Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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Did an Obscure Beetle Predecessor Influence the Development of the Jeep?

Posted May 06, 2021 1:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: jeep volkswagen

Two of the most successful vehicles to come out of World War II - the Jeep and the Volkswagen - have many similar traits. Both were lightweight, simple and inexpensive despite their unconventional drivetrains. Both sprang from convoluted origins that in later decades led to contentious litigation, in no small part due to the economic potential of their trademarks. And, both ultimately may have been influenced by one little-known inventor who had very specific ideas about how cars should be built.

Thanks to author Paul Schilperoord's efforts to document the life and accomplishments of Josef Ganz, we already know much about how Ganz's work on swing-axle, mid-engine, backbone-chassis, independent-suspension automobiles ultimately laid the groundwork for Ferdinand Porsche's Volkswagen design.

Briefly, Ganz, a Hungarian Jew, emigrated to Germany as a teen, studied mechanical engineering, became editor-in-chief of a magazine that criticized conventional automotive design, and in the late Twenties decided to show those carmakers how they should build cars. After first approaching Zündapp, he took his designs and design philosophy to Ardie, Adler, Daimler-Benz, BMW and Standard, leaving behind a trail of prototypes. Early Thirties promotional materials even described one of those prototypes - the Standard Superior, which caught Hitler's eye at the 1933 Berlin automobile show - as a "Volkswagen."

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