The inventor and creator of the Volkswagen ,a one
Porsche, had his own office in the early 1930's "Porsche Buro"
in Stuttgart Germany. He worked there alongside about ten other people
as a consultant and engineer for other companies such as the recently
formed Auto Union ,which comprised of Horsch, Audi, Wanderer , DKW and
Mercedes Benz. Dr Porsche became very famous for his racing cars in the
750kg racing class but in early 1931 he designed car that had many of
the features of the first Volkswagen. It had a very streamlined design
a central frame with the engine in the back and independent suspension.
The car was built by the mc-producer Zundapp who were planing to start
car production at about this time. The first test drive of this car took
place in 1932 but because of the demand for motorcycles Zundapp lost interest
in developing the car any further. After this Dr Porsche was approached
by another company NSU who had planned a small car with a 1500cc engine.
The result was the 'Type 32' The difference from the original Zundapp
car was that the suspension had been changed form blade to torsion bar.
Several different engines were tested including a 2-stroke but the most
suitable engine was the boxer flat 4 cylinder air-cooled engine. This
engine was based upon a 90hp aeroplane engine that Dr Porsche had designed
back in 1912, however NSU then backed out of the project but several prototypes
had already been built and tested. By this time Hitler had gained power
in Germany anfd Dr Porsche realised that his car was suitable for the
new roads planned in Germany. In 1934 DR Porsche delivered a memorandum
to Hitler where he promised to have running prototypes ready in 12 months.
The time that followed was hectic for the Porsche Buro three test cars
were built and tested in the autumn and winter. An extra 30 cars were
then built by Mercedes-Benz and were inspected by state employed inspectors.
The name of the car was then changed in 1938 to the 'KDF-Wagen' just before
the car exhibition in Berlin. The name itself was taken from the slogan
'Kraft Durch Freude'. In Berlin Hitler announced that the Volkswagen ,
the peoples car, was finally finished . The building of the factory then
began in 1938 but only a few civilian cars were built until production
was altered due to the war.
During the 1950s the beetle remained almost unchanged except for the rear
window which was no longer split but one oval and horsepower rating increased
to 36hp in 1954. It wasn't until 1962 that major changes took place the
engine lid was redesigned, larger rear lights fitted, the cc was increased
to 1200cc 40hp and it now had a proper fuel gauge replacing the old reserve
1967 was probably the best Beetle of all, in addition to comply with American
safety laws the front fenders were redesigned with the headlights moved
forward and placed above the fender. The indicators were also moved the
engine lid shortened to allow more bumper clearance and a new style number
plate holder fitted. The biggest change that took place was the introduction
of a dual-cylinder brake system and it was also offered with disc brakes
at the front as an option. Another major development was the introduction
of a 12 volt system for the electrics, the engine was also increased to
1500cc giving it 53hp also the axle ratio was lowered to reduce engine
speed and give better mpg and durability. In 1969 a heated rear window,
independant rear suspension and an auto gearbox with 3 gears, a steering
wheel lock and a new ventilation system to help with demisting.
The Beetle was originally produced in Germany but are now just made in
Brazil with production ending this year 2003.
W12 Engine | VW Golf R32