Erwin Komenda (1904 – 1966) Austrian Automobile Designer

Porsche 356 designed by Erwin Komeda
Porsche 356 designed by Erwin Komeda

Styling of original Volkswagen and Porsche 356

Erwin Komenda (1904 – 1966) was a Austrian automobile designer for Daimler Benz, responsible for car body development. In 1934, he joined Ferdinand Porsche’s design bureau in Stuttgart and began work on the styling of the Volkswagen, the people’s car. Porsche designed the vehicle itself. The car’s streamlined appearance results from Komenda’s experiments in the wind tunnel of the Zeppelin works in Friedrichshafen, and later in a wind tunnel operated by Swiss Wunibald Kamm in Stuttgart (1893-1966). Kamm’s aerodynamics work established the scientific principles of automobile design streamlining. He, like Komenda, was a Daimler Benz employee.

Komenda’s styling for the Porsche 356 owes a great deal to Kamm’s theories. From the Volkswagen ‘Beetle’ to the Porsche 911, one stylistic convention is how the car’s body rapidly recedes at the rear.


Dormer, P. (1999). The Illustrated Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Designers. Greenwich.

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