Did Josef Ganz, not Ferdinand Porsche, Create the Beetle?

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

A quick google search on "Josef Ganz" and "beetle" unearthed a site documenting some of Ganz's early developments of his own beetle prototype. The site also posted a response it received, supposedly from one of Ganz's colleagues, confirming many of the assertions in the Dutch magazine article we referred to in an earlier post. Really interesting stuff. Click through for an exerpt.


——-Urspr ngliche Nachricht——-
Von: G H
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 11. Februar 2004 02:15
Betreff: Ganz at Bungartz

I am glad to have found your website which contains some of the details of the early history of the Volkswagen as it was in reality. As a colleague and friend of the late Dr. Josef Ganz, the real designer of the VW, my blood boils every time I see yet another invented story. It was one of these lies in the Australian media which made me search the internet where I found your site.

This latest story was contained in a letter to one of the local media which claimed that the VW was designed by somebody in the Tatra works. This correspondent got things half right when he accused Ferdinand Porsche and his Nazi backers of having stolen the design of the VW from the Czechs, or more correctly from the Sudeten Germans. Stolen, yes, but Tatra, no. As you can glean from some of the other contributors to this website, the original designs came from my friend and colleague Josef Ganz who designed it in the 1920s. With brilliant foresight, he called it the "Volkswagen". As your website makes it clear, the first experimental models were produced by Bungartz in Munich.

It had all the then novel features of the later beetle, such as the swing axles, the "boxer" motor and air cooling. Indeed it was superior, siting the engine inboard of the rear axle providing vastly better handling...

... As a Jew, Ganz was deprived of his patent rights, which were later illegally passed to Tatra whose management had impeccable Gestapo connections. Ganz himself, after an odyssey of escaping through numerous European countries, had landed in Australia.

The name Volkswagen was stolen by Hitler and Goering who saw Ganz's VW prototype at an exhibition and immediately recognised its potential, in both name and engineering concepts. By making millions of middle-class Germans buy the cars on a reverse time-payment plan (pay first, drive later), none of the contributors ever saw a VW except for a little toy diecast replica which was part of the promotion. Before Ganz was forced to flee Germany he was made to abandon the VW name and sell his car in 1933 as a "Standard".(see the websites).


More here.

Volkswagen Beetle, Icon of the Age, Not Developed by Ferdinand Porsche? [internal]