VW Beetle Gearbox & Transmission Parts

A Short History Of The VW Beetle (cont.)

It is suggested that a lot of the Beetles design features were influenced by that of the Czech manufacturer Tatra, and their chief engineer Hans Ledwinka. It is cited in the book “Car Wars” that Ferdinand Porsche admits to having “…looked over Ledwinka’s shoulder” whilst penning out the initial ideas for the Beetle.

The rear mounted air-cooled engine could also be said to have been borrowed from Tatra as well. Air cooled technology was demanding in the 1930’s, and only subsidies from the Nazi Government meant the development of such a method could be continued by Porsche. In another quote from “Car Wars” Adolf Hitler is quoted as saying “the [Tatra> kind of car I want for my highways”.

The similarity between the two designs clearly hadn’t gone unnoticed by the likes of Tatra, who launched a lawsuit, which was then swiftly dropped following the Third Reich’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, later to be persued by Tatra following the end of the war. The ensuing 1961 lawsuit ruled in favour of Tatra, and resulted in Volkswagen being ordered to pay a sum of 3,000,000 Deutsch Marks to Tatra.

This swallowed up a sizeable portion of VW’s development budget and led to the Beetle being one of the longest running production vehicles of all time.

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