The GLAS 04 and GT in Motorsport

GLAS in motor sport - an incredible success story

In the early 60s started the "Breiten-Motorsport" phenomena in the Federal Republic of Germany. "Breiten-Motorsport" is simply a motorsport event for anyone. For many motor sports enthusiasts, it just was a blast to use their own vehicle in slaloms, reliability trials, rallies, hill climbs and track races.

The most popular classes were the ones with the 1300cc and 1000cc engine displacement. There were many cars suitable for these events, the DKW F12, the Mini Cooper, the Fiat 1300, the Renault Gordini and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta for example.

New to the mix were the still unknown GLAS 1004 to 1204TS. The stock versions with 42 to 70 hp, a good power to weight ratio and an affordable price of 6,980 German Marks, for a 1204 TS for example, was a good start to compete (a VW Beetle had at this time only 34 hp).

At the time Hans Zettler and Leo Löser of the Glas R/D department, were involved with the continuing development of these models for production and motorsport. Thus the 1304 TS and the 1300 GT with 85 hp and 5-speed manual gearbox came here together.

In addition, many performance parts were developed, such as camshafts, valves, rocker arms, special rear axle ratios for example that were allowed to homologate the cars according to the sporting regulation and which the customer could directly order from the factory.

These facts impressed quickly in motor racing circles, especially the sporting success GLAS already had.

Also in Berlin the new GLAS models were watched attentively, thinking of the AVUS, slalom races at the Berlin airport and various rallies and hill climbs in the near Federal Republic.

So it happened that the author went with two friends to distant Dingolfing, toured the plant and even got do a test drive the 1204TS. This drive was on the Lower Bavarian country roads and of course, since there was no speed limit, with a lead foot.

The result: Two friends, Manfred Beckers and Claus Jurichs, drove back to Berlin with two 1204TS. Only one of us stood behind: my humble self.

Gerd BodmerGerd BodmerThe 1966 6-hour race at the NürbgringThe 1966 6-hour race at the Nürbgring

I was very impressed with all this and as a fledgling advertising and newspaper man I was looking for a job. The GLAS advertising manager Helmut Dannenberg was like me, born in Berlin, and we soon came to an agreement.

My great interest in motor sport was noticed by the head of the sports department Franz Kammerbauer, on weekends I also could be found in the R/D department, the small race workshop or on the racetrack. The switch to work for his department followed shortly after.

We got along splendidly, and he was one of my best friends in Dingolfing. Later he moved to Audi-VW-Porsche in the U.S., where he unfortunately died very early.

Due to the many successes of GLAS in motor sports, we developed the GLAS Motorsport Cup: For the successes of privateers we awarded for the first three places each DM 300/200/100. This amounted over time to a considerable expense for the company which we had to be amortized.

My then-chief press officer Werner Zentzitzki gave me the task to make these achievements public. We sent press releases with photos to the trade press, invited editors to selected races and arranged their visits to the Dingolfing plant.

Helpful was also Rainer Braun, the well-known and popular motoring journalist and track announcer. He contributed articles in the quarterly published GLAS news about the many GLAS successes in motor sports. Also the GLAS dealerships became involved in the activities. Posters with the winners of the outstanding sporting achievements in a GLAS were displayed in showrooms as well as in advertisements in the regional newspapers.

The most victories had of course the legendary GLAS factory driver Gerhard Bodmer.

The highlight for GLAS and Gerhard Bodmer was winning the German Racing Championship in 1965 with a GLAS 1204TS. Three years earlier, he had won this championship already on his GLAS ISAR T600.

In addition, there was the unprecedented success story of the private drivers. In addition to the (almost) unbeatable Gerhard Bodmer, the GLAS dealer Karl Herd, Helmut Kelleners and Karl-Heinz Becker had the fastest GLAS 1204TS. Other well-known and very successful private GLAS drivers included Dieter Schmid (who usually was the co-driver with Gerhard Bodmer), Heinrich Baumgartner (founder of the renowned company BBS), Charles Ostheimer and the GLAS quartet from Berlin, Manfred Beckers, Claus Jurichs and Jürgen Kishauer (in that order, Berlin car champion in 1965, 1966 and 1967) and Eberhard Heidler.

In rally racing was especially the Austrian Loisl Wiener with several state championship titles, extremely successful.

In Germany, the palatinate shoe factory owner Theo Klinck and Norbert Supper became the measuring stick for the competition with their 1204TS. Even long-time Berlin AVUS Race Director Gerhard Gottlieb was with his 1204 TS GLAS very successful.

Parallel to the factory race efforts, there were also several GLAS tuners, offering performance parts or complete conversions. In addition to the GLAS dealer Charles Herd, especially the company Dinkel in Königsdorf in upper Bavaria and the camshaft specialist Albert from Wörgl in Tyrol. Eberhard Heidler from Berlin had his 1204TS motor done there which brought him many successes. At the AVUS race he was almost as fast in his 1204TS, as the factory prepared car of Bodmer.

Unfortunately, in 1967 the success story came to an end, as was GLAS, as we know, taken over by BMW. Nevertheless, also in the following years there were many victories with GLAS vehicles.

Wolfgang Gieselmann

Photos: Robert Kröschel (3), Walter Kotauschek (1)

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