I just started reading History’s Worst Predictions And The People Who Made Them.
One of the entries that should interest the members of this forum has to do with Henry Ford.
When Ford’s attorney–Horace Rackam–approached The Michigan Savings Bank for a loan to help float Ford’s new company, a V.P. of the bank turned him down, with these words:
“The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is merely a novelty–a fad.”
The third company was financed by the Dodge brothers after all the banks had turned Ford down because he had been bankrupt twice.
They lent Ford the money to get into production, but also redesigned the fragile rear axle of the model T and spent twice as much money to build their own plant to build parts for the model T, including engines. 1908 -13 Dodge had more employees and produced more of the model T than Ford did.
The worst historic misjudgment would have been by the British HIgh Command in 1945 when they went over the VW plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The general in charge wrote in his assessment report of the plant and technology that “there is not much here of any value”, and the Brits decided to just give the plant and designs to the local state government to see what they could use it for.
Even Germany needed to recover from the war. I don’t mind them having a place to employ a lot of people. Not my father in-law, of course. He lived too far north of Wolfsburg to work there. He was a dairyman, anyway.
A German took over in 1949 and the company came to be one of the largest carmakers in the work with VW, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Seat… the French brand Bugatti, the Italian brand Lamborghini and the British brand Bentley.
As well as Italian Ducati motorcycles, Swedish Scania and German Man trucks
Well now I know who to blame for the radio not shutting off with the ignition. You had to be sure to shut the radio off each time or you’d come back to a dead battery. I kinda liked my 59 with a sun roof though. Nothing like a midnight cruise on a hot summer night with the roof open. No air conditioning then kids.
That was one of the VERY strange features of the original VWs.
Also, the OEM bumpers were so pathetically thin that many dealers sold internal “bumper stiffeners” as an add-on at purchase. I was dismayed to see that the bumper stiffeners on my brother’s brand-new '64 bug were already rusted, but at least they were thick steel and they gave some actual strength to the manufacturer’s pathetic bumpers.