The year is 1947. The businessman Ben Pon is travelling from Amersfoort to the small German town of Minden, where he has an appointment with the British authorities who, directly after the war, were in charge of the Volkswagen factory. Pon is eager to speak with them as he has absolute faith in the quality of Volkswagen and he is determined to become the Dutch importer for Volkswagen. His visit has unexpected and far-reaching consequences.
Wednesday April 23, 1947, Ben Pon sat together wit the British authorities, discussing his ideas to import Volkswagens into the Netherlands. However, on this day he also did something else: he held out his notebook, took his pencil and drew a rough sketch of a rectangular commercial vehicle.
It is really nothing more than a box on wheels, with a driver's cab at the front and an engine behind it. History does not say how others present at the meeting reacted, but one thing is certain: it was a revolutionary idea for the time, as ingenious as it was simple, with a large cargo space on a small area. According to Pon the vehicle would weigh 750 kg empty and be able to carry loads in excess of 750 kg. Pon seems to have based his development on the so-called 'Plattenwagen', a primitive-looking vehicle with rear-wheel drive that the Volkswagen engineers had developed for internal use within the Volkswagen factory. Just like the 'Plattenwagen', the vehicle envisioned by Ben Pon would have to be built on the chassis of a Kever.
Pon's brilliant idea was initially put on hold - but not for long. One year later - in the meantime Ben Pon and his brother Wijnand became the first official Volkswagen importers in the world - a message from Volkswagen arrives.
Heinrich Nordhoff, the new CEO of Volkswagen, and the technical director Alfred Haesner had decided to develop Ben Pon's idea. They gave a green light for the development, and so Ben Pon became the inventor of the Volkswagen Transporter.
His simple design for a small transport vehicle became the blueprint for the future.