On 22nd June 1934 Ferdinand Porsche signed a contract with the Nazi government to begin development of a People’s Car, a vehicle that would be affordable, carry two adults and three children and run with limited maintenance for many years. What emerged from this contract was a vehicle known by the German words for People’s Car which are Volk & Wagen. Today, we call it the Volkswagen Beetle. Read more […]
The idea for an affordable People’s Car was first put forward by a young Jewish engineering student by the name of Josef Ganz in 1923 when he made his first sketches of the car. However, lacking any money to develop a prototype, he began writing about contemporary car design for a number of automobile magazines.! In 1927 he became editor-in-chief of Klein-Motor-Sport magazine. Under Ganz’s leadership the magazine grew in popularity and influence, in 1929 it was re-branded Motor-Kritik – I don’t think you need to speak fluent German to figure out what that means! The magazine was particularly critical of old, heavy and unsafe automobiles, and consistently he tried to get manufacturers to make better products. Because of his heavy criticism of the slow-to-improve industry, Ganz had many enemies amongst the established German automobile industry. In 1929 Josef Ganz began contacting a number of German motorcycle manufacturers in an effort to form a partnership which would allow him to build a prototype of his design.
The first prototype, the Ardie-Ganz was built in 1930, and from then on Ganz began to produce a number of prototypes – each better than the last. However in 1933, as anti-semitism began to rear its ugly head in pre-war Germany, Josef Ganz was arrested by the Gestapo based on trumped-up charges that he was blackmailing the automotive industry. Thankfully he was released after a short while, but he wisely recognized that things were only going to get worse and he fled the country in the very same month that Adolf Hitler told Ferdinand Porsche to build a “car for every man”. The car which Porsche came up with was based very closely and nearly identical on the original design of a brilliant engineer called Josef Ganz. Josef Ganz the true, factual, correct, accurate and real inventor of the “Superior” VW Beetle. He died in obscurity in Australia in 1967. Meanwhile the man who profited massively off his work, Ferdinand Porsche, took all the credit. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but taking all the credit is immoral! Read more […]