Wednesday, November 10, 2010

1959 Tempo Matador

This is really interesting...

Tempo was a German automobile manufacturer based in Hamburg. Vidal & Sohn Tempo-Werke was founded in 1924. For the first dozen or so years they built military vehicles. After WWII, they started building light commercial vehicles. Many were 3 wheeled vehicles but some, like this one, were full sized (by European standards) vans and pickup-type trucks.

In 1971 Tempo was purchased by Daimler-Benz. Tempo continued building vans until 1977 (many were branded as Mercedes Benz) when Daimler-Benz closed down the firm.

The Tempo line of commercial vehicles was fairly popular in Europe and you still see them turn up for sale in Europe from time to time. In the US they are extremely rare.

Most Tempo Matadors came with an aircooled VW flat 4 engine that was placed up front and drove the front wheels. This one has a water cooled Austin A 50 engine in it. Apparently, they were sold this way in the US. (See brochure below)

(Click on the picture to enlarge it. Picture is courtesy of

Interestingly, Jensen built a few of these in the UK under license from Tempo. They are very, very rare. I'm pretty certain this is not a Jensen built Matador, but I wonder if Tempo's connection to Jensen lead to the Austin A 50 engines found in some of these vehicles.

This Tempo Matador needs restoration, but the seller says it runs and drives. At some point it was for sale in Montana, but is now located in New Hampshire. (The Montana ad contains a few additional pictures.)

I hope someone buys this, restores it, and brings it to some of the New England car shows. I'd love to check this out.

Located in Bradford N.H., click here to see the Craigslist ad.

A huge thanks to Jon for sending me this link!


Richard said...

Wow! A 7 series wagon!!! I love it! A BMW Vixen! Amazing!

The 1984 300ZX Turbo with just 12k on the clock could be bargain, the right color and spec. Wonder how much it will go for?

Sean said...

This is a first for me. I've never seen a water-cooled Matador. I've seen the VW powered delivery vans. Really fun.

How times have changed. Austin parts more common than VW parts...

Richard said...

Opps, in my excitement I posted on the wrong topic, duh!

Quantum Joe said...

A front wheel drive van from the 1950s... I've never seen or even heard of these before.

Great informative post!!!

Chris Keen said...

It's man-sized! If there's a better selling point for a van, I haven't heard it. "Sorry honey, you can't come - this van is too big for you."

gary foster said...

hi all just picked up on this post ,they stopped using the vw motor in 53 when vw started there own bus not wanting to help the competition.this left tempo in a bad spot, they used some elo and 2 stroke hinkle motors in them before they were able to get the deal with austen .after 56 all had the a-40 in the short chassis single cab or the a-50 in the duel cabs and vans. looking for any parts or info. i can find. negotiating on a collection of 5 very poor shape units atm may be able to bring one back before some one has my sanity checked

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