Amazingly, enough blueprints, scale models, prototypes and GP race cars survived the war to tell the tale. Here is a collection of photos of restored and reproduced cars. Most of them can be seen on display at the Porsche Museum in Porscheplatz, Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, and the Autostadt and the Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, Land Niedersachsen.

1931 Adler-Ganz “Maikäfer”, restored, Central Garage Automuseum in Bad Homburg, Hochtaunuskreis, Darmstadt, Hessen, Deutschland.

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1931 Porsche Typ 7, replica, Porsche Museum.

1932 Porsche Typ 12, replica, Museum Industriekultur in Nürnberg.

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1933 Porsche Typ 32 with the Reutter body, replica, Autostadt. The replica was reproduced in 1977 based on the one that was modified during the war. Interestingly, it is a Dutch car. It was reproduced in Zuidlaren, Drenthe, Netherlands.

1933 Tatra V570, replica, Technické Muzeum Tatra in Kopřivnice.

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1936 Porsche Typ 60 V3/2, replica, Autostadt. The replica was reproduced in 2000 based on the blueprints that survived the war.

1937 Porsche Typ 60 VW30 unmodified model, replica, Autostadt.

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1938 Porsche Typ 60 VW38/3 (car #3, pictured above), restored, Autostadt. It is one of only two surviving examples, and it is the oldest Volkswagen in existence. In 1940, during the war, the Typ 60 VW38/3 and several other VW38’s and VW39’s were brought to Berlin and modified with portal axles and wood gas generators. They were prototypes for the Porsche Typ 230, which went into production in 1942. The Typ 60 VW38/3 was later dismantled and only the body was stored away in a basement at the Volkswagen plant. The body was sold to a Kreiensen (Northeim, Niedersachsen) based VWW dealer who in turn had the automaker restore it to original condition using spare Typ 1 parts in 1952. The Typ 60 VW38/3 underwent a full restoration in 1990. It went through three engines and at least 500,000 km (310,000 mi) before landing in Autostadt.

There is another Typ 60 VW38 in existence: VW38/6 (car #6). It was brought by a Red Army soldier after the war. Many bizarre modifications were performed on the car. The backbone chassis was replaced with one from a GAZ-21 Volga, the front was fitted with a fake radiator grille, the rear split windscreen was replaced with a large rectangular one, the body was repainted many times and so on. The Typ 60 VW38/6 was abandoned in Lithuania during the 1980s. It was discovered by Christian Grundmann in 2003. With the help of Volkswagen, he had it undergo a full restoration using spare Typ 1 parts that were modified to resemble those of a Typ 60 VW38. It remains in Grundmann’s private collection to this day. The Typ 60 VW38/6 usually makes a public appearance at Porsche and Volkswagen shows around Deutschland.

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1939 Porsche Typ 60 VW39/4 (car #4), restored, Autostadt. It is the only surviving example. The Typ 60 VW39/4 was the car presented to Hitler for his fiftieth birthday. After the war, it was looted from an undisclosed location and went through six owners and at least 590,000 km (365,000 mi) before landing in Autostadt. Volkswagen had it undergo a full restoration.

1939 Porsche 60K10 body, replica, Porsche Museum. It was reproduced by Karosseriebau Drescher, a high profile German automotive restoration firm in Hinterzarten, Schwarzwald, Baden-Württemberg.

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1939 Porsche Typ 80, partially restored, Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, Despite today’s technology, it was never reproduced to see if it can reach 600 km/h.

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1940 Porsche Typ 82 Kübelwagen production models, restored, Autostadt and Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen. Some Typ 82’s are still in service in the German Army today.

1941 Porsche Typ 64, restored, Porsche Museum. It is the second Typ 64, which is the only surviving example. After Porsche’s contract with Cisitalia ended, the car was reworked by Carozzeria Pininfarina S.p.A., an Italian coachbuilder in Cambiano, Turin, Piedmont, Italy. Some noticeable modifications are Typ 360-like grille and flush semaphores.

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1942 Porsche Typ 166 Schwimmwagen production models, restored, Autostadt and Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen.

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1943 Porsche Typ 82/E production models, restored, Autostadt and Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen.

1947 Porsche Typ 360, restored, Porsche Museum.

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1947 Rapid-Ganz production model, replica, Verkehrshaus in Luzern, Switzerland.

1948 Porsche Typ 356 prototype, restored, Porsche Museum.

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Two Auto Union Typ C’s, one Typ C streamliner and three Typ D’s, all replicas, Audi museum mobile in Ingolstadt, Oberbayern, Bayern. All manufacturers under Auto Union fell under the control of Soviet Union after the war. All GP race cars disappeared after being shipped off to Moscow, Russia, for research purposes.

Daimler-Benz was more fortunate with its GP race cars than Auto Union.

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Two Mercedes-Benz W25’s and one W25 streamliner, all restored, Mercedes-Benz Museum. There is a fourth W25, but it is being professionally restored as of April 2015.

Three Mercedes-Benz W125’s and one W125 streamliner, all restored, one at the Cité de l’Automobile, Mulhouse, France, and the rest is at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. There is a fifth W125, but it is in the private collection of Bernie Ecclestone.

Seven Mercedes-Benz W154’s, all restored, one at the Collier Museum in Naples, Florida, USA, two (one without a body) at the Cité de l’Automobile, one at the Deutsches Museum on an island in the Isar River near München, two (one streamliner) at the Mercedes-Benz Museum and one at the Národní technické muzeum in Holešovice, Prague, Czech Republic. It is believed there are four more W154’s, but their whereabouts are unknown.

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Note: It is believed there is a replica of the 1938 Porsche Typ 62 in a private collection of an unknown collector. Many restored and reproduced non-Volkswagen-based military vehicles (i.e. wood gas powered cars) can be seen on display at the Autostadt and the Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen.

The following cars are long lost:

  • 1930 Ardie-Ganz (destroyed on purpose in 1931)
  • 1931 Mercedes-Benz 120H (destroyed on purpose)
  • 1931 Porsche Typ 8 (destroyed during the Stuttgart air raids)
  • 1931 Porsche Typ 9 (destroyed during the Stuttgart air raids)
  • 1932 Porsche Typ 12 (cabriolet model, destroyed during the Stuttgart air raids)
  • 1933 Standard Superior (Maikäfer-like prototype, destroyed on purpose)
  • 1935 Porsche Typ 60 V1 (destroyed during the Stuttgart air raids)
  • 1935 Porsche Typ 60 V2 (destroyed during the Stuttgart air raids)
  • 1936 Porsche Typ 60 V3/1 (destroyed during the Stuttgart air raids)
  • 1936 Porsche Typ 60 V3/2 (damaged during the Stuttgart air raids, later junked by American soldiers)
  • 1936 Porsche Typ 60 V3/3 (damaged during the Stuttgart air raids, later junked by American soldiers)
  • 1937 ERFIAG (its whereabouts are unknown)
  • 1937 Porsche Typ 60 VW30’s (destroyed on purpose)
  • 1938 Porsche Typ 60 V303/801 (destroyed during the KdF-Stadt air raids)
  • 1938 Porsche Typ 60 V303/802 (destroyed during the KdF-Stadt air raids)
  • 1938 Porsche Typ 60 V303/803 (damaged during the KdF-Stadt air raids, later repaired by Hirst’s unit in 1945, its whereabouts are unknown)
  • 1938 Porsche Typ 60 VW38’s (some were converted to military vehicles and later dismantled during the war and some were sold to civilians and soldiers after the war, most of them were either abandoned or junked)
  • 1938 Porsche Typ 62 (its whereabouts are unknown)
  • 1939 Porsche Typ 60 VW39’s (some were converted to military vehicles and later dismantled during the war and some were sold to civilians and soldiers after the war, most of them were either abandoned or junked)
  • 1939 Porsche Typ 64 (damaged and junked by American soldiers)
  • 1939 Porsche Typ 82 (prototypes, their whereabouts are unknown)
  • 1939 Porsche Typ 82B’s (their whereabouts are unknown)

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Here is a collection of interesting facts and finds that were stumbled upon during the research.

Photo: Hitler, second from left, and Dr. Porsche, second from right. The car was Hitler’s new car, Benz & Cie. 11/40 PS, 1923

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Hitler knew Dr. Porsche and Werlin since the early 1920s. One of the NSDAP headquarters, nicknamed Braunes Haus (Brown House), was located right next to a Benz & Cie. dealership in München. Werlin worked there as a dealer. Dr. Porsche worked for Benz & Cie. as a technical director at the time. Hitler, who was fascinated by the Typ RH, met the designer of the GP race car, Dr. Porsche, through Werlin.

“Hitler” got a speeding ticket in Ingolstadt on 19 September 1931. The ticket was dismissed because the ticketing officer didn’t realise that Hitler’s chauffeur, Julius Schreck, looked almost like him. Same haircut, moustache and all.

Hitler’s speech at the 1933 Berlin IAMA was his second public speech as Chancellor of Deutschland.

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When the Ermächtigungsgesetz went into effect, Hitler threw speed limits out the window for rural areas and existing motorways. However, during the war, he begrudgingly introduced a nationwide 40 km/h speed limit to conserve fuel. That’s right, 40 km/h on the speed limitless Reichsautobahn.

When Hitler introduced the nationwide speed limit, one of the world’s longest German words was used: Reichsgeschwindigkeitsbegrenzung (lit. Speed Limit of the German Empire).

Photo: Hitler’s “drawing” of the Volkswagen, left, and 130H production car, right

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Many sources exaggerated, claiming that Hitler himself drew his vision of the Volkswagen on a napkin, passed it to Dr. Porsche and asked him to build it. It is clearly untrue. The car in the drawing in question looks exactly like a Mercedes-Benz 130H. It is worth noting that Porsche submitted its Volkswagen study before the 1934 Berlin IAMA, where the 130H was unveiled, and before Dr. Porsche and Hitler met to discuss the development.

Some sources suggested that Hitler asked Porsche to develop economy tractors because he was a pro-vegetarian. It is worth noting that Hitler wore a Sam Browne belt, a wide belt that is supported by a narrower strap passing diagonally over the right shoulder. The belt is usually made of leather. The visor of his Schirmmütze (peaked cap) was made of leather as well.

Photo: from left to right: Kempka, Mussolini and Hitler during a visit in Italy, early Mai 1938

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Hitler always asked his chauffeur, Erich Kempka, to go fast. Later in the 1930s, road accidents were on the rise, and Hitler asked Kempka to go no faster than 55 km/h. When the nationwide speed limit was introduced, Kempka was asked to obey it.

Hitler liked to have the sun shine on him. Every car he owned was a cabriolet.

GIF: Hitler salutes from his Mercedes-Benz 770 ,Großer’ Cabriolet, 20 April 1939

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Hitler’s armoured dark blue Mercedes-Benz 770 ,Großer’ Cabriolet (Wo7) was powered by a front-mounted, water-cooled, supercharged 150 kW 7,7 L straight-eight engine. This 770 in particular was built specially for Hitler. It was equipped with seat heaters, foldable front passenger seat, so Hitler could stand up and salute, and gun compartments. The body was fitted with 18 mm thick steel panels and 40 mm thick windows. Despite the armoury, the roof was made of canvas. The roof was folded down most of the time, exposing the passengers. The entire car weighted a whopping 4,800 kg and it could cruise comfortably at 130 km/h. The 770 in question was restored and can be seen on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Speaking of 770, it was the world’s most expensive car during the 1930s and the early 1940s. All variations of the 770 (naturally aspirated and supercharged cabriolet and limousine models) weren’t readily available for purchase. It could be built on request for the price starting at 47,000 RM (about $235,000 NZD in 2015 dollars). In comparison, the second most expensive car at the time, 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn-Kurierwagen, had a price tag of 24,000 RM (about $140,000 NZD in 2015 dollars). Historians believe that Hitler’s armoured 770 had a price tag in the six-figure range.

Photo: Hitler inspects Brauchitsch’s #44 Mercedes-Benz W154, 15 Mai 1938

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Despite Hitler’s loud support for the Grand Prix, the only race he attended was the 1938 Gran Premio di Tripoli (Tripoli Grand Prix) in Mellaha, Libia Italiana (Italian Libya), Africa. It was held on 15 Mai 1938 during Hitler’s visit in Africa.

Hitler spent more time on the road than any world leaders today.

Hitler’s personal photographer, Hugo Jaeger, took those colour photos of the Cornerstone Ceremony. He used Kodak Kodachrome colour slide film, which was introduced in 1935. Jaeger hid many rare colour photos of Hitler at major events from the Allies.

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Photo: Hitler’s motorcade on Unter den Linden, circa 1935

Hitler’s motorcade always went through the Brandenburger Tor on Unter den Linden. On 13 August 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected, making it not possible to drive through the gate. It was not until März 1998, 9 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, that motor vehicles were allowed to drive through the gate. Unfortunately, in 2002, the passage was permanently closed for motor vehicles for preservation reasons. If you drove through the gate during these four years, consider yourself lucky.

Many historians mistakenly referred to Hitler as the only Führer. Besides President Hindenburg, there were several predecessors since the beginning of the Deutsches Kaiserreich (German Empire), which started in 1871, the year Deutschland was founded.

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During the 1920s, GP race cars were required to have a licence plate and a passenger.

It was normal for race drivers to exchange apologies during the 1920s and 1930s. Some race drivers were close friends with race drivers from rival teams. Sportsmanship was a thing back in the day.

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During the 1920s and 1930s, winner of the race always split the prize money with other race drivers on the team. They don’t do that nowadays.

During the Grand Prix seasons in the 1920s and 1930s, many race drivers were severely injured in accidents. Did their injuries stop them from racing? Nein. Caracciola, who suffered from a laundry list of irreparable injuries, continued racing until he retired in 1952. Nuvolari, who suffered a broken leg following a crash, had the pedals in his Maserati rearranged so he could use them all with his good leg. Today’s race drivers are weaklings. They could be out of the race for weeks or months for minor, non-life threatening injuries like a headache.

Photo: Promotional photo of the Benz & Cie. Typ RH Concept, 1921

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Here is some basic information on the Typ RH. It was powered by a rear mid-mounted, naturally aspirated, water-cooled 70 kW 2,0 L straight-six engine. Only three examples were produced and they raced in only one race. They were entered in the 1923 Gran Premio d’Italia (Grand Prix of Italy) in Monza, Lombardy, Italy, on 9 September 1923. Two finished in fourth and fifth and the third retired due to a mechanical failure. Not bad considering they were the first rear mid-engine race cars. Benz & Cie. unveiled the Typ RH Concept at the 1921 Berlin IAMA. It was planned to go into limited production to meet the homologation requirements. However, since they raced in a single race, the plans were cancelled.

In 1926, Stuck won a literal trophy wife after beating Theodore Zichy in a race. Her name was Xenia, and they were married until her death in 1931.

Photo: Caracciola at the wheel of #1 Mercedes-Benz 710 S, which was designed and developed by Dr. Porsche, at the 1927 Eifelrennen, 19 Juni 1927

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Caracciola was the first race driver to win the first GP race on the newly opened Nürburgring on 19 Juni 1927.

Unlike Hitler, who used Grand Prix for its propaganda value, Mussolini was a strong supporter. He personally sponsored the Scuderia Ferrari team.

Auto Union GP race cars had fuel “economy” of a whopping 78 L/100 km (3 mpg).

Rosemeyer showed up and raced in a qualifying race in a formal suit when he was being recruited as a reserve driver for Auto Union in November 1934.

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Rosemeyer and his wife arrived at the 1937 Großer Preis von Deutschland qualifying race by landing their biplane on the Nürburgring’s Döttinger Höhe.

Caracciola’s 432,69 km/h record on a public road has yet to be broken to this day (April 2015). The present day Autobahn has many restricted (speed-limited) sections. It is also constantly under construction with American car enthusaist tourists who think they can drive. Under these circumstances, it is too dangerous to attempt to break Caracciola’s record.

Photo: Kluge and Petruschke do a victory lap, Juni 1938

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After winning the 1938 European Grand Prix 250 cc Class motorcycle race at the Sachsenring racing circuit in Hohenstein-Ernstthal, Zwickau, DKW’s motorcycle racer, Ewald Kluge, did a victory lap in the Typ 60 V303/803 chauffeured by Hühnlein. The winner of the 125 cc Class, Bernhard Petruschke, followed in the Typ 60 V303/802. It was the only time these prototypes were seen after the Cornerstone Ceremony.

If you think coal-rolling is bad for the environment, it’s time to stop. Daimler-Benz’s race cars for the 1939 Grand Prix season had a water-cooled 355 kW 2,9 L supercharged V12 engine. Here is an atmosphere-groaning fact: The engine ran on a highly toxic combination of acetone (8,8%), methanol (86%), nitrobenzene (4,4%) and sulphuric ether (0,8%). The toxic brew gave the engine fuel economy of a whopping 117 L / 100 km (2 mpg). Long term exposure can be fatal. Many race drivers were exposed to its toxicity and suffered health issues. Of course, it didn’t stop them from racing.

Former Auto Union race driver Paul Pietsch was one of the founders of auto motor und sport. It is a popular German car enthusiast magazine that is still being printed today. It is only available in German language.

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While developing the Typ 360 for Cisitalia, Karl Abarth fell in love and married Dr. Piësch’s legal secretary, Maria. In 1949, Abarth moved to Italy, became an Italian citizen and had his name legally changed to Carlo. Yes, the Carlo Abarth. There, with the help of his wife, he started up his own performance car company, Abarth SpA.

You judged the photos correctly, GP race cars of the 1920s and 1930s were HUGE! Some “small” streamliners were longer than 6 m.

The AVUS track is part of the Bundesautobahn (Federal Motorway) 115 today.

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Photo: Mai 1939 issue of Motor-Kritik

There was indeed a Motor Kritik issue with Dr. Porsche, Hitler and a KdF-Wagen on the front cover. The photo was taken on Hitler’s birthday a month prior. The caption reads „Am KdF-Geburtstags-Wagen des Führers” (“KdF, the birthday car of the leader”) So much for Ganz’s longtime dream of developing the Volkswagen.

Many sources claimed that Hitler took interest in Ganz’s Standard Superior after the NSKK reviewed it in 1933. However, due to Ganz’s Jewish ethnicity, Hitler asked Dr. Porsche to develop his own version of the Superior. It is undoubtedly untrue because Porsche, as well as many other manufacturers, got involved when Hitler demanded a national economy car.

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Ferry and Rosenberger’s meet with Ganz remains a mystery to this day. No one came up with an explanation. It is safe to guess that Porsche was experimenting with the idea of using a small motorcycle engine in a full size car. The Typ 60 V1 and V2 used a wide variety of small engines.

Many sources claimed that the Gestapo attempted to arrest Ganz again during the Night of the Long Knives. It is untrue because the Gestapo and the SS were after SA leaders and political opponents. The massacre had nothing to do with Jewish troublemakers like Ganz. However, it caused many people to flee the country.

Stefan Mittler, a coworker at Ganz’s first job at a chemical supplier, influenced him with automotive engineering.

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Ganz was a photographer, and he took most of the photos of his prototypes.

Photo: Porsche family photo from 1889. The fourteen-year-old Ferdinand is on front right and his father is in the centre

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Dr. Porsche’s father, Anton, was a tinsmith, and he hated technology. In 1891, when he was away for business, the sixteen-year-old Ferdinand pulled a practical prank. He made lead acid batteries and installed electric lights in the family’s home. Anton grudgingly admired his son’s wisdom and helped him get a job at Bela Egger & Co., an electrical engineering company in Vienna. Thanks to his knowledge in electricity, Dr. Porsche took care of the electricity on many cars. He single-handedly installed electricity in the Volkswagen plant.

The “Ing. h.c.” in Dr. Porsche’s name stood for Ingenieur (Engineer) honoris causa (Latin for Honorary Degree). It remains the company’s name today. His middle name was named after his father, Anton.

Porsche family houses and villas in Klieversberg, Stuttgart-Feuerbach and Zell am See were designed by Paul Bonatz.

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Photo: Dr. Porsche, left, and the twelve-year-old Ferry in his Ziegsenbockwagen, 1921

At ten years old, Ferry received a miniature two-seater car, with an air-cooled 4,5 kW flat twin engine, for Christmas from his father. The family called the car Ziegenbockwagen (lit. Buck Goat Car). Ferry thought his father stuffed a goat inside the engine. Due to Dr. Porsche’s wealth and fame, the local police never complained about the ten-year-old Ferry driving alone at 60 km/h on public roads. There weren’t many cars at the time (1919).

Unlike his father, Ferry was heavily involved with art, fashion and photography. When he moved to Stuttgart and attended a secondary school, he quickly became popular because of his laughably outdated clothes. Most of the photos of Porsche’s prototypes from the 1930s and 1940s were taken by Ferry.

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At sixteen, Ferry was given a special driving permit from his father so he could test drive prototypes that were brought home. Ferry eventually became an official test driver for Porsche in 1931.

Photo: Ley, left, and Hitler, centre, laugh as Dr. Porsche, right, shows no emotion, Juni 1938

Dr. Porsche was all smiles around everyone except big name NSDAP officials.

Many sources claimed that Dr. Porsche and Ledwinka Sr. were best friends who shared ideas while developing the Typ 97 and the Volkswagen. It is true that Ledwinka Sr. and Dr. Porsche worked at Steyr-Werke AG, an Austrian automaker in Steyr, Oberösterreich, Austria, as a chief designer and a chief engineer. However, they never worked together at the same time. Ledwinka Sr. left the company for Tatra in 1921 and Dr. Porsche joined the company for a brief time in 1929. There is no evidence that they knew each other personally. Dr. Porsche and Komenda indeed worked together at Steyr-Werke.

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During the war, Dr. Porsche was one of Hitler’s right-hand men. He was exempt from the nationwide speed limit, and he used the Typ 64 as a high speed courier. He could travel from Stuttgart to Berlin in under five hours.

After Dr. Porsche, Ferry and Dr. Piëch were released from jail, the French government found them not guilty of war crimes. However, the bail money (1,500,000 Francs altogether) was never returned, so it turned out to be a ransom. It is unknown if Porsche and Piëch families sued the French government for false imprisonment.

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Rabe was the keeper of project numbers, and humour was in his nature. He started Porsche’s first project with the lucky number: Typ 7. Rabe started the next project, Typ 14, for Wanderer, purposefully skipping the unlucky number: Typ 13.

GIF: Animation of the torsion bar

Here is an animated GIF demonstrating how torsion bar suspension works. Porsche ditched the technology many years ago, but Volkswagen is still using it today. Since Porsche has full ownership of Volkswagen and its subsidiaries, it continues to collect royalties.

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Porsche’s prototypes were usually built in threes. However, they weren’t always completed and delivered at the same time.

One of the employees at NSU bought one of two Reutter-bodied Typ 32’s and used it as a daily driver car. During the war, the car had its headlights flush into the front wings and bumpers replaced with wrap-around ones and was painted blue-grey. Presumably to make it look like a KdF-Wagen. The Typ 32 in question was left untouched during the war. It was traded in for a new Typ 1 in 1953. Its current whereabouts are unknown.

Photo: Komenda’s design for the Porsche Typ 52, autumn 1934

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In 1934, Auto Union expressed interest in developing a supercar with a detuned, supercharged 4,4 L V16 engine based on the one for the Typ A. Porsche began the Porsche Typ 52 study. The driver would be seated in the centre with a fold-down seat for a passenger on each side. The 150 kW engine would be mounted in front of the rear swing axles. It was estimated that the Typ 52 could reach 200 km/h. Due to the lack of funds, it never left the drawing board. Many design elements appeared on the Typ 64.

Photo: Promotional photo of the Rosemeyer, 2000

Sixty-six years later, in 2000, the Typ 52 was born under the name of Audi Rosemeyer Concept. The polished aluminium supercar has a rear mid-mounted 520 kW 8 L W16 engine that can propel the car to 350 km/h. Sadly, it never went into production. It can be seen on display at the Audi museum mobile.

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Photo: Promotional photo of the Veyron EB 16,4 Super Sport Sang Noir, 2011

It is believed that the world’s fastest and most expensive Volkswagen New Beetle, Bugatti Veyron EB 16,4, was evolved from the Audi Rosemeyer Concept.

Many sources claimed that the Soviet Union dictator, Joseph Stalin, offered Porsche and HFB luxurious expenses in exchange for developing GP race cars for Gorkovsky Avtomobilny Zavod, GAZ for short, a Russian automaker in Nizhny Novgorod, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia. It is untrue because race organisers were under NSDAP supervision, so naturally, Soviet Union was not welcome. Ironically, Soviet Union got their hands on the Porsche- and HFB-developed Auto Union GP race cars after the war.

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Ferry single-handedly saved HFB during its Typ 22 development. The steel crankshaft in the massive V16 engine constantly turned blue. Ferry explained that it was caused by friction, but the engineers expressed doubts. He constructed a narrower forged steel camshaft. Much to the engineers’ surprise, Ferry’s camshaft had less friction and was successful. He was only 24 at the time.

When Porsche was commissioned to develop the Volkswagen, two properties next to the Porsche family villa in Stuttgart-Feuerbach were purchased for a garage extension.

Originally, Porsche Typ 60 was called Porsche VW60.

Photo: Typ 60 VW30 being tested in a wind tunnel, autumn 1937

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Mickl spent many hours wind testing Volkswagen prototypes. He experimented with various streamlined elements that would improve the aerodynamics and fuel economy. The Typ 60 V303 almost had enclosed wheel wells and a full belly pan. Porsche liked the ideas, but had to abandon it due to high manufacturing costs and difficulty to access parts to repair or replace.

KdF-Wagen production cars weighted 663 kg, approximately 13 kg heavier than Porsche’s specifications in its Volkswagen study from 1934.

There is virtually no information on KdF-Wagen’s performance. As an owner of a 1947 Volkswagen Typ 1, which is no different from the KdF-Wagen, it takes ~23,6 seconds to reach 100 km/h from a standstill. My husband, my son and I did several runs on an empty motorway with a 100 km/h speed limit. Our beloved Typ 1 is so slow that my son joked about reading and finishing a chapter in a Percy Jackson book before it could reach 100 km/h.

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Porsche’s Volkswagen prototypes didn’t have badges. They went by lengthy code names and licence plates. Some cars used temporary licence plates and others used the same chassis, which is incredibly confusing:

  • Porsche Typ 60 V1: IIIA-0426
  • Porsche Typ 60 V2: IIIA-0427
  • Porsche Typ 60 V3/1: IIIA-0428 then IIIA-34990
  • Porsche Typ 60 V3/2 had its licence plates swapped multiple times from IIIA-0426, IIIA-0427, IIIA-0428, IIIA-34991 and finally IIIA-37010.
  • Porsche Typ 60 V3/3: IIIA-0427 then IIIA-34992
  • Porsche Typ 60 V4: IIIA-37000
  • Porsche Typ 60 VW30: IIIA-37001 to IIIA-37030
  • Porsche Typ 60 VW30 (cabriolet): IIIA-37022 (formerly a limousine)
  • Porsche Typ 60 V303 fibreglass mockup: IIIA-0426 then IIIA-34991
  • Porsche Typ 60 V303/801: IIIA-42801
  • Porsche Typ 60 V303/802: IIIA-42802
  • Porsche Typ 60 V303/803: IIIA-42803
  • Porsche Typ 60 VW38: IIIA-43001 to IIIA-43027
  • Porsche Typ 60 VW38/VW39 hybrid: IIIA-43027 then IIIA-0427
  • Porsche Typ 60 VW39: IIIA-0427 (formerly IIIA-43027) to IIIA-43044

Porsche was in the process of modifying a Typ 60 VW39 with a ramp as a test mule for handicapped access. The modification was cancelled when NSDAP physicians started the euthanasia programme in autumn 1939. Many handicapped people were euthanised.

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Some German automakers offered left hand drive and right hand drive versions of their cars. Porsche was in the process of developing a right hand drive version of the KdF-Wagen. The development was shelved when the KdF-Wagen production ended in 1944.

Porsche developed a W24 engine—that’s right, twenty-four cylinders—during the early stages of the Typ 80 development. It was later replaced with the DB-601 inverted V12 engine, which was lighter and more reliable with better power output.

The world’s fastest plane, Lockheed SR-71, was nicknamed after the Typ 80.

At 0,5 mm, the 60K10 bodies for the two Typ 64’s were as thick as five sheets of printing paper.

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Porsche developed a turbocharger for the KdF-Wagen. However, it was never offered as an option due to high manufacturing costs.

Before Porsche was evacuated to Gmünd, Komenda and Mickl were responsible for the design of the V-1.

During the war, Porsche developed a Sturmboot (Storm Boat, a small assault boat) that was powered by a 985 cc engine from a Typ 60 VW38. It is unknown if it went into production.

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Photo: Horten Ho-229 V3 captured by the United States Army, 1950

Not only did Porsche work with automotive engineering, but also aerospace engineering. The firm was partially involved in the development of the third prototype of the world’s first flying wing stealth bomber, Horten H.IX, more commonly known as the Ho-229. Unfortunately, it was still in the prototype stage when it was captured before the end of the war. Naturally, the United States Army stole the plane, designs and blueprints as war souvenirs. After years of reverse-engineering, the Ho-229 went into production in 1997 as the Northrop B-2 Sprint. The Ho-229 V3 pictured above is the only surviving example, and it is being restored at the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, District of Columbia, Maryland, USA.

When the Porsche family moved to Zell am See during the war, the first Typ 64 (licence plate number IIIA-0703), along with other prototypes, was hidden away at a flying school nearby. When a United States Army unit was sent to arrest Dr. Porsche, the soldiers combed the area and found the Typ 64. They tried and failed to turn it into a cabriolet by cutting a hole in the roof. They drove it recklessly until the engine gave away due to negligence, but the abuse didn’t end there. They heartlessly junked it and moved on. The second Typ 64 (licence plate number IIIA-0687 then IIIA-0701), which was left untouched by the British Army at the sawmill in Gmünd, is the only surviving example today.

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Many sources argued over which Allied force found the Typ 64 (licence plate number IIIA-0703) first. They mistakenly used the information based on a map of Austria with Allied-occupied zones. The Typ 64 was found on 5 Mai 1945, the day Dr. Porsche was arrested. The zones weren’t established until 9 Juli 1945. In other words, the Allied forces—mainly France, United Kingdom and United States—were all over Austria at the same time when the Typ 64 was found. A United States Army unit was the first to find it.

Photo: Typ 112, 1941

After the war and before Porsche started its Typ 356 development. Porsche developed various farming equipments and vehicles such as tractors, tractor accessories and parts, towing winches, turbines... and wheelbarrows. Porsche wheelbarrows! Off to eBay!

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Photo: Ferry, left, and Max Hoffmann, right, in New York City, circa mid 1950s

When Porsche started exporting Typ 356’s to the United States, the cars were exhibited at the Hoffman Auto Showroom at 430 Park Avenue in New York City. The showcase was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, an American architect famously known for the Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, USA. Sadly, the futuristic showroom was demolished in the late 1950s.

Photo: Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, left, and Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, right

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The Porsche family is still running Porsche and Volkswagen to this day. Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, the youngest son of Ferry and Dodo, is the chair of board of supervisors at Porsche Automobil Holding SE and the board member of Volkswagen. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, the son of Dr. Piëch Sr. and Louise, used to be the chair of board of supervisors at Volkswagen. Due to his aggressiveness and history of sacking Volkswagen CEOs, his attempt to sack Martin Winterkorn backfired. Dr. Piëch was forced to resign from his position on 25 April 2015.

Many car enthusiasts mistook Porsche for having German roots. It is an Austrian company headquartered in Stuttgart and its cars are built there.

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With today’s inflation (April 2015), 990 RM is equivalent to about:

  • $5,635 (NZD)
  • $5,215 (AUD)
  • €3,725
  • £2,685
  • $5,050 (CAD)
  • ¥503,400
  • $4,225 (USD)

The entire GEZUVOR programme cost the DAF a whopping 215 million Reichmarks (about 1,32 billion NZD in 2015 dollars) to establish. The funds came from union assets that were seised shortly after the NSDAP takeover in 1933.

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Peter Koller, the city developer of KdF-Stadt, almost named the settlement Wolf after Hitler and the Wolf Castle nearby. The Stadt des KdF-Wagens bei Fallersleben name was selected for its propaganda value.

Porschewerk GmbH was one of the names DAF came up with for the new automaker that would one day be known as Volkswagenwerk GmbH. Shortly after KdF-Stadt was renamed, Volkswagenwerk GmbH was temporarily renamed Wolf-Werke GmbH. Hmm, Wolf-Werke Phaeton, anyone?

Photo: Vorwerk under construction, autumn 1937

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Despite the overhyped Cornerstone Ceremony at the Volkswagen plant in Fallersleben, the plant wasn’t the first. Vorwerk was the first Volkswagen plant, and it was constructed immediately after the GEZUVOR programme was established in 1937. It was and still is located in Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Deutschland, 35 km (20 mi) southwest of the plant in Fallersleben. The plant in Braunschweig went into operation in Februar 1938, producing parts for the KdF-Wagen and VWW-produced military vehicles. Unlike the plant in Fallersleben, it was never attacked by air raids during the war.

Shortly after the Cornerstone Ceremony, ESEM produced small stamped steel models of the KdF-Wagen. They were sold under the brand name VOLK. My son has one of these.

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Photo: Robert Hauptmann, circa 1939

Robert Hauptmann, a 15-year-old Hitlerjugend cadet, was the first and the youngest apprentice to work at the Volkswagen plant. His fate is unknown.

Originally, the KdF-Wagen would be available in any colour as long as it was Blaugrau. The ideology was derived from Ford Model T, which was available in any colour as long as it was black. When the KdF-Wagen went into production in 1941, the single colour option was switched to black due to the rationing of the Blaugrau paint. Many Volkswagen historians didn’t realise that Blaugrau was the colour of the Kriegsmarine. Kriegsmarine needed the paint for its boats and submarines.

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Interestingly, before the cornerstone was laid, it was never photographed up close. According to my great grandparents, grandfather and his brothers, who attended the Cornerstone Ceremony, it had a similar design as the stamp used in KdF-Wagen Sparkarte.

In September 1938, New York Times, a major American newspaper company, called the KdF-Wagen “Beetle.”

Many Volkswagen enthusiasts and historians mistook the “KdF-Wagen” cabriolet that was presented to Hitler for his fiftieth birthday for the Typ 60 VW38/31 (car #31). There were only twenty-seven examples of the Typ 60 VW38. The car was actually a Typ 60 VW39/4 (car #4).

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Generalfeldmarschall (general field marshall) Erwin ,Wüstenfuchs’ (‘Desert Fox’) Rommel is the greatest general the world has seen and he was a big KdF-Wagen enthusiast. He was once in the possession of a KdF-Wagen saloon with a roll-back sunroof. Four Typ 82/E’s were built specifically for him. Rommel put in the largest order for thousands of Typ 82’s and Typ 87’s.

ABP was and still is an American company. When ABP started producing Typ 82 bodies, the company’s chief engineer was Joseph Ledwinka, a relative of the Ledwinkas. ABP also produced jerrycans (flat sided metal container for storing fuel) for VWW-produced military vehicles.

Kremmer, an innocent man and one of the architects behind the Volkswagen plant, was killed at the BDA headquarter in Berlin-Grunewald during one of many unnecessary Allied air raids in 1945.

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The Volkswagen company we have today almost didn’t exist after the war. Soviet Union front was only 16 km (10 mi) east of the Volkswagen plant. If the Red Army arrived first, VWW could be dissolved in a matter of years like many Russian automakers during the Soviet Union era.

GAZ 64 and Willys Jeep were so unreliable that many Allied forces ditched them in favour of VWW-produced military vehicles. The Typ 82 Kübelwagen and the Typ 166 Schwimmwagen were very popular among the Allied soldiers. Some of them were taken home as souvenirs.

For a limited time in 1961, VWW gave a 600 DM discount to people who paid for a KdF-Wagen in full through KdF-Wagen Sparkarte. At least 350,000 people got discounted Typ 1’s.

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After the war, the sue-happy Tatra filed multiple lawsuits against VWW again. This time the court battle dragged on for almost a decade. VWW was faced with lawsuits for infringement of patents, copyright infringement, damages, compensation and so on. Tatra alleged that VWW copied the design of the V570 prototype and used its patents for the backbone chassis for the Typ 1. VWW lawyers pointed out that the V570 was developed in secret, making it impossible to copy, and that many automakers used backbone chassis before the Typ 1 arrived. Most of the lawsuits were dropped for two reasons. Since the V570 never went into production, the infringement lawsuits became a case of patent-trolling (third party company’s desperate attempts to collect royalties from a first party company in which manufactures and markets the product). Also, VWW wasn’t responsible for damages caused by the NSDAP. The court battle ended in 1961 when VWW paid Tatra a mere 3,000,000 DM (Deutschmark, German currency of the time) for compensation. It was considered pocket change to VWW at the time. Unfortunately for Tatra, the company used up most of the money to pay its legal fees. Today, Volkswagen is the largest automaker in the world and Tatra is a doomed truck manufacturer that most people have never heard of.

That wasn’t the first time VWW became a victim of patent-trolling. In 1953, a well known Austrian car designer and engineer, Béla Barényi, filed a patent infringement lawsuit. Alleging that VWW designed the Typ 1 according to his patents. Of course, Barényi lost the case.

Photo: Borg with Reimspieß’s second VWW logo, left, and his design, right, Juli 2005

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Speaking of patent-trolling... Nikolai Borg filed multiple lawsuits against Volkswagenwerk GmbH and present day Volkswagen AG. Alleging that VWW stole his design for the second VWW logo. The pointless court battle dragged on for over fifty years! The lawyers repeatedly pointed out that Porsche held a closed-door design competition within its design department, which consisted of only four people, and that the second VWW logo already had design elements from Reimspieß’s first logo. Borg never won the case. Not once. A judge finally ordered him to stop patent-trolling in 2005. “I want to be recognised” was his one and only goal.

VWW bought two companies that contracted Porsche: Auto Union (including Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer) and NSU. Volkswagen eventually bought Porsche AG in 2012, but Porsche Automobil Holding SE still owns Volkswagen (including Audi (99% ownership), Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, MAN (75% ownership), Scania, SEAT and Škoda) to this day.

Volkswagenwerk GmbH changed its name and legal entity to Volkswagen AG in 1985.

Volkswagen has been the leading automaker worldwide for many decades. Fiat, Ford and GM and foreign governments still regret turning down the offer to buy VWW after the war to this day.

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Photo: Anaylsis of the VWW logo

Many Volkswagen enthusiasts and historians didn’t realise that the company’s logo consists of three letters, V, W and, when combined, W for VolksWagenWerk. It is unknown why the company logo didn’t get a full redesign when VWW changed its name in 1985.

Many Volkswagen enthusiasts and historians mistook Geländekäfer (All-Terrain Beetle) for a Porsche prototype. The word was used by the British Army for Käfer-bodied Typ 82’s and Typ 87’s (i.e. Typ 82/E, Typ 87/7, etc.). The term is used to refer to Baja Bug today.

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Photo: Original Cornerstone Ceremony pin

Don’t waste your money! There are many, many fake Cornerstone Ceremony pins on the Internet. Only 2,000 of the original Bakelite (brittle-like plastic) pins were given away at the event. They are worth hundreds of dollars today. If you find one selling for less than a hundred dollars, make sure it is plastic, has „B.H. MAYER” and „Pforzheim” marked on the back and weighs no more than 3 grams. If it is metal with or without markings on the back or it looks nothing like the pin pictured above, it is a fake. The pin in the photo is a real one and it was sold for $550 NZD. The text on the front reads „Grundsteinlegung des Volkswagenwerkes Mai 1938” (“Cornerstone Ceremony of the Volkswagen Plant May 1938”). Luckily for my son who is a Käfer enthusiast, he has one of these. He got it from my grandfather, who attended the event.

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Originally, NSU stood for Neckarsulm Strickmaschinen Union (Neckarsulm Knitting Machines Union). The company produced sewing machines during the late 1800s. When the production was switched to motor vehicles, the company was renamed NSU Motorenwerke AG.

Originally, Zündapp was called Zünder- und Apparatebau (Fuse and Apparatus Construction) GmbH. The company produced detonators and explosives during the First World War. It was renamed Zündapp when the company switched its production to motor vehicles after the war.

There is no such thing as “Third Reich”, a bilingual phrase. It is either „Drittes Reich” (German) or “Third German Empire” (English, literally).

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There is no such thing as “Nazi”, either. NSDAP members never called themselves Nazis. The Allies were too lazy to pronounce „Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei” or “National Socialist German Workers’ Party”, so naturally they shortened it to “Nazi”.

Many sources exaggerated, claiming that Dr. Porsche, Henry Ford, Ford Model T and Volkswagen were mentioned in Mein Kampf (My Struggle) by Adolf Hitler. It is one of my all-time favourite books. Naturally, I read it many, many times. Both English and German versions. None of these were mentioned in the book.

During the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, prototypes were never camouflaged. In fact, they were painted in attractive colours.

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Many sections of the original Reichsautobahn still exist today in Austria, Deutschland and Poland.

Photo: SS soldiers deliver a Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A to Göring, 1941

Göring was a proud owner of an armoured pearlescent blue Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B, pearlescent white Mercedes-Benz 710 SSK—one of only five road-going examples—and an armoured pearlescent blue Mercedes-Benz 770 Cabriolet. Quite a collection indeed.

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Speaking of Göring, after test driving a KdF-Wagen cabriolet (Typ 60 VW39 with 60K9 body), he turned down the offer to keep it. It is unclear why. Ley later accepted the offer.

When Tatra was developing the V570, Ledwinka Sr. had to file dozens of patents for the engine cooling system... Alone. Most of them were never used. It’s no wonder Tatra was broke and tried to get some money from VWW.

Hitler’s chauffeur, Kempka, who was an SS member from Poland with a, believe it or not, Jewish background, chauffeured Hitler for eleven years. They knew a lot more about each other than anyone else.

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When Porsche moved to Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, it became Reutter’s next door neighbour.

Photo: Typ 77 undergoes repairs, 1935

The Typ 77 had a subframe in the back. The engine, transmission, suspension and rear subframe were built as one unit. If the car was experiencing a problem, a Tatra mechanic could pull out the entire rear transaxle without taking the car apart.

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The famous ocean liner, RMS Titanic, docked in Cherbourg before it sank in 1912.

T.S. Bremen docked in Bremerhaven, Provinz Hannover, Deutschland. It made a stop in Cherbourg en route to New York City. It is unclear why Dr. Porsche and Kaes had to board the ship in Cherbourg. It is possible they visited Rosenberger, who lived in France at the time, before boarding the ship.

Daimler-Benz wasn’t too thrilled about being dragged into the GEZUVOR programme. The automaker feared that producing dirt cheap Volkswagen prototypes would destroy its reputation of producing luxury cars. The GEZUVOR involvement was entirely erased from Daimler-Benz’s history. The Mercedes-Benz Museum didn’t mention a word about it today.

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Photo: Rosemeyer Sr. shows his son a scale model of the Typ C, 25 Januar 1938

Bernd Rosemeyer Jr. was born on 12 November 1937, just 10 weeks before his father passed away. Nuvolari became Rosemeyer Jr.’s godfather. Rosemeyer Jr. is a doctor, so he isn’t as famous as his father.

The NSDAP officials loved the Tatra Typ 87 so much that some of them were killed during a test drive on the Reichsautobahn. The NSKK issued an order to the NSDAP to stop toying around in that specific car.

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At the 1939 Presseball (Press Ball, a formal event), Elsa Ellinghausen won the lottery and received a Porsche Typ 60 VW38 (licence plate number IIIA-37021) as a “prize”. Unfortunately for her, it was for propaganda purposes only. Heinrich George, a German actor, received the same “prize”.

When wood gas powered military vehicles (i.e. Porsche Typ 230 and Typ 283) went into production, German-occupied France suffered the worst case of deforestation.

Photo: Járay’s prototypes for Alfred Ley near the Brandenburger Tor, 1923

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Járay was a zeppelin designer and aerodynamicist before he joined the automotive industry. During his career in Deutschland, he designed many streamlined prototypes and production cars. He had an access to wind tunnel facilities to test his aerodynamic designs. Unfortunately for Járay, he had to flee to Switzerland because of his Jewish ethnicity.

Photo: LZ-129 Hindenburg zeppelin in flight over New York City, 1937

Speaking of zeppelins, 60K10 bodies for the two Typ 64’s were constructed with Duraluminium, the same lightweight alloy used to construct zeppelins.

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Tatra made the mistake of relying on Russian automakers for competition. Following the fall of the Eastern Bloc in 1989, European automakers raided Czechoslovakia, bringing Tatra to its knees. Tatra’s cars were so outdated that the company was forced to switch to truck production.

Despite having been remarried, Elly was buried in 2007 next to her first husband, Bernd Rosemeyer Sr, at the former AVUS track.

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Here is a collection of photos that didn’t take part in the documentary. There is a light caption under each photo.

Photo: Typ 8 for Wanderer, 1931
Photo: Ferry and his personal car, Typ 9, 193

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Photo: Rear 3/4 of the Typ 12 for Zündapp, 1932
Photo: Ferry and the cabriolet version of the Typ 12, 1932
Photo: Engine in the back of a Typ 12 replica, date unknown

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Photo: Reutter-bodied Typ 32 replica, late 1970s
Photo: Reutter-bodied Typ 32 replica, left, and a Typ 1 production car, right, circa late 1970s
Photo: Reutter-bodied Typ 32 replica’s massive 1,47 L flat four engine, circa late 1970s

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Photo: Rear 2/3 of the Reutter-bodied Typ 32 replica, circa late 1970s
Photo: Rear 2/3 of the Drauz-bodied Typ 32, 1933
Photo: Complete Superior prototype with a body. The body was mounted for testing after its unveiling at the 1933 Berlin IAMA, 1933

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Photo: Before Ganz was stripped of his patent rights, he briefly helped Bungartz & Co., an infant German automaker in München-Berg am Laim, develop a cyclecar based on the Maikäfer. The Bungartz Butz went into production in 1935. It failed to sell and the production ended after only a year
Photo: Hitler’s motorcade on the newly opened Reichsautobahn, 1934
GIF: Crews usher Auto Union GP race cars into the starting grid, 1934

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Photo: Ferry at the wheel of the Typ 60 V2 with his wife Dodo and a family friend Helmuth Zarges in Tübingen, Tübingen, Württemberg, Dezember 1935
GIF: Typ 60 V2 undergoes weather testing, 1936
Photo: Typ 60 V3/1 chassis, 1936

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Photo: Komenda at the wheel of the Typ 60 V3/2, 1936
Photo: Typ 60 V3/2, left, and Typ 60 V3/1, right, at an Italian hotel in San Bonifacio, Province of Verona, Veneto, Italy, September 1936
Photo: Porsche employees with the Typ 60 V3/1, left, and Typ 60 V3/2, right, 1936

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Photo: From left to right: Typ 60 V3/3, Typ 60 V3/2 and BMW 315, at the Porsche family villa, 1936
Photo: ERFIAG in its early development stage, 1937
Photo: Newly painted 60K5 body for the Typ 60 V4, 1937

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Photo: Ferry test drives a bare Typ 60 V4 chassis, 1937
Photo: Bare Typ 60 V4 chassis undergoes testing by Ferry and Dodo, 1937
Photo: Typ 60 V4, left, and Typ 60 V3/3, right, 1937

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Photo: Front 2/3 of the Typ 60 V4, left, and Typ 60 V3/3, right, 1937
Photo: Rear 2/3 of the Typ 60 V4, left, and Typ 60 V3/3, right, 1937
Photo: Typ 60 V4, left, and Typ 60 V3/3, right, at the Porsche family villa, 1937

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Photo: One of the Typ 60 VW30’s undergoes extreme testing on the Großglockner-Hochalpenstraße, a mountain pass in Austria, 1937
Photo: Typ 60 VW30/22 (car #22) fitted with a 60K5+60K2 cabriolet body and bumpers. Licence plate number IIIA-37022, autumn 1937
Photo: DAF’s emblem

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Photo: Hitler inspects a bare running Typ 60 VW30 chassis at the 1938 Berlin IAMA. Only the chassis was shown at the event, 17 Februar 1938
Photo: Dr. Porsche and architects demonstrate a scale model of KdF-Stadt before Hitler and Ley at the 1938 Berlin IAMA, 17 Februar 1938
Photo: Hitler receives a 3/8 scale model of the KdF-Wagen from Dr. Porsche for his forty-ninth birthday. It is the most famous photograph of Dr. Porsche with Goebbels, Göring, Himmler, Hitler and Werlin, 20 April 1938

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Photo: Caracciola and Hitler greet one another at the 1938 Gran Premio di Tripoli, 15 Mai 1938
Photo: Deutsches Jungvolk and Hitlerjugend cadets welcome Hitler at the Cornerstone Ceremony in Fallersleben, 26 Mai 1938
Photo: Hitler arrives at the grandstand at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938

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GIF: Hitler arrives at the grandstand at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938
Photo: Hitler, left, converses with Dr. Porsche, right, at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938
Photo: Grandstand at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938

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Photo: Grandstand at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938
Photo: Hitler greets NSDAP officials at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938
Photo: Close-up of the Typ 60 V303/801 at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938

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Photo: Hitler, standing cornerstone, cars and crowd at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938
Photo: Left: KdF-Wagen brochure, circa summer 1938. Right: Hitler thanks the crowd from behind the cornerstone, 26 Mai 1938
Photo: Typ 60 V303’s at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938

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Photo: Dr. Porsche opens the door for Hitler at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938
Photo: Hitler’s motorcade of KdF-Wagens leave Fallersleben after the Cornerstone Ceremony, 26 Mai 1938
Photo: Most of the Cornerstone Ceremony attendees arrived by train at Bahnhof Fallersleben. Ferry chauffeured Hitler and Ley there after the event, circa 1938

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Photo: Typ 60 V303/801, upper left, Typ 60 V303/802, centre, and Typ 60 V303/803, lower right, after the Cornerstone Ceremony, late Juni 1938
Photo: Typ 60 V303/802 receives a redesigned soft roof, 1938
Photo: Illustrated KdF-Wagen propaganda. The caption reads, „Der Innensenter” (lit. “Enter the Inner Circle”), 1938

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Photo: Illustrated KdF-Wagen propaganda with Hitler, Himmler and Kempka at the Cornerstone Ceremony, 1938
Photo: Another illustrated KdF-Wagen propaganda, 1938
Photo: Fleet of Typ 60 VW38’s at the Porsche family villa in Stuttgart-Feuerbach, Juni 1938

Video: Karlsbader Reise. Im Volkswagen auf Goethes Spuren von Weimar nach Karlsbad, a 1940 short propaganda film featuring a Typ 60 VW38 

Photo: KdF-Wagen propaganda, 1938

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Photo: KdF-Wagen propaganda, 1938
Photo: KdF-Wagen propaganda, 1938
Photo: KdF-Wagen Propaganda, 1938

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GIF: Scene from a televised KdF-Wagen propaganda, 1938
GIF: Another scene from a televised KdF-Wagen propaganda, 1938
GIF: Another scene from a televised KdF-Wagen propaganda, 1938

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Photo: Typ 60 VW38/2 (car #2) and Typ 60 V303/802 on the Reichsautobahn. Licence plate numbers IIIA-42802 and IIIA-43002, 1938
Photo: Typ 60 V303/803 and Typ 60 VW38/10 (car #10) on the Reichsautobahn. Licence plate numbers IIIA-42803 and IIIA-43010, 1938
Photo: Typ 60 VW38 “KdF-Wagen” on display, 1938

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Photo: Film crew sets up a Typ 60 VW38 to shoot a propaganda film, 1938
Photo: Typ 60 VW38/6 (car #6) on a promotional tour. Licence plate number IIIA-43006, 1938
Photo: Typ 60 VW38/23 (car #23) on a promotional tour. Licence plate number IIIA-43023, 1938

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Photo: Typ 60 VW38’s on a promotional tour near the Alps in Ostmark, 1938
Photo: Typ 60 VW38’s on a promotional tour near the Alps in Ostmark, 1938
Photo: Tullimo Cianetti Halle with a fleet of Typ 60 VW38’s, 1938

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Photo: Gordon Wilkins, a British journalist, and Lawrence Pomeroy, a British engineer, next to a “KdF-Wagen” (Typ 60 VW38), 1938
Photo: Front 2/3 of the Typ 62. Temporary licence plate number IIIA-0426, 1938
Photo: Rear 2/3 of the Typ 62. Same temporary licence plates, 1938

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Photo: Typ 60 VW38 on display outside the 1939 Berlin IAMA, 17 Februar 1939
Photo: Bare running Typ 60 VW38 chassis on display outside the 1939 Berlin IAMA, 17 Februar 1939
Photo: from left to right: Ley, Hitler and Dr. Porsche at the KdF-Wagen unveiling event at the 1939 Berlin IAMA, 17 Februar 1939

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Photo: Soldiers lift a Typ 60 VW38/VW39 hybrid to its side for Dr. Porsche to demonstrate its underbody before Göring and Ley at the former’s Karinhall residence. It later became Göring’s personal car, 1939
GIF: Scene from a televised KdF-Wagen propaganda. This time with a Typ 60 VW39, 1939
GIF: Another scene from a televised KdF-Wagen propaganda, 1938

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Photo: Dr. Porsche watches as Hitler examines his birthday present, 20 April 1939
Photo: Dr. Porsche demonstrates a scale model of the Typ 112 tractor, which was presented to Hitler for his fiftieth birthday, before Hitler, Ley and other party guests, 20 April 1939
Photo: Dr. Porsche, left, Hitler, centre, and Ley, right, view a photo album consisting of photos of the Volkswagen development, 20 April 1939

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Photo: Ley at the wheel of Hitler’s KdF-Wagen, 20 April 1939
Photo: Front 2/3 of the Typ 60 VW38, left, and Typ 60 VW39, right. The differences are very noticeable, 1939
Photo: Typ 60 VW39 undergoes an extreme road test, 1939

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Photo: Porsche Typ 68, a Typ 60 VW39-based ute, 1939
Photo: Promotional photo of the Typ 80 for Daimler-Benz, 1939
Photo: Porsche Typ 81, a Typ 60 VW39-based small van. Temporary licence plate number IIIA-0728, 1939

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Photo: Unknown man with the Typ 81, 1939
Photo: Front 2/3 of the Typ 81, 1939
Photo: Interior of the Typ 81 viewed from the rear, 1939

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GIF: Typ 82 undergoes testing, 1940
Photo: The second Typ 64, 1940
GIF: Second Typ 64, 1940

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Photo: Porsche Typ 82/5, 60K7-bodied Kübelwagen, 1940
Photo: Typ 60 VW39-based prototype fitted with a wood gas generator, which converts bones, charcoal, coal and/or timber into wood gas as a fuel alternative, 1940
Photo: Porsche Typ 111, the second tractor for Landwirtschaftsschule Hohenheim. Temporary licence plate number IIIA-0427, 1940

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Photo: Typ 155 halftrack, 1941
Photo: Production KdF-Wagens at the 1941 Berlin IAMA. The text reads „Die ersten im Volkswagenwerk hergestellten KdF-Wagen” (“The first KdF-Wagen produced at the Volkswagen plant”), Februar 1941
Photo: Fleet of production KdF-Wagens and their lucky owners, 1941

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Photo: Spare tyre and fuel tank in the boot of a production KdF-Wagen, 1941
Photo: Interior of a production KdF-Wagen, 1941
Photo: Komenda and his personal Typ 60 VW39/3 (car #3, licence plate number IIIA-43029, which was converted into a KdF-Wagen, 1941

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Photo: Porsche Typ 82/7, 1941
Photo: Newly constructed but abandoned apartment complex in KdF-Stadt, 1941
Photo: Closer look of the V-1 in flight, 1942

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GIF: V-1 undergoes testing, 1942
Photo: Typ 166 Schwimmwagen with snow rollers attached, 1943
GIF: Typ 166 Schwimmwagen gets out of the water, 1943

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Photo: Porsche constructing a fleet of Typ 87/7’s, 1941
GIF: Dr. Porsche, centre, demonstrates a tank to Hitler, left, and Rommel, right, Mai 1942
Photo: Fleet of Typ 60 VW30’s await destruction, 1942

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Photo: Modified Typ 60 VW30’s undergo destruction, 1942
Photo: One of Rommel’s personal Typ 82/E’s, 1943
Photo: Typ 87/7, 1943

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Photo: A duo of wood gas cars, Porsche Typ 283, left, and Porsche Typ 230, right, 1943
Photo: Volkswagen Typ 51, a British experimental ute, 1945
Photo: Volkswagen Typ 93, a British-produced small ambulance, 1945

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Photo: Volkswagen Typ 110, an experimental small ute. Go here to learn more, 1946
Photo: Hirst, right, examines a Karmann-bodied Typ 1 cabriolet, 1947
Photo: Typ 1 bodies at the newly reconstructed Volkswagen plant, 1948

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Photo: Dr. Porsche demonstrates a scale model of the Typ 356 to his grandsons, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, left, and Ferdinand Piëch, right,
Photo: Dr. Porsche and his personal Typ 1, 1950
Photo: Dr. Porsche and his personal Typ 1, 1950

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Photo: Dr. Porsche receives the first Typ 356 Coupé from Ferry for his seventy-fifth birthday, 3 September 1950
Photo: What’s left of the abandoned Typ 60 VW38/6 discovered in Lithuania, 2003
Photo: Restored Typ 60 VW38/6 chassis in a studio for documentation purposes, circa 2006

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Photo: Typ 60 VW38/6 undergoes restoration, 2012
Photo: Newly restored Typ 60 VW38/6, 2012

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Most of the information was obtained from my collection of books as follows:

Barber, Chris, Birth of the Beetle: The Development of the Volkswagen by Porsche (Haynes Publishing, 2003)

Cimarosti, Adriano, The Complete History of Grand Prix Motor Racing (Aurum Press Ltd, 1997)

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Haug, Gunter, Ferdinand Porsche: Ein Mythos wird geboren (Landhege Verlag, 2012)

Hitler, Adolf, Mein Kampf (English edition, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998, and German edition, Elite Minds Inc., 2010)

Hopfinger, K. B., Beyond Expectation: The Volkswagen Story (G. T. Foulis and Co., third edition, 1954)

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Kirchberg, Peter, Grand Prix Report: Auto Union, 1934-1939 (Motorbuch Verlag, 1982)

Ludvigsen, Karl E., Ferdinand Porsche: Genesis of Genius: Road, Racing and Aviation Innovation 1900 to 1933 (Bentley Publishers, 2009)

Ludvigsen, Karl E., Porsche: Excellence Was Expected: The Comprehensive History of the Company, its Cars and its Racing Heritage (Bentley Publishers, 2008)

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Ludvigsen, Karl E., Porsche: Excellence Was Expected: The Complete History of Porsche Sports and Racing Cars (Princeton Publication, first edition, 1977)

Ludvigsen, Karl E., Mercedes-Benz Quicksilver Century: The Celebrated Saga of the Cars and Men That Made Mercedes-Benz the Most Feared and Revered Name in Racing, 1894 to 1995 (Transport Bookman Publications, 1995)

Monkhouse, George C., Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Racing, 1934-1955 (Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 1984. Note: only the American version of Amazon has it)

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Nelson, Walter Henry, Small Wonder: The Amazing Story of the Volkswagen Beetle (Little, Brown & Company, fourth edition, 1965)

Neubauer, Alfred, Männer, Frauen und Motoren (Motorbuch Verlag, 1997. Note: only the American version of Amazon has it, but it is a 2011 edition)

Nitske, Robert, The amazing Porsche and Volkswagen story (Comet Press Books, 1958)

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Nixon, Chris, Racing Silver Arrows: Mercedes-Benz Versus Auto Union, 1934-1939 (Motorbooks International, 1997)

Pomeroy, Laurence, The Grand Prix Car (Motor Racing Publications, Volume 1, 1954, and Volume 2, 1965)

Schilperoord, Paul, The Extraordinary Life of Josef Ganz: The Jewish Engineer Behind Hitler’s Volkswagen (RVP Publishers, 2012)

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Schur, Rolf, Das Autobuch für den Pimpfen (Das Auto und Kraftrad, 1943)

Sheldon, Paul, A History of Grand Prix and Voiturette Racing (St. Leonards Press, Volume 3, 1992, and Volume 4, second edition, 2012. Note: these books are extremely rare. They do not pop up on the Internet often)

Sugahara, Louis, Mercedes Benz Grand Prix Cars, 1934-1955 (Book Marketing Plus, 2005)

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Some information was obtained from visits to the Audi museum mobile, Autostadt, Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin-Kreuzberg, Mercedes-Benz Museum, Porsche Museum, Stiftung AutoMuseum Volkswagen and Technické Muzeum Tatra. Some information was obtained from my great grandparents, grandfather and his brothers, who attended the Cornerstone Ceremony and several Berlin IAMA shows and German GP races. Some information was obtained from a close friend who is a Volkswagen historian who wishes not to be named. Some of the photos were scanned from the aforementioned books.

After six years of exaggerating propaganda for the KdF-Wagen, the car miraculously survived to spread the love. Back in 1924, the frustrated politician continued:

“Great liars are also great magicians.”

Annoyed, he slammed his typewriter cover shut, laid down and stared at the ceiling of his prison cell. One of the papers nearby was titled Mein Kampf. The author was none other than Adolf Hitler himself.

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Photo: Dr. Ing. h.c. Ferdinand Porsche and his personal Typ 1 on Fuscher Törl, a mountain pass in Austria. It was his last picture with a Volkswagen, and that is his autograph, autumn 1950

I would like to take a moment to thank my family and friends for helping me putting together this masterpiece of a documentary. Thank you! Thank you very much for viewing. Cheers! :)

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV