Volkswagen Classic Vehicles has just refurbished a unique 60-year-old vehicle: the “ Half Track Fox “. This T1 was first produced in the Hanover factory in May 1962 and then sent to its buyer in Austria. After a short period of life as a “normal” T1, he was later transformed by Kurt Kretzneran ingenious Viennese mechanic.
The latter has in fact converted the Split into a T1 with four axles – two of them equipped with a chain / caterpillar drive mechanism and two guiding the vehicle using dual tires. And so he created what is probably the most off-road capable Split ever.
Historical sources say that Kurt Kretzner was an avid skier, and noticed that in the mountainous regions of Austria there was a shortage of vans with good off-road capabilities, which could be useful for mountain hut keepers, hunters, and other maintenance technicians for ski lifts.
Kretzner would later write in the Half-track Fox sales documentation: At first I looked around, but couldn’t find the vehicle I was looking for. So I decided to build it myself. The inventor thus spent more than four years designing and building his vehicle. Two “Foxes” were built until 1968, before production ceased.
What the Viennese mechanic installed under the Combi’s bodywork: at the front, a double steering axle with dual 14-inch rough-tread tires and, at the rear, another double axle with chain transmission. The chains were mounted on 13-inch wheels and a construction of its own design consisting of aluminum elements with two centimeter thick rubber blocks to spare the asphalt. Due to the front double axle steering, the turning radius was less than 10 meters. Each wheel was fitted with a brake. An automatic limited-slip differential provides evenly distributed forward propulsion, even in deep snow. For this, the T1 drew its power from its standard 34 hp flat engine with a displacement of 1,192 cc.
In 1985, the T1 made a final appearance in Vienna, before being purchased in the early 1990s by the Porsche Museum in Gmünd. The Half-track Fox then passed into the possession of the “Bullikartei eV– a society of first-generation Combi lovers. In 2005 they started a first attempt to restore the vehicle, which unfortunately they were unable to complete.
At the end of 2018, the Half-track Fox entered the collection of Volkswagen Classic Vehicles. The objective: to restore the Half-track Fox to working order. Classic vehicle experts have begun a painstaking restoration process. The 60-year-old body was, as is the case with all factory restorations in Hannover, stripped, repaired, cathodic dip coated and repainted in the original matt orange shade. The team of Volkswagen Classic Vehicles also refurbished the mechanics as well as the interior of the Half-Track Fox.
And it was in February 2022 that the Half-track Fox made its way through the snow again.
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Rebirth of the Half-track Fox: a tracked all-terrain VW Combi! — Be happy. Be Combi!
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