Josef Ganz, co-author of “the Beetle”, which you never heard

Volkswagen Beetle (Käfer) do not come to light without this simple car

Josef Ganz, co-author of

I wonder if there’s a man with passion for cars, who doesn’t know the Saga of one of the most important cars in history – the Volkswagen Beetle, or as it is styled on authentic home – Käfer? Unlikely. However, if you have had a past history of this hunchback car can easily recreate the whole picture with the help of our article: History of Volkswagen beetle


But in this official history there is one important element, which the legendary beetle would certainly be born, but how would he and what would have been his fate – murky mystery. For the unpleasant fact tactfully did not say even the Creator of the “Beetle” Ferdinand Porsche – why focus on the “little things”? Meanwhile, such events need to know. I have a reason – was restored proto-beetle, harbinger of one of the most popular cars of the 50 – 60-ies of XX century.


As you know the official version: the Story of a little VW, started in 1934, when launched work on the creation of the first truly mass car for Germany. The first batch of new cars was released in 1938.

Josef Ganz, co-author of

But what preceded this event? The hard work on the first “popular” car team of engineers and designers under the leadership of Ferdinand? Of course, that’s just the original concept was essentially stolen for Porsche the German secret service (Gestapo) in the dark for 30 years.


It was so…

Josef Ganz, co-author of

One Josef Ganz, who was a very influential German automobile journalist and engineer, became one of the first who decided to put the idea affordable, inexpensive car for the mass market in Germany. The apogee of the plan reached in the 30-ies. First, in 1930, was presented a prototype of a small car Ardie-Ganz. A year later came the model Maikaefer (“may beetle”). Note the title: “Maikaefer”, “Käfer” (beetle), a strange coincidence, which is actually not a coincidence at all, but rather a plagiarism. But more was to follow.

Josef Ganz, co-author of

The project has attracted the manufacturer of motorcycles under the brand name “standard” and in 1932 on the basis of the mini Roadster was designed with a closed two-door coupe body type.


It is the prototype, in 1933, demonstrated at the auto show in Berlin, and was the starting point of influence, which became the basis for the yet to be released Volkswagen Beetle.


Historical fact:

Superior was presented in 1933, five years before the appearance of the original Volkswagen Beetle, designed by Porsche and had a lot of shit, which insisted Ganz, and later they appear in the Beetle: chassis with carrier christofides frame, rear-engined layout, independent suspension with swing axles at the rear and rounded shape, which is definitely reminiscent of the later Beetle.


The car was even advertised as “Volkswagen”, primordial “folk” sense:

Josef Ganz, co-author of


Later, the slogan will be also taken by marketers (or government propaganda, call it what you want, because at the time the project existed in state subsidies) the future of the company Ferdinand and reborn in a well-known name of the car brand.



As you can see, the “borrowing” was produced a fair amount. No, of course team Porsche made many of his completions and almost completely transformed the source material, but to deny that the very essence, the concept was conceived by another man almost immediately forgotten – leaves an unpleasant osadochek.


Josef Ganz, co-author of

Engineering happiness for Ganz did not last long. In 1933-m to him with a search warrant showed up the political police, the Gestapo. The man was arrested, and together with the police building and left numerous drawings, documents and accompanying literature. All this later moved to the Porsche.


Since Joseph was a Jew, his fate was sealed. But he was lucky, he still was able to flee from Germany, and later settling in Switzerland and then in France went to Australia. All this time he worked with various automotive projects within the firms Rapid, Holden and GM, but such success as at home, he already could not achieve.


The name of a talented engineer and visionary from the automotive world of Josef Ganz was removed by the Nazis from history, but not forever. Today, the only surviving copy of a car that he designed a car that is most similar to the prototype of the “Bug” was restored.


What now?

The only surviving standard Superior was found and purchased by a man named Paul of Silvered, the author who wrote a book about Josef Ganz and Lorenz Schmidt, a Swiss relative of the Ganz. Together they embarked on a mission to restore the car to new condition.

Josef Ganz, co-author of


It wasn’t easy, because for many years the vehicle was subjected to “homologation”, which was widely used items from the “Trabant” that made the car unlike yourself. From the original body remained only steel wings. Surprisingly, the chassis and the transmission was still almost completely original. Therefore, to restore really was.


Josef Ganz, co-author of

Despite the fact that the conservators had received only about 30% of the required funds, the team was able to finish the project, original Standard and Superior—perhaps the oldest and most direct ancestor of the Beetle was revived.


Josef Ganz, co-author of

It took a lot of research and the skilled craftsmanship of a specialist in old car bodies, but if you compare the end result with old photos, the result seems surprisingly good:


Josef Ganz, co-author of

The restoration of the car from photographs is never easy, especially when it involves the use of outdated production methods, such as the use of leatherette and technology work of Weyman.

The car gained a third life. He goes out and it’s just incredible, because his heart – vintage 396 CC two-stroke inline, two horizontal pistons, the engine. Some of the wall parts of the first half of the 20th century are lacking, but their searching and purchasing only a matter of time.


Josef Ganz, co-author of

Smoky, noisy, but very attractive. What is it about these old cars:

Here is a cheerless story with relative happy ending.