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Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26
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Undis
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:00 am    Post subject: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

I decided to start a new topic as an offshoot to the W30 chassis restoration thread.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=343304

I felt that writing about a body build-up would not be most appropriate in a thread that is focused entirely on a chassis. At the end I hope it will all come together very nicely. I’m hoping this new topic will be quite long and interesting.

The recreation of car W30/26 is turning into a very important project currently being undertaken by the same team from Hessisch Oldendorf in Germany who brought us the VW38/06. Sure there are already two nicely done replicas of the W30 cars but none of them have the detail authenticity that I’m sure this car will have. Most of all this car will be based on a genuine surviving 1937 chassis as opposed to regular, modified post-war chassis of the other two. All of the body details will be as close as possible to the originals, also something that the other two cars haven’t fully achieved. So to kick off this thread I though I’ll start with some general history of the W30.

The origins of an all-steel construction Volkswagen can be traced back to July 1935 when, after the very first steel and wood coacbuilt prototype was presented to the members of German Automotive Association (RDA), the company Ambi Budd offered to help with designing of such. Soon after Porsche’s body specialist Erwin Komenda went to Berlin on a visit to Ambi Budd to discuss full metal construction of the Volkswagen. Ambi Budd was a subsidiary of the American company Budd Inc. who were the specialists when it came to all metal construction of car bodies and they had working relationships with most German manufacturers of the time. To make the Volkswagen strong and light therefore cheaper to manufacture it was essential that the relatively new methods of full stampings of body panels should be utilised. Creasing and composite curves of the sheet-metal would produce exceptional strength making the whole body of the car a load bearing structure. Towards the end of 1935 an idea was investigated to reduce the car in over all size and see if it could be less expensive to produce. Komenda did some sketches of a scaled down body and interestingly, he incorporated a new pattern of creases into the shape, probably something that Ambi Budd had suggested. The reduced size Volkswagen was calculated to be just about 8 kilograms lighter than a full size one making such cuts quite pointless. However the lines of the new design were deemed a good way to proceed for the next generation of prototypes. The V3 series cars still had not started the official test drives when the new series of W30 design was already being planned.

The January 1936 sketch by Erwin Komenda showing a smaller body which was not built but some of the details were used for the W30 body design.
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Also in 1936 a proper drawing study of the W30 body appeared showing crucial dimensions which will be useful in creating a replica body.
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September 1936 also saw the final design of the new chassis that was only in a few details different to the previous V3 version.
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Undis
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:05 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

It is interesting to note that in case of the W30 Erwin Komenda developed further the “small lid” body version as basis for his next design, this being the V3/3 (a previous all steel construction body). Test drivers had been complaining about the tiny front lid as it was hard to get to the spare wheel. Now 30 cars were to be produced with the same drawback but it appears this was necessary for structural integrity. On other design matters, the headlights were to be placed on fenders just as all the previous prototypes had them moved the same way. The doors were made larger and with an angled B-pillar. This resulted in a much smaller rear quarter window. The doors themselves were still rear opening type despite Ferdinand Porsche wanting to change this at the very last moment while he still was on his USA trip where he saw the latest trends in automotive design. The tiny rear window in the firewall between the interior and engine bay remained in place giving a restricted view trough the cooling slots. The slots themselves were of a better design formed in three rows instead of being long and fragile. The stand out feature on the body was the crease that ran from the front mounted horn up to the A-pillars then across the roof almost meeting in the middle, coming down at the rear forming a W shape, then traveling back to the front just below the side windows and arriving back at the horn. The overall shape was quite pleasing with a slightly sinister look from the back because of the lack of a visible rear window.

A scale model was used to get a visual feel for the new body shape.
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Undis
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:09 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

The discussions between Ambi Budd, Daimler Benz (DB) and Porsche had been going on for about a year sometimes resulting in arguments to the point of intervention by the RDA. By mid 1936 the plans were finally in place to start on the next generation of prototypes, the W30 cars, that’s even before the earlier V3s had started official testing. There was already plenty of feedback coming in from Porsche’s own informal V3 tests. In July 1936 Porsche started talks with the Daimler Benz Sindelfingen factory to produce a batch of 30 bodies. Of course the same factory had already produced the previous four cars. Actual work on the new cars started in early September. The bodies were to be hand built by the Daimler Benz workers. This does not exclude the possibility that some simplified dies were tooled up for at least some body panels. Considering that all of the early prototype bodies were made by DB it would be logical to assume that some smaller parts or parts that were not essential for developing the design came from the DB parts bin. It has been recorded that Porsche ordered parts from various suppliers especially for this project however it would not be logical that each and every part would be exclusively developed just for a very limited run of experimental cars. For example the wheel rims were ordered from Kronpriz yet they look suspiciously similar to the ones used on DB cars of the time. Same goes for door handles, lights, maybe even instruments and many other bits. After all the Volkswagen project at this stage was still in the hands of the RDA and surely its members didn’t object to some parts, the same as in their cars, being used in their common project.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:20 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

On the mechanical side of things everything was looking good. The V3 chassis design had been reliable and the engineers already knew how to improve it even before the theories were proven over testing especially all the improvements needed to make the frame head construction stronger. The W30 chassis would not see any radical changes compared to the V3. The E – Motor (flat four) was performing well and it was decided that this was the way ahead, the transmissions caused no problems and the suspension systems were proving reliable too.

Just like with the previous Volkswagen prototypes the task to build the bodies of the W30 went to Daimler-Benz (DB). In September 1936 the work started. One of the bodies was brought forward and was already finished sometime in early December 1936. At the same time the V3 tests were in full swing but as we can see the next generation was already on its way. The first W30 chassis was also finished at around the same time. Unlike all the other 29 cars after that, the first one or “car zero” was finished at the Porsche Villa. After the body was built at the DB factory of Sindelfingen it was photographed in the factory grounds sitting on trestles. After that it was taken to the Porsche Villa and photographed some more right in front of the house. The complete chassis was delivered from another DB factory at Untertürkheim and photos of the chassis were made in front of the house. Later both were united in the Porsche Villa garage and now complete car had the temporary plates IIIA 0426 installed and more photos were again made. Later on the car received its permanent plate IIIA 37000 and it was photographed some more in the garden of the Porsche Villa together with car V3/3.

Body "zero" at the Sindelfingen factory grounds before being delivered to Porsche. Note the body is already mounted on a bare chassis platform.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:30 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

The same body "zero" as delivered to the Porsche villa in Stuttgart. This would be the only car of the W30 series to be assembled in the Porsche garage just the way the previous prototypes had been in 1935 and 1936.
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A chassis is also ready to be united with the new body.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:35 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

The now complete car had the temporary plates IIIA 0426 installed and more photos were again made.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:43 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Several photos of the interior were made as well. These are invaluable for a proper reconstruction of car 26.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:52 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Later on the car received its permanent plate IIIA 37000 and it was photographed some more in the garden of the Porsche Villa together with car that had become known as the V3/3. The V3/3 was a direct predecessor to the W30 as it was an all-steel construction body and many of its design cues were carried over to the W30.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:58 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Thanks for your effort Undis. I'll look forward to the updates.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 8:56 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Wonderful posts, very interesting! I'm seriously looking forward to watching this project move forward.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

René R. wrote:
Wonderful posts, very interesting! I'm seriously looking forward to watching this project move forward.

X2 - these are phenomenal examples showing the "origin of the Species" per se, and as one who sees everything through the lens of D E S I G N - it's fascinating having the original drawings by which this car evolved alongside photos of the prototypes and watching the many details emerge from hazy to sharp focus. Arrow Idea
It's nice to see those interior shots too!


I'll be eagerly watching this thread.
Thanks for sharing Exclamation
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 11:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Thanks so much for sharing all these details and informations. I can’t wait to see the progress here and hopefully witness it in HO in 2021!
Cheers

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:06 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

I really appreciate the time and effort that you put into your posts Undis so everyone can be filled in with miles of information on the early cars!

Can’t wait to see the body unfold! Thanks!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:16 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Very interesting Undis, thank you for starting this topic.

Those historic pictures of these cars are very nice to look at Very Happy
I'll follow this story with a lot of pleassure.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:50 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

This will be an amazing ride.

You have so much amazing photos, Undis, and you write so well, I can't wait for your book complementing the great "Birth of the Beetle" by Chris Barber. While this is currently the VW bible on early cars, your research and posts on every prototype VW/KdF deserves to be printed and saved between book covers for eternity! Put me up for 5 copies!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:59 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

allsidius wrote:
This will be an amazing ride.

You have so much amazing photos, Undis, and you write so well, I can't wait for your book complementing the great "Birth of the Beetle" by Chris Barber. While this is currently the VW bible on early cars, your research and posts on every prototype VW/KdF deserves to be printed and saved between book covers for eternity! Put me up for 5 copies!

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:46 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Thanks guys I really appreciate it. I've always been fascinated by the early stuff and been researching the subject for many years and finding numerous unseen photos but the thing is, I keep learning new facts all along.

The W30 is such a special model and there's still so much more to learn about it. Lucky for all of us these cars were well documented in numerous photos and drawings.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 2:50 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Right after the W30/00 car had been completed and inspected by all sides involved, work on the other 29 cars could start. As per plan all the bodies were constructed at the Daimler Benz factory in Sindelfingen, then transported about 30 Km away to another DB factory in Untertürkheim to be united with chassis and finished ready for driving. The Sindelfingen factory was completing about three bodies per week and as far as can be gathered from the photos, the finished bodies were being collected at the Untertürkheim factory grounds waiting for all the chassis to be finished. It seems that once the bodies and chassis were ready the cars were finished almost at the same time.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:03 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Car in the centre of this topic, W30/26 was one of the other test cars built afterwards. It was tested under various conditions. It was tasked to be driven on “Autobahn, Schwartzwald und Stadt” (Highway, the Black Forest and City). At the end of the official tests it had driven 59,651 Kilometres which was an average figure as many other cars had done much more. Although there is only one known to me photo of car 26, it is a very special car. During July 1937 car 26 was taken to Berlin Technical University which had a wind tunnel. The car was specifically prepared for the test by having its wheel arches covered and modifications made to the windscreen. It can be presumed that the tests were done with the car unaltered and then with the modifications seen in the photo below. The best Cd achieved was 0.435! This was proof that the shape of the Volkswagen was on the right track for providing very good fuel economy. I have not been able to find much more about car 26 except that in his book Chris Barber writes that in a Porsche factory inventory list dated sometime after September 1938 car 26 is no longer recorded, or at least the body was missing, presumably destroyed in an accident. The chassis and engine from car 26 had been fitted with the body of car 8. Something I discovered recently is that car 26 no longer appears on a board listing the cars and drivers on the wall at the Kornwestheim Barracks where the W30 cars were stationed until November 1937 (thanks to a Samba member by the name “IIIA-0426” for this info). What ever was the case it seems the body of car 26 was destroyed at some point but the chassis lived on.

Car 26 undergoing wind tunnel tests.
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This could as well be body 26 destroyed in an accident.
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W30 cars being torn down for checking at the Kornwestheim Barracks. Note the board visible in the upper right corner.
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Closeup of the board shows car 26 missing from the list. This is no later than November 1937.
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After the W30 prototypes had been broken up in 1942 the mechanical parts were reused for various experiments and development. What is even more special is that the chassis of car 26 is the only known chassis to have survived. It was discovered after the war in a junk yard in Austria. It is known that in 1944 Porsche took various cars that he was working on to a new factory site in Gmünd, Austria near his family home. Chassis 26 was very likely one of those. It appears that while in Austria chassis 26 was used with a very early type 62 Kübelwagen body. The distinctive “beak” on the framehead used to support the spare tire has been cut off and hammered down.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 4:38 am    Post subject: Re: Reconstruction of the 1937 W30/26 Reply with quote

Incredibly interesting!
My remark about the board: what makes you think about november 1937? For me, there are dates under the column „Tag“ and we have here a listing between the 15th of April and 18th of July. If so, I would assume this picture being taken in July which explains the absence of #26: it was in Berlin in the wind tunnel. Or am I wrong?

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