In the 1960s France, West Germany
and Italy started a joint project for a new 500 kg 4x4 amphibious vehicle
which became known as the 'Europa-Jeep'. Prototypes were built by two consortia,
Fiat/MAN/Saviem and Büssing/Hotchkiss/Lancia. Two German companies,
MBB and Glas/BMW, also built lightweight 4x4 amphibious vehicles but none
entered production. The project progressed very slowly, and when France
subsequently withdrew the project was cancelled in 1976.
Only the Italian Army eventually
took a number of the amphibious Fiat/MAN/Saviem field cars in service.
of Andreas Mehlhorn
||The 1972 FMS on the
left is a rare survivor of the early-1970's experimental and unavailing
Fiat-MAN-Saviem amphibious field car project. It is owned by a German collector
and is the only known survivor in private hands.
Meanwhile, awaiting the arrival of
the Europa-Jeep the Bundeswehr (Federal German Army) decided to
procure a stop-gap vehicle to replace their ageing DKW Munga. From 1969
onwards Volkswagen built 15,200 Typ 181 Mehrzweckwagen (multi-purpose
vehicle) for the Bundeswehr as a temporary substitute.
After the cancellation of the Europa-Jeep
project the Bundeswehr issued a new requirement for 8,800 4x4 vehicles
with a cargo capacity of 500 kg both on and off roads, but this time the
amphibious requirement was dropped. Both Daimler-Benz and Volkswagen built
prototypes for trials and in 1977 the Volkswagen
VW 183 Iltis was selected for production. The first production
vehicles were handed over in November 1978.
The French Army had invited the French
automotive industry to come up with proposals. None of the manufacturers
came up with a new design but they all entered 'badge engineered' versions
of existing vehicles: Renault proposed their TRM500 (a re-engined
Citroën presented their C44
(a modified CX-engined VW Iltis), and Peugeot came up with
the P4 (a Steyr-built Mercedes G-series equipped with their
own power unit and other components). None of these vehicles was amphibious.
In 1981, an order for no less than 15,000
Tous-Terrains was awarded to Peugeot, mainly because of the greater
number of P4 variants they could offer.
Boschen, Lothar, Das große
Buch der Volkswagen Typen. Alle Fahrzeuge von 1934 bis heute. Stuttgart:
Motorbuch Verlag, 1983, p.551-555. ISBN 3-87943-799-8.
Foss, Christopher F. (ed.), Jane's
Military Vehicles and Ground Support Equipment 1983. Fourth Edition.
London: Jane's Publishing Co.Ltd., 1983, p.265. ISBN 0 7106-0766-0.
Vanderveen, Bart, 'Auto Union's DKW
Munga. The story of a 1950s' German Field Car'. Wheels & Tracks,
no. 45, October 1993, p.37.
Vanderveen, Bart, 'VLTTs for the
French Army: The days of the WWII-type Jeep's active service in France
are numbered'. Wheels & Tracks, no. 1, October 1982, p.30-33.