Top 11 most forgotten German sports cars
I'm going to be doing a series of stuff which delves into the forgotten cars of the past; others I've done appear to have done very well and you guys seem to really enjoy reading them.
All I can say is thank you very much for the support on those, and coming up now is a list of the most forgotten niche sports cars from Germany.
Auto Union 1000 SP
Image credit: Favcars.com
Designed to look like a Ford Thunderbird, the 1000 SP was Auto Union's flagship sports car post-war. Yet despite a extensive history of making the finest grand prix cars throughout the 1930s, there was nothing especially speedy about the 1000 SP - even for its time!
0-60 took a steady 22 seconds and it was powered by a teeny 981cc inline 3 cylinder engine producing 54bhp. Just over 6,500 were ever made in its 7-year life.
Borgward 1500 Hansa Sport-Coupe
Image credit: Wikimedia commons.
The standard 1500 Hansa was designed to compete against the likes of Opel and Mercedes Benz. It was a sturdy saloon car which was as sensible as a pair of work trousers.
The Sport-Coupe was a bit different; only 3 were ever made and they were based off the Le Mans racers that entered the endurance race in 1953. They were powered by a 1.5 litre 4-cylinder engine kicking out 90bhp. Top speed was just over 100mph.
Wartburg 313-1 Sportwagen
Despite all the secrecy that the West couldn't see behind the Iron Curtain, the car industry from the Eastern Bloc did at least provide some form of economic exchange.
Such was the way with the Wartburg 313-1 Sport; in this body style, a third of the 469 that were built were exported to the United States. It was a far cry from the established 6 and 8 cylinder engines being produced in Detroit, as the 313-1 housed a 992cc two-stroke inline 3 cylinder engine.
It certainly wasn't quick, but it did at least provide some style. Alright, maybe not Corvette levels, but still.
Borgward Isabella Coupe
Probably the most famous car of Borgward's history, the achingly gorgeous Isabella Coupe was something more of an entry-level luxury sporting coupe rather than an all-out sports car. Nevertheless, its 75bhp 1.5 litre 4 cylinder engine was quite pokey. It was more than the early Porsche 356s, to give it some context.
Yet, despite the fact that Borgward was booming with the Isabella (just over 202,000 were built in all body styles with a good proportion being the coupes), very few people these days seem to remember it. A great shame.
Goliath GP700 Sport
Perhaps even more forgotten about than Borgward, has to be their subsidiary brand, Goliath-Werke Borgward & Co. And for two years (1951-53), a rather interesting sports car had been conceived by them.
The GP700 was a revolutionary piece of engineering: it was propelled by a 25bhp 845cc 2-cylinder engine with a Bosch fuel injection system. And unlike any other sports cars, it was also Front-Wheel-Drive and even had an all-synchromesh 4-speed gearbox. These were things that were completely unheard of in the early 1950s.
NSU Sport Prinz & Spider
Around 22,000 of these pretty things were ever made in total, and one could say they were really early pre-cursors to the Audi TT. (NSU merged with Audi in 1969).
The Sport Prinz (coupe) was designed by Bertone and housed a 583cc and 598cc inline 2-cylinder engines throughout its life. Top speed was just shy of 100mph.
The Spider on the other hand differed; because it used a more unconventional 498cc Wankel rotary engine kicking out 54bhp. Making it the first ever production car with a rotary unit!
Glas GT & BMW 1600 GT
It's very rarely that we see a bigger manufacturer acquire a niche brand and they still carry on making the existing cars that were being produced.
That's exactly what happened with Glas in 1967: they were bought by BMW, yet they still continued to produce the Glas GT - which had been in production since 1964. Before the new venture, the Glas GT was available with either 1300 or 1700 GT guise with up to 100bhp. They were pretty nippy, as the 1700 had a 115mph top speed.
Once BMW got their hands on it though, the 1600 GT was introduced and much-improved: the car was adjusted to fit their very own 1600cc engine in it. They also improved the handling by fitting BMW's semi-trailing arm rear axle and coil spring suspension setup. Previously, the Glas had less sophisticated leaf springs and a rigid axle.
Glas 2600 V8 & BMW-Glas 3000
Another result of Glas' BMW takeover involved the more upscale V8 models. It was penned by Italian design house, Fura, and the result was a rather beautiful one.
The independent Glas 2600 was introduced in 1966 and had a 2.6 litre V8 pushing out 150bhp. Couple this to a rear-drive setup and it sounds great... right up until you got past around 120mph, where you'd discover that the carburettors weren't quite up to scratch.
Once BMW got their hands on the car though - of course - changes were made: a BMW's own 160bhp 3.0 litre V8 was fitted which was made up of two of their 1500 units. Remind you of anything?
Apart from the engine and badges, not much was changed from the Glas 2600. I think BMW were keen not to hurt the Italian styling, and to be frank, I wouldn't either. It looks like a shortened Maserati Sebring!
Thanks for reading
Image credit: Favcars.com
So, there we have it. Those are some of the most forgotten German sports cars in history. Have any more suggestions? Feel free to throw them in the comments.
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed reading the article.