Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Theme : Volkswagen Beetle - 18a

I doubted to post this, as it's not a stamp, not a banknote, not a coin...
but since collectors go 'broad' in their collection, I decided to add these items to the blog anyhow.

It's in fact a set of magnets, on the topic of Volkswagen Beelte.

I know that many people collect door magnets too, and I get many requests to bring them along when I abroad.
I don't collect them myself, but in this specific case, I did buy them for myself.
Of course, you 'll understand why...

On of the first designs was Porche's type 12, a car he developed for the German motorcycle manufacturer Zundapp in 1931.

Type 12
This design, as being a prototype, was further on reshaped to get a better result.
At the same time, in former Czechoslovakia, the Tatra company developped a prototype of a new car too.
This prototype, known as the V570 had an air-cooled flat-twin engine engine mounted at the rear. The second version of that V570 had a more streamlined body, similar to that of the Porche Type 32 that was designed in 1933.

Question is, if Porche got his Columbus's egg from his own imagination or if the czech Tatra car helped him.
In fact the similarities are clear.

Tatra V570
Porche's Type 32

The magnet tells us : Volkswagen 1933.
The word 'Volkswagen' however was not yet in use at that time.
In fact the type 32 drew the attenion of Hitler and he instructed Porche to go on developping a car.
In his propaganda campain he wanted a car, affordable for each German family.
The idea of a 'volks' (people's) wagen (car) was born.

To promote the idea, a handful of German representatives of the Third Reich used a car to show the new design to the Germans, who could start to dream of having their own private car.

model 1936
convertible model 1937
The whole idea was to make a car that could be sold for less then 1000 Reichsmark.
In 1933, an average family income was about 32RM per week. The price of 990 RM was similar to the price of a small motorcycle at that time.

The Volkswagen was officially named the KdF-Wagen by Hitler when the project was officially announced in 1938. The name refers to Kraft durch Freude ('Strength Through Joy').
By saving 5 RM per week, this KdF-Wagen was within reach of each family now.
Little they knew that no one would ever see their KdF-Wagen.

model 1938 - KdF-Wagen
Meanwhile in Czechoslovakia, Tatra noticed that Porche became the developper of this new car and that it was clearly based on their original designs. Just before the start of the Second World War, Tatra had ten legal claims filed against VW for infringement of patents. Although Ferdinand Porsche was about to pay a settlement to Tatra, he was stopped by Hitler who said he would "solve his problem". When Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, the problem was 'solved' in a rather unorthodox way.

Convertable KdF-Wagen, with Porche at the back

back side of all magnets

to be continued...

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