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On the Tail-Lights of the KdF Typ82 Kübelwagen

All owners of KdF Kübelwagen and other war-time German military vehicles know the Nova Technik "Notek" black-out headlight, and the convoy tail light, officially known as "Tarnscheinwerfer or "Black-out Headlight", and "Abstand Rückgerät" or "Distance Rear Light", nomenclature Nova 1-1.01 and Nova 1-2A, which are proudly fiitted on the front and back of our restored cars and lorries.

Lesser known is the other type of tail light, which was mounted only on the late model pre-series Typ62, and on the very early Typ82, which was also made by Nova Technik, the "Zusatz Rückgerät" or "Additional Rear Light", nomenclature Nova 1-3A.

Both 1-2A and 1-3A were fiitted on the 1940 Typ62 latest pre-series models, right and left on the engine compartment lid, and on the RH and LH corners of the body on the very early production Typ82.

As shown in the spare parts catalogue
On a pre-series Typ62 prototype
On the early Typ82 production models

The 1-3A was eliminated from the Typ82 early in the war, I believe in late 1940 or early 1941, and was only used in the German military as a motorcycle tail-light from then on as far as I know.

While both 1-2A, 1-3A, and their supports are shown in the 1941 Ersatzteilliste, 1-3A and its support no longer appear in the 1943 edition where there is no mention either of a "civilian" type tail light for the RH side.

The 1-3A was, like the 1-2A, a black-out light, in this case turning the central knob one quarter turn moved an internal screen that occulted both brake and tail light lenses, as well as the license-plate illumination window underneath, leaving only a smal triangular dot of red light for the brake-light.

Many restored Kübelwagen today sport on the RH rear corner, or even on both corners (sometimes in addition to a 1-2A on the engine lid !) the kind of round tail-light which was common on on civilian cars, lorries and vans both before and after the war in Europe and the US.

They were probably incited to do this by the illustrations in the "TM E9-803-German Volkswagen" manual produced by the US Army for the use of captured enemy vehicles, which shows a car fitted with similar-looking tail-lights, but which turn out to be US military convoy / black-out lights.

One wonders why since the car, a very early model as shown by the short rear wings, and the RH shovel, which is confirmed by the Chassis N°1339  according to the Humber Report, should carry at least a 1-2A if not also a 1-3A; on the other hand, while the Humber Report refers to, and describes, the 1-2A, it does not mention a 1-3A. Both Notek 1-2A and 1-3A are described in detail on pages 96-97 of the TM E9-803.


Yet while there are a few war-time pictures of a Typ82 with one such light, sometimes with a cloth black-out hood, I have never seen a war-time picture of a Typ82 bearing two of those. It seems the fitting of a RH civilian tail light may have been done at unit level, as the light itself does not appear in the different KdF / Volkswagenwerks Spare Parts Catalogues (Ersatzteilliste) I have.

Three views of a Notek 1-3A, published here with the kind permission of Fabrice Vilain.

Like the Notek 1-1.01 black-out headlight, the 1-2A tail-light was produced after the war in the German Democratic Republic, and used on military vehicles by several East-European countries.

The post-war models differ from the war-time ones in that they lack the round "Notek" stamping on the rear face of the light, between the red and stop lights lenses, and that the mobile flap is held in position by central spring clips that catch a square hole in the middle of the shutter, instead of four lateral clips that catch the sides of the shutter.

Just like the 1-1.01 black-out headlight, the early model 1-2A tail-lights had a cast-alloy body at the beginning of the war, replaced later in the war, and in the postwar model, by a steel sheet pressing.


War-time model
Four clips on the sides

Post-war model
Clips in the middle

I would be grateful to hear from anyone who knows the date, and chassis number, when KdF stopped installing the 1-3A, as well as any more information on the above.

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Renaud Olgiati

Last update 24/09/2021