(WJTV) — Students at the Forest Scott County Career and Technology Center are learning the skills they need to get a good job.
Now, thanks to a creative idea from a substitute teacher, they are also getting a thorough history lesson.
Long before Americans knew the meaning of farfegnugen, or even laid eyes on a Volkswagen Beetle, there was the Kubelwagen. The German Army used them as staff cars in World War II. A Kubelwagen has made its way to Scott County, and students are working to restore it.
Robert Laird is the substitute teacher who brought the car to school.
He says, It’s a 1942 Kubelwagen or bucket car, which is a German Army staff car from World War II. It’s the predecessor of the Volkswagen Thing. which was very popular in the 1970’s.
Timmy Fanguy is the Director of the Forest Scott County Career and Technology Center.
“Our students have been working on it, doing a little bit of the bodywork, a little bit of the engine and the electronics of it. The electrical system in it,” Fanguy said.
Working on the car also serves as a hands-on trip back in time.
“What it did, is that it gave them a chance to exercise their normal academic curriculum in welding, woodworking, and vehicle maintenance, but also look at the history behind the vehicle they were working on,” Laird said.
” I just think it’s something exciting that the students can engage in,” said Fanguy. “They are liking it. They enjoy doing it, and it’s just a real good project for them to finish the year off with.”
Soon the Kubelwagen will feature the markings of the Afrika Corp 8th Panzer Regiment, which was incidentally, taken prison prisoner, and many of its soldiers were brought to Mississippi.
Then, what’s next for the Kubelwagen?
“We plan on using the vehicle as a living history demonstration and also for Holocaust presentations relating to the history of World War II,” said Laird.
The Kubelwagen should be ready to roll in time to take part in the Trail of Honor later this month.
The Kubelwagen has a top speed of 50 miles per hour. It is only two-wheel drive, but Laird says, its engineering makes it a very capable off road vehicle.
Laird bought the car from a church in San Antonio. It’s unclear how it was used in the war, but there are bullet holes on the skid plate underneath the Kubelwagen.