All In The Family Snapshot
January 20th, 2010 1:10 AM Share
With all the now-distant brouhaha over the VW – Porsche tie up, it’s easy to forget that they started out as kissing cousins siblings, in more ways than one.
Published January 20th, 2010 1:10 AM
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The similarities really become apparent when you strip off the body work of the old Type 1 and Porsche 956. The Type 1 Sedan/Beetle would have been still-born had it not been for the financial largess of the ultra nationalist German dictator. Ferdinand Porsche sold his soul in deal. The VW Beetle was what it was because Hitler wanted a "People's Car" that would sell for under a $1,000 Deutsche Reich Marks, about $500 - $600 in 1939 US dollars. The military Type 181 Kubelwagen was the main vehicle produced, which became in someways the engine and drive train platform the postwar Type 2 VW Bus. After the war VW should have been a still-born project once again, but the British occupation authorities wanted a jobs program for the returning German veterans. Keep in mind that the Wolfsburg factory was heavily damaged by Allied air raids and now within long range artillery of the Soviet forces parked close by. The VW Type 1 at the time had a 25 hp engine at the time, which soon became 30 hp in standard Wolfsberg livery. The team under Ferry Porsche did a remarkable job of transforming the Beetle into something resembling sportiness. I believe that Ferry's father was rotting away at the time in a French prison, along with his close associate Antwon Piech. My favorite Porsche was the 4 cylinder 912. It's way underpowered by Jeremy Clarkson's standards, but it wasn't a tail dragger like the 911. Therefor eit was better behaved.
How will the Porsche snobs feel now, not knowing if there are Beetle parts in their new cars. Chrysler never helped Mercedes. In the past I've always told Boxster owners, I like your new Karmann Ghia.
I learned to drive on the exact equivalent to the car on the right, right down to the textile sunroof. Looks like a 1960-61. If the Porsche is anywhere near as high-quality as that Beetle was, it might be a good ride. :-)
Let us not forget the siblings Czech mother, the Tatra T97.