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.


  1. Australia imposed significant protectionist tariffs on car imports in the 1950s and 60s. To overcome the tariffs, foreign cars were imported as chassis and engine and handed over to Australian bodybuilders to complete.
    Bill Buckle, owner of Buckle Motors, a car body builder saw an opportunity to import the Goggomobil as a budget runabout. Rather than build their own bodies for the car they took casts of the saloon body and reproduced them in fibreglass. Because these bodies come from a model they are slightly larger than the standard steel bodied Goggos from Germany.
    Buckle had also been playing around with fibreglass bodied sportscars based on a Ford Prefect chassis and engine, but they'd not really been successful so he turned to the Goggo chassis and installed a mini E-type Jag style fibreglass body over it and called it the Dart. The windscreen is actually a rear window from a contemporary Renault. They are tiny little cars and so low that they didn't need a door as you can simply step over the side into them. At the time they were mediocre sellers and only 700 were built but over time they have been recognised as classics.
    The later success of the Dart has pretty much spelt doom for the few Goggo saloons that have survived. Their fibreglass bodies of course have never rusted, but they lend themselves to an easy conversion into a Dart by replacing the saloon body with a Dart body, replicas of which can be made to order. Consequently there are probably more Darts around now than were originally manufactured. A word to the wary!
    Buckle also built a number of Goggo vans too with a completely different body style to the traditional German Goggo van. They have a bulbous front end that gives them a blimp-like appearance. They are extremely rare with possibly only one or two in existance.

  2. Thanks for that Paul. Ireland in the 1950's and 60's was the same, excessive import duties led to cars being brought in here in kit form, (like Australia) and finished off here. The Government allowed this as it created jobs.
    The Wartburg was imported to Ireland in this way about 5 years before it was seen in the Uk. Dkw's were also assembled in Cork, here and for many years Ireland had the only Dkw factory outside of Germany( before Argentina and Brazil).

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