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Seventy-Five Years Ago:
Porsche Receives the Order to Construct the Volkswagen Porsche Museum Presents Special Exhibition of Rare VW Beetle Prototypes
Stuttgart. 22 June 1934 was not only one of the most important days in the early corporate history of the Company now known the world over as Dr. Ing. h. c. F.
"Dr. Ing. h.c. F.
verband der Automobilindustrie (RDA)" (the Association of the German Reich of the Automotive Industry) to construct and build the Volkswagen.
In those difficult economic times, automobile constructors had had the idea time and again to build an inexpensive car for the population at large. One of them was Ferdinand
At the end of the day the political leaders back then were also convinced of the concept
The first Volkswagen prototype, the V1 (V = Versuchswagen or Test Car), was ready to go almost exactly a year after the official development brief, Ferdinand
named the V2, set out on its maiden trip on 22 December 1935.
After construction of three further Volkswagen prototypes code-named V3 had started in February 1936, resistance to the project began to build up in the RDA. Quite simply because, with its central tube frame, the torsion bar suspension invented by
Contrary to the first idea to build the Volkswagen in a joint venture of German car makers, the Reich Government decided on 4 July 1936 to build a separate plant for the new car, the Volkswagenwerk. So the "Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens mbH" or "Gezuvor" for short (the "Company for Preparation of Deutsche Volks-
wagen Ltd") was established on 28 May 1937.
As one of the three managing directors of Gezuvor, Ferdinand
On two study trips to the USA, Ferdinand
By the second half of 1938 the prototypes, now having reached the level of VW38, had achieved a point in the development process hardly different from the subsequent production model. So now potential purchasers were able to save five reichsmarks a week for the Volks-
wagen in the meantime re-christened as the "KdF-Wagen" forming part of the German Reich's "Kraft durch Freude" or "Strength through Happiness" strategy.
Priced at an extremely low 990.- reichsmarks, the Volkswagen was really to be everybody's car, easily affordable for the average purchaser. But due to the War not one of the roughly 340,000 investors reached his savings target and not one single Volkswagen was delivered to a private customer.
Starting in 1939
wagen (the commander's car), some of which featured all-wheel drive, were built by the end of World War II.
Another model based on the Volkswagen was the Type 64 Berlin-Rome Car built in 1939. This motorsport version of the Volkswagen was developed for the Berlin-Rome long-distance race planned for September 1939 and is acknowledged by car historians as the great-
Regular production of the civilian Volkswagen started in Wolfsburg in summer 1945 - and bearing the nickname "VW Käfer" or the "VW Beetle", the Volkswagen became as popular the world over as hardly any other car before or after.
The VW Beetle also sets the record in terms of its production life and volume, production of the last VW Beetle still coming off the line in Mexico continuing until July 2003. And accounting for 21.5 million units built, the Beetle is by far one of the highest-production vehicles of all times.
31 July 2009. Apart from detailed information and original pictures from the Historical Archives of
Note: Images on 75 Years Volkswagen Order are available to accredited journalists in the