The Chrysler Corporation, having brought the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager to market in 1983, is often credited with inventing the minivan. However, the concept actually goes all the way back to 1936’s Stout Scarab — produced in small numbers by Stout Engineering Laboratories and later by the Stout Motor Car Company of Detroit.
In fact, one of today’s most “innovative” minivan features, a removable table and second row seats that turn 180 degrees to face the rear, currently known as Chrysler’s “Swivel ‘n Go” seating, was first offered in the 1936 Scarab.
Additionally, the German company DKW produced a minivan called the “Schnellnaster" (German for rapid transporter) from 1949 to 1962. The Schnellnaster featured front wheel drive, a transversely-mounted engine, a flat load floor, and flexible seating and cargo accommodations—all key elements of contemporary minivans.
But wait, there’s more.