It’s a virtually impossible task to walk the earth today and not know of the Volkswagen Beetle; it’s undoubtedly one of the most famous cars in automotive history. A little lesser-known, however, is just how the original Type 1 Volkswagen Beetle came to be.
That’s the story that Jalopnik Editor-In-Chief Matt Hardigree is here to share, in this video clip from Nat Geo TV.
In essence, the original intent of the Volkswagen Beetle was to function as a German equivalent to the Ford Model T: simple, compact, and affordable enough for the masses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the job of designing the Volkswagen – or “people’s car” – went to the best automotive designer in the country: Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.
But what may surprise you is the historical figure who first commissioned the Volkswagen Beetle: Adolf Hitler. Within no time, prior to the start of World War II, the Beetle went from a sheet of paper to the roads of Germany – albeit in fairly limited supply, as the war necessitated a halt in production.
For the full history, be sure and watch Matt Hardigree and the entire Volkswagen Beetle origin story presented by Nat Geo TV: