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1937 Tatra T97 and VW Prototype
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Standard Split
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:11 pm    Post subject: 1937 Tatra T97 and VW Prototype Reply with quote

This VW prototype looks a little different from the two recreations recently completed. I think the final prototype and production Beetle were better looking cars!

Shown next to the 1937 Tatra T97 for comparison. It's interesting to remember when looking at these two cars together that they both share a very similar layout under the skin. Both with their swing rear axles and rear air-cooled flat-four engines. Both also have most of their front luggage area taken up by the fuel tank. They both even have the quirky inner glass rear window arrangement and suicide doors too. The VW has the luxury of two windscreen wipers though!

This is the 1930's remember, not much else on the road was like these two. Coincidence?

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Well why did VW make such a large payout to Tatra? Exclamation
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure, but there was also the Adler:


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The Chrysler Airflow


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The Scarab

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And probably a dozen other cars that you could say resembled the Tatra/VW/whatever.

I would suggest that the real reason so many cars suddenly started looking alike was the widespread introduction of wind tunnel testing in the early 1930's.

There is a famous quote from a Chrysler engineer who said something to the effect of "as soon as we started the wind tunnel we suddenly realized that every car in America was more aerodynamically efficient in reverse than it was going forward."

Once you start designing a car to be aerodynamic there are only so many solutions to the problems of where to put people and things, and just because Tatra and VW and whoever came to some of the same conclusions isn't the same as saying there was theft involved.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not necessarily theft but rather professionals in the same field sharing ideas. Just like groups of painters that used to paint in similar styles, because they used to hang out together and trade ideas, or musicians, or doctors, etc. etc.

Last edited by 79SuperVert on Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Björn Schewe
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:02 pm    Post subject: Please note Reply with quote

This 1932 Tatra which is in exibition in the Tatra Museum


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Kubel Nick
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alot of cars looks similar to each other; just because the most popular one is the Beetle and it wasn't the 1st it doesn't mean the Beetle stole the design, it just maybe the era's current trend style at the time. Look at the pre-war American cars, they all looked the same.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:36 am    Post subject: 1937 Steyr "baby" Type 55 Reply with quote

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(check Split-gallery if the link does not work - it never does...)

cARt

Here is my Austrian 1937 Steyr Type 55. Also a car that indeed represents the fact that the VW design was for from revolutionary when it first came out. The Steyr "baby" was designed in 1933/34, just a few years after the young Ferdinand Porsche left Steyr to found his own engineering company.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mercedes type 170H 1937:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Googling for those photos I came across an interesting fact. The first serious wind tunnel testing of automobiles apparently took place in Germany at the Zeppelin Factory, starting as early as 1921.

It makes sense that Zeppelin would be interested in aerodynamics given the problems of making a giant cigar airworthy, but it means that Germany was at least a decade ahead of the rest of the world in figuring out how to make an efficiently shaped automobile.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 7:04 am    Post subject: Streamliners... Reply with quote

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Here is a nice line-up of the mid-30-ies German streamliners... Shows the Beetle was in "common company" when launced. Very nice cars.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

also it probably wasn't uncommon to have inter-company help. Mercedes did help out with the start of VW. Also here's a rare Steyr-VW from 1939:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

and a Hanomag-VW, unknown year
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I don't have the story behind these but they're supposedly true factory built examples. I have another example of the Hanomog also that looks like a different car, unless it was re-painted??
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Standard Split
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:43 am    Post subject: Steyr and Hanomag Beetle mix. Reply with quote

If these cars were real they would be post Prototype cars from the war period, or cars that people have cobbled together from wrecks after the war or even more recently.

It is said that during the war VW used other manufacturer's car bodies to cobble together cars due to the shortage of steel and existing Beetle panels. As far as I know VW have never confirmed this.

You can see that the panels on the front of the Steyr are from the familiar production VW Exclamation

Split Personality's collection of 'German' streamliners above shows the V8 Czech Tatra T87 in the line up, the T97's big brother.
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Standard Split
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:03 pm    Post subject: Mechanically similar Tatra 97 and Volkswagen Reply with quote

It's not so much just the visual appearance that is the point I am trying to illustrate.

As said, the Beetle and Tatra shared much under the skin (unlike most the stuff pasted above), flat-four air-cooled rear engine, swing axles etc. Porsche was friends with the Czech car designer Ledvinka who was finalising the Tatra T97 at the time. When Hitler invaded Czech he had production of the T97 stopped (apparently Hitler thought it too much like his People’s Car), but allowed production of other Tatras to continue, notably the fantastic air-cooled rear-engined V8 T87. This car was a favourite of the Nazis to use on the autobhans, reaching speeds of over 100 mph, not bad for a 1930s production road car.

Porsche eventually admitted that while working on the People's Car for Hitler, he regularly visited the Czech car designer Ledvinka and ‘occasionally looked over his shoulder’.

Tatra pressed for copyright infringements, and eventually by the 1960's Volkswagen paid out a substantial sum to the Czech car and truck manufacturer.

Exclamation I’m sure that VW wouldn’t have paid out for the hell of it Exclamation

Here is the chassis layout of the T97 which will be a rather familiar sight to Beetle people:
[img]http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_page.php?pic_id=388613[/img]
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "rare 1939 Steyr-VW" doesn't look authentic. The hood attachment to the body looks like an improvisation because the builder couldn't use the correct hood struts. And those wheels look very early-70's Beetle. It looks like something assembled from various vehicles, but the workmanship looks pretty good from a distance.

The Hanomag-VW looks more interesting because from that angle, the front of it looks very much like the pre-war VW30 and similar prototypes. But why are you assuming it is a VW? Here is a 1939 Hanomag sedan that could be similar to the one in the picture:

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The fenders, the placement of the rear light, the crease along the body under the window, and possibly the rear windows all look similar to the "Hanomag-VW".
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:22 pm    Post subject: Steyr and Hanomag Beetle mix. Reply with quote

I think that they are both fakes, and not difficult for someone with bodywork and welding skills to cobble together Exclamation

Both these cars are bodies from conventional production front-engined cars, and both have beed altered to accomodate a Beetle chassis. The Steyr obviously has had its original front end completely cut off and Beetle panels grafted on. The Hanomag has been cut around at the front, a conventional Beetle bonnet has been added and welded shut. A smaller opening has then been cut into this bonnet to resemble the small VW prototype bonnet. Air intake louvres have been cut into the rear boot lid.

It's certainly not manufacturers working together Exclamation
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject: vws Reply with quote

Just a short note regarding the Stery Type 55:
It has a tunnel back bone chassis and flat four, water cooled engine. Both very familiar to the Beetle.

The VW-Hanomag and VW-Steyr pictured above are both hack-jobs from the former east block - "personalized" Kubelwagens from the post-war years. Very common all over Europe. Both these are/were owned by Bob Shaill in England.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there is a 1939 Hanomag on ebay right now...


here is the link

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Other-Makes-Hanomag...QQtcZphoto
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I remember VW had a dispute with Skoda back in early days as Skoda claimed that Porsche had stolen their idea of the floorpan construction. VW won as they were the finacially stronger part in this. Couldn't find much about that right now.

Here's some History where you can see the connection between Tatra and VW's:

http://www.speedace.info/volkswagen_and_porsche_history.htm
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:01 pm    Post subject: Hanomag Reply with quote

Ive been watching that Hanomag...it's pretty cool. I wonder what the reserve is?

Its obvious that the general styling of these cars are all similar...nothing strange there. People feed off of each other and copy and modify designs to try to improve them and such...its the way the human mind works.
(just look at modern sedans in the market today...you could almost swap badges and not tell the difference) Its all about what is in fashion at the time.

The Beetle only seemed strange design wise to Americans who were of the bigger is better and pile on the chrome mentality.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think 'Streamliners' is the best term for these cars--it was the years of wind tunnels and streamline.
I just love the lines through the bodies!

Has anyone found actual film footage of the thirties with some these models tooling around the streets in Europe?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 1:05 pm    Post subject: Tatra/Kdf connection Reply with quote

The Tatra T97 model began life in 1931 – this car pre-dates the Volkswagen 'Beetle' that we know. There does not seem to be any other car so old that has such a similar mechanical layout to the Volkswagen. Forget the Steyrs and what have you with their water-cooled front engines.

Some say that Ledvinka was the real genius and Porsche stole his idea and built on it. Behind the Iron Curtain Ledvinka died in virtual poverty and obscurity. Whatever your views on the Ledvinka/Porsche link, it cannot be denied that Ledvinka was a pioneering automobile genius. I don't think the Volkswagen would have developed to the exact car we know without his Tatra! Maybe that as I have a Tatra T97 in my Beetle collection you could suggest that I am biased. It even sounds exactly the same as the Beetle! Only around 500 T97s were built before Mr Hitler stopped production. Today they are as rare or even rarer than KdF 'Beetles'.

This site gives mention too… www.answers.com/topic/tatra

Here also: www.answers.com/topic/volkswagen-beetle

There are several other sites that support this Tatra VW history. Just do a Tatra VW search, or Tatra KdF, Tatra Volkswagen etc, etc.
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