Cars during the World War II and Nazi-era -- plus rare collectibles, like the cars used by the Nazi leaders.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: WWII Jeeps, Vintage Military Vehicles, Battle Tanks.
Volkswagen`s 75th anniversary shadowed by Hitler celebration
Carmaker Volkswagen is not keen on celebrating the 75th birthday of its German hometown of Wolfsburg because of the long shadow cast by Adolf Hitler there. "It was all just a bit of Nazi propaganda," a spokesman for the carmaker said, referring to the event 75 years ago when the Nazi leader laid the foundation stone for a factory that would build the `Kraft-durch-Freude` (KdF) (Strength through Joy) automobile that went on to conquer the world as "the People`s Car". By contrast, Wolfsburg`s municipal authorities see cause for celebration, even if they have earmarked July 1 as the big day because that was when, in 1938 the official decree was signed marking the foundation of the `Town of the KdF car.` Barely 900 people lived there then. Now more than 120,000 `Wolfsburgers` are set to celebrate their town`s 75th anniversary.
Auto dealer's shock at discovering vintage Mercedes he bought from eBay was built for high ranking Nazis
When a New Jersey auto dealer called up Mercedes to order parts for a vintage car he was repairing, they asked for the vehicle's serial number. Zenop Tuncer was shocked to hear the reply: "That's Hitler's car." The 1942 Mercedes 320 Cabriolet D was part of a fleet built for senior officers of the Third Reich. The model - which ended up being repaired in Edgewater, New Jersey - probably belonged to one of his generals. Daibes bought it for $180,000 - but when he saw the unusual 4-door convertible, he assumed it must be a fake. However, Mercedes confirmed that the bizarre car was genuine, and was one of just 8 made specially for Nazi officials.
The Extraordinary Life of Josef Ganz - the Jewish engineer behind Hitler's Volkswagen by Paul Schilperoord
It seems that Adolf Hitler stole the idea for the iconic Volkswagen Beetle from a Jewish engineer - and had him written out of history. The Nazi leader has always been given credit for sketching out the concept for the car in a meeting with car designer Ferdinand Porsche in 1935. His idea for the Volkswagen - or 'people's car' - is seen by many as his only worthwhile achievement. But Paul Schilperoord's book changes that. Hitler stipulated that the vehicle would have four seats, an air-cooled engine and cost no more than 1,000 Reichsmarks, the exact price that Ganz said his car - called the Maikaefer, or May Bug - would cost.
Renault heirs challenge 1945 car firm's nationalisation after Louis Renault had been jailed for alleged collaboration with the Nazis
Heirs of the founder of the French car company Renault have demanded in court compensation for the nationalisation of the firm after World War II. The car maker was nationalised in 1945 after the death of Louis Renault, who had been jailed without trial for alleged collaboration with the Nazis. During the Nazi occupation the firm was placed under German control and used to make equipment for German forces.
Family dynasty behind BMW admits to using 50,000 slave labourers during Nazi era
The dynasty behind the BMW luxury car marker has finally admitted using slave labour, seizing Jewish firms ('Aryanisation') and doing business with the highest echelons of the Nazi party. Gabriele Quandt, whose grandfather Guenther employed 50,000 forced labourers in his arms factories, producing rifles, artillery and U-boat batteries, said it was 'wrong' for the family to ignore its Nazi past. He spoke out after an in-depth study by historian Joachim Scholtyseck, commissioned by the family, that concluded Guenther Quandt and his son Herbert were responsible for numerous Nazi injustices.
History of the Volkswagen: part one 1933-1940
Adolf Hitler's first major public function as Chancellor of Germany was the opening of the 1933 Berlin Motor Show on 11 February. He had been in the job less than a fortnight and he used the speech to announce his intention to support production of a People's Car. Hitler wanted a car design which presented the Third Reich as futuristic and cutting edge.
Over 800 replies in "Soft Skin Vehicle Photo Repository" thread at Axis History Forum
"Soft Skin Vehicle Photo Repository" thread at Axis History Forum currently has over 800 replies and hundreds of photographs (cars, trucks, and some rarer constructions).
Aerodinamica Spider - a rare 1937 Alfa Romeo considered a myth - on show in Melbourne, Australia
A 1937 Alfa Romeo prototype designed to challenge German carmakers Auto Union and Daimler-Benz is to go on show in Melbourne. Little has been known about the Aerodinamica Spider (AKA Aerospider) which Italian dictator Benito Mussolini hoped would restore Italy's fading fortunes on the racetrack in the 1930s. The Aerodinamica Spider was designed by Alfa Romeo chief engineer Vittorio Jano and built in secret in Hungary 2 years before WWII. "The Alfa Aerospider has a remarkable history. It even has the bullet holes to prove it. It was long considered a myth until it was found 10 years ago by ... George Gebhart," said Classic Motor Show spokesman Paul Mathers.
Tourists soon able to ride in a 1939 Mercedes-Benz Hitler gave to the Nepal's king (Article no longer available from the original source)
A car, allegedly a gift from Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler to a Nepalese king, will be restored and used to drive tourists around the grounds of a palace museum. The 1939 Mercedes-Benz was presented by the Nazi leader to King Tribhuvan, grandfather of Nepal's last King Gyanendra. The Mercedes-Benz has been stored at an old palace garage for over 5 years - during which period the doors, seats and hood were damaged.
Motor dealer discovered Mercedes 540K Special Roadster identical to the model built for Hermann Goering
A car dealer has discovered a Nazi car which could be worth a $20 million in a garage in Russia. Nick Szkiler, who owns the Classic & Sportscar Centre in UK, was told the Mercedes 540K Special Roadster, one of only 26 ever made, had been discovered rusting away in the garage. The car was built in 1942 by Third Reich's premier coachbuilders, Erdmann and Rossi. The car was built with full body armour, identical to the model built for Luftwaffe boss Hermann Goering. That vehicle, nicknamed Blue Goose, was seized by US troops in 1945 and is now thought to be the most famous classic car in history.
Hitler's Mercedes tracked down by a German antique car dealer for Russia billionaire
A Russian investor is about to pay millions for a Mercedes limousine thought to have carried Adolf Hitler. The classic car expert who tracked it down, Michael Fröhlich, has sold John Lennon's Mercedes 600, Marlene Dietrich's Rolls Royce Cabriolet and Charlie Chaplin's Bentley S3 in his time but this is his most unusual deal yet: a 5-ton armoured limousine that was used by Adolf Hitler. He tracked down the vehicle to a car collector in northern Germany. The black Mercedes 770A Kompressor delivered in 1935 has changed owners frequently in recent years - because the previous owners all died - and is sold together with 5 other vehicles of the same rare model.
The dark pre-history of Porsche - Battle tanks and off-road military vehicles for the Nazis
Officially, history began for Porsche in 1950. But the company existed before that as a supplier for Adolf Hitler's war machine - gaining much more from its Nazi ties than it has admitted to. Pass the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart and continue across Porsche Square, you'll come to a factory gate. Behind it stands a barrack with the faded lettering "Reutter" - a company which once provided Porsche with its first car bodies. Forced laborer Jan Karolczak worked for the automobile manufacturer starting in 1942. At the time, Porsche was not making sports cars, just battle tanks and off-road military vehicles.
Adolf Hitler copied the design of Volkswagen Beetle from a Jewish engineer
Historian Paul Schilperoord claims in his book: Het Ware Verhaal van de Kever (The True Story of the Beetle) that Ferdinand Porsche's iconic Beetle - commissioned by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler - could have been copied from a design by Jewish engineer Josef Ganz. "In 1929, Josef Ganz started contacting German motorcycle manufacturers for collaboration to build a Volkswagen prototype. This resulted in a first prototype built at Ardie in 1930 and a second one completed at Adler in May 1931, which was nicknamed the Maikäfer (May-Beetle). Even the name Volkswagen was originally Ganz's."
Both Volkswagen and Porsche had close links with the Third Reich
Ferdinand Porsche designed the "people's car," the VW Beetle, in 1934. Adolf Hitler was so pleased he called him "brilliant." Without Porsche - who served Fuehrer during World War II as the head of his tank commission - neither Volkswagen nor Porsche would exist today. The man who would have a huge influence on German car-making completed his apprenticeship in his father's mechanical shop. In WWI he designed aircraft engines for the army of the Austrian emperor and tractors for heavy artillery. In 1934 Hitler asked the auto industry to create a "suitable small car." At the 1935 German auto show Hitler was full of praise for the winner: Ferdinand Porsche.
1939 Auto Union D-Type, Grand Prix car of Hitler's favourite driver, for sale
Called the motorsport equivalent of the "Holy Grail", the 1939 Auto Union D-Type is the only model of its kind to survive intact. Capable of exceeding 200mph, the 485bhp supercar was driven by Hans Stuck, one of an elite group of racers revered by many in Third Reich. As war loomed in 1939, he drove the car to place finishes in the EifelRennen race at Nürburg and the French Grand Prix at Reims-Gueux. In 1933, after driving for Austro-Daimler, Stuck and car pioneer Ferdinand Porsche wanted Adolf Hitler, the newly-elected Chancellor, to support the new company Auto Union, which became Audi. Hitler, keen to showcase Nazi Germany's technical supremacy, agreed.
If the car was symbolic of freedom in the USA, what did it mean in the USSR
"We are a class on wheels, the most revolutionary class in history... and a class that will travel to socialism in the automobile," stated Valerian Osinsky (top official in Gosplan, the State Planning Commission) in 1929. He is one of the key figures in "Cars for Comrades", Lewis H. Siegelbaum's chronicle of the automobilism in the USSR. Osinsky made a road trip across the US in 1925, and he led a journey across the USSR in 1929 to see which model might be best adapted for the USSR's dismal roads. Imperial Russia's auto industry was cut off by the October Revolution. By 1926, Automobile Factory No 1 was producing 366 "Prombon S24–40" cars (US made 4 million).
Mercedes Benz 290-C once owned by a officer of SS Panzer division
Every antique car has a story, but the history of a 1934 Mercedes Benz 290-C owned by Carroll Hutton reads more like a WWII novel. Built in Stuttgart, the car was bought by Franz Schallweg, who served as an officer in a German infantry unit attached to an SS Panzer division. He was sent to the Russian front, and took the car with him to the Leningrad area during Operation Barbarossa. In 1943 the tide of the war turned in favor of the Russians. Near Lviv in Ukraine, the Mercedes' engine broke down, so Schallweg traded his Mercedes for an Ukrainian farmer's motorcycle and resumed his journey.
Controversy: Adolf Hitler's car was taken to India, and is not in palace in Nepal
A Mercedes gifted by Adolf Hitler to ousted King Gyanendra's grandfather is not in Narayanhiti place as claimed by Nepal officials but was moved to India in 1943, a former Rana PM's daughter has claimed. The Nazi dictator had donated olive-green Daimler-Benz not to King Tribhuvan, but to Rana dynasty PM Juddha Shumsher Rana in 1939 to win the Gorkha soldiers to his side during the the Second World War, says Juddha Shumsher's only surviving daughter Janak Rajya Laxmi Shah. Shah explained that her father left to settle in Dehradun, India in 1945 and took the Hitler's car with him.
1939 Mercedes Benz gifted by Adolf Hitler to Nepal king awaits new home
A 1939 Mercedes Benz gifted by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler to Nepali King Tribhuva is likely to be exhibited in a palace museum after Nepal abolished the 239-year-old monarchy and ousted the current King, Gyanendra. The vintage car is rusting at Narayanhiti palace grounds, where it has lain for over 3 years, because an engineering college - which was using it as a model to educate mechanics - doesn't have spare parts to restore it. In 1940 the car was carried by labourers for days from Nepal's southern plains to Kathmandu, because the mountainous country had no roads.
Dictator Benito Mussolini's car, Pescara Spyder, sells for record
A classic sports car, owned by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, has been sold for a record price for the model of vehicle. The 1935 2-seater Pescara Spyder, only 60 were made, got just a few bids when it went under the hammer in Feb. 2008, and the owner chose not to sell. A private buyer has now purchased it for £550,000. Damian Jones said: "It's not really your average dictator's car. It didn't have armour plating or bullet-proof glass." The vehicle was built in 1935 and archive footage shows the dictator saluting crowds as he stands in the passenger seat.
Replica of 1940s Czech "snow car" going to American museum
A replica of the Czech made Tatra aero sledge, made for the Germans during World War II, has been made for a American collector. The little car with skis instead of wheels and a propeller at the back was planned to serve the Wehrmacht in Russia. The new replica of the Tatra V 855 aero sledge is based on the only existing model, owned by the Tatra Technical Museum. The origin of the unique snow vehicle is not clear. "Around 1941 the German Army wanted to provide their units, especially the reconnaissance units... [with] equipment within their project Drang nach Osten, or Expansion to the East."
Alfa Romeo sports car of Benito Mussolini may fetch £1m
An Alfa Romeo sports car that belonged to Benito Mussolini is awaited to get £1 million at auction. Mussolini had the 100mph dark red 2-seater 6C 2300 Pescara Spyder built in 1935. He had the engine tuned from 68bhp to 95bhp and it was driven in the 1936 Mille Miglia, the road endurance race round Italy, by Mussolini`s chauffeur, the former Alfa Romeo test driver Ercole Boratto. The auctioneer H&H Classic Auctions has laid an estimate of £600,000-£800,000 on the car.
1937 Autobahn Cruiser: Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster
Coach-built 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster was recently sold at auction for over $2.5 million. Upping the ante in the 1930s horsepower race, Mercedes-Benz designers introduced the 8-cylinder 500K model in 1934. The supercharger boosted power from 100hp to 160hp, and the external exhausts set the style that would carry the company through the decade. By 1940, 419 cars had been built in 11 body styles. This 540K roadster was constructed by the Mayfair Carriage Company in London. Records indicate the chassis was shipped Oct. 7, 1936 to the factory outlet in Paris - an odd destination for a right-hand-drive car that would later get an English body.
10th Exhibition of Vintage Cars in Moscow
On October 19-22 Ilya Sorokin`s X Oldtimer-Gallery takes place in Moscow. Amongst the wheeled mechanisms presented at the spacious hall the visitors can see a "white crow", a small military boat. This is a relic of WWII: a boat from the fascist cruiser Emden that was bombed by the allies in April 1945. The boat that survived the bombardment was brought to the USSR as a trophy. The visitors can also see several rare USSR cars. Amongst them is a pick-up truck GAZ-415, produced in limited quantities up to 1941. The majority of these cars were destroyed during World War II.
Amphibious Landing Vehicles of World War Two
Amphibious vehicles were a great asset in World War II for many reasons. A couple of the amphibious vehicles that were produced and that were popular during WWII are the Ford GPA, and the Volkswagen Schwimmwagen. One of the best designed amphibious automobile was the Volkswagen Type 166 - This 4-wheel drive could actually be driven in water. Not only is it known as the single most produced amphibious car but it also was very successful for use by the Germans. The Ford GPA was a later model from the Ford GPW Jeep - many of them sank because of the weight when any large waves happened to come by.
D-Day "time capsule" found in vintage car
A "time capsule", An Allied banknote issued on the eve of the landings and a packet of Navy Cut cigarettes, has been found in a vintage yellow 1926 Citroen B12 Bolangerie hidden away during the Nazi occupation of France. Llangollen Motor Museum owner Gwilym Owen said he just started restoring the roof lining when the items fell out. Allied troops taking part in the D-Day landing were issued with a number of social survival items, including the 5-franc note (known as occupation money) and cigarettes. "People hid vehicles and valuables because they would have been commandeered by the Germans."
No buyer for world's most valuable car, Hitler-era German race car
After a sale was postponed to answer questions about the car's racing history, a rare 1939 German racing car expected to fetch the highest price on record for any automobile did not find a buyer. The results of the investigation revealed that the car did not have the exact history that was believed. The car, an Auto Union-Grand Prix V12, is one of 5 remaining Auto Union D-Types. D-type cars won several Grand Prix races in Europe. This car was believed to be the one that won a Grand Prix race in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, the last race held in Europe until after the war. In fact, it was not. The car did race on the Nurburgring track in 1939, finishing in 5th place.
Rare 1939 German race car sale back on
The auction of a rare 1939 German race car, which had been postponed pending a probe into the car's history, is back on. The car did not have the same history that was believed, but that is not expected to alter its value. The car, an Auto Union-Grand Prix V12, is one of 5 remaining "Auto Union D-Types" - valued at more than $12 million. In 1933 Adolf Hitler offered 500,000 reichmarks to design a race car to show off the nation's technological prowess. Originally, Mercedes-Benz got the nod. But Ferdinand Porsche, an engineer working with Auto Union, was able to get some of that to build a revolutionary car he had designed.
A WWII Jeep - Memorabilia and military vehicles (Article no longer available from the original source)
Paul Dooling spends many of his hours toiling away in his garage, or what he calls his "clubhouse" - for big boys that's steeped in history and filled with memorabilia from World War II: including a rebuilt Army Jeep, old military magazines and newspapers, even a parachute that was used for carrier pigeons. I paid $4,000 for the Jeep. I had another one that I put together and last year sold it for $11,000. I also got this ammunition trailer that the Marines used in the Pacific in Iwo Jima in Kings Park. And when I was a mechanic, some of my customers gave me their WWII uniforms and some of the stuff in the trailer.
Sale of 1939 Hitler-era German race car postponed
The auction of a rare 1939 German race car, an Auto Union-Grand Prix V12, which had been expected to command the highest price ever paid for any automobile at auction, has been postponed, the Christie said. The auction had been scheduled to take place on Feb. 17, and the car was expected to sell for as much as $12 million. A statement said there would be further exploration into the car's race history, in collaboration with Audi Tradition. In 1933, after becoming chancellor of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler offered 500,000 reichmarks to design a race car to show off the nation's technological prowess.
Nazi-era vehicle: Rare race car built under Hitler up for auction
A rare German racing car was displayed for the first time as auctioneers predicted it would become the world's most expensive car to be sold at auction. The grand prix car, a 1939 Auto Union D-Type racer and one of only 5 originals left from the Auto Union series built in Nazi Germany 1933-1939, was expected to fetch $12-$15 million. In 1933, the Nazi Regime under Adolf Hitler paid 500,000 reichmarks to Mercedes and Auto Union to develop revolutionary racing cars. The car won the 1939 French Grand Prix. Historian Thomas Erdmann said the car was the last of its type in the series and there were only 2 C-Types and 3 D-Types left.
General Motors and Führer worship: Hitler's carmaker - Part II (Article no longer available from the original source)
GM knew what was happening in Nazi Germany. Nonetheless, GM and Third Reich began a strategic relationship. Nazi Germany needed to rise above the horse-drawn divisions. GM Opel built the 3-ton truck named "Blitz" for the Blitzkrieg. In 1937, 17% of Blitz trucks were sold directly to the Nazi military, increasing to 29% in 1938. The Wehrmacht soon became Opel's No. 1 customer by far. GM Opel participated in cultic Fuhrer worship as a part of its daily corporate ethic. Great swastika-bedecked company events were commonplace, as Nazi gauleiters spurred employees to work hard for the Fuhrer and his Thousand-Year Reich.
How General Motors mobilized Adolf Hitler's Third Reich
May 2, 1934, after practicing his Sieg Heil in front of a mirror, president of the General Motors Overseas James D. Mooney went to meet Adolf Hitler in his Chancellery. As he traversed the long approach to Hitler´s desk, he began to pump his arm in a stern-faced Sieg Heil. But the Fuhrer surprised him by getting up from his desk and meeting Mooney halfway, with a handshake. GM and Opel were indispensable cogs in the Third Reich´s rearmament juggernaut. The documentation reveals that while General Motors was mobilizing the Third Reich, GM was undermining the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt and America´s electric mass transit.
75 Years of Porsche Engineering Services: Cars and Panzers
On 25 April 1931 Ferdinand Porsche founded an Engineering Office. The Type 64 racing car built in 1938/39 is the original ancestor of all sports cars to follow from Porsche in the decades to come. 1939 Porsche was requested by the German Army to develop a medium-weight battle tank, but work was discontinued due to greater demand for heavier tanks. So developing the Tank 101 "Tiger", Porsche KG submitted its bid to the Army Armament for the building of a tank in the weight category above 50 tonnes. In 1942 Porsche got the assignment to build a very heavy armoured car - known as the Tank 205 "Maus", but only two prototypes were built.
For sale: Car given by Mussolini to Hitler's Third Reich (Article no longer available from the original source)
Two history-laden cars will be auctioned, including the only official vehicle used by the two presidents of France's post WWII fourth republic and a car given by Mussolini to Hitler's Third Reich. Lovingly maintained and in perfect working order is a 1938 Lancia Astura, one of four vehicles ordered by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini as gifts for Germany's Third Reich government. This car was used by Magda, wife of Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister, who sent it to Mercedes to have the original cream-coloured interior changed to red.
Hitler's affection gives headaches to Mercedes Benz
Hitler's love affair with his Mercedes is giving headaches to the top brass at Daimler Benz - they don't like to be associated with him even though it's a historical fact that the Fuhrer used a Mercedes. Gary Zimet has come in possession of two contracts Hitler entered with the automobile giant, one recording his purchase of a car in 1930 and the other turning over the car to the Nazi Party. The documents however, does not include footage of the Third Reich, though Nazi leaders including Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, who was captured in a bulletproof Mercedes at the end of World War II by US forces used Benzes.
Mussolini - Car for sale and recent evaluations
Mussolini's 1939 Lancia Astura will be auctioned for charity. In recent years some historians have suggested that Mussolini was a relatively Pleasant dictator whose achievements were overshadowed by his errors. The Villa Torlonia on Via Nomentana in Rome, is being restored by Rome city council as a museum. The project has been backed by Romano Mussolini, 78, who recently published an affectionate memoir of his father. The Duce`s villa on Lake Garda is now a luxury hotel, and in July his villa at Riccione, on the Adriatic Coast, opened as as a museum after a restoration costing £680,000.