In America, we celebrate the Jeep Wrangler as the ultimate military vehicle-turned-civilian. But Jeep is not alone in this practice. Mercedes-Benz has the G-Wagen and Land Rover has the Defender, but there are others, such as DKW Munga, a car so rare that the one being sold on Craigslist right now is allegedly the only one in the U.S.
We have to concede we know a lot more Mercedes-Benz or Land Rover than we do the defunct automaker named DKW. It’s short for Dampf-Kraft-Wagen, which stands for “steam-driven car.” The company was founded in 1916, and merged with Audi and other german automakers to form Auto Union in 1932. The Munga was produced from 1956 to 1968 as a DKW-branded off-road/military vehicle.
Ready for a German lesson? Military vehicles are often graced with names that are creative acronyms, and in that spirit the Munga stood for “Mehrzweck Universal Geländewagen mit Allradantrieb,” which supposedly translates to “multi-purpose universal cross-country car with all-wheel drive.”
As the name suggests, the Munga featured all-wheel drive, was very sturdy and dependable, and could take on reasonably rugged terrain. It became a popular German border patrol vehicle, and various parts of NATO. A civilian version was eventually produced, and sold in West Germany. It was also used in many parts of South America and South Africa.
A two-wheel drive model was build in Brazil starting in 1958, and based on this Craigslist post, this could be one of those cars. It is a rear-wheel drive model and features a rebuilt VW 4-cylinder engine and a manual transmission. The poster says this is the only one in the U.S. Almost 47,000 Mungas produced between 1956 and 1968, and we can’t confirm that it is the only one in America. It is most certainly a rare vehicle, and one you can get for $15,000 in central New Jersey.