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  • The French cousin. | 26/07/2004

    In the month of August 1938, internal notes had already begun to circulate in the heart of the Renault.

    Factories, on the subject of a new German automobile. During the Berlin Car Show in February 1939, Charles Edmond Serre and Louis Renault were very interested in the three first models from the KDF,
    (Karft Durch Freude), Strength through Joy - the future Beetle, was especially noticed due to its numerous innovations, created by the engineer Ferdinand Porsche and all of his background team.However, the little technical data that was available on the subject did not permit extensive knowledge of this popular German car, with the exeption of the most obvious character traits which have, on certain points, already served as a point of reference from which to model the future 4CV.

    Today,in comparison, development has to be undertaken quickly, competently, and above all with discretion. But the story does not stop there; in 1946, Ferdinand Porsche, his son Ferry and his Brother-in-Law Anton Piëch were imprisoned in Dijon, in France (under suspicion of War Crimes). Ferry was released almost straight-away.

    In March 1946, Robert Lacoste was remplaced as Minister for Insustrial Production, by Marcel Paul, a Communist MP. One of his first decisions was to impose, on the morning of the 6th May 1946, on Pierre Lefaucheux (this man was a front-line member of the Resistance, a head of the Paris branch of the FFI, and had been CEO of Renault factories since the 6th of October 1944). The Professor Porsche and his Brother-in-Law Anton Piëch were taken during a Saturday night to the Galice villa, where they were imprisoned, and were in line for being convicted as Was Criminals. The Minister wished that they be made to work under surveillance, he also wanted to use the experienced advice acquired by the engineer Porsche, on the 4CV project, so that they could aid in the the evolution of the Automotive Industry and in the construction of factories.

    Having found refuge after the end of the hostilities in Gmund on Carinthie in South Austria, where he had been captured by the Allies, Ferdinand Porsche was on the list of War Criminals. He was accused of certain brutalities and deportations during his period in the Peugeot factories of Montbéliard where he had been a Comissioner during the German Occupation of France. It did not appear that he had ever had a political conscience, and indeed, it seemed as though he had never been interested in anything other than technical matters.

    Pierre Lefaucheux was visibly unhappy about the imposition of the Professor Porsche in his business, and he only accepted the matter under force and constraint. The German constructor was considerably more advanced on background techniques, and his advice came to be regarded as precious; but he was, at that moment, 71 years old, and despite being ill and tired, participated in numerous interviews in the course of his work; sessions in the 'Galice' villa, with the aid of the Interpreter: Ernst-Metzmaïer.

    It was only on the 17th of September 1946 that Porsche and Piëch could test and judge the 4CV - only 5 examples existed, and by misfortune, one of which had been in an accident. P.Lefaucheux knew that the German Engineer could only test the litle Renault at a very late stage in its development, and that in any case, this was too late to modify anything.

    From this highly surveilled visit, the 21st of September 1946, report of the various tests of which one (rapidly constructed at the end of August), bearing the number 5, in the Paris area; amongst other observations, Porsche wrote the following: We consider that the 4CV range can be launched in one year s time, and that its low fuel consumtion creates the possibility of interesting sales in France and in Europe. Nevertheless, we regret that the technical relationships, such as those of the last few weeks, were not created earlier, as that has limited our options to propose industrial improvements to the car with the rear-engine.It was the lack of advance of the tools for the series which now left it impossible to perform further modifications or rectifications, as far as I have been able to note (namely the stamping of sheets).

    On the 28th November 1946, Marcel Paul left the Government, and on the 27th of January 1947, Pierre Lefaucheux considered himself free from his obligations, and freed himself from Ferdinand Porsche and his Brother-in-Law Anton Piëch; who stayed in the 'Galice' villa until the end of January 1947.

    They left in the greatest secrecy, the same fashion as they had arrived, in order to be once again incarcerated in Dijon prison; where they would be freed during the Summer of 1947, after the transfer of Bail monies totaling 1,000,000 Francs, which Ferry Porsche had made by selling the plans to a Grand Prix car with a central engine, to the Italian Piero Dusio, who created the Car Manufacturer Cisitalia.
    Ferdinand Porsche returned to Gmünd, and on his return trip, was able to pass the first Beetles which started to carve across the German roads.
    A new career was created as Concept Engineer, which would continue to conceive the legendary sports-car which would forever bear his name.

    Here is my 4cv 1947 It is the oldest in France you will also find my 1951 Grand Luxe...

  • A little trip in novembre to the volkswagen'land |05/11/2003

    A surprising discovery ! after 378 Km, finally a smile on my face !!!

    An old warehouse with two 356's porsches, a PréA 1954 and a 1961.

    But the best part was two VW convertibles, a 1950 Karmann and a 1951

    To your appreciation ...