from the "large" Goggomobil to the Glas Isar


A Chronicle (by Jürgen Böttger)

On June 12, 1958 - it was the birthday of company founder Hans Glas - the first production model of the "Large" Goggomobil rolled off the line. Since the introduction of a non-drivable prototype at the IAA in 1957, just nine months had passed. The time between the introduction and the start of the production was filled with extensive redesigns and road tests.
Unfortunately, with development of the car not yet completed, the first cars were delivered to customers. After years of costly setbacks and continuous improvement the last GLAS Isar rolled off the line in 1965. After all these years, it had now acquired the design maturity that was expected from the beginning.
But obviously its time had expired; the customer no longer wanted it. Now they asked for cars which were ranked in a higher class.

Hans Glas: "Those who never left the narrow band of caution were never foolish, but also not wise." (Quoted in Spiegel No. 21/57)

Mid to late 50s - it was the time back then so aptly described as the "economic miracle" in Germany - the small Goggomobil, the Isetta, the Messerschmitt, Maico or Kleinschnittger, the Fulda Mobil or the Heinkel no longer filled the increasing demands of the customers. These were so-called scooters cars, which were still in the infancy and automotive development and reminded too much of the early days of motorization. People earned a good living again and most no longer were satisfied with the motto "The main thing is, that it has roof over my head".
The move to Volkswagen, however, was for many who could up to this point only afford a "better mobile weather protection" a little too much. For them the lesser costs (taxes, insurance and fuel consumption) was an important argument for buying a vehicle in the 600 cc class.
Hans Glas had recognized the signs of these times correctly. In this new emerging class of vehicle, above the simple scooter cars, growth rates in a double-digit percentage could be expected. A larger Goggomobil was needed, because the GLAS did not want to leave the looming boom solely to the competition. The confidence of the Dingolfinger was great and they believed to have amassed enough experience in the construction of automobiles. After all, they had managed in recent years, through their intelligent developments and sensational sales success to gain respect in the automobile industry. So why not try a new construction territory?
So in a few months a brand new vehicle was put on wheels, which had neither technically nor stylistically anything in common with the previous Goggomobil.

The "Large Goggomobil" was a: (Quote: Kleinwagen) "A star on the horizon of the new 600cc class!"

In 1957 at the IAA, the "Large Goggomobil" was a sensation. No one had this newcomer expected. "A brazen kick to the shin of the opponents" (Quote: Auto Motor & Sport) left the established competition suddenly look out dated and made the hearts of potential customers beat faster.
as presented at the IAAas presented at the IAARelative to that time, the car offered enough space for four adults, there was a bench front seat and the trunk had an above average size.
The new Goggomobil impressed, for this class, by an unusual body, which followed the American fashion trend (Hans Glas loved American cars). Obviously the design was based on the 1956 Buick Century. Exactly like this car the large Goggomobil had a panoramic windshield and on the sides the snappy crease pressed into the side sheet metal which enabled the up till now unique two-tone paint (set off three times). Whitewall tires completed the pleasing appearance.
These typical physical characteristics made it unique among the competitors. The driver could enjoy the standard head light flasher and the automatically to the start position returning windshield wipers and turn signal stalk. Also the crank up door windows were then in this class not a given. The front-hinged hood and the steering wheel with a deep recessed hub were prove, that the design included passive safety details. The front mounted, air-cooled two-cylinder, four-stroke boxer motor with its 600 cc and 25 hp was supposed to drive the front wheels. The former BMW engineer, Leonhard Ischinger was responsible for the motors design.
The "large" Goggomobil was now a serious alternative to the Lloyd 600 or NSU / FIAT Jagst which were already available for some time. Together with the also introduced NSU Prinz and the BMW 600 they formed the successful new small car class in the following years.