Steel roof or "fabric hat"? Wilhelm Karmann did not ask himself this question at the beginning of the 20th Century when he, in 1913, registered his first patent which was to turn his young company in Osnabrück into a global operation decades later. The "mechanics for the folding top" went on to revolutionise automobile construction for vehicles "without a roof". Karmann already had twelve years of experience in body construction of carriages and the early automobiles.
From a carriage to a Beetle Cabriolet
With a large order from the Adler Plant in Frankfurt am Main, the Osnabrück company became, as of 1926, one of the leading pioneers of German cabriolets. A rolling legend which is still being built today was created when Wilhelm Karmann – now two generations, Senior and Junior – set up a business connection with the Volkswagen Plant in Wolfsburg shortly after the second world war: