Monday, December 5, 2011


Yesterday on German Ebay a 1958 Wartburg 313 Sports Coupe sold at auction for 50,050 Euros.  The car was in good (not concours) condition and had about 8 months of TUV (MOT) remaining.  These cars had the 900cc engine from the IFA F9 and early Wartburg 311, but with twin carburetors.  Only 469 of these cars were produced and some later cars reverted to a single carb arrangement.  Obviously this price was exceptional due to the car's rarity, but all 311's nowadays are also rare in good condition.  Watch their values soar in next 5 years or so.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I've decided to sell my 311. I would like to buy a Barkas or Framo to use as a van and also as an advertising vehicle, so I need the funds to do this.
The car is in excellent condition inside and out. If interested, contact me.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Goggomobil car's and Van's.

Goggomobil Postal Vans.
Goggomobil were a car maker from Bavaria and was the brand name for the 'Glas' car company.
They made small cars, really micro cars with two stroke engines that ranged from 250-400cc.
The engine was really the same, just slightly differing sizes and power outputs.
Their two stroke cars were rear wheel drive, air-cooled and had the engine also fitted in the rear.
They really only made one model of car that was designated by its engine size and body style.
There were 2 door saloons, 2 door coupes and a stylish roadster known as the 'Goggomobil Dart'.
( The Dart was only built in Australia and had a fibreglass body and no doors!)
They had 4 speed manual transmissions as standard and were also available in type of semi-automatic format too.

The cars were exported to USA ( 400cc versions only), the Uk and Australia ( where some models were also assembled there). I'm not certain but I think some went to South Africa too.
The American models had an automatic fuel/oil mixer as standard.
Goggomobil's had a combined starter/generator as one unit which must have been similar to Dkw's 'Dynastart', and also used a mini-coil for each cylinder( also like Dkw).

British period advert 1957.

Performance for their tiny engines was pretty impressive, as was their fuel economy.
The TS250 (coupe model) 1958, 13 hp @ 5000rpm for 47 mph. It sat on tiny 10 inch tires.

The TS300 (coupe) had a top speed of 59 mph from its 15 hp engine.
Its fuel economy was recorded as averaging 50 mpg (1957 by Motor magazine).


The 400cc engine put out 18.5 Hp and had a top speed of around 65 mph in the Dart version.
Probably about 60 mph in coupe version, same as the 300 cc but with better acceleration.

214,313 saloons and  66,511 coupés were built from 1955 to 1969.

They also made a small van and pickup truck that were based on the cars, but  more practical.
This van was known as the TL Transporter and was designed with the then, West German postal service( Bundespost) in mind who needed a small, nimble vehicle that would do their job, ferrying letters and small parcels in urban environments. The Bundespost bought over 2000 of these vans between 1957 and 1965.
One of these vans sold in 2010 at an auction in the Usa for an unbelievable $88,000 , which demonstrates how rare they are today. Just  3,667 Transporter vans and pickups were made from 1955-1969.

1959 restored transporter made 88k at a U.S auction.

Goggomobil's were well engineered and well built.
Downsides were they were tiny and pretty expensive for such small cars.
In Germany, they were almost twice the price of a Trabant, which was a bigger car with a bigger engine.
They were taken over by Bmw in 1966 and phased out in 1969.

lovely Goggomobil Dart.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The 'Goliath Story', a must for two stroke fans!


Many people have heard of the German car marque that is 'Borgward', and particularly well
known is their 'Isabella' car. There are other marques within the Borgward group that
are less well known. These are 'Goliath' ‘Lloyd and 'Hansa', all of whom made a number of small
two stroke cars and light commercials.

The company Goliath-Werke Borgward & Co was created by Carl F.G. Borgward and Wilhelm
Tecklenburg in 1928, but Carl Borgward started out a bit before that.
In 1919, he had a tiny factory in Bremen-Hastedt that employed just 20 people.
Here, they made car radiators and bumpers, both of which had been in very short supply
during WWI.
His radiators soon got a reputation for being of excellent quality and he successfully bid
for the contract to supply the venerable truck and luxury car makers Hansa-Lloyd, who were
also based in Bremen-Hastedt.
His factory grew and employed 60 workers by 1921.
Borgward had long dreamed of building his own car and drew up plans to make a small
two seater roadster, but these plans never came to fruition as he realised his factory wasn't
equipped, nor tooled adequately for such an enterprise, despite working on a prototype.
Some sources claim he sold this prototype to Hansa-Lloyd who then put it into production,
But I’m not convinced this was the case.

In 1922, the small firm bought a larger factory in nearby Bremen-Neustadt, where employees
would wheel parts around to the different workstations by hand-carts.
A disgruntled employee Opa (Grand-dad) Klie complained to Borgward about how labour
intensive and inefficient this process was and this led directly to Borgward designing a simple
3-wheel kart powered by a 120cc two stroke engine that produced just 2 hp from its one cylinder.
The kart had no starter, nor gearbox and had to be pushed to start with the driver then jumping
on. It only had the one fixed forward gear. It was named Blitzkarren (lightning cart).
It used bicycle wheels and the driver sat at the back, behind his cargo.

Figure 1: 1924 Blitzkarren.

He realised that this product, although crude and minimalistic, did the job and the factory
made 100 of these karts by 1924. It sold for 980 Marks.
These sales were greatly aided by the salesmanship of Wilhelm Tecklenburg, who had
recently became a partner in the company and devoted his efforts to selling the Blitzkarren.

So successful was this small motorised kart, that it quickly became the factory's main
product and a greatly improved version was built in 1925.
The workforce voted to name this model 'Lilput' but Carl Borgward named it 'Goliath'
instead after the biblical figure. The implication was that although small, it could do a giant
of a job.
It became hugely popular with small business owners for deliveries and the Reichspost
(postal service) was a big account for the company, who used them to deliver letters.
This made sure that Borgward's product was seen all over Germany and his business
continued to flourish and grow rapidly.

Figure 2: The 1st Goliath 1925.

This rapid growth necessitated yet bigger premises and the factory moved to another
motor factory that had become bankrupt, that was opposite the Hansa-Lloyd works.
The Hansa-Lloyd company who Borgward supplied with radiators were also struggling in the
marketplace that was prevalent in depression-like Germany.
Few could afford their luxury, expensive vehicles and sales plummeted.
When their share price also plummeted, Borgward bought up enough of them that he took
control of the company in 1929.
He culled the model range and replaced most of it by smaller, cheaper vehicles that were
quicker to produce and in demand in the current economic climate.

Goliath continued to build mostly three wheeled light commercial vehicles, but launched
its first passenger trike, the 'Pionier' in 1931.
This vehicle had room for 2 people and its body was made of wood, which was then
covered with leather. It was good for about 25-30 mph from its 5.5 Hp engine.
At this point all Goliath vehicles were still powered by one cylinder engines.

Figure 3: 1932 Goliath Pionier.

By the end of 1934 over 4000 of the Pionier were built in different body guises.
Vehicle building for the Goliath company continued in much the same vein, making
Mainly three wheeler commercials.
We have to go to 1950 before any two stroke passenger cars of note were produced
under the Goliath brand.
In 1934, Carl Borgward introduced two new two stroke cars under the Hansa brand, which
were the Hansa 400 and Hansa 500.

Figure 4: 1934 Hansa 400.

They were rear engined and rear wheel driven, with two stroke engines of 400 and 500cc
respectively. Although small cars they had room for 4 passengers and were also constructed
from wood covered with leather. Both cars were 2 cylinder units.
These cars were not a big success due to bad timing.
In 1933, Hitler's Nazi party had come to power in Germany and the German economy
improved almost instantly. With that, the market for bigger, more substantial cars improved
 from 1934 and sales of the Hansa 400 and 500 were poor.
It would be the aftermath of WWII which would once again pave the way for similar cheap
to produce and cheap to buy cars.

Figure 5: Hansa 500.

Carl Borgward didn't fare greatly during WWII.
From 1939, he was instructed to make trucks, torpedoes and guns for the Wehrmacht.
He continued this until 1944, when his Bremen-Hastedt factory was almost totally
destroyed by allied aircraft. Another factory of his in nearby Bremen-Sebaldsbruck was
badly damaged also at the same time.
In 1945, he was arrested by American forces and imprisoned for 2.5 years for aiding
the German war effort ( like he had much choice!).

Initially after WWII, Borgward first made handcarts and small trailers for bicycles.
Then as the German economy slowly started to rebuild itself, the company started to
remanufacture the 3 wheeled vehicles in 1949 that were so successful before the war due to
their low cost and practicality. Just the thing a struggling economy needed.
Materials necessary for vehicle manufacture were in such short supply that the Government
were allocating equal supply measures to all car makers, regardless of size or production
Carl Borgward had two factories, rebuilt from the ashes of WWII, from which he build all
vehicles. He realised that if he registered each of his marques separately, he could avail of
more of what he needed. He quickly registered a new brand of car, the 'Lloyd'  which debuted
in 1950.
Borgward-Hansa vehicles were manufactured in the newly rebuilt Bremen-Sebaldsbruck.
Goliath's were made in his Bremen-Hanstadt factory, into which the new Lloyd LP300 would
be incorporated.
This car was very similar to the ill-fated Hansa 400/500 that preceded it, in that it was
cheaply made from wood and covered in leather type material to protect from rain.
This time though, the Lloyd was a winner as cheap transport was all the rage in Post-
War Germany and soon a new factory had to be built to accommodate ever-rising
production demands.
With production of Lloyd moving elsewhere, Goliath could then turn their attentions to
making a new two stroke car of their own and it turned out to be a cracker!

Goliath GP 700.  1950-1957.
GP 700 Sport 1950-1953.
There was also a cabriolet version of the saloon and a kombi estate model.

Figure 6: 1950 Goliath GP 700.

Former employees from Dkw, who had fled Zwickau when it became Communist and
subsequently annexed along with the rest of East Germany from West, had found
employment with Carl Borgward in Bremen.
These employees brought all the Dkw know-how and expertise not only in small
car manufacture, but also in two stroke engines and front wheel drive technology that
up to this point was still relatively unused.

These employees had a big input into the new Goliath car which was named the GP700.
It had a very good separate type chassis and clever suspension set up, that was very
Dkw-like. The engine was a 688cc, straight twin cylinder unit and the car was front
wheel drive.
The engine was mounted far ahead of the front wheels and mounted transversely along
with the gearbox, which drove the front wheels.


Ist engine was 688cc and produced 25 Hp in carburettor format.
The same engine with fuel injection put out 29 Hp.
The fuel injection was first introduced on the sport coupe only but
shortly afterwards was offered as an option on the saloon.

Two stroke power seen a revival of interest in post-War Germany as their engines
were cheap to make, quick to produce, simple to maintain and economical.

Carl Borgward designed the GP700 himself and it's still today one of the nicer
 two stroke saloons ever made.
For 1950, the car's styling was very bold and adventurous indeed and it was superbly
crafted with wings that were fully integrated into the bodywork.
Most unusually,( for these times) the passenger cabin utilised the full width of the car.
It had a 4 speed gearbox ( all syncromesh was available from 1952).

Unlike the Lloyd LP300, the Goliath was a steel bodied car and was quite a bit
bigger and more expensive.
In size terms, the car is roughly the same size as the IFA F9 and its clever
design gave excellent interior space for its time, despite a wheelbase of just 2300mm.
Much of the labour on this car was done by hand as the factory wasn't retooled
adequately since the War for high production output.
The chassis was made by hand-welding and every body panel had to be finished with
a hand-held disc sander before assembly.
The GP 700 was a very good car and was praised for its handling and road manners.
Despite its quality, sales were never what they could and perhaps should have been.

In 1952, this car became the first car ever to offer fuel injection ( Bosch) and the
only two stroke car ever to have it.
This increased the already excellent fuel economy that the car enjoyed and also
increased its performance.

In the 1956 Mobilgas Economy Run in Australia, Colin Oliver and Kenneth Wright won with an
incredible 54.43 mpg or 5.12 litres /100 km!) Even under normal conditions the Goliath was
exceptionally economical. A Wheels road test got 43.5 mpg (6.5 litres /100km).

A range of vans and other light commercials were launched in 1954, called Express but
they never achieved great popularity despite being spacious and as good as anything else
in the marketplace. They used the same engines as the Goliath cars.

Figure 7: The Goliath Express range.

GP700 Sport. 1950-1953.

Figure 8: An early GP700 Sport.

This car looks a bit like a miniature Porsche 356 and thus has beautiful lines and looks.
This lovely car was only produced in small numbers.
Initially, the car had the same 688cc engine as the saloon car but soon had fuel injection
which boosted its power to 29 hp.

The sport version was also lighter than the standard car and its low slung, aerodynamic
presence ensured it handled like it looked.

In 1953, a more powerful 845cc version was available, with fuel injection as standard.

Goliath GP 900: 1955-1957.

This was the same car as the Gp700, but with a 900cc engine( 886).
It had Bosch fuel injection as standard and had a claimed power output
of 40Hp( 38% more than its predecessor).
It had a 4 speed all syncromesh gearbox also as standard.
This was extraordinarily powerful for these times , yet it was still almost
as frugal on fuel as the 700 model.

Buying a Goliath today:

Goliath’s these days are extremely rare in any format and the chances of buying
A 700 Sport is probably near impossible.
I saw in June of this year on ebay Uk, a Gp700 saloon that needed total restoration.
Despite this, it looked like a very good base for such.
The car only made £640 by auction end and I would have bought it if it hadn’t been in
England which would put at least £400 onto the price, to get the car to Ireland.
The car in question was a 1954 model with fuel injection, although it needed a replacement
Engine or rebuild, I’m sure.
I made contact with the seller a few days after the auction ended to see if it had indeed sold.
He told me the car had been paid for and picked up by a transporter, who was taking it to
Germany for its new owner!

Any remaining Goliath’s left will almost reside in Germany and most will have been restored.
I imagine the parts availability for these is somewhat precarious these days.
I couldn’t find any at the time of writing, for sale, other than the one mentioned, but a pristine
Goliath will cost a small fortune if you can get one.
German ebay is probably the best bet, although Goliath’s sold very well in Australia and have
A following there.


There’s no doubt that Carl Borgward was an immensely talented Engineer, who made many
Quality cars that were always amongst the best in Germany.
He made many four stroke cars also and for these he is undoubtedly renowned for, but
Less is widely known about his two stroke creations.
The Gp 700 or 900 is definitely one for the wish list!.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Most Popular Posts on this blog.

The blog stats make for interesting reading.
The most popular blog posts tend to be the ones relating to the Barkas van and the Brakas Framo Museum.
After that, the post ' Two stroke cars of the past has always attracted a lot of hits'.
My two articles regarding the 'Horch Museum in Zwickau and the Wartburg Museum in Eisenach have also been hugely popular'.
All the Dkw postings too have had a lot of readership, particularly the Schnellaster Van and the Munga posts.

The blog is currently getting about 400 hits per week and rising all the time.
Biggest readership is tied usually between Germany and the Usa.
 The Uk, Ireland, Poland and Hungary also show up strongly. There's also interest from France, Holland and all the countries of Eastern Europe which would have been familiar with two stroke cars.
These blogs truly scan the globe, there's even been hits from Thailand, India, Argentina and Brazil!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Two Stroke Saab Sonett, a rare beast indeed!

I haven't posted here for a few weeks, partly due to a  sudden death in my family.
I hope to rectify matters somewhat and post more frequently from now on.

The Saab Sonett/Saab 94: 1955-1957

This was a futuristic and fabulous looking two seater sports car, first made in 1955
 and of which only 6 were known to have been built.
It was a veritable flying machine of its time, capable of a top speed of up to 210 kph
(approx 120 mph and 19.2 seconds for standing mile sprint.
It shared it's engine and mechanicals with the Saab 93 and what made it so fast was its
incredibly low overall weight of just 500kg! and a different, more potent carburettor.
This car was over 300 kg lighter than the 93.

The engine was  tuned to develop 57.5 hp.
The car had a specially designed, low weight, light metal box chassis, not made
typically of tubular steel but a lighter metal.
The chassis of Sonnet1 was aluminimum, Sonnets 2-6, chassis were made from
light steel.
 Fibreglass body panels were then bolted onto this to create a vehicle that was supe
r light.
It utilised a 3 speed gear box, mounted in front of the engine.
Over 5000 km of testing was then undertaken with satisfactory results during
Spring and Summer of 1956, with the sole prototype.
Five more Sonnets would be manufactured during 1957.
It was always intended that the Sonnet would be a competition production car and not
merely a prototype, with the Usa perceived as its main marketplace.

For reasons only known to Saab, they couldn't or didn't want to build the
Sonnet in Sweden. They wanted the 'Jensen' company in Scotland to
build the car. Jensen were the builders of the Volvo P1800 and must have
impressed Saab suitably.
Mr Jenson, However, would not travel to Sweden to visit Saab and there was also
the fact that American's viewed British built cars as being of poor quality.
These factors led Saab Chief Svante Holm to give the contract to build the car
to ASJ.
By Nov 1957, Saab's intention was to build 2000 Sonnets per year, or a monthly output
of 200 cars. The production car would have a light metal body and a folding roof.
Then, racing competition rules changed that allowed the tuning of  standard production
cars. This eliminated the need for a special sports model and production never went
beyond those six examples.

It's a great pity this car didn't make it to production as they'd be a beautiful sight to
see on our roads today.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Honecker's cars.

Erich Honecker, the Party Leader and one time Political head of East Germany certainly liked his car's.
While the ordinary citizens of East Germany had to make do with and wait 12-14 years for Trabants, he had a fleet of luxury cars at his disposal.
These included a customised for hunting, Range Rover, a Zil Limousine and several Volvo Limo's.
The following pictures are of  Citroen Cx limousine that he had made especially for him, but never got to use as the Communist Government imploded and collapsed, coincidental with the opening of the Berlin Wall/Border.
There were a few Citroen Cx's in use by Top Government officials in East Germany, so it's likely Honecker had already tasted their comfort a time or two.
The Volvo Limo was the most popular choice of the top brass in the Gdr.
Honecker also had a luxury Yacht that was sixty one metres long, had electronic bugging devices, bullet proof glass and was built to withstand poison gas attacks!

The Pre-WWII Rear wheel drive Dkw's. 4=8, Schwebeklasse and Sonderklasse cars. 1929-1937.

Although they pioneered Front wheel drive, they also made conventional
rear wheel drive cars too, called Schwebeklasse (floating class) and
Sonderklasse (special class). These cars were two stroke, four cylinder
mostly of 1000cc, but also some of 1100cc and 800cc.

1929 model

The rear wheel drive cars date from 1929, when they were first shown at the Berlin
Motor show. They were marketed by Dkw as 4=8, meaning their 4 cylinder cars
were equal in power and smoothness to the 8 cylinder cars of the era, made by others.
Their reasoning in stating this was the fact that the 2 stroke engine produces a power
stroke with each revolution, whereas the 4 stroke engine produces its power stroke
only on every second revolution.
These cars were larger and more expensive than the smaller F1 range that would
for a time be produced and sold simulataneously.
Whereas the smaller, front wheel drive cars were aimed as 'people's cars' and for the
cheaper end of the market, these rear wheel drive cars were aimed at the middle class
All the rear wheel drive cars would have 4 cylinder (V4) engines that used 2 extra
cylinders for forced induction, so they looked like V6's but the extra 2 cylinders
had no spark plugs.

One of the last rear wheel drive's made by Dkw.
Schwebeklasse from 1936 or 1937. Steel bodied car.

The first 4=8 or Schwebeklasse had a 1000cc engine and developed 25 Hp.
It had a 3 speed gearbox that was mounted on the floor, necessary to drive the rear
wheels. Like all Dkw's up to this point, it had a plywood body that was upholstered in
imitation leather, with a wooden ladder type chassis.
The front and rear suspension consisted of solid axles and both utilised leaf springs.
The only model availaible initially was a 2 door sedan.
Early customers complained that this car was thirstier in its fuel consumption, compared
to its predecessor(P8), so they made an 800cc version for a while, but this was shortlived
due to the car being very underpowered and the engine's tendency to overheat and perform
poorly in cold weather.
The fuel consumption wasn't any better either, so this 800cc model was only available from
1930-1931. This engine only produced 20Hp, making it 20% less powerful than the 1000cc

1931 also saw the range increased and was now available in sedan, limousine, and a
convertible, all with 2 doors.
1932 saw the same car launched but with a slightly longer wheelbase and longer body.
This car was called the  DKW 432 special class. This car was given a 4 speed gearbox.
Another spin-off development of this car appeared in October 1932, called the
1001 DKW special class with a slightly more powerful engine and a floating rear axle
suspension. The body was very streamlined and attractive but the car had problems.
The solid wooden chassis struts that went from the front axle to the back one, had a
tendency to break in the middle due to the extra length they needed to be on this car,
compared to the shorter predecessors.

1934 saw the launch of the Schwebeklasse and this was a big improvement.
This car now had 2 floating axles, hence the name 'Floating class'.
An uprated engine and a second carburettor saw power rise to 30 Hp from January
July of the same year saw a new engine installed of 1100cc (1054cc) which further
boosted power to 32 Hp.
This car was available until 1937 as either a 2 door Sedan or convertible.

1937 saw the biggest improvement to date and the latest offering was called
the 'Sonderklasse' and had a longer wheelbase and a new all- steel body taken
from the 'Wanderer W24' which of course was also in the Auto-Union stable.
Although mechanically virtually the same as the last model, the problems with
the wooden chassis, namely sagging ends and also breaking bodies were addressed
and eradicated.

There were approximately 24000 rear wheel drive Dkw's made, of which around 8000
of these were steel bodied cars.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trabant 601 Road Test from 1966.

Statue in the grounds of the Trabant factory ruins on same site as Horch Museum.

Road Test: Trabant 601          

Extract from a 1966 edition of the West German magazine “Hobby”

In your opinion, what is the cheapest: the Goggomobil 250 or the Fiat 500?
Neither – the Trabant 601 from Saxony is even cheaper: a proper family car
with a 600cc engine! So what’s its secret? As we’re technicians not
journalists, we are only going to study the car and what it has to offer the

For someone buying a small car, the biggest attraction is low maintence costs
(especially when it comes to the body). With this in mind, the Trabant’s unitary
construction Duroplast body is ideal. We still don’t know if this material is as strong as glass reinforced plastic.
Nevertheless, replacement panels are certainly well priced: a front wing costs DM36.75, a rear wing DM39.75, a door
panel DM37.95, a bonnet DM72.00 and a roof panel DM98.40. (Prices from the importer in Hamburg). The body as a
whole is very stable and rigid. To test this we drove over some roads that haven’t been repaired since Roman times
(sic). Uneven surfaces were easily detectable through the stiff suspension, but nf a Renault 4. The French offering is more precise – it is immediately apparent where
each gear is to be found. In the Trabant, we had to retake our acceleration measurements several times because we
found the gearchange difficult to work. Fortunately, there is a version fitted with an automatic clutch system called
“Hycomat” that we cannot recommend enough, even though we were convinced that you could get used to the manual
gearchange. The synchromesh on all four gears works well, while the fourth gear incorporates a free-wheel system that
cannot be switched off.

According to the manufacturer’s data, the Trabant can accelerate from 0 to 80km/h in 20.7 seconds. With a brand new
car and difficulties with the gear change, the best we could measure was 3 seconds over this time, but we would like to
belive that Zwickau’s figures are as accurate as their speedometer. We achieved an acceleration from 0 to 60km/h in

12.9 se conds using only the first three gears – you don’t need to change up to second until 45km/h and similarly third
isn’t needed until 70km/h. We did not wish to risk overloading the new engine, and in addition the test car was for
publicity and not a factory model.
Roadholding and tyres

the 1,000,000th Trabant in 1973
Front-wheel drive and floating rear axle: what could happen? We had a hard job to keep the car under control when the
rear end slid out on a paved roundabout – and that was only at a speed of 40km/h! We initially thought that the tyres
were causing the problem; the factory-fitted rubber could not even pretend to be up to modern standards. In addition,
the weight distribution over the axles is designed for a fully loaded car: 450kg on the front axle and 550kg on the rear.
With only two passengers in the front the handling is very different.

Fortunately, the rack and pinion steering is quite direct (but on the other hand quite heavy), allowing any “wandering” to
be quickly corrected. The turning circle (9.5m) is particularly good for a front-wheel drive car.
The suspension is hard. The transverse front leaf springs transmit every bump and rumble into the cabin, especially
my own 1989 601 Kombi
when there are only two people in the car. It is for this reason that, on the Lloyd, leaf springs were replaced with coils
(like on the new Wartburg from Eisenach). The floating rear axle was perfect for the heavy AU 100, but for the Trabant it
is too firm.

Our verdict on the Trabant

Someone who buys a car in this price category does so for a reason, usually for economy. You need a robust car that
you can maintain and, if needs arise, repair by yourself. The Trabant certainly meets these requirements! We’ve
researched the prices of spare parts and can conclude that they are as well priced as the car itself. There is nothing
complicated about this car, and it is with this that we can see a big opportunity for the Trabant which, naturally, is not
supported by a wide-reaching dealer network. It is a family vehicle in which you head off on holiday in without sacrificing
on camping gear. The loading capacity of 385kg does not slow the car down, in fact it improves handling. The governed
two stroke engine is economical, with a fuel consumption of 7 to 9 liters/100km, reflecting the economy of the rest of the
car. The final case for the Trabant is its pleasant profile that departs from the typical small-car look. The engine and
chassis may not be the most up-to-date, but for this amount of money, you can’t have it all.

Forlorn Trabant factory Feb 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A highly unusual two stroke car

I noticed for sale a few weeks ago a 'Goliath 700' car on Ebay that needed total restoration.

It was a 1954 model and if I wasn't financially strapped at the minute, I would have bought it.
The car only made £670 and although it needed total restoration, it looked like a good base.
Biggest problem I had was I would've had to have had it transported which would have added £400 onto the price as the car was in England.

I wouldn't think there's great availability of parts around nowadays for these, particularly without a knowledge of German as undoubtedly that where the lion's share of the parts will be.
I'm sure a Wartburg or Trabant engine could be made to fit into one of these to the detriment of originality.

For those who don't know what a Goliath is, read on:

Goliath was a German car marque that originated in 1928 in the city of Bremen.
Its founder's were Carl Borgward and Wilhelm Tecklenburg and Goliath was a subsidiary of the Borgward group.
The company made small 3 & 4 wheeler cars and light commercial vehicles and used two stroke engines up until 1957.
The Goliath was the first mass produced car to use fuel injection ( Bosch) and the only two stroke car ever to use it which makes these cars pretty unique in the world of two stroke cars.

In 1931 Borgward acquired the Hansa company and made cars under the names of Goliath, Borgward, Hansa and also Lloyd.

The first Goliath car  was the pionier launched in 1931.It was a 3 wheeler with a one cylinder engine.

The Goliath GP 700 first appeared in 1950 and was made until 1957.
As the name suggests it had a 700cc engine which was a two stroke, twin cylinder unit.
It was water-cooled and mounted transversely with front wheel drive.( very dkw like).

a pristine example of the Goliath Gp 700

From 1952, Bosch fuel injection was fitted as standard and put out 29 Hp.
Also from 1952, this car was available with an all syncromesh four speed gearbox, which later became standard and was very much ahead of its time in 1952.
The 1950-1952 early cars were carburettor powered and produced 25 Hp.
The standard cars had a top speed of 63 mph.

There was a 900cc engine later available (Gp 900)and a Gp 700 Sport model made from 1951-53 that had its engine enlarged to 845cc and had a claimed top speed of 78 mph. Gorgeous looking car it was too.
it produced 32 Hp. The bigger engined variants were two cylinder units as well.

rare Gp 700 Sport.Note the peugeot like lion symbol on front grille.

The Goliath factory was destroyed in WWII but production started again in 1949.

Perhaps no surprise that the car that sold on Ebay was bought by a German buyer, who had it transported back. Just shows how rare these cars are today and the effort some enthusiasts are prepared to put in to juat get their hands on one and restore it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Trim Classic Car show next Sunday, 17th July.

Next Sunday is the Trim, Co.Meath annual car show and I will attend that with the 311.
Hopefully the weather will be good for the day and it usually attracts in excess of 600 cars.
This will be the 3rd year in a row that I've brought a Wartburg to it.


In 2009, I brought my 353 saloon. 2010, I brought the 353 Tourist estate.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Suzuki's Two stroke Car, the Suzulight from 1955!

1955 Suzuki Suzulight

Suzuki  were one of the first Japanese companies to go into car production.
The Suzulight SF was first introduced in 1955 and the SF stood for " Suzuki 4 wheel car".
The Suzulight was the name used to begin with, the Suzuki branded cars followed later,
although their Motorcycles were branded as Suzuki's at this time.

The Suzulight was their product to fit into the kei class of small vehicles that had to
conform to strict size and engine restrictions in order to qualify for tax and parking
concessions in Japan.( See also Subaru 360 for more info)

The Suzulight was available when launched as a car, van or pickup.
They were all based closely on the German Marque, Lloyd LP400, which in turn was
a copy of Dkw's front wheel drive, transverse engine layout,
 with the fuel tank under the bonnet. The only real difference between the Lloyd and
Suzulight was that the Japanese car used a narrower bore to make the engine that bit
smaller to fit into the 360cc limit in Japan for Kei cars.

1964 Suzuki Carry Van

Unlike the Dkw, however the Lloyd and Suzulight used air cooling and the layout was
very similar to the Trabant P50 that appeared in 1958.
Apparently, Suzuki had studied the Citroen 2CV and the Renault 4CV with a view to
importing them instead, but decided to go with the Lloyd car as their choice.
Whether this was solely down to price, I don't know.
Lloyd cars had a good reputation for comfort, reliability and solid mechanics.

The engine was 360cc, two cylinders and of course, two stroke.
It had a power output of 16 Hp at around 3800 rpm.
It was perfect for the kei cars that were becoming
extremely popular in Japan.

The car had drum brakes all round.
It was 2990 mm long, 1295 wide and 1400mm high.
It's wheelbase was 2000mm.
Sizewise it was very similar to the Mini, with the Mini being slightly longer and
wider, but the Suzulight was slighly taller and with a bigger wheelbase.
While the Mini used 10 inch wheels, the Suzulight's were 12 inches.

The car had an excellent suspension set up with independent suspension front
and rear, that utilised double wishbones and coil springs which was very advanced
for this time and particularly so in a small economy car.
It's simple chassis consisted of a central tube with the front and rear suspension mounted
on at each end.
Equally progressive was its rack and pinion steering which few cars had in 1955.
It should be remembered that all of these progressive features were Lloyd attributes,
not Suzuki's.

The gear box was a 3 speed, column mounted change.

The engine bore was increased slightly in 1956, which made the engine just over 1cc
bigger and increased power to 18 Hp.

The Suzulight was clearly a car made to a low price and it had few creature comforts.
Early models had semaphore type indicators and lacked a  fuel gauge.
Fuel levels were determined( like the  Trabant) by sticking a measuring stick into the
fuel tank.
It was found that the advanced suspension of the car was unable to cope with the very
poor road conditions that were prevalent in rural Japan. Some of the roads were little
more than dirt tracks with huge potholes, so the suspension was changed in favour of a
more traditional one incorporating leaf springs on both front and rear.

By 1958, slow sales prompted the company to offer just one model in their range,
this became the SL light van that had 2 front seats, plus an auxiliary seat.
The loading capacity of this little van was just 200 kg.
Only available in two tone paint colours the range was extremely eye catching.
It was also the first Kei class light commercial to have a bonnet due to the competition
mostly being rear engined.
There were only between 30-50 of these built before the model was replaced in
July 1959 with the Suzulight TL Light Van.

Suzuki made two stroke cars and vans up until 1969.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dkw's in Ireland

Interestingly, the only Dkw factory outside of Germany( in 1952) was in Ireland, on what's
now the site of Aldi supermarket in Ballincollig, County Cork.
In 1952, Hennessy's Ltd, Motor Engineers and Importers were given the franchise to
Import, assemble and sell new Dkw's that came to them in kit form.
This company had previously imported Studebaker cars and Oliver brand tractors
from the Usa.
Hennessy's built and sold the full range of Dkw products, cars, motorcycles and
vans and combine harvesters. Their output was usually one car per week and the cars
were sold through their showrooms in Cork City, along with full parts and service
Irish production ceased when Volkswagen took over Auto Union in 1964.
Apparently, the Dkw sign was still visible on the assembly premises in
Ballincollig up until 2001, close to 60 years since the last car was built there.

pictures from the Irish Dkw plant.

Good Dkw's these days command high prices. Pristine examples of 50's and 60's
models regularly top £10000. At the time of writing there's a fully restored F4 (1936)
listed with an asking price of £17000 and a fabulously restored F8 Cabriolet in Germany
that has a huge price tag of 42.500 Euros! (1939 model)
Even restoration projects command very high prices and four figure sums in many
Dkw's are great examples of two stroke cars and if your budget is high, they make
an excellent choice.

However, if your budget is rather more modest, buy a Wartburg or a Trabant.
The technology is the very same, there's loads more available and they can be
bought very cheaply (still).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Dkw Munga 1956-1968.

1961 Munga 6

The Munga was an extraordinary four wheel drive, jeep and utility type vehicle.
It was really a cross between a jeep and a car.
The word MUNGA is an acronym for the German "Mehrzweck UNiversal Geländewagen mit
 Allradantrieb" which translates to multi-purpose, universal, cross country car, with all wheel
It was a favoured vehicle used by the West German Border Guards during the Cold War,
who used it to monitor their side of the Berlin Wall, whilst their East German comtemporaries
on the other side were using Trabant Kubels.( ironically both were using 2 stroke engines of
Dkw origin)

How it came about is interesting.
After WWII the West German Government initiated a competition for German marques,
Borgward, Porsche, and Dkw with the objective of producing an alternative, home grown
alternative to the Land Rovers they'd used before the War.
The Land Rover was really the only viable 4x4, apart from the American Willys Jeep, both
of which must have been hugely expensive for foreign countries to buy.
Dkw got the contract and this was the start of what would become the Munga.(wasn't named
the Munga until 1962)
The Munga was made in 3 main variants, Munga 4, 6, & 8 respectively which referred to the
number of seats each model provided.
All Munga's were identical apart from the back seat configuration which determined whether
it had individual seats or  bench type variants as in the 6 and 8 versions.

1961 Munga 6 Interior

Production started in October 1956 and ended in December 1968, with almost 47,000 having
been produced.
It was first unveiled to the Public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in late 1957, and was
at first only available to Government Forces and Services, such as the Fire department.
It was very popular with the Bundeswehr German Army and many other forces within Nato
including the Dutch Army who bought it in large numbers.

It was available to the general public from late 1957 and was priced at 9,500 DM ( approximately
$2300 at the time, which would have made it pretty expensive). Nonetheless it was popular with
farmers and forestry workers and those whose work demanded a tough, no frills vehicle that
would go anywhere in all weathers and in any terrain.

It shared the 900cc, 3 cyl, 2 stroke engine that was used by the Dkw 3=6, although the
torque settings were arranged to suit the off-road capabilities of the Munga.
It was front wheel drive, engine in the front and had a top speed of 50mph.
It was water-cooled and had a 4 speed gear box.

They had a soft-top roof and no windows and were extremely basic vehicles.
They were also remarkably tough and resilient and stood up to all kinds of abuse and
hardships. The 2 stroke engine ensured easy starting in even the coldest of Winter climes.

The Munga sold particularly well in South Africa and parts of South America where roads
were extremely poor.

I have seen some of these on Ebay for £600-£800 requiring total restoration, whilst good ones
are fetching 4500+ euros in Germany.