In The VW38 topic a few people mentioned a very early prototype chassis which has survived to this day. In the meantime I received information and pictures of it, so I thought I may as well start a topic on this particular item. Seems this is the oldest surviving major part of a pre-production VW and would be interesting to share.
The chassis was found in a junkyard in Austria. It was built in 1937 and used for one of the batch of 30 W30 prototypes. These cars were intended for testing of the Volkswagen technical concept and never were intended for the public. This particular chassis is number 26 and was used for the car with registration number IIIA 37026. The number plates were matched to the chassis number in case of the prototypes. In 1942 all the prototypes were ordered to be destroyed.
So what happened to chassis number 26 and how come it survived the destruction? According to Chris Barber and his book “Birth of the Beetle”, car number 26 lost its body during testing, presumably crashed. Briefly it received body from car number 8. After that it seems the chassis was used as a test bed for something – most probably for the development of the Kübelwagen body. Because it was no longer a complete car and still used for a purpose, somehow it survived.
Here is car number 26 during wind tunnel testing.
source: The samba