Category: Automakers

Retro. To The Motor In The Stern

2023
Video: Retro. To The Motor In The Stern
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Retro. To The Motor In The Stern
Retro. To The Motor In The Stern
Anonim

A nice rounded body hid a light tubular spinal frame, independent suspension and an engine … located at the rear. Before the debut of the production CDF, later called Volkswagen, there were almost six years left, and the amazing car that went on sale in early 1934 was called the Mercedes-Benz 130N (H - heckmotor, engine in the stern).

The conceptual similarities between this model and the Volkswagen, which Ferdinand Porsche worked on at the beginning of the thirties, have repeatedly raised the question among historians: did the designers spy on each other? And who was the first in the "feed" automotive industry? It was as if conspiring that pacifier machines were busy then not only in Stuttgart …

After the earliest crews, the engines of which, for the sake of simplicity of layout, were placed closer to the driving rear wheels, perhaps the engineer Edmund Rumpler discovered a new era of rear-engine engines (ЗР, 1998, No. 6). True, his “Tropfenvagen” with an original streamlined body, which debuted in a small run in 1921, was poorly managed, unreliable and inglorious went down in history.

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Far more successful was Ganomag-2/10 PS, created by Karl Polish and Fedilius Behler. The compact car, nicknamed for the simple body and interior of the Kommissbrot (soldier’s bread), was armed with a single-cylinder 10-horsepower engine, but was not liked by the poor Germans during the years of economic depression. From 1925 to 1928, they sold almost 16 thousand. Then the company went on to produce more solid, “right” models with a motor in front. But literally a year later, well-known European companies entered the race for the rear engine.

The leader here was Mercedes-Benz chief designer Hans Niebel, who, incidentally, succeeded Ferdinand Porsche in 1929. A powerful company began work on a grand scale: already in 1931 they created 12 prototypes with a boxer 1.2-liter air-cooled engine. They even made a sample with a three-cylinder 30-horsepower diesel engine. In the same year, the Czech Tatra and Skoda presented structurally similar rear-engined cars with “air vents”. In fact, at the same time, Porsche began work on a similar design on the order of the motorcycle company Zündapp (she then decided to take up cars). As if conspiring! Or did you really peep? Almost a detective story …

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The first to go to the series was the Mercedes-Benz 130N. True, the company did not dare to take a completely revolutionary step. The 1.3 liter engine was liquid rather than air cooled. Already in 1934, they made a batch of 150N sports roadsters, and worked on a car of a wagon layout - a prototype of a modern minivan. We also note that before the Mercedes, in 1933 appeared a small, with a motor in the stern of the Standard, but a short life was prepared for a primitive typewriter with a frail two-stroke engine.

In March 1934, almost simultaneously with the start of Mercedes sales, the Tatra 77 was shown in Prague with a similar layout. Of course, a spacious car with a streamlined body and a 60-strong V8 “air vent” could not become popular. During the year they sold a total of 105 not at all cheap cars. The next Tatra-87 (ZR, 2001, No. 3) was even more spacious and powerful, and even more so did not pretend to the mass title.

However, buyers accepted Mercedes too without much enthusiasm. The controllability of the machine, 65% of the mass of which fell on the rear axle, was mediocre. In addition, the model was more expensive than a similar in characteristics, but more spacious and solid "Opel-1.3 liter." Fans of the brand absolutely did not accept Nibel’s dissent - the Mercedes, which was completely different from the others. Until 1936, less than 4, 300 cars were sold. An attempt to attach a modification with a forced motor to the Wehrmacht was unsuccessful: the army forked out for only a few “wrong” cars.

Meanwhile, in Stuttgart, Dr. Porsche continued to work on a rear-engined compact model. There were not enough funds for the project - Tsunadpp lost interest in him. The next prototype was created already by order of another motorcycle company - NSO, but it did not drag out expensive work. Then Porsche found a sponsor in the person of the Nazi government that came to power. In May 1934, he met with Hitler, after which the Imperial Union of Automobile Manufacturers became the customer of the car. Then the work began to boil, and yesterday's competitors became allies. At the same time, the upgraded version of the rear-engined Mercedes-Benz 170N, which began production in 1936, was equipped with a more powerful 38-horsepower engine - the analogue was installed on the popular model of the classic 170V layout. A car with an engine in the stern cost about 600 brands more expensive than a front-engine … Until 1939, when the 170N was discontinued, 1, 507 cars were produced.

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In 1936, 30 prototypes (29 coupes and 1 convertible) Porsche Type 60 were manufactured for testing. The cars got out of the gates … Mercedes-Benz factory. Now Porsche was actively helped by Jacob Verlin, one of the leaders of Daimler-Benz. Even before the Nazis came to power, he headed the Munich office of the concern and was well acquainted with Hitler. It was Verlin, together with Porsche, on January 17, 1937, who showed the first samples of KDF to the Führer. And in the spring, 120 SS drivers began large-scale prototype testing.

KDF borrowed its name from the broad movement “Kraft durkh Freuide” (“Power through joy”), announced in Nazi Germany, which also carried the idea of ​​a “people's car”. In 1938, solemnly, in the presence of the leaders of the Reich, they laid down a factory for the production of KDF, announcing that the new product would cost only 550 marks. This, of course, was a propaganda action. Until September 1, 1939, only 210 cars were produced, and the first "people's cars" were distributed among high party officials and close associates of the Führer (the KDF convertible was, for example, with Eva Braun).

So, the Daimler-Benz company gave way to a new rear-engine car, which enjoyed strong state support in Germany. But in the Czech Kopřivnice Hans Ledvinka did not give up. Before the war, the Tatra-97 was shown at the Berlin Motor Show with a four-cylinder boxer air-cooled engine, which was much cheaper than the 87th. True, the car was not a direct competitor to KDF. It was rumored, however, that the order to withdraw the 97th from production (Czechoslovakia was already occupied by Germany) came from the top of the Reich.

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After the war, the paths of firms following a parallel course in the 1930s diverged markedly. The Mercedes-Benz company has not returned to compact models for more than half a century, the Tatra built rear-engine cars, but solid, powerful and in small quantities. And he won the race for rear-engine amblers, as you know, Volkswagen.

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