View original topic: WW2 CORRECT VW serial numbers
mikeandkirsti Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:52 am

Everett suggested I open a new thread on WW2 (especially 1944 to 1945) Volkswagen serial numbers. The listing presented in most literature as well as thesamba Technical Section (VIN Type 1) is incorrect. The first part of 1945 production up to the occupation of Volkswagenwerk (10 April 1945, ie. end of WW2 for VW) is incorrectly included in the 1944 numbers as presented in the listing below:

Correct numbers can be easily picked up from VW literature, some require further research:

1944 serial numbers are 2-032303 to 2-047679 (last number for 1944 can be calculated from literature, ie. Mommsen-Grieger book below).

1945 serial numbers up to 10 April 1945 are (end of WW2 at the factory when production ceased) 2-047680 to 2-052008 (last WW2 production serial number documented in the Dr. Wiersch book: Die Käfer-Chronik).

Mommsen-Grieger (exact figures from the factory archives): 1940 - 10 April 1945 total production was 66 285 vehicles. Of these 50515 were Kübelwagens. In 1945 during WW2 only Kübelwagens were built, a total of 4329 as follows:

- January: 2092
- February: 850
- March: 994 (of which 665 or 2/3 were already pressed and built at the Volkswagenwerk)
- April up until the 2nd shift of the 10th: 393

POST WAR 1945 serial numbers are 2-052016 to 1-053814 (I cannot recall where I got the number 52016 but will specify).

Please note that eight numbers are missing (52009-52015) as Soviet POWs vandalized Kübelwagens/assembly line and when production started on 8 May 1945 and the US military authorities ordered remaining factory workers and staff to commence production they started building complete cars from the damaged ones left on 10 April on the assembly line using some for parts. Last 1945 number is likely a Beetle, not a Kübelwagen). Info can be found in the Mommsen-Grieger book: Das Volkswgenwerk und seine Arbeiter im Dritten Reich, excellent book with lots of production details not usually given to the public by the Volkswagen Archives. It is very difficult to get any information from the Volkswagen Archives as they do not want to be associated with the Third Reich. I have been turned down many times. They say nothing has been preserved; yet it turns out that detailed documents exist of every small production detail up to 10 April 1945 as is evident from the Mommsen-Grieger book. Wonderful photos of war time production exist as well as film but they will not share them because they show POWs and forced labor from occupied countries and concentration camps.

Motor numbers in the chart are incorrect too, 2-77682 is the last number for 10 April 1945, NOT the last number for 1944. The last 1944 number I think I have but requires further research.

1940 numbers are also wrong, the number is not exactly 1000.

Please comment and fill in information (with source please) so we can at least correct the listing on thesamba!

finster Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:37 am

seeing no replies, I decided that I would otherwise you might feel as though you had 'shot an arrow into the air..' alas, I have little to offer other than my support and encouragement for this worthwhile project. I have found the following in volkswagen militarfahrzeug 1938-1948 by hans-georg mayer-stein
1940 kubel production april 25 (stuttgart) may 100 (vw werk) june 200, july 275 with the 1000th kubel made on the 20th december.
kubel production figures
4 seater 37,320
nachrichtenwagen 7,545
funkwagen 3,326
repair car 273

mikeandkirsti Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:25 am

Thanks for your reply and chipping in finster. The production numbers in your source differ regarding Kübels with a mere total of 48 464. I can post the details and break down from the Grieger-Mommsen book with a total number of 50 515 but since Prof. Dr. Manfred Grieger was the Chief Historian of the Volkswagen AG until 2016, I am inclined to accept his conclusions as he has had unlimited access to VW Archives unlike anyone else (looks like the current Chief Historian is former Archivist Dr. Ulrike Gutzmann).

This topic requires "in depth" knowledge and extensive research (not to mention fluent knowledge of German) so I was not expecting a lot of discussion.

I will look up the missing details mentioned above. If there is nothing supporting any other conclusions I will ask Everett to update the serial number listing on thesamba so at least this site has the correct production data.

pastellgreen Tue Dec 17, 2019 2:18 am

The new chief from VW Unternehmensarchiv (Historische Kommunikation) is Dieter Landenberger. He came from the Porsche Archiv and was introduced at VW by Matthias Müller.

SplitPersonality Tue Dec 17, 2019 4:19 am

I am not sure the "english" list in the first post is correct.

The VIN-prefix (1- for Typ 60, 2- for Typ 82, 7- for Typ 166) was introduced sometime late 1941. Prior to that there was no prefix on the engines either.

So - the 1- prefix on both chassis and engine is incorrect for 1940 and 1941 for sure.

I own Kubel 001451 (Feb 1941) with engine number 001478 - so I can prove it.

mikeandkirsti Wed Dec 18, 2019 2:47 am

SplitPersonality: you are correct. The list is incorrect in many ways. Prefix 1- is not correct, early WW2 cars do not have a prefix and later cars are most likely all with prefix 2- although there is no way to check if the cars on the list are 1-, 2-, 5- or 7-, engines could even be 6- (industrial). The prefix 1- is just used because after about February 1946 only 1- was used till the early 50s. We can discuss how we want to tackle this, maybe no prefix for 1940-41, then prefix 2- or just no prefix until 1946? Or just continue using prefix 1-?

Regarding the data from the Volkswagen Archives: according to this reply just received NO numbers will be published or verified by VW due to German legislation and company security (except to certified vehicle owners):

"Aus rechtlichen Gründen und nach Rücksprache mit der Konzernsicherheit, dürfen wir Ihnen keine Auskünfte zu den Fahrzeug-Ident- und Motor-Nummern geben. Fahrzeugdaten dürfen nur an den jeweiligen Fahrzeughalter (mit entsprechendem Halternachweis) herausgegeben werden."

We can still piece together most of the relevant numbers using the sources mentioned above. I think this is important as now the listing is far from accurate.

Martin Southwell Wed Dec 18, 2019 5:28 am

At the recent REME Museum 60th anniverary of the handing back of the factory to the German people, I met and spoke to Dr. Ulrike Gutzmann, whose card describes her as: Konzernkommunikation and underneath Historiche Kommunikation - Group Communication, Historic Communication.

As I have always been looking for information on the company who supplied my, and others, Beetle back in 1947. All the information I had previously from VW was: Keuch, Hanover. Through a local paper there, I have learnt more, but when I asked Ulrike if they had information on dealerships during that period, although a crude map was shown on one slide during the talk, it appears that they don't.

In fact, as she reminded me, VW's interest in its history has previously been very limited, and not considered of great consequence. I suggest that the information they hold, particularly post war, is limited, and at times sketchy. I think there is a greater pool of knowledge amongst those on this web-site than there is at VW! The difference is that we are driven by a passion, whilst to these people, it's purely a job.

It's galling to hear that they aren't helpful re numbers on vehicles produced 60+ years ago, hiding behind German laws, no doubt introduced to throw a veil on happenings all of those years ago.

SplitPersonality Thu Dec 19, 2019 2:11 am

i am not sure what you mean by "how we should tackle this". There is only way to adress/list these numbers - and that is sticking to facts and the truth.

They started out with no prefix in up until sometime late 41/early 42 when the model range had expanded so much that it was needed to introduce prefixes. Most likely when they were preparing for the intro of the Typ 166 - when for example the engine is very differently built from the very start (even the engine blocks have a different machining). Then they needed prefix to keep them apart - and it was introduced on all types in the whole factory.

I would very much like to find out exactly at what VIN/date they introduced the prefix.

After the war they reduced the model range as we know....and only the 1- prefix "survived", until they did they same thing again with an expanding model range in 1950.

mikeandkirsti Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:48 am

Listing from "Das Volkswagenwerk und seine Arbeiter im Dritten Reich".

This is the official VW WW2 production 1940 to 10 April 1945 (the day when WW2 ended at the Volkswagenwerk). From this list we can determine ie. that a total of 50515 Kübelwagens were built 1940-10.4.1945 (list does not include post war Kübels built from May 1945 to January 1946). Also in 1940 the total number of Kübelwagens built was not 1000 but 1005 with one chassis, total 1006, etc. Not sure if the chassis built were with a serial number or not (total 27).

This has to be used to check the production and serial numbers for each years. We are NOT getting any help with any numbers from the factory. My main concern was to fix the 1944 and 1945 serial numbers. This correction can be achieved with this source combined with other sources (total monthly production figures can be added to last number of 1943 to get the last number for 1944 and double check this by subtracting 1945 production from last number of 10.4.1945), etc.

It will be impossible to get the correct prefix as we do not know exactly when the prefix was added (unless it is just added from 1942) and we cannot be sure which actual cars were the first and last for each year except 1945 when ALL production until 10 April 1945 were Kübelwagens with prefix 2 as were the last numbers for 1944. For 1942 the first numbers may well have been without prefix or with 1 or 2, the last number could have been 1, 2, 5, 7 (engine even 6) as well as the first and last for 1943. Most likely all these numbers are with the prefix 2 as most vehicles produced were Kübelwagens.

One way forward is to rewrite the list with no prefix for 1940-41, generic prefix 2 for 1942-1945. Prefix 1 from 1946 up? Maybe not 100% accurate but as close as we can get and more accurate than prefix 1 for all?

mikeandkirsti Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:11 am

Here is what the listing for 1940-1946 could look like:

Year Chassis Engine

1940 001006 001006
1941 005656 006251
1942 2-014383 2-017113
1943 2-032302 2-045707
1944 2-047679
10.4.1945 2-052006 2-077682
1945 2-053814 2-079093
1946 1-063796 1-090732

Adding 10 April 1945 is important as it marks the end of WW2 and the last numbers for that date have been incorrectly used as last numbers for 1944 in most sources. This information can also be added to the "Notes" section for 1945?

The last engine number for 1944 requires additional research but it can be calculated. I suggest the listing on thesamba is updated as above and can be amended later as research progressed. The above data is far more accurate than the current info.

Comments please?

mikeandkirsti Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:05 am

Correction to above:

Last car built on 10 April 1945 is 2-051995 (documented in the Dr. Wiersch book: Die Käfer-Chronik).

Total WW2 production 1945 is 4329 Kübelwagens and one chassis, total 4330 (there is a mistake in the above chart, it is not 4339). When you subtract 4330 from 51995 the number is 47665, which is the last number for 1944.

Total 1945 production was 6115 units (4330 units from 1.1.-10.4. WW2 and 1785 units from 8.5.-31.12. post WW2). When you add 1785 to 52016 (first car built on 8 May 1945 was 2-052016) you get 53801 and the last serial number for 1945 is 53814. The number do not quite match, but some numbers are missing due vandalized/destroyed cars on 10 April 1945 (21 units) and rest (14 units) perhaps due to uncontrolled production start ordered by Americans on 8 May 1945 or other reasons.

mikeandkirsti Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:23 am

The incorrect 1944-45 numbers appear on the German Brezelfenstervereiningung web site too:

mikeandkirsti Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:12 am

No comments? Everybody agrees?

Are we ready to amend the VIN / Chassis number section with confirmed data to get rid of the major misinformation?

mikeandkirsti Today 5:24 am

I now suggest we update the VIN Type 1 page on this site as follows:

Year Chassis Engine Rear Axle Front Axle Frame Body Notes
1940 - 1947
1940 001006 001006
1941 005656 006251
1942 2-014383 2-017113
1943 2-032302 2-045707
1944 2-047679
1945 2-053814 2-079093 (10 April 1945 last chassis number 2-051995, last engine number 2-077682)

The last numbers produced during WW2 on 10 April 1945 in parenthesis are most appropriate under "Notes" for 1945 but should definitely be included as an important date in production and the numbers are known and documented.

Unfortunately VW will not give out the last engine number for 1944, maybe someone has this information or got it from VW before the German law changed, please contribute. The number can be added later.

finster Today 8:55 am

Good work, not sure why there is not more feedback. Is there a register of surviving kubels to corroborate these numbers?

h~moto Today 3:28 pm

I find this very interesting but have not commented because I am not an authority on this.
I am confused about 1944 though. Is the last number 2-047679 or 47665?
The Jan 27th, 2020 post says: Quote: When you subtract 4330 from 51995 the number is 47665, which is the last number for 1944.

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