable windshield
- Rear propeller in stowed or in-use position
- Optional side-mounted MG-34 or MG-42
- Driver included