From agriculture to cars

Despite its small size the vehicle offered four seats, whilst the mechanicals were all at the back, with the engine, gearbox and drive placed over the rear axle.

The history of Glas began in 1883 in Pilsting, Germany, when Andreas Glas founded a company to make agricultural machinery. After the Second World War Andreas’s son, Hans, was impressed by the Vespa scooters he saw on a visit to Italy and began to think about the potential of a similar model to improve Germany’s mobility. On his return home he decided to proceed with a scooter adapted more to the needs of post-war Germany and in 1951 he introduced the Goggo, Glas’s first two-wheeler, before deciding later to move onwards by trying to enter the automotive sector. Hence in 1954 the Goggomobil appeared, a super-utility vehicle just 2.9 metres long, with three-volume bodywork and two doors. Despite its small size the vehicle offered four seats, whilst the mechanicals were all at the back, with the engine, gearbox and drive placed over the rear axle. The Goggomobil entered production in 1955, initially with a 250 cc two-cylinder engine (model T 250), which was later replaced by a 293 cc engine (T300) and finally, in 1960, the 395 cc version.

Following successful sales of his car Glas decided in 1957 to introduce a coupé version of the Goggomobil, the TS, which remained in production with open or closed body until 1967. Meanwhile Glas, in addition to their small Goggomobil, also began production of increasingly luxurious cars diametrically opposed to the concept of simple mobility offered by small cars, mainly to take advantage of the rising standard of living in Germany in the early 1960s.

Glas’s choice was, however, perhaps not the wisest and the huge investments involved in offering products in the more up-market category were not covered by the volume of sales, leading the company into a financial crisis. In 1969 it was taken over by BMW and ceased to exist as a brand and, although his luxury products continued to be sold as BMWs for a very short time, the name Goggomobil disappeared off the scene altogether, bringing the epoch to a definitive end and consigning to history the model which counts amongst the protagonists of the great mass motorization which occurred in the post-war period.

Text by Tommaso Lai

Translation by Norman Hawkes

Copyright © Cars Forgotten Stories. All rights reserved.


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