Roden Military 1/72 Opel Blitz Aero (1937) Ludewig Salon Omnibus Kit
At the beginning of the 1930's Germany gradually recovered after the protracted economic depression caused by the aftermath of WWI and the stormy political events of the Twenties. The rise of Adolf Hitler, who set out the goal of renewing the political role and importance of Germany, which it had had before the Great War, became the spur for a rapid growth in diverse sectors of industry, including the automobile industry. However, Germany, although the motherland of the automobile as such, had allowed other countries to take up the leadership of the motor industry during the early years of the 20th Century; first of all France and England, and these countries had become the trendsetters in motor vehicle development.
In the middle of the Thirties the renowned designer Ferdinand Porsche proposed the concept of a "folk car" to Hitler. He developed a small automobile, which then became one of the classics of the motor industry, the VW Beetle. The elegant contours of this car inspired a real boom among German auto designers. Cars of previous years had a body of distinct and separate forms, among which were distinguished a hood, rear body, boot, etc. Now a preference was given to the construction of cutting edge aerodynamic forms, and soon these new features were widespread not only on automobiles but also on trucks, buses and even passenger-trains.
The small truck body workshop of Ludewig Brothers in the German city of Essen had been installing bodies of their own design on the chassis base of trucks from the leading German motor manufacturers for some years. In the 1930's the Ludewig firm cooperated especially closely with the Opel business concern. After the appearance of the Opel Blitz three ton truck the Ludewig Brothers workshop developed a few new conceptual bodies for this vehicle.
One of them was a bus with a new body of streamlined and rounded form.
The style of the radiator grille was unusual - the Ludewig studio designers deviated from the traditional Opel shape, as generally seen on trucks and other buses, and created a new, rounded form for the front of the body. The engine cowling was rather elegantly combined with the rounded-off wings over the forward wheels. In the rear part of the body there was an aerodynamic crest reminiscent of the fin of a huge fish.
The salon also differed from the studio's previous seating configuration - in the first salon, the passenger chairs were arranged at an angle of 45 degrees to the windows for the best view; and the second salon's passengers sat on sofa-like chairs like those found in the receptions of establishments.
This bus was made by the Ludewig studio in individual units, because mass production was rather expensive, even in those times. However, after the beginning of the Second World War at least one of these cars was mobilized in the ranks of the Wehrmacht, repainted in military 'panzergrau' color, and it took part in the fighting of the early years of the conflict as an officers' transport.