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69 years

   
Josef Ganz was a German car designer born in Budapest, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Hungary).

In 1923, as a young mechanical engineering student, Ganz made his first auto sketches for a car for the masses. This was a small lightweight car along the lines of the Rumpler Tropfenwagen with a mid-mounted engine, independent wheel suspension, swing-axles and an aerodynamic body. Lacking the money to build a prototype, he began publishing articles on progressive car design in various magazines and, shortly after his graduation in 1927, he was assigned as the new editor-in-chief of Klein-Motor-Sport. Josef Ganz used this magazine as a platform to criticize heavy, unsafe and old-fashioned cars and promote innovative design and his concept of a car for Germany's general population. The magazine gained in reputation and influence and, in January 1929, was renamed Motor-Kritik. Contributors to the magazine included Béla Barényi, a young engineering student who designed cars with similar design.

Post-war Volkswagen director Heinrich Nordhoff later said "Josef Ganz in Motor-Kritik attacked the old and well-established auto companies with biting irony and with the ardent conviction of a missionary." Companies in turn fought against Motor-Kritik with lawsuits, slander campaigns and an advertising boycott. Publicity for the magazine and Josef Ganz increased.

In 1929, Josef Ganz started contacting German motorcycle manufacturers Zündapp, Ardie and DKW for collaboration to build a prototype, small people's car. This resulted in a first prototype, the Ardie-Ganz, built at Ardie in 1930 and a second one completed at Adler in May 1931, which was nicknamed the Maikäfer (‘May-Beetle’, common European cockchafer Melolontha melolontha). News about the prototypes spread through the industry. At Adler, Josef Ganz was assigned as a consultant engineer at Daimler-Benz and BMW where he was involved in the development of the first models with independent wheel suspension: the Mercedes-Benz 170 and BMW AM1 (Automobilkonstruktion München 1).

The first company to build a car according to the many patents of Josef Ganz was the Standard Fahrzeugfabrik, which introduced its Standard Superior model at the IAMA (Internationale Auto- und Motorradausstellung) in Berlin in February 1933. It featured a tubular chassis, a mid-mounted engine, and independent wheel suspension with swing-axles at the rear. Here the new Chancellor Adolf Hitler expressed interest in its design and low selling price of 1,590 Reichsmark. Under the new anti-Semitic government, however, Josef Ganz was a target for his enemies from the automotive industry that opposed his writings in Motor-Kritik.

After news about the results achieved with the Ardie-Ganz and Adler Maikäfer prototypes reached Zündapp, the company turned to Ferdinand Porsche in September 1931 to develop an "Auto für Jedermann"—a "car for everyman". Porsche already preferred the flat-4 cylinder engine, as was also tried out by Daimler-Benz under supervision of Josef Ganz almost a year previous, but Zündapp preferred a watercooled 5-cylinder radial engine. In 1932, three prototypes were running. All of those cars were lost during the war, the last in a bombing raid over Stuttgart in 1945....
 
 
Josef Ganz was a German car designer born in Budapest, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Hungary).

In 1923, as a young mechanical engineering student, Ganz made his first auto sketches for a car for the masses. This was a small lightweight car along the lines of the Rumpler Tropfenwagen with a mid-mounted engine, independent wheel suspension, swing-axles and an aerodynamic body. Lacking the money to build a prototype, he began publishing articles on progressive car design in various magazines and, shortly after his graduation in 1927, he was assigned as the new editor-in-chief of Klein-Motor-Sport. Josef Ganz used this magazine as a platform to criticize heavy, unsafe and old-fashioned cars and promote innovative design and his concept of a car for Germany's general population. The magazine gained in reputation and influence and, in January 1929, was renamed Motor-Kritik. Contributors to the magazine included Béla Barényi, a young engineering student who designed cars with similar design.

Post-war Volkswagen director Heinrich Nordhoff later said "Josef Ganz in Motor-Kritik attacked the old and well-established auto companies with biting irony and with the ardent conviction of a missionary." Companies in turn fought against Motor-Kritik with lawsuits, slander campaigns and an advertising boycott. Publicity for the magazine and Josef Ganz increased.

In 1929, Josef Ganz started contacting German motorcycle manufacturers Zündapp, Ardie and DKW for collaboration to build a prototype, small people's car. This resulted in a first prototype, the Ardie-Ganz, built at Ardie in 1930 and a second one completed at Adler in May 1931, which was nicknamed the Maikäfer (‘May-Beetle’, common European cockchafer Melolontha melolontha). News about the prototypes spread through the industry. At Adler, Josef Ganz was assigned as a consultant engineer at Daimler-Benz and BMW where he was involved in the development of the first models with independent wheel suspension: the Mercedes-Benz 170 and BMW AM1 (Automobilkonstruktion München 1).

The first company to build a car according to the many patents of Josef Ganz was the Standard Fahrzeugfabrik, which introduced its Standard Superior model at the IAMA (Internationale Auto- und Motorradausstellung) in Berlin in February 1933. It featured a tubular chassis, a mid-mounted engine, and independent wheel suspension with swing-axles at the rear. Here the new Chancellor Adolf Hitler expressed interest in its design and low selling price of 1,590 Reichsmark. Under the new anti-Semitic government, however, Josef Ganz was a target for his enemies from the automotive industry that opposed his writings in Motor-Kritik.

After news about the results achieved with the Ardie-Ganz and Adler Maikäfer prototypes reached Zündapp, the company turned to Ferdinand Porsche in September 1931 to develop an "Auto für Jedermann"—a "car for everyman". Porsche already preferred the flat-4 cylinder engine, as was also tried out by Daimler-Benz under supervision of Josef Ganz almost a year previous, but Zündapp preferred a watercooled 5-cylinder radial engine. In 1932, three prototypes were running. All of those cars were lost during the war, the last in a bombing raid over Stuttgart in 1945....

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