Ferdinand Porsche's Hot-Rod 1939 Beetle Had Just 32 Horsepower

The sole survivor of fourteen pre-production KdF-Wagens originally equipped with a more powerful Porsche-designed engine, has just been restored.

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Porsche

The first few Porsche-designed Beetle predecessors, called KdF-Wagens, were built in 1938, and before the War took complete priority, Ferdinand Porsche also commissioned fifty high-speed variants, powered by 's hotter flat-four engine.

The Volkswagen plant in Fallersleben only managed to complete fourteen.

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The Berlin-Rome Porsche Type 64 in 1939 near Stuttgart.
Porsche

Only one of those "nitro black" KdF-Wagens survived through the following decades, but chassis #100003 now looks better than ever thanks to Porsche Classic's restoration efforts. With its 986cc engine producing 32 horsepower on a good day, "VW 39" is 1532 lbs of simplicity with a top speed of 90 miles per hour.

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Porsche

With a target speed of 466 mph (yes, you read that correctly), Ferdinand Porsche's other 1939 creation, the Mercedes-Benz T80 record car, was supposed to be much faster than this Beetle. However, the T80 project got shelved after the war begun on September 1, 1939, which ultimately made "VW 39" the more successful speed machine of the pair.

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