While browsing one of my favorite auto forums that we currently advertise on www.thesamba.com , I found this amazing story of one of the original VW bug prototypes being uncovered in Lithuania. VW made a handful of prototype cars named VW38. Each of these cars were hand made and many found their way into the ownership of some legendary people. These cars can be seen in many old "war era" photos during German/Nazi parades and social gatherings.
Above is a picture and video of the car as it was found in Lithuania. The car was heavily modified with parts from a Russian Volga sedan and therefore many of the original parts for it had to be re-fabricated by hand. Since this car was built completely from hand originally, it seems quite fitting that the restoration/rebuild is being done the same way. Everything from the firewall to the steering column components to the windshield frame and running gear have been replaced along the way with parts from other cars (mostly all from a Volga!). Most would have certainly given up if faced withthe task of restoring this car. But, because of how important to the history of the vintage car community this car is, the car was turned over to a master restoration shop specializing in KDF cars. They then began cutting away what wasn't original to help with the decision of what had to be fabricated to bring it back to original state. As you can see there wasn't much left of what was the original car!
This project is so very important in the history of these cars that it was put on display at the church of Hessisch Oldendorf for the masses of VW fans to come and view the shell of this legendary car. This goes to show how much of a "religion" old cars are to some of us. (Note to readers: Show this blog to your significant other next time they yell at you for spending too much time/money on "that rusty old junker").
During the cutting and chopping of this car, they came to find that the car was in fact the license plate number 43006. Which makes this the 6th VW38 prototype built! It is quite "eery" to look at old photos of this car! I'm sure no one in these pictures could ever imagine this car would be found some 70 years later in a Lithuanian back yard!
Along the way. the restoration shop has carefully recreated some of the key items that were lost when this car was modified over the years. Anything from dash bits to gauge cluster pieces, to even the glove box were remade by hand! There isn't a item that has been overlooked or they have planned to bring back to the original condition.
This project is still going and the metal work and fabrication being done to restore this to original condition is something you'd see when restoring any other "ancient artifact" in a museum. Projects and stories like these are what all of us as car enthusiasts need to keep us going on that "never ending project". Feel free to check the Samba forum thread listed below for further details on the specifics of this build. Also check the website devoted to the restoration and history of this car (just brush up on your German first!) Enjoy the read and watch out for more intense restoration projects as I dig their stories up for everyone!