Born: 1938, Germany
Designer: Ferdinand Porsche
Context: Pre-World War II Germany
In a few words: “The car must be transport for the entire population, or Volk”, Adolf Hitler
Transformational Value: “The best-selling car in history” has forced the American automobile industry to re-invent itself
Story: America had its Model T, but Germany did not yet have its “people’s car”. Hitler decided to correct this and commissioned Dr. Porsche to design such a car, a “Volkswagen”. Production in earnest started after the war thanks to a British decision. Very rugged thanks to a simple design and an air-cooled engine, the VW became was dubbed Beetle after entering the US market due to its rounded aerodynamic shape. Its remarkable reliability in the face of notoriously unreliable competitors made it a huge success and made the “giants” rethink the way they designed, built and marketed cars.
With over 21 million units built over its 64-year history, the Volkswagen’s record will probably never be broken.
Owner: Vincent Fliszar