Goggo Sedan Purchase Advise

General

Once the trend to have a roof over the head began in the early '50s, the Isaria Maschinenfabrik Dingolfing could not ignore this development. They started to think about a step up model for their scooter customers, who already for years now, were provided with the successful in-house product.

In 1954 a small, basic car was introduced, initially with a front opening door, whose production was scheduled to start by the end of the year. The first, little over a thousand, cars rolled off the production line with still bolt-on fenders.

Already during the first year 9,000 vehicles were produced, and they really got started: from 1956 on production was in full swing. 1957 brought many improvements, among others the sliding door windows were replaced with "correct" wind-up windows which helped with much better air ventilation the car.

The following years saw continuous development and small improvements, but the basic design was so good that it remained to the end, a total of 14-years. The biggest change was in March of 1963, when a new law required the removal of the rear-hinged doors, known as "suicide" or "chicken catcher doors".

Since many customers in Germany only had the old driver license I and IV (restricted to only 250 cc displacement engines), the vast majority of the Goggos were delivered only with the 250 cc engines; fewer copies, for example, for the foreign markets, where there was no such driver's license restriction, came with 300 and 400 cc engines off the assembly line.

Since the 70s, when a Goggo, as an inexpensive everyday car, simply was replaced with another one once it stopped running, the picture has changed more and more in the last decades: the price for really good specimens increased, but there were enough left, which a technically gifted hobby mechanic could, with a reasonable effort, restore.

To date (December 2011) it is hardly worthwhile to restore a poor condition car with a rusted out floor, sills and A-pillars, since cars in much better condition are around and inexpensive. Exceptions are the very early model years, which are much more sought after and 300 and 400-cc models and those with rear vent windows and roll up sun roof.

Body

Weak points are around the lower part of the body: wheel arches, lower door edges and the bottom edges of front, rear and sides are usually a victim of corrosion. On models before 1966 the floor with sills is often still completely ok, so that work requiring a welder is limited and in many cases the need of separating the floor and bodywork is not necessary.

Defective glass can be replaced inexpensively, with the exception of the curved laminated windshield of the coupe, by getting a used one and crumbling window and door seals are available in top quality.

Although the original chrome quality was good, but after 50 years there may not be no way to get around new plating of bumpers, hub caps and door handles. But, chrome plating has become so expensive that the search for a used, well-preserved piece or even buying a new one could be more sensible.

Drive train

The drive train of a Goggomobil usually is less of a headache than the body. The nearly indestructible engine may have stopped running due to a piston seizures or even damage the crankshaft bearings, however these defects can be fixed with a relatively low cost.

The most sensitive part of the drive train is the pair of reverse gears which easily can be checked with a running motor: if the reverse gear pops out during a quick start, an overhaul here is in the cards for which the engine must be removed. You can often buy some time by removing the excess play in the shift linkage. This requires only two new connection pins and 4 new bushings which will insert the reverse gear deeper. But when the reverse still pops out, even if the gear shift lever is held in position, an immediate repair is necessary. This is doable for the hobbyist even without a car mechanic training: the motor is simply turned upside down, a cover is removed and now the whole transmission is easily accessible.

The other parts of the drive train are so robust that they seldom create problems: the differential and the four forward gears are virtually "unbreakable", the coupling in 95% of all problems cases requires only a new disc spring (factory allowed replacement time 1.5 hours) and the Dyna starter system, which must fulfill three functions (starter, alternator, distributor) does it job usually without complaining. The exchange of brushes or points is not for the all thumbs mechanic, but it is not rocket science either.

Very simple is also the fuel system: cleaning the fuel valve/filter combination and the disassembly of the carburetor is very simple and will not be a problem even for an un-skilled amateur mechanic.

The simple chassis requires at worst new rubber bushings, kingpins and tie rod ends. A critical eye however is required when inspecting the shock absorbers. Replacement here will put a big hole in your budget but if they are already replaced a premium purchase price is justified.

Brakes, taking into account the performance of the Goggo motor, are overdesigned and handle high duty without complaint. After a long time standing, usually the hydraulic components need repair, but not necessarily be replaced: for wheel and brake master cylinder, if there are no scratches, inexpensive repair kits are available.

Old and hardened flat tire can be replaced with good reproduction, which is even available with a white wall. If there is no emphasis on originality, a much cheaper 145-10 radial tire can be fitted which requires on the sedan however a modification of the front inner fender opening. The gain in road holding is enormous, and with the savings there will be Dollars left for the purchase of other parts. A pleasant side effect: due to the larger circumference of the radial tire, the usually higher speedometer reading is removed and the engine runs in lower RPM.

Interior / trim

The interior is kept simple, which means in case of repairs the required financial outlay is minimal. Increasingly, however, the large bottom rubber mats are no longer useable and at present reproductions do not exist. However, carpet type floor coverings are available even with the Goggo logo and even original looking coconut mats.

Replacement costs for a worn out head liner is 100 Euro, seats and side panels in the later models are made of a very durable synthetic leather and often need only cleaning. The early models had seat covers and side panels made of cloth which is after all this time mostly useless. For that there is not yet a true to the original replacement, but one might be lucky to find material by an old, established auto upholsterer.

If the dashboard has been compromised by mounting holes or an expanded radio opening, it easily can be replaced with a good used part. On the Coupe one should pay attention to the condition of the plastic top of the instrument panel. Cracked parts can be replaced individually.

Almost all the trim, if chromed or polished aluminum, are available new, the aluminum parts however, can be brought back to an as new condition by polishing, if they are not dented or bent.

Spare parts situation

The spare parts situation could hardly be any better: several vendors supply the Goggo driver with almost any desired part. Besides decorative parts, which were only available as an accessory, there are true to the original, cloth roll up sun roof for the beautiful summer trips.

Also with drive train components, everything is available: every engine and transmission part, all electrical components, brakes and steering parts, as are all sheet metal repair panels for body and undercarriage.

Anyone who feels underpowered with the 250 Goggo can obtain a 300 cc conversion kit, which brings a perceived performance increase of 25%. Probably that's true because the factory claimed 13.6-HP of the 250cc engine has been doubted by many experts and was probably only reached by engines in top condition.

Unfortunately, the most produced 250 cc engine cannot be modified to 400 cc. The 400 series is in all components, except for the gearbox and clutch, a completely different design, but since it does install into the same mounting points as the small motors, it is very sought after and rarely offered for sale.

Conclusion

As with almost every other car it's also true for the Goggo, the purchase of a fine example is the best decisions when .... - Yes, you want it and can afford it. Prices will rise further and due to the availability of almost all sheet metal parts the resurrection of even a poor example can make sense if one does the work and does not count the hours spent.

One should strike, if one is offered a 250 cc version in good condition. It's not worth waiting for a 300 or 400 cc model, these are very rare. You can upgrade later, when you run across a "big block" engine. Regardless of their engines, all Goggos have the same brakes and chassis, so that there is nothing to prevent you from a later upgrade.

Undeniably, a Goggomobil is probably one of the most inexpensive ways to start in the classic car hobby. The only exception is the transporter model, a car offered for sale so few times that its pricing has already reached dizzying heights.

I wish all future Goggo drivers much luck with the purchase, have fun with the restoration and later enjoy the ride in a car that was in its days exported all over the world and for which no tour is too strenuous.

Go for the long trip, a well prepared Goggomobil does not let its driver down ...

And anyone who needs a question answered can benefit here from 40 years of Goggo experience, because good advice is not expensive but available and for free at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.