Thursday, October 22, 2009

1959 Goggomobil Dart - Australian / German Micorcar

There's a pretty good chance you've never seen one of these before (I know I haven't), and there's a pretty good chance you won't see one again for a very long time, if ever. There were only 700 of these cars built. They were built by an Australian company called Buckle Motors.

The story of Buckle Motors is pretty interesting. Buckle was a car dealer located in Sydney. From 1958, inspired by the popularity of microcars in Europe, Buckle Motors started to import just the chassis and mechanical components of the Goggomobil from Germany. Buckle then created fiberglass replacements for the original steel Goggomobil bodies. By importing just the engine and chassis an important part of Australian import taxes were avoided, which made for attractive prices and profits. The new Australian bodies looked similar to the original but were lighter. Some 5,000 of these locally assembled cars were sold until the end in 1962.

The Dart was designed by Australian engineer, Steve Brown, and was a body very unique to Australia. The body is fiberglass and everything underneath is pure Goggomobil. Buckle introduced the car to the public in 1959.

The engine in the standard Goggomobil was 250cc two cylinder, air-cooled two-stroke unit. That engine puts out 15 HP at 5000 RPM. According to the Australian website, The Goggomobil People, Australian versions of the Goggomobil and Dart received a 300cc or 400cc version of the engine. These engines were durable and could run at 5000 RPM all day long. Top speed is in the neighborhood of 65MPH.

This is one of those cars that even if I had unlimited funds and storage space, I would not buy. It's just not my type of car. It's great to look at, though. It serves to remind us of a time when cars were simpler and when people with an idea and ambition could actually build and sell their own car.

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, click here to see the eBay listing.

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