The early automotive career of Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche included work with Austro-Daimler and Mercedes-Benz before engineering the interwar era's rear-engine creations, including the Auto Union race cars and the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle. In September of 1938, while working as a consultant for the state-run Volkswagen, Prof. Dr. Porsche proposed a sports car version of the Beetle, then known as the KdF-Wagen. Porsche design drawings included room for three different displacements, with the engine placed in a mid/rear position within the car, just ahead of the rear axle. Porsche's sports car, dubbed the Type 114, was rejected by the Deutsche Arbeitsfront board, and the idea was placed on a back burner.
Several versions of the KdF had been built, including the military-grade Kübelwagen and Schwimmwagen. Porsche was commissioned once again, this time to design a similar solution that would address the Beetle's poorly performing narrow tires. The proposed sports car was to be the tenth different body design fitted to the KdF's Type 60 chassis. Thus, it received the Type 60K10 designation, though Porsche internally classified the project as the Type 64.
Erwin Komenda was a designer who would contribute to the design of the bodies for the Beetle and later, various Porsche sports cars. Under Komenda's supervision, Karl Froelich drafted formal plans that were then developed into a wooden scale model. The design was sent to the Stuttgart University where it was wind-tunnel tested by Josef Mickl.
The Type 64 was the design precursor to the post-war production model. The profile for the Type 115 and Type 64 are similar and recognizable as the basis of the Gmünd 356 coupe that followed in the post-War era. Both drawings, however, remained design ideas until the announcement in the spring of 1939 of a 940-mile road race from Berlin to Rome. Dr. Porsche was received an order from the National Socialist Motor Corps (NSKK) to produce three Sport KdF-Wagen examples to contest the race.
Work began on the Type 64, using many mechanical sourced from the 38 prototype series. Although not known for sure, it is believed the Reutter Karosserie provided the alloy coachwork. Design features included a split windshield, sliding-door windows, a dual spare-wheel compartment under the front trunk lid, and wheels spats over all four wheels. Inside there was a narrow two-seat cockpit that was positioned ahead of the 985cc Volkswagen engine.
The chassis used the KdF-Wagen's basic layout of a steel-pressed back, then further modified by using rectangular tubular frames made of aircraft-gauge duralumin. A floor pan and underbody comprised of lightweight alloy was welded to these frames. The lightweight was then fastened to the outer skin using rivets.
The engine was fitted with dual Solex carburetors, higher compression, and larger valves, helping to produce upwards of 40 horsepower, which was nearly double the standard factory output.
The first example was completed by August of 1939, just a month before the outbreak of World War II. The first completed Type 64, chassis number 38/41, was appropriated by Dr. Bodo Lafferentz, the head of the German Labour Front. Unfortunately, he was involved in an accident with the car a short time later. Despite the race's cancellation, Ferry Porsche insisted on building the other two vehicles, primarily for testing and experimentation purposes. Three months later, the second of the proposed three examples was complete. Near the end of the war, this car was commandeered by members of the U.S. Seventh Army's 'Rainbow' division, who cut off the roof and drove it as a cabriolet until its engine blew. It was then abandoned and left as scrap.
The third body was completed in June of 1940 but was not fitted onto a chassis. After Lafferentz's accident in the first car, 38/41 was repaired at Porsche and may have received the third body. Either way, 38/41 was repaired and remains at the only remaining example of the three planned cars. by Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2019
Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Porsche used this Type 64, chassis number 38/41, during the war as he traveled around Germany where he was often chauffeured by his driver, Josef Goldinger. When Dr. Porsche's workshop was moved to Gmünd, Austria to avoid the Alli....[continue reading]
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