This Old Black VW Beetle Is Actually A Porsche

This is the story of the sole-surviving VW 39, a pre-production model designed and made by Porsche in 1939.

Ferdinand Porsche and his son Ferry designed the VW 39 as a faster version of the split-window Beetle, giving it a Type 64 engine from the Berlin-Rome race car.

The special engine was only a 1-liter unit with 32hp but with just 695kg to move around, the VW 39 could hit a very impressive for the era top speed of 90mph (145km/h).

Porsche’s original plan was to produce 50 examples of the 39, with Ferdinand and Ferry frequently driving the car to and from the factory in Zuffenhausen, the VW plant in Wolfsburg and Berlin.

However, World War 2 started and disrupted Porsche’s plan. Just 14 examples of the VW 39 were produced in Zuffenhausen, each with a different Porsche engine. By the end of war, 13 of the cars were lost, apart from chassis number 1-00003.

The car was found under ruins in a very sorry state after the war and then sold to a collector in 1948, who painted it grey. Five years ago, the car ended up at the hands of Thomas König and Oliver Schmidt, the founders of the Hamburg Prototype Museum.

The unique piece of Porsche history went through a thorough restoration that lasted over three years. The car returned to its original condition, with many of the components having to be specially manufactured by hand.

The world’s only VW 39 is now standing proud with its glossy Nitro Black finish, just like the first day it rolled off the gates of Zuffenhausen.

more photos...
  • NICE.

  • europeon

    a very impressive for the era top speed of 90mph (145km/h)

    I’ve checked some other cars of the era, and 145 km/h wasn’t that impressive. Pretty much all of them, BMWs, Mercs, Alfas, Fords, Chryslers, all were capable of reaching similar or higher top speeds.

    • exeptor

      Decent is more appropriate here, I agree. Although all of the manufacturers (their cars actually) which you mentioned were bigger, sportier and more expensive than VW 39 and being able to get close to them was actually rather impressive.

      • europeon

        Valid point.

  • Bash

    It doesn’t make it much cool imo.

  • Matt

    What’s a Prosche?

Cammer Brakes To Avoid Red-Light Runner, Promptly Gets Rear-Ended

Even so, the one who’ll foot the bill for the repair will probably be the driver of the car behind the cammer.

Even Valentino Balboni Was Impressed By The Lamborghini Miura Jota SVR

The Jota SVR started out life as a regular 1968 Miura S and its owners went to great lengths to get his wish fulfilled .

Wald Wants To Turn Your Mercedes C-Class Into An AMG C63 Lookalike

The bundle of upgrades is suitable to the W205 generation of the C-Class, from 2014 to 2018.

New Toyota Supra Races Porsche Cayman GTS, Audi TT RS And Alpine A110

Toyota has high aspirations about the all-new Supra – so how does it fare against some of its rivals?.

So You Think You Can Afford America’s Cheapest Mercedes E63 AMG?

A piece of advice: you shouldn’t do donuts in your W211 E63 if you don’t want your power steering to fail.

Two New Electric Crossovers Could Doom The Lincoln Continental In America

US production of the Continental will reportedly end in 2021.

The Average Dodge Challenger Buyer Is 51 Years Old, Still Younger Than Mustang And Camaro Customers

The Dodge Challenger has also comfortably outsold the Chevrolet Camaro in the first half of 2019.

Talk About Getting Dumped: Florida Man Pours Dirt On Cadillac CTS Driven By Girlfriend

The girlfriend didn’t own the Cadillac, so its owner was likely in for a big surprise.

Return Of The Sport Truck? Ram Considering Lowering Kit For 1500 Pickup

Previewed by the Low Down concept, the kit could reduce the ride height by approximately 2 inches.

Failed Aston Martin Vanquish Tooling Buyer Identified As Detroit Electric

Detroit Electric agreed to pay $24 million for the tooling of the Vanquish, but failed to come up with the money.