conceptcarz.com


 Volkswagen Iltis photo

Image credits: © Volkswagen.

1979 Volkswagen Iltis

Volkswagen's legacy has largely been built with road-going cars and in more recent years, sport-utility vehicles like the Tiguan and Atlas. But Volkswagen also has a half-century of racing efforts in arenas like the World Rally Championship, rallycross, Pike's Peak, and the famous Dakar Rally. While not produced in huge numbers, one short-lived Volkswagen earned itself an outsized place in brand history with an impressive Dakar Rally performance and boasts influence across the Volkswagen Group: the Volkswagen Iltis.

The Iltis was built to be a homegrown utility vehicle for use by the German army. It went into production in 1978 at Audi's Ingolstadt facility, with a civilian model run beginning in 1979. All told, Volkswagen would build just over 9,000 military and civilian examples, skewed heavily toward military. Though branded as a Volkswagen, development was handled mainly by Audi: the Iltis was essentially a reworked and updated version of the DKW Munga that Audi had been building throughout the 1960s.

Designated Type 183 (technically the replacement for the Type 181 Thing), the Volkswagen Iltis was pieced together by a team led by Ferdinand Piëch using parts from the Munga and other Audi models, along with the Mk1 Golf and the Beetle. It was powered by a 1,741cc engine that produced 70 horsepower (75 with premium fuel) with a four-speed manual transmission and an additional low gear (marked 'G', for 'gelande' or terrain). The most interesting bit of the Iltis was its drivetrain—a mechanical four-wheel drive setup that could run as rear-wheel drive until the driver engaged the four-wheel system as needed.

1979 Volkswagen Iltis1980 was not only the second year of the Iltis' production, it was the second year of the nascent Dakar Rally. At that time, the race was still known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, on its original course running from the French to the Senegalese capitals. Volkswagen entered four Iltis' in the 1980 Paris-Dakar. A strong performance would draw plenty of attention to the Iltis as Volkswagen was continuing to market it to militaries around the world. Specifically, Volkswagen hoped to achieve two goals: First, to impress the French military in particular—hence, entry in the Paris-Dakar—and secondly to generate interest from the general public in the civilian model, which faced an uphill battle within the emerging segment that would come to be known as the high-end SÚV.

Modern Dakar Rally vehicles are purpose-built, with many only bearing a superficial resemblance to the road models they're based on. In the early Paris-Dakar years, however, competition vehicles were surprisingly close to stock: Driver Patrick Zaniroli claims that the only modifications Audi made to the Paris-Dakar prepped Iltis' were the addition of a larger carburetor and a different camshaft. Another difference in those early Paris-Dakar years was the lack of 'chase' teams of mechanics servicing vehicles at stops throughout; teams ran with what they had, and if something broke, those onboard either patched it up by hand or were out.

The Iltis was an underdog in a field of faster, bigger-engined vehicles. Where the others were faster, though, the Iltis dominated the 1980 Paris-Dakar with its reliability. All four Iltis teams finished the 1980 Paris-Dakar, with Freddy Kottulinsky and Gerd Löffelmann placing first and the others finishing second, fourth, and ninth. This impressive Paris-Dakar performance bought the Iltis a couple more years of life under Volkswagen, but its high costs hurt it in the civilian market: while production would continue through the end of the 1980s at a trickle in Europe and under license internationally, the last Iltis rolled off of the Ingolstadt production facility in 1982.


It's unlikely, against-all-odds performance at the 1980 Paris-Dakar would be enough to earn the Iltis a place in Volkswagen history, but its biggest contribution happened far away from the rally course. In Sweden, Audi was using an Iltis as a support vehicle while vehicle testing in the snow when it noticed that the Iltis' four-wheel drive system handled the weather better than anything else, regardless of power. An idea sparked: what if the Iltis' four-wheel drive system could be modified and placed into a road car? Within a short couple of years, the Quattro was revolutionizing the rally world, and 'quattro' was introducing the world to the idea of an everyday four-wheel-drive car.

Source - Volkswagen

1979 Volkswagen Concepts

Concepts by Volkswagen

Volkswagen Monthly Sales Volume

December 2019
27,877
November 2019
29,218
October 2019
28,072
September 2019
26,947
August 2019
35,412
July 2019
31,188
June 2019
31,725
May 2019
35,702
April 2019
31,309
March 2019
37,092
February 2019
25,706
January 2019
23,074
Additional Sales Volume Data


Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Volkswagen
1984Chevrolet (1,655,151)Renault (1,429,138)Ford (1,180,708)103,479
1983Renault (1,491,853)Chevrolet (1,175,200)Toyota (1,068,321)77,009
1982Renault (1,491,853)Chevrolet (1,297,357)Toyota (1,068,321)974,140
1981Chevrolet (1,673,093)Renault (1,295,713)Toyota (1,068,321)981,471
1980Chevrolet (2,288,745)Renault (1,492,339)Ford (1,162,275)1,064,534
1979Chevrolet (2,284,749)Ford (1,835,937)Renault (1,405,330)129,779
1978Chevrolet (2,375,436)Ford (1,923,655)Renault (1,240,941)1,177,106
1977Chevrolet (2,543,153)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,840,427)1,123,575
1976Chevrolet (2,103,862)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,861,537)1,061,940
1975Chevrolet (1,755,773)Toyota (1,714,836)Ford (1,569,608)268,751
1974Chevrolet (2,333,839)Ford (2,179,791)Renault (1,355,799)955,355

Related Automotive News

Peugeot Celebrates 125 Years Of Motorsport Success

Peugeot Celebrates 125 Years Of Motorsport Success

PEUGEOT is celebrating 125 years of motorsport heritage as it marks the anniversary of its victory at the first ever recorded motor race – the epic Paris-Bordeaux-Paris event, which ran between 11-14 June 1895. The landmark anniversary also coincides...
Mazda At 100 | Mazda's Hatchback Pioneer

Mazda At 100 | Mazda's Hatchback Pioneer

Launched in 1977, the original Mazda 323 was Mazdas first modern compact family hatchback. A rear-wheel drive hatch it was called the Mazda GLC in North America and the Familia in Japan. The first in a lineage of cars that leads all the way to to...
Peugeot Makes History By Winning The Prestigious 'Car Of The Year' Award For The Sixth Time In 2020

Peugeot Makes History By Winning The Prestigious 'Car Of The Year' Award For The Sixth Time In 2020

PEUGEOT has won Europes most coveted automotive award, the Car Of The Year title for the sixth time, becoming only the third brand to do so. The prestigious trophy was presented to the all-new PEUGEOT 208 after being judged by an independent jury...
VOLKSWAGEN LINES UP WITH THREE POLO R WRCS FOR FIRST TIME

VOLKSWAGEN LINES UP WITH THREE POLO R WRCS FOR FIRST TIME

Fourth rally, fourth first Volkswagen will line up with three Polo R WRCs for the first time at the Rally Portugal. After a strong debut in the FIA World Rally Championship at Januarys Rally Monte Carlo, the Polo R WRC then started its first event...
GRAVEL, ALTITUDE, HEAT: VOLKSWAGEN POLO R WRC MAKES MEXICAN DEBUT

GRAVEL, ALTITUDE, HEAT: VOLKSWAGEN POLO R WRC MAKES MEXICAN DEBUT

¡Viva México! The Volkswagen Polo R WRC is just a matter of days away from its much-anticipated competitive debut on gravel in the FIA World Rally Championship. The 315 hp four-wheel drive powerhouse from Wolfsburg will take on very specific conditions...
© 1998-2020. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Vehicle information, history, And specifications from concept to production.
Follow ConceptCarz on Facebook Follow ConceptCarz on Twitter RSS News Feed

Conceptcarz.com
© 1998-2020 Conceptcarz.com Reproduction Or reuse prohibited without written consent.