(first posted 5/11/2014) The CoronoroC prototype wasn’t exactly the first time that a double-ended car was envisioned. In 1957, German motorcycle builder Zündapp unveiled their Janus, intended to improve upon the flimsy barely-weatherproof microcars then common. The 14 hp two-stroke 250 cc single-cylinder engine was mounted mid-ship, between the two opposite facing seats. Obviously, the main advantage was in limiting the number of expensive pressings. No word on whether a bi-directional version was considered.
The Janus was not a success, with only 1731 cars made before the plant was sold to Bosch. I can’t help but wonder if someone ever converted one to bi-directionality. Perfect for those crowded inner cities.
A double hat tip to slow_joe_crow
Reminds me of the Isetta 600. Which one was first? It looks like both were available in ’57.
The 2-seater Isetta was earlier (from 1955 to 1962).
The Zündapp Janus was a 4-seater, based on a design licensed from the aircraft company Dornier (cf. http://www.dorniermuseum.de/de/museum/delta.php ). The Janus was built from 1957 to 1958.
American Motors was always hamstrung by its shoestring development budgets. The Cavalier concept car of 1965 was an exercise in shared front and rear stampings to reduce tooling costs. It had a clean, conventional front end, but rather odd proportions in the rear, as illustrated here:
The Hornet (introduced about 5 years later) borrowed its styling from the front half of the Cavalier.
Isn’t it curious how symmetrical cars never quite work out? The Cavalier is a perfect example: the slope of the rear window somehow looks way steeper than the front one. Our eyes just don’t like this. I’ve never seen any of the rational-driven ideas to build a symmetrical car work.
Pininfarina tried it with the Peugette, panel-sharing being the inspiration. Never liked the style of that Janus, but heard about an interesting Coronet police car…
The future Lark prototypes that Brooks Stevens was tinkering with in 1962 worked in better disguises for the symmetrical doors, windows, and fenders, using tricks like reverse flying-buttress rear window surrounds, swooping moldings, and different fiberglass clips at each end to hide the identical sheetmetal. It’s not incidental though that any manufacturer resorting to symmetrical cars probably doesn’t have enough money to keep the whole concern going.
I bet the dealers got you coming and going.
Are you sure this isn’t another April Fool’s Photoshop Joke?
Nope! I’ve seen it in the microcar museum in Madison Ga (where I believe this photo was taken).
If it is, it’s some phenomenal photoshop work.
It has the perfect name. Janus,was the 2 faced, either Greek or Roman, God.
The only thing imperfect about the name is that is isn’t a palindrome.
Were things like this used basically as enclosed motorscooters? I mean, I couldn’t imagine taking one of these things on the Autobahn.
I’ve heard of these but I never saw a real one.
For my generation Zündapp means the Mercedes-Benz among the 50 cc mopeds. For guys that is, girls had their own girly-model mopeds of course. Now they all drive these epicene scooters.
Like this 1980 Zündapp GTS50. Once you were 16 you could (legally) ride one. Several highschool classmates had a 50 cc Zündapp, Kreidler or Yamaha that could do 55 to 60 mph. Some even faster. On rural windy and very narrow roads, far away from the police of course. Heavily tuned 50 cc mopeds, completely illegal. But that’s exactly the fun-aspect for a 16 year old !
I certainly remember. There were also Hercules and a few Maico among them. In fact there were 3 classes of 50cc 2 wheelers:
Mofa, “Motorisiertes Fahrrad” (motorized bicycle) which was limited to 25 km/h,
Moped which was limited to 40km/h and
“Kleinkraftrad” (Krad) which was limited to 50 ccm engines. These were rated at about 6.25 bhp. They made a noise like 10 chainsaws together. Let’s just say that teenage boys didn’t make friends among the adult population “operating” these. The insurance rates for the krads were astronomical. They were exclusively used by 16 and 17 year old boys who went to real motorcycles or cars on their 18th birthday.
In order to reduce the noise the formula was changed to a speed limit of 80km/h and 80cc displacement.
Oddly enough they used this car in “Cars 2” as “The professor”.
I was wondering how long it would be before someone mentioned Professor Z.
I thought Professor Z had a mustache.
Close, that’s *Doctor* Z.
Ive seen a few Zundapp mopeds and the like but not one of these not surprising really by the time you got one imported here you coulda bought a proper car.
It is not a photoshopped joke. I witnessed the Zundapp Janus on the roads in Germany. I think I was too young to appreciate all the shapes on display here:
That could get very confusing after a night at the Long Branch.
Rural myth has it that a driver getting into the car after a few beverages may have noticed a missing steering wheel.
Is that the kind of confusion you are eluding to?
nooow i sweeree (hic) ther wash a weehl hershs (hic) whan I (hic) parsk it hersh (hic).
Did they use the door from an Isetta? Sure looks like one.
You mean two doors?
No, the window is much different and there are more differences.
” I think I was too young to appreciate all the shapes on display here: ”
I think this car took the ‘Is it coming or going?’ trophy from the the 1947 Studebaker…
There is another Janus downstairs at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. The museum itself justifies a trip to Germany.
I saw one at the Lane in Nashville. Fascinating how they did so much with so little.
maybe there is a modernized version.
Citroen Ami, also a moped car like Janus, but electric.
It’s close to being a square car with not only the front and back, but also the left and right matching. You could just pull into parallel-parking spaces by driving in nose first, or backing in. Yeah I know you can do this with a Smart too but it looks weird and the bumpers are in the wrong place.
IMHO it looks like a’clown car’. I can see many clowns coming out of the front door AND back door at the same time!