When I first saw this poor, weathered little thing for sale on eBay, it brought me back to a time long ago when I made a unique automotive discovery . . .
Just east of the town of Mount Freedom, New Jersey there was what looked like a little abandoned village hidden in a large wooded area. It bore a remarkable similarity to another abandoned village in N.J. known as Feltville (pictured above). There was a dusty road down the center, with small vacant and disintegrating cottages on each side.
One fine summer day in 1986, I’m exploring this hidden place that almost nobody knows about, and somewhere off the beaten path I find what looks like a vehicle of some kind, overgrown with weeds. I’m thinking maybe it’s a golf cart or something, but no–it’s an actual automobile!
It’s got a name on the back: GOGGOMOBIL. That’s a curious name for a car–sounds like a toy or maybe something from a cartoon. But this “car” is rather toy-like and cartoonish. You can practically put your arms around it!
What struck me as fascinating and creepy at the same time was its “surprised mouth” grille that was remarkably Edsel-like. I didn’t think anybody would want to copy the Edsel’s looks. It just added to the mystery.
But it turns out the Goggomobil is a real car–I found it pictured (minus the Edsel grille) in a library book entitled AUTO PARADE 1961. Goggomobils are made by a company called “Hans Glas Isaria-Vertriebs-KG” which is located in the town of Dingolfing, Germany (southern Bavaria).
The specs are: 2 stroke, 2 cylinder, air cooled 24 cubic inch engine (20 horsepower) with 4-speed manual transmission. 10″ wheels; weight 1014 lbs. Length = 119.5″; Width = 53.9″; Wheelbase = 70.9″. Top speed = 65 MPH. Sort of a high-powered, super-luxury go-kart which, at age 12, I would have loved tooling around in!
The interior here looks about as trashed as the one I found in the woods. You have to wonder why it was left there so many years before. If the little houses were vacation cottages, then maybe someone went vacationing in his Goggo, a major (or even minor) mechanical problem occurred, and the owner decided to just leave it behind, get a ride to Morristown (where there are many car dealerships), and buy something new. A dead Goggomobil several years old probably had zero resale value anyway!
So the poor little Goggo, forsaken and all alone, was left there to rot for ever and ever. (Or at least until the land was cleared for development decades later).
On the other side of the size spectrum, we have this 1961 Imperial. We’ll let the seller describe it:
“The spider man special. I have no idea what the previous owner thought when he had this car. I needed a parts car as at the time, I had 3 imperials. In the end, used the bumpers off of it and sold the rear lights. Everything else is how I found it. Yes, that’s the gas tank inside the trunk for some random reason. There is weird spider man stuff all over the car. You do keep the spider man toys in the back window.”
There’s a long-legged red spider painted on the hood . . .
. . . and the trunk. As the seller says, you get the Spiderman toys thrown in for free!
While he had the red paint out, the prior owner “got creative” by picking out various details in red.
Here’s where things get weird. We all know that custom upholstery work and restoration is time consuming, requires great skill, and is expensive. So imagine a guy walking into an upholstery shop and saying, “Yeah, I want custom seats in two-toned black and red, with evil-looking Spiderman eyes in the headrest, and spiderweb stitching on top of the seat. And red piping. It’s gonna be so cool!”
A few years and lots of $$$s later, and this Imperial is total junk. And to think this once-dignified car started out something like the ad below. What would the original owner think of his car with all this spidey-stuff all over it?
Well, there are a lot of strange cars, and a lot weird stories and mysteries that go with them. In this way, cars resemble people. Luckily, Curbside Classic is here to present these stories and pictures for your edification. So stay tuned–there’s so much more out there!