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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Glas Goggomobil TS-250: Proof Good Things Come in Small Packages




The German automaker Glas might not be a household name, but its contributions to the car world are actually quite important. Glas patented belt-driven camshafts and in 1966 BMW bought the company to get its hands on some of that technology. In fact, many BMWs of that period were just rebadged Glas designs.

Before the BMW takeover, though, Glas built farm machinery, scooters and this adorable microcar with an equally cute name: the Goggomobil.

The Goggomobil was a series of small cars built from 1955 until the late 1960s. Buyers had the choice of sedan, coupe or even a transporter van. The coupes were naturally the more attractive and expensive option; 66,000 of them were built compared to well over 200,000 for the sedan.

 Under the hood were either 250, 300 or 400 cc motors coupled to a four-speed gearbox with reverse (something microcar owners couldn’t always take for granted). In the case of the TS-250 Coupe, the 247 cc air-cooled two-stroke twin made a whopping 13.6 horsepower.


What it lacks in grunt, the Glas Goggomobil TS-250 certainly makes up for in charm. If you squint and you’re far away from one, it almost has the pleasing proportions of a larger sports car.

 Indeed it does have good proportions, but they are just so tiny. It’s only about nine feet long (a typical sedan’s wheelbase length) and four feet high, and it weighs less than 1,000 pounds.

It will still seat two (thin) adults comfortably, though, and could get up to just under highway speeds. What the Goggomobil and its other tiny contemporaries were really built for were to satisfy the desire for personal transport in a cash-strapped and fuel-starved postwar Germany.

These circumstances actually brought about this market segment that we know as microcars and it has certainly become one of the more memorable and certainly charming automotive genres of all.


Dozens of companies tried their hand at microcars, but the Goggomobil was one of the best selling and one of the prettiest as well and today it’s popular with collectors.

 The appeal of a lot of microcars lies mostly in their quirkiness and cute factor. But the Goggomobil Coupe is actually a pretty good looking car in its own right while still retaining all of that “Aw, look how small it is!” charm. It’s a car that just screams fun.


Photo Credit: Mecum Auctions