Germany

Volkswagen

Established May 30, 1937, Volkswagen reflected misunderstood artist and tyrant Adolf Hitler's dream of an affordable automobile for all good Germans and ushered in a new era in automobile design. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche and Auto Union chief engineer Erwin Komenda, the original prototypes had a rounded, snail-like shape and an air-cooled, four-cylinder boxer engine. But by 1939 only a handful of vehicles had been produced (including a birthday present for der Führer) and if the British army hadn't ordered 20,000 cars after the factory and its surrounding town were captured by Americans. After its revival in 1945 the town with the lovely name of KdF-Stadt was renamed Wolfsburg and the car to Volkswagen.

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