Porsche Type 12

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Reconstruction of Porsche's "Typ 12" concept — a "People's car" design for Zündapp (1932), at the Museum for Industrial Culture, Nuremberg, Germany

The Porsche Type 12 was a German project to develop an "Everyman's automobile" (Auto für Jedermann) for Zündapp. The Type 12 was designed by Ferdinand Porsche in 1931, and prototypes were built in 1932.

It was an early example of the aerodynamic / rounded designs that came somewhat in vogue in the 1930s, developed concurrently with Mercedes-Benz's 120H, and ahead of Tatra's second V570 prototype, and DKW's F2-based, one-off rear-engined streamline prototype — both in 1933.[1] In production cars the style was typified by the 1934 Chrysler and DeSoto Airflow, Toyota's AA copy of these (1936), and the eventual "People's car", the 1938 KdF-Wagen aka the Volkswagen Type 1 or Beetle.
Contemporaneous prototypes with a more extreme focus on aerodynamics were the 1933 Dymaxion car and Karl Schlör's Schlörwagen, developed from 1936 to 1939.[2]

In 1936 Citroen also started work on a cheap, streamlined car with all independent suspension, a platform chassis and no prop-shaft – the 2CV

It featured a five-cylinder radial engine at Zündapp's insistence, rather than the flat four Porsche preferred.[3] It also used a swing axle rear suspension (invented by Edmund Rumpler). In 1932, three prototypes were running.[4] After the Zündapp five cylinder radial, a two-cylinder two-stroke, and Porsche's own flat four boxer were tested. None of the engines performed particularly well and the project was cancelled.[1] All of those cars were lost during World War II,[5] the last in a bombing raid in Stuttgart in 1945.

The Type 12 is typically considered an important early step in the development of the original Volkswagen.

A replica of the Type 12 is on display at the Museum Industrielkultur in Nürnberg.[6]

Right side of the Type 12 Replica


  1. ^ a b DKW Auto-Union Project: DKW's 1933 Rear Engine Streamliner
  2. ^ Christopher, John. The Race for Hitler's X-Planes (The Mill, Gloucestershire: History Press, 2013), p.200.
  3. ^ Christopher, p.200.
  4. ^ "The samba". 2003-08-15. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  5. ^ Christopher, p.200.
  6. ^ Christopher, p.200.


  • Christopher, John. The Race for Hitler's X-Planes. The Mill, Gloucestershire: History Press, 2013.