BAT T L E for t he BEETLE

Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ix

Chapter One

Birth of a Menace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Ferdinand Porsche opened an auto design office in 1930 in Stuttgart. Page 3

Chapter Two

Beetles in Warpaint. . . . . . . . . . . . . 41

Chapter Three

The Factory and its Survival . . . . . . 77

In 1940 the KdF works received contracts to manufacture bombs. Page 44

Chapter Four

Britain Meets the Beetle . . . . . . . . 117

Chapter Five

Assessment by the Americans . . . . 155

Chapter Six

The French Nearly Prevail . . . . . . . 189

The elegant structural design of the factory featured high and well-lit production halls. Page 86

Chapter Seven

Australia, Belgium, Russia and Other Contenders . . . . . . . . . . 221
The factory was heavily damaged by wartime airstrikes. Page 99

Chapter Eight

America Rides to the Rescue . . . . . 249

Chapter Nine
The first car the VW factory produced after the war featured a Beetle body on a Kübel chassis. Page 110

Britain Chances Her Hand . . . . . . . 289

Chapter Ten

The Making of a Non-Decision . . . 337

Chapter Eleven

Epilogue for a Battle . . . . . . . . . . . 369

Afterword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 401
Henry and Edsel Ford each responded to the challenge of the VW. Page 254

Endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 407

Bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 443

Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 447
Roy Fedden’s admiration for the VW car and factory was reflected in the designs for his own cars. Page 311

Art Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 457

Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459

VW introduced its Export model in mid-1949. Page 361

About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . 465

established 1950 Automotive Reference™

BentleyPublishers
.com

Battle for the Beetle

The untold story of the post-war battle for Adolf Hitler’s giant Volkswagen factory and the Porsche-designed car that became an icon for generations around the globe
by Karl Ludvigsen Price: $39.95 Bentley Stock Number: GVBP Publication Date: 2000.02.01 ISBN: 978-0-8376-1695-7 Softcover, 6-1/8” x 9-1/4” Case quantity: 1 472 pages, 219 photos and illustrations

After World War II what was to be the fate of the odd bugshaped Volkswagen Beetle and its colossal bomb-battered factory? Legend has it that the victors underestimated the potential of the car that would become the automotive icon of several generations, indeed the world’s most-famous and most-produced automobile. Karl Ludvigsen’s interviews and researches in British, German, American, Australian and Belgian archives prove the contrary. His hitherto-untold story of why and how they didn’t get the factory makes revealing and engrossing reading. History buffs and followers of World War II and its aftermath will relish the way Ludvigsen depicts afresh the creation of the VW by renowned and “untouchable” engineer Ferdinand Porsche, the building of its factory by Hitler crony Robert Ley, “a notorious womanizer who drank too much,” and the wartime career of the huge Wolfsburg plant as the prime contractor for the jet-powered V-1 flying bomb, the world’s first successful cruise missile. Car enthusiasts who consider themselves well-read will be absorbed by Ludvigsen’s disclosures of the national and company mindsets that affected their respective attitudes toward the radical Volkswagen. Most astonishing are his revelations of the deep interest of Ford in the VW factory. Far from rejecting the VW plant, Ford proposed that it be merged with its existing German operations. But the executive charged with the mission (Ludvigsen reveals his identity) failed to follow through. Ludvigsen traces the Beetle’s impact on the world of autos, from the Chevrolet Corvair and Hino Contessa to rear-engined Fiats, Skodas and Hillmans. We learn why the most startling decision made by VW chief Heinz Nordhoff was not to change his car’s design. And we are brought right up to the 1998 launch. For those who wish to comprehend its amazing impact on the auto market, Battle for the Beetle is the essential source.

2000 Best Automotive Book of the Year! Awarded by the Society of Automotive Historians.

Inside the Frankfurt Show in 1951 Volkswagen erected a spectacular display that used, as its dramatic signature, the distinctive design of its Wolfsburg factory. Chapter Ten: The Making Of A Non-Decision

One of several rear-engined prototypes built for Henry Ford. Chapter Eight: America Rides To The Rescue

Prototype VWs at the time of the Berlin Auto Show in February 1939. Chapter Four: Britain Meets The Beetle

Bentley Publishers, 1734 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138-1804 USA Tel: 617-547-4170 • Toll Free: 800-423-4595 • Fax: 617-876-9235 http://www.bentleypublishers.com/contact-us
bentley_gvbp_new.product.announcement.pdf