Any Beetle buffs reading this will have already pricked up their ears upon seeing the three letters ‘K-D-F’. The KdF-Wagen was the earliest form of what we now now as the beloved Beetle, and has a rich and chequered history. Originally designed by Erwin Komenda in 1937, under the watchful eye of Professor Ferdinand Porsche, the Beetle was a direct instruction from Adolf Hitler, who wanted to offer Germany a ‘peoples’ car, even arranging savings schemes so that everybody who wanted one could have a chance at owning one.
The cars were supposed to go into full-scale production in 1939, but the ‘other thing’ that happened that year kind of spoiled it for everybody, and the factory in Wolfsburg didn’t get to starting making the now iconic vehicle until allied forces took control in 1945. It’s estimated that only 840 KdF-Wagens were produced during the six years of wartime unrest, mostly for lower-ranking Nazi Party officials, hence making them a rarity to say the least in modern times.
This particular example has a less negative connotation, being originally delivered in 1943 to The German Red Cross in Potzdam Babelsberg, which at the time was an ostensibly neutral organisation (although retrospectively not so much). The current owner has painstakingly restored this example to its completely original state, and it’s sat in his collection in Tennessee for the last few years. It currently appears to be worth over $400 000 AUD, a pretty penny for a Beetle, but a small price to pay for a car that not only represents an important era, but is a living piece of history.