KdF Beetle

The KdF-Wagen was the first example of the Volkswagen Beetle. The Porsche designed car was due to come on stream at the brand new purpose built Wolfsburg plant in September 1939, but its creator’s bellicose activities stymied full scale production till the Allies took control in 1945. Meanwhile a small quantity of KdF beetles were made between 1937 and 1944, mostly supplied to minor officials in the The National Socialist German Workers' Party. This Type 60 is one such, destined for the Red Cross chief in Berlin in 1943.

KdFs were allocated to low-profile top officials in the Nazi regime. This car was delivered to the German Red Cross at Potzdam Babelsberg in Berlin on June 1, 1943. Representatives of The Red Cross, an ostensibly neutral international organization, visited and were posted to prisoner-of-war and concentration camps, which may account for the car’s later discovery in Poland. This Volkswagen was advertised for sale in a Polish provincial newspaper in 2000 and spotted by its current owner, consignee Dr Robert "Mac" Jones. He dispatched a connoisseur to view the car, who discovered that it was a real VW KDF beetle. The car was quickly purchased and taken to Germany, where it was delivered to Peter Schmalbach in Frankfurt-am-Mein, the leading expert on Wehrmacht vehicle restorations.

As is well known, the VW Beetle was designed in 1937 by Erwin Komenda under Professor Ferdinand Porsche on the instructions of Adolf Hitler to produce a ‘peoples’ car’. Komenda’s aerodynamic styling included the split rear windows because curved glass was inordinately expensive. Stuttgart-based coachbuilder Reutter created the buck for the classic Beetle shape that would remain virtually unchanged until 1967. On the May 26, 1938, Hitler laid the cornerstone of the brand new factory near Fallersleben, Lower Saxony, that would produce the 'KdF-Wagen' or 'Strength through Joy' car, and the adjoining new town would be known as 'KdF-Stadt' – renamed Wolfsburg post-war. Hitler also introduced a savings scheme where aspiring owners could collect stamps that would eventually pay for their car. Production was to start in September 1939 coinciding with the outbreak of WW2. World War Two was declared. Though a trickle of Types 60 and 4WD 82e KdF-Wagens were built between 1939 and 1944, production inevitably focused on military vehicles such as the Kubelwagen and Schwimmwagen. For most of the war, the KdF plant escaped heavy bombing because the new town was not on many allied maps. From 1944 the factory manufactured the V1 flying bomb, until US bombing raids destroyed the factory. It’s possible that production of KdF Volkswagens between 1937 and 1944 totalled 840 units.

After Type 60 KdF expert Peter Schmalbach died, the car was sent to Christian Grundmann in Hessisch Oldendorf for further restoration work, using original KDF parts as appropriate, before dispatch to Hermann Schimkat for final inspection. The last owner, Dr Mac Jones, who had rigorously researched the KDF model to ensure the details were correct, received the completed car in Belgium and promptly drove it 400km to a major Volkswagen show for its debut, where it was received with much enthusiasm and reviewed in many magazines. It was then shipped to the owner’s Tennessee residence in December 2013 and has resided in his collection until March of this year, when it was shipped to G And S Motors of Fletcher NC for cosmetic detailing and mechanical servicing, which included an engine out service.

Source: The Finest Automobile Auctions

KdF Beetle