Despite sounding like an Eastern European alcoholic spirit, the Porsche 597 Jagdwagen is actually a 4×4 utility vehicle with a surprising past. A light military truck that was mainly built for civilian use, the Jagdwagen (‘hunting car’ in German) had an extremely limited life-cycle, with only 71 made between 1958 and 1959
It was initially developed as a prototype for the German Army in the 1950s, who eventually opted for a different manufacturer, meaning the Jagdwagen never entered mass production, despite Porsche spending almost 2 million Deutschmarks on its development. Fitted with the flat-four engine from the Porsche 356 sports car, the Jagdwagen weighs just under a tonne, with a top-speed of 100km/h on the later 1.6-litre engine model. It also features a five-speed manual gearbox and can shift between two- and four-wheel drive.
Thanks to its buoyant body, it’s also amphibious and the early model requires passengers to clamber in over the door-less side rails. A 1958 model recently sold at auction at Bonhams for £175,100 (AU$299,655) because the previous owner didn’t want to damage it by driving it around his country estate. Go figure.