Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Volkswagen The Peoples Car

In 1934, looking to put a motorized vehicle in the garage of every German family, Adolf Hitler contracted automotive engineer Ferdinand Porsche to develop a “people’s car,” practically called a Volkswagen.

The Volkswagen would need to be capable of carrying a family of five at sustained speeds of 62 miles per hour, with a fuel efficiency of 32 miles per gallon. It would also need to be inexpensive to fix and replace worn-out parts.

Ferdinand Porsche developed several prototypes of a model called the “Type 60.” Featuring a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine and a distinctive bulbous shape, the prototypes were test-driven for nearly 2 million miles.

A factory was built in Fallersleben (later renamed Wolfsburg) to mass produce the cars, with Hitler himself laying the cornerstone in 1938. During World War II, the factory was devoted to producing military transport vehicles.

After the war’s conclusion in 1945, British Army Major Ivan Hirst was tasked with controlling the bombed-out factory. He convinced the British military to order 20,000 cars, and soon the factory was producing 1,000 per month. The Volkswagen came to be known as the “Beetle” for its rounded appearance.