Volkswagen Iltis Dakar 2020

Volkswagen Iltis: Al Dakar 2021 in the new category of classics


A vehicle produced in 1979 is clearly a classic. But in the world of motorsports, not only are cars becoming flagship; also testing. In that sense, the next edition of Dakar Rally will have a category for classics. The first time since its intrepid pilots began to plow through dunes in the late XNUMXs. Thanks to this initiative we will be able to enjoy once again with some of the most legendary models in the history of the Dakar. Models like him Volkswagen Iltis.

Absolute dominator in the 1980 edition -cupping victory and two of the podium positions-, the Volkswagen illtis it was crowned an off-road icon thanks to its combination of lightness and good traction. Now, in the middle of the 2020 Dakar Rally, he will compete again with two Basques determined to give presence to the classics in this test: Ignacio Corcuera and Iker San Vicente. Based in Erandio, they have just restored a Volkswagen Type 183 to original state less than some safety improvements.

In a few days they will undertake their particular challenge, this time with a journey that reconciles with the dunes, going to Saudi Arabia. There we will see how the all-wheel drive of the Volkswagen Iltis defends, which will be a pioneer in the visibility of the classics alongside the latest generation motorcycles, trucks and cars. A challenge that they will defend with the number # 200, and to which we will have to be very attentive in this Dakar 2020. Of course, always after knowing the key points of the project. Go for it.


As we know, many of the great automotive ideas come from aviation or the military. The case of the Volkswagen Iltis comes from the latter, since it was thought in collaboration with the Federal Defense of Germany through a long development started at the end of the sixties. In need of a light, amphibious, off-road and cheap vehicle, the German army launched the proposal to national brands with the ambition of building a European-style Jeep. Settled in the military thanks to experiences like the Type 181, Volkswagen heeded the call.

The years progressed slowly, until in 1976 the project failed due to enormous development costs. However, the German army did not give up its efforts, again calling on the brands to achieve that little all-rounder. Of course, now the strategy changed, since it was recommended to manufacture a series vehicle that could later be adapted to the military. Thus was born in 1978 the Volkswagen Iltis, an exceptional test bed for the brand, in which it tested technologies acquired after the recent purchase of Auto Union.

In fact, its all-wheel drive system is the clearest antecedent for the mythical Audi Quattro drive. Because yes, although the Volkswagen Type 183 it was named like this to join it to the prestige already consolidated in the brand for military vehicles ... The truth is that the polecat it is, more than anything, an Audi from a technological point of view. Although yes, the engine is a real Volkswagen. Specifically the four cylinders in line EA827, capable of delivering 75CV. More than enough for its only 1.300 kilos, sitting on rather narrow tires.


Hardened in rallying, Ignacio Corcuera is known in the Basque Country as Livingstone. A literary nickname with which his taste for solo adventure is clear to us. However, the Dakar rules are very clear on that point: the presence of a co-driver is mandatory. Moment in which Iker San Vicente enters the scene. The two responsible for this triumphal entry of the classics in the Dakar, with their own category. A category in which certain modifications in terms of safety are allowed -like an improved cage-, but always respecting the most original state possible.

In fact, this is what prevails in the Vokswagen Iltis of our two intrepid Basques, who have restored "Screw to screw" the original engine without being tempted by a change that would improve the power. A good idea, since in tests like the Dakar Rally, resistance is first and foremost. Point at which the Iltis four-cylinder block offers complete confidence. Reviewing the changes, the only one that we found remarkable is that of the shock absorbers, designed exclusively for this unit by a military vehicle specialist.

A great car for the beginnings of this category Dakar Classic, in whose genesis Ignacio Corcuera himself has had a lot to do with it. And it is that, seeing how in Monte Carlo or Le Mans there are already sections for classics… The question was obvious: why not in the Dakar Rally? Starting from this reflection, Livingstone He has spent more than two years contributing documentation and ideas together with other fellow fans to the organization of the Dakar until he achieved his goal. All this when, curiously, we have just commemorated the 501th anniversary of the return to the world of the Basque Juan Sebastián Elcano. Will these navigators from the sands make it? We will have to be pending.

Finally, we would like to thank our partner and friend Sergio Calleja placeholder image by the breath 😉

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Miguel Sánchez

Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.


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