Car video reviews:
Less Than 200 Volkswagen “Fridolin” Are out There. Here’s What You Could Find
One of the leading manufacturers of vehicles in the world is Volkswagen. However, not all their vehicles were designed for personal use. Some were just simple vehicles meant for transporting goods such as mail and packages.

Less Than 200 Volkswagen “Fridolin” Are out There. Here’s What You Could Find

Karmann GhiaKarmann GhiaKarmann GhiaVW Type 147 "Fridolin" CustomVW Type 147 "Fridolin" CustomVW Type 147 "Fridolin" CustomVW Type 147 "Fridolin"VW Type 147 "Fridolin"VW Type 147 "Fridolin"
Very few people know of the Type 147 wagon from Volkswagen. Initially known as the Kleinlieferwagen, and over the years as “Fridolin,” this funny-looking car saw its destined use in the hands of the German Postal Authority (GPA). As history goes, the GPA came to Volkswagen with a request to build them a vehicle worthy of transporting as much German mail as possible.

Initially, the GPA looked at using one of the famed micro-vehicles from Goggomobil, the Transporter. Having fallen short of GPA’s needs, it was Volkswagen’s turn to offer the perfect vehicle. Under the GPA’s requests for cargo space, a payload of 750 lbs (340 kg), and sliding doors for easy loading and unloading, VW went to work.

What did the GPA get? Well, a vehicle that would soon turn into a 6,000-piece production span over 10 years, according to VW. Since the needs of the organization differed from anything VW had at the current time, what you end up looking at is an amalgam of vehicles, all neatly wrapped up in a postal delivery machine.

Overall, VW relied on parts from their air-cooled engine cars. At its base, a Karmann Ghia chassis supports an engine and transmission from a Beetle, while “rear elements” are all Type 2 Microbus. If the front of the bugger looks familiar, that’s because the headlight assembly and hood are a Type 3 Notchback.

Coming in with a weight of over a ton, it seemed to be the right fit for the GPA’s needs and wants. In its use, it even caught the attention of another postal service, this time the Swiss. However, as VW mentions, 1,000 models were spat out for the Swiss, but they made some changes themselves.

For the Swiss, VW was asked to furnish a different interior, after all, no two countries have the same flag, while more windows offered a better view inside. Possibly because of Swiss terrain (never been), a larger engine was asked for, and disc brakes to help safely control the beast. For added safety, exterior mirrors were added to the front fender.

Now, if you’ve ever met a mail worker, you know the level of brutality their vehicles are exposed to; the Fridolin was no different. Over the years, with rust, rain, and potholes beating away at the cars, less than 200 models are reported to be left.

Some of them have ended up in the hands of custom car tuners, while others are sitting in museums or unknown garages. I’ve added a couple of images in the gallery to show you just what some tuners have in mind.

A few years back, on the other hand, an impeccable 1969 Fridolin surfaced on Oldbug. When I say impeccable, I really mean it. The thing’s got a little over 10K on the odometer, and the paint doesn’t even have any rust on it. It looks like it’s been sitting in someone’s living room, let alone a garage. How much did it sell for? Around $95k. Yeah. Makes you want to rethink driving your ICE vehicle. The future is electric after all.

Listen, you want an investment tip? Find a car that is slowly disappearing and hold on to it. Maybe it’ll turn out to be a $100K gem 50 years from now.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories