There is a weird story behind the Volkswagen Beetle. In 1933, Adolf Hitler gave the order to Ferdinand Porsche to develop a Volkswagen. In German, Volks means "people" and Wagen means "car", so he literally asked him to make a car for the people. The specs were simple: It had to be cheap and able to carry two adults and 3 children at 100 km/h. The first name that was given to the beetle was "Kraft durch Freude-Wagen", "Strength through Joy Car". Hitler himself decided this name on May 26, 1938, when he spoke at the Volkswagen factory in Fallersleben:
|Hence, I believe there is only one name that can be given to this car, a name I shall give to it on this very evening. It shall bear the name of that organization that strives to instill both joy and strength in the masses. The name shall be: Kraft durch Freude-Wagen!|
And as Germans love to use abbreviations and acronyms, it was known as KdF-Wagens. In October 1935 the first two Type 60 prototypes, known as the V1 and V2 were ready...
It is believed that the Beetle was a stolen idea from Josef Ganz, a German-Hungarian car designer, born in Budapest, Hungary, and raised in a Jewish family. the similarities between the first and second model of the Standard Superior that Ganz designed and the VW Type 1 split-window W (later known as the Beetle) are more than obvious...
Second model of the Standard Superior (1934)
Type 1 split-window VW Beetle