In the aftermath of World War II, the German nation was reeling from destruction on a mass scale and the shame which National Socialism placed upon its people. With the partioning of the country into East and West Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany experienced a period of prolonged economic growth better known as the Wirtschaftswunder, or economic wonder. The demand for cheap transportation was in great demand during this time and a direct result of that was the appearance of micro and bubble cars on the German automotive scene. From the BMW Isetta to the Messerschmidt, these miniscule vehicles gave West Germans the freedom to explore their revitalized nation and beyond.
Built by the Glas company (which was later bought up by BMW), here is a very rare example of the more “sporting” Goggomobil TS400 Coupe for sale in New Jersey.
As cultural icons from Germany’s immediate postwar years, microcars are among the most desirable collector cars today and the early “suicide door” Goggomobil Coupés are among the most sought-after examples. The 1958 model presented here, chassis # 02 132 084, is one of about 1,000 Goggomobil Coupés remaining worldwide of a total production of 66,511 units.
As you can imagine, selling Goggomobils, even to an “economy” car buyer was a challenge in the landscape of 1950’s America. The US importer, Continental Car Combine of New York City was as you’d expect, less than successful in finding customers for the Goggomobil sedans and far fewer still willing to spend extra money for the stylish coupe and as a result only a very limited number of these 1950’s vintage “suicide-door” Goggos were ever sold in the United States and only a mere handful still exist here today. Of these survivors….only one is a virtually “new” car with just 457 miles!
This TS 400 Coupe was originally purchased new in 1959 from “White Motors” of Fort Myers, Florida…the local Goggomobil dealer who also sold (or tried to sell) Hillmans and Sunbeams! The car saw very little use and was subsequently purchased by an antique car museum in Sarasota where it was on display for over 30 years …. (I was told actually hung overhead from the ceiling!). I purchased this Goggo Coupe at the museum’s liquidation auction in 1994 and since then it has remained carefully preserved in dry indoor storage.
This USA Spec Goggomobil TS 400 is powered by the rare “big block” 394cc version of the two-stroke parallel twin, the largest of the three engines offered (250, 300, and 400cc) and in addition to the larger engine the very rare USA specification export TS400 also features unique front end sheet metal which includes 7″ headlamps, bumper overriders front and rear, a more deluxe interior fabric and deletion of the fresh air intake vents by the front signal lamps as well as an oil tank for automatically mixing the proper ratio of oil to gasoline.
Rated at 20 horsepower, it’s sufficient power the 980 lb. (!) Coupe to a top speed of 100km/h, about 62mph. Equipped with a 12-Volt electrical system, dual coils, and a dynastarter, it is an extremely sophisticated and eminently usable microcar. No oil changes required! Just use two-stroke mix each time you fill ‘er up — the fuel tank is right above the engine.
Factory decal advises 1:25 oil/gas mixture; using today’s superior two-stroke oils, most owners run close to a 1:40 mix, all but eliminating the characteristic “blue cloud.” The engine runs smoothly when on occassion I would start the engine by supplying a pre-mix of fuel directly into the carburetor.
The beautiful styling of the Goggomobil Couple was clearly influenced by the Italian Carrozzerias of the era with it’s panoramic wrap-around rear window and taillights doing double duty as small tail fins. The 10-inch wheels wear the elaborate Turbozierkappen — the Coupé-only hubcaps with red “G” centers with the original 4.80-10 factory fitted Metzler tires.
To call this Goggo a mere “survivor” would be an understatement. It presents itself in such extraordinary original condition. This TS400 also features its original factory-applied two tone cherry red with white paint which still has an acceptable gloss
Inside, the good news continue, as everything remains 100% original and untouched….including the original (whitewall) spare still with a portion of the protective cosmoline coating on the the sidewall!
As would be expected, the interior shows some expected age deterioration commensirate with it’s age in spite of the car’s extremely low mileage. The plating on the window frames as well as the bumpers has deteriorated from age and will need to be rechromed. The car is an original completely rust free example……with absolutely no repair or restoration
I think it safe to assume it may be impossible to find another completely original unrestored Goggomobil TS 400 microcar with under 900 kms from new. The Goggomobil’s gated dash mounted 4-speed pre select electromagnetic shifter is a work of art
Comfortable front bucket seats still feature their original fabric patterned fabric (drivers side has separated at the seams where the the threads have deteriorated). The underside of the car as well as the engine compartment is clean.
This Goggomobil is would make be the perfect candidate and a most special and unusual entry into the preservation class of any Concours d’ Elegance! Piloting a microcar, especially a Goggomobil, can be a wonderful, thrilling experience.
You definitely want the best example you can find, a car that is an unrestored original and as close to “new” as exists…. this is the one. Of importance to any prospective owner of an “exotic” collector car is the excellent parts availiblity and technical advice. The goggomobil is well supported through Uwe Staufenberg, the English-speaking owner of www.Goggomobil.com. Every microcar aficionado knows just how difficult it is to unearth an original unrestored example today.
Finding an early suicide door Coupé that that has just 457 original miles and is a 100% correct and unmodified, unrestored survivor that has not succumbed to mechanical failures, corrosion, or accident damage must rate very high on the list of the all-time greatest finds!
There’s only one virtually new 1958 Goggomobil TS400 Coupé in existence, and here’s your golden opportunity to become its proud new caretaker.
Short of sourcing one out of a museum, this could possibly be the most complete Goggomobil you would find for sale in this country for a long time. With a little more than two days left in the auction, this example still hasn’t met its reserve at a shade over $9,000. Obviously it is hard to place a value on such a rare little beast, but with 15 bids, interest from the enthusiast community has been shown. Since production lasted into 1969, this was one of the last microcars of its kind to be produced. Something this unique deserves to be preserved.