Volkswagen and Hitler, The Untold Story
Evolution of the Volkswagen logo
This is not what you get on the official Volkswagen site! In fact, if you trace the history of the Volkswagen, it will eventually end up to one of the biggest villains in history; Adolf Hitler.
So the story is, in 1933 at the Berlin Auto Show, Hitler spoke about the idea of a new family car, which will be really affordable for any family, price being almost equal to a motorcycle. At that time, only the richest of the people could afford a car.
Hitler called for a meeting with Ferdinand Porsche (yup, from PORSCHE). Porsche was also working on a weird-looking but inexpensive car at that very time. He met Hitler, and was asked to build a car with the following specifications:
It must be able to carry 3 adults and two children.
It should have a mileage of 42mpg, and
Have a top speed of 100 kmh.
Hitler also told that the car should look like a Maikaefer - a May beetle, and also delivered a sketch of the design. Hitler himself sketched the design, at a restaurant table in Munich in 1932.
Hitler's sketch of the design, drawn by himself.
Porsche promised to deliver the design, with the prototypes to be built by Daimler-Benz.
In 1937, the Volkswagenwerk GmbH was created. Volkswagen literally means "car of the people". In 1938, the state funded Volkswagen factory was built in Wolfsburg, where KdF-wagens were meant to be built, though few were actually built.
A 1960 beetle sedan
Soon, the factory gave up this project and started bulding military vehicles, based on the same chassis of the KdF-wagen. The three models of the military cars built were Kübelwagen, Schwimmwagen, and Kommandeurwagen, and later, it was revealed that Hitler completely had this in his mind from the beginning. He secretly added these specifications for Porsche: the car should be able to carry three men, machine gun and ammunitions.
The military cars built
After WWII, the British Government took over the Volkswagen factory, and renamed kdf-wagen into beetle. It looked for some organization to hand this company over for free, firstly contacting Ford Motor company, then the French Government, some other British Car Manufactures and lastly, the FIAT. All rejected, claiming that the ugly look of the car would make it a loss project. Later, the factory was returned to the German Government in a trust.
The next is history. The car became so popular, that even at its base design, has sold over 21 million pieces, and eventually would become the most sold car of all times.
A modified 1965 beetle
The car is still in production at Mexico, beating decades. The original logo of the car was designed by Franz Xavier Reimspiess; a Porsche employee.