Chapter 12Creative Development

An idea can turn to dust or magic depending on the talent that rubs against it.’

Bill Bernbach

The original Volkswagen Beetle was designed by Porsche and funded by Hitler. Ferdinand Porsche was an early pioneer in the automotive industry. His design for a revolutionary electric car won him the Grand Prix at the Paris Exposition in 1900. He held a number of top jobs at Austro-Daimler and then in 1931 he formed his own consulting firm, the Porsche Bureau. His dream was to produce a ‘people's car’ (in German, a volkswagen). In 1933 he impressed the new German chancellor with his ideas, and he was offered finance on the condition that the car be sold for no more than 1,000 marks (a suitably affordable sum for a people's car). The result was a car unlike any other, with an engine mounted over the back wheels rather than the front to improve traction, and cooled by air rather than water, so it would not boil or freeze. In 1937 the car was ready, but it had to wait as the VW factory was converted to war production. When the war was over the British army took over the bombed-out VW plant and offered the factory to a number of motor manufacturers. Ernest Breech, he chairman of the Ford company, wrote back to Henry Ford saying: ‘I don't think what we're being offered here is worth a damn’.1 This proved to be ironic. The Model T Ford is widely recognized as the first ‘people's car’. Just over 15 million Model Ts had been produced, more than any other car ...

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