The Beetle is a 2-door, rear-engine economy car produced from 1938 to 2003. Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler was the first to realize the need for a simple, affordable and functional car to be mass produced in the country.
Some Beetles were built in the 1930’s, but World War II hindered any major production until 1946. After the war, European economies were in tight spots so the Beetle immediately became a success, with the huge demand helping to breathe new life to German manufacturing.
Soon the Beetle also became a hit in America, where it was extremely popular among hippies during the 1960s and 70s. Commonly called the “Bug”, it created a subculture – people build, collect, restore and modify the iconic car to this day.
MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL Coupe/Gullwing 1954–1957
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL was the fastest production car of its day and the first iteration of the SL-Class GT. It was unveiled in 1954 as a two-seat coupé with gullwing doors.
A roadster version became available in 1957. Built by Daimler-Benz AG, the 300 SL was the first commercially available car to come with fuel-injection. It was based on Mercedes’ carbureted overhead cam straight 6 1952 racer, the W194.
Today, the 300 SL is one of the most sought after Mercedes-Benz cars by avid collectors. It is valued between $1 million and $2.5 million.
VOLKSWAGEN Type 2 (Microbus) 1950-Present
The Type 2 is a forward control panel van launched in 1950 by Volkswagen and the marque’s second car design, after the legendary Beetle. It is also known as the Microbus, Transporter or Kombi depending on the body style. The Type 2 is often used as a camper and many models have a pop-up bed that emerges from the roof.
This unique vehicle became an instant favorite among travelers, particularly the hippies in the U.S. By the 1960s they had adopted the VW Type 2 as their official vehicle and called it the “hippie bus”.
The BMW 328 is a classic sports car produced between 1936 and 1940. Designed by Peter Szymanowski and Fritz Fiedler, the car was presented in 1936 at the Eifelrennen race at the Nürburgring. It was powered by a straight-6 OHV engine mated to a four-speed transmission.
The BMW 328 won hundreds of races, including winning in its class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1938. Sadly, after World War II, the facility in Eisenach, where the BMW 328 was built, fell to the hands of communist Russia.
All vehicle production adhered to state-direction until the unification of Germany in 1989.
The Audi A4 is a line of entry-level luxury cars manufactured by the German Volkswagen subsidiary. Audi had been struggling since the 1980s and it is actually the A4 that came to the rescue. The car was originally offered as a sedan or wagon, but later production included a convertible.
The A4 not only revived Audi, it also spawned unexpected competition for other German cars (Mercedes and BMW) in the executive car market. It also holds the distinction as the first model built by the VW Group to feature the new 1.8 liter 20v engine, which is based on a design intended for a super touring race car.
The Volkswagen Golf is a compact family car produced since 1974. It has been marketed across the globe through seven generations and in different body styles and under different nameplates – as the Volkswagen Rabbit in Canada and the U.S., and as the Volkswagen Caribe in Mexico.
In contrast to the Beetle’s rear-engine, rear-wheel drive design, the Golf features a front-engine, front-wheel drive set up that has become the all-time best-selling model of Volkswagen.
It also holds the distinction as the the second best-selling car ever, with more than 30,000,000 units sold worldwide.
Though Mercedes-Benz has produced many gorgeous German cars, none were as important to the automotive industry as the SSK, or Super Sport Kurz.
This roadster’s remarkable performance and multiple competitive successes solidified its status as one of the most highly regarded cars of its era.
Its supercharged straight 6 produced 200-300 mhps, which was outmatched at the time. The SSK was the last Benz designed by Ferdinand Porsche before he left to establish the Porsche Company.
The 540K was a roadster designed by Friedrich Geiger and presented at the 1936 Paris Motor Show. The car is popularly purchased as a four-seater coupé or a two-seater cabriolet.
It is also offered as a fully armored stretch limo! Power is delivered by a straight-8 cylinder engine aspirated by twin pressurized updraft carburetors.
A total of 115 hp is directed to the rear wheels via 4-speed or optional 5-speed manual gearbox. The 540K became a favorite of the Nazi party and a custom version with armor plating and extended chassis was given as a gift by Adolf Hitler to Ante Pavelić, a fascist dictator who led the Independent State of Croatia
The 911 is a two-door, 2+2 sports car produced since 1963 by Porsche AG of Stuttgart. Throughout its lifetime, the car has been heavily modified for racing, rallying and other types of competition.
However, its design has only seen minor tweaks in more than 50 years of continuous production.
It is undoubtedly one of the best German cars ever made and has become a legend in its own right. No wonder it ranked fifth on the international Car of the Century poll.
The Audi R8 was designed, developed and manufactured by Quattro GmbH – the high performance private subsidiary of Audi AG. It is a mid-size, two-seater sports car based on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform and built on an Audi Space Frame, using an aluminium monocoque.
First presented as the Audi Le Mans Quattro Concept Car in 2003, it features Audi’s trademark permanent Quattro All-Wheel Drive system.
Racing models hit the tracks in 2005 while road cars were introduced in 2007. The R8 is also known as the first production car to feature full-LED headlamps.