Saturday, 24 September 2011

Although Volkswagen plays down the connection (who wouldn't?), the company got its start during the Third Reich. Based on the Fuerher's desire to rebuild Germany into a rich nation where all families could own a car, the company turned out several very recognizable Volkswagen beetles.

Inspiration Strikes
According to the Hitler Museum,The fuehrer was said created the first design in sketches of the Volkswagen, this was done while he sat at a restaurant in Munich in 1932.

(Caveat: We don't know how reliable the Hitler Museum is.
We all agrees that Hitler did tasked Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche with the design of his car. 
Porsche had just opened his own automotive design company and Hitler told Porsche he wanted a car that would seat a family of four, go up to 100 kilometers per hour, and get at least 14 kilometers per liter of gasoline.
Porsche agreed that it could be done. He wasn't sure that he could produce the car for the 1,000 reichmarks apiece that Hitler wanted, though. That price would make it even cheaper than Ford's most economical car. In fact, over the next few years Porsche traveled to the US to tour car factories, including several of Henry Ford's plants.
Histomobile gives more detail about the earlier designs behind the VW.

Happy Germans Buy Their Cars
The was 1930, Hitler had forced all Germans to enroll in the German Labor Front, and made them pay membership dues. 10% of those dues went to a branch of the front called "Strength Through Joy," or "Kraft dutch Freude." The branch was in charge of recreation and sports. In Hitler's view, that covered motoring, so funds from Strength Through Joy (KdF) were funneled to build an automobile plant.
To raise more funds, Hitler came up with a prepayment plan. Employed Germans signed up for a car, and paid five reichmarks a week into an account. By the time the factory was operating, their car would be paid for--and they got two years' free insurance, gas, and maintenance as well! That was the idea, anyway.
Of course, none of those savers ever saw a car. 350,000 Germans paid $67 million for nonexistant cars by 1945.

The Factory
Hitler wanted his "Volksauto" built. An ideal spot was found: 10,000 acres that belonged to Count Werner von der Schulenberg. The Reich simply took over the Count's property, including his Castle Wolfsburg. On May 26, 1938, 70,000 people celebrated the opening of Volkswagen City with the Fuehrer.
The few Volksautos built before 1941 actually came from a Daimler plant. The first KdF wagons, as the cars were called, did not roll off the assemply line unitl 1941. Only 630 were built before the factory switched over to producing war material. The plant was targeted by bombers from 1940 through 1944, and was two-thirds destroyed by the end of the war.

Of those early cars, one was given to Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

After the War

How did Volkswagen recover?

The British put Nordhoff in charge of the old Volkswagen City, now renamed Wolfsburg. Much to everyone's surprise, Nordhoff made the company successful. He used the original blueprints to produce cars, and by 1948, 20,000 'beetles' were on the roads of postwar Europe.
And the rest is another story, to be told another time.

Resource :

Photos Of Volkswagen model between year 1930-1939
1938 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet Classic


 1933 VW570 Prototype

1933 Volkswagen Beetle Type32 NSU

1936 Volkswagen Beetle Daimler-Benz Cabriolet

1936 Volkswagen Beetle Type 60

1936 Volkswagen Beetle Type 60a

1936 VW Prototype

1937 Volkswagen Beetles Type30

1937 Volkswagen Beetles Type 60

1937 VW Cabriolet


1938 VW Kubelwagen Prototype

1938 VWvw-38-a

1939 VW-KdF-Wagen Cabriolet

1939 VWKdF-Wagen Prototype-b

1939 VW Kubelwagen Tank Trainer

1939 VWKubelwagen Type155 Half-Track

Photos generously provided by : Mr John Macdonald
old car and truck pictures

I will upload more photos  on Classic Volkswagen between year 1940-1949, and may be I should provide some history and detail of the cars, to make the photos looks more interesting.

Enjoy the photos..

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