Here is something out of the ordinary. I don’t see Hans Glas’ Goggomobils very often, and it seems most of those are the Australian market-only Dart. And there is more than meets the eye too.
The Dart was a sports car based on the Goggomobil developed by the Australian importer Bill Buckle in Sydney, and became so much more prominent that there was an iconic ad for the Yellow Pages telephone directory from 1992 that has become, depending on your generation, part of popular culture or a meme.
The normal Goggomobil range started in 1954 with the T250 sedan; a 2-door of course, there wasn’t space for 4 doors! Australian cars had the chassis and mechanicals mated to fibreglass bodies made locally by Buckle Motors in Sydney, moulded from imported steel bodyshells.
The wheelbase was just 1,800 mm (71 in), in a total length of 2,900 mm (110 in) and it weighed a featherweight 415 kg (915 lb). The range was expanded to include a van in 1956 and a coupe and convertible in 1957. As sometimes happens, the coupe was longer than the sedan by 135 mm (just over 5 in).
The two-cylinder air-cooled two-stroke engine was expanded to 300 and 400 cc as the years progressed. The one above is in a Dart, somewhat predictably.
The T400 was actually exported to the USA, from 1955 to 1961, with an interesting electrically-operated semi-automatic gearbox and automatic oil injection.
The interior gives more of a clue that this isn’t your common or garden Goggomobil, if there is such a thing! A few extra gauges including tachometer, some rather hardcore-looking buckets and a lack of weird sideways operating gear lever are all definitely not standard.
You might have noticed the air vent for the front-mounted radiator, (on an air-cooled car?), and another clue is the mis-matched wheels and distinctly wider rear track. This car is actually powered by a Mini Cooper S 1275 cc engine.
Which explains why it was cruising along the freeway at the 100 km/h speed limit on the way home after the show! Over 3 times the original engine capacity will do that for you.
I’ll finish up with a shot of the fantastic art deco style rear licence plate plinth; isn’t it great?