June 22: Ferdinand Porsche agrees to build what would become the VW Beetle, on this date in 1934

June 22, 2012

Ferdinand Porsche was such a sought-after engineer in the years before World War II that the Soviet Union offered him the role of chief vehicle designer for the entire nation. He said no thanks to that gig, but on this date in 1934, Porsche did agree with the German automotive authority, under a request from Adolf Hitler, to build three prototype "people's cars" -- volks wagen -- that German workers might be able to afford in a time of high inflation. The war kept his designs from ever entering production, and afterwards were even offered to foreign countries as reparations, but no one took them. Today, Volkswagen is one of the world's largest automakers.