The renowned performance car stemming from the Volkswagen Beetle is the Porsche 356. However, before the Porsche, an unexpected source, the Luftwaffe, produced another—the ‘courier car.’ This vehicle was based on the original Volkswagen, the KdF Wagen Typ 60, in production from 1937 to 1944. The Luftwaffe sought a swift, small courier vehicle that was light, reliable, cost-effective, and easy to maintain. Named after its German designer, Kurt C Volkhart, and featuring a low-drag body by Baron R König von Fachsenfeld, the car served the Luftwaffe’s needs.
Kurt Volkhart, born in 1890, had a history of innovative designs, including the first rocket car for Opel in 1928. His interest in aerodynamics led to the concept of a small, affordable sports car—the two-seater V1. With a rear-mounted 1,172cc engine producing 32bhp, the V1 boasted a claimed drag coefficient of 0.165, allowing speeds up to 138km/h (85.7mph). Though modern recalculations adjusted the coefficient, the V2, tested in Volkswagen’s wind tunnel in 2013, achieved an impressive 0.216.
Despite wartime interruptions, Volkhart’s project resurfaced in 1947 with support from Sagitta. The new V2, based on a Volkswagen chassis Volkhart had acquired during the war, accommodated 4/5 passengers. However, it never reached series production, partly due to Volkswagen’s refusal to supply chassis. The aluminium body’s construction was carried out by Helmut Fuchs in Niederwenningern, Ruhr, with additional work by Hans Daum’s body shop.