Tuesday, June 28, 2011

1959 Goggomobil T400 Limo

I had a very exciting and exhausting weekend. I purchased a 1959 Goggomobil T400 with 7000 original miles. The car was located about 900 miles away. I drove 14 hours on Saturday, picked the car up on Sunday morning, and drove 14 hours straight back to KC. The trip was full of drama, trailer problems, bad weather, road construction delays, but I made it back and the Goggo is safely tucked in its new home. The car is very low milage. The body is excellent, virtually no rust anywhere on this car. The engine is partially disassembled and will need rebuilt, and the interior is rough but complete. I have my parts catalog ordered from Uwe Staufenberg, and can't wait to start the restoration of this gorgeous little Goggomobil.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dymaxion Car - Buckminster Fuller

Once again I'm getting a little off the topic of Isettas or even microcars, but recently I picked up a book that is so awesome, I feel compelled to do a post about it. I've admired Buckminster Fuller for a long time. Several years ago while in Japan, I was fortunate enough to see the Buckminster Fuller exhibition "Your Private Sky - R. Buckminster Fuller - Art Design Science" The sole surviving incomplete Dymaxion car was not in this show, but there was a nice model of the Dymaxion as well as many historical documents, photographs, and films. Recently a new book has come out titled "Dymaxion Car Buckminster Fuller". It is published by Architecture Ivory Press. There were originally three Dymaxion cars built. The first one was completed in 1933. Of the three cars built, there is only one incomplete survivor owned by the National Auto Museum in Reno, NV. In 2008 the British architect Norman Foster decided to recreate the Dymaxion. Foster enlisted vintage race car specialist Crosthwaite & Gardiner to build the car. Working with the Dymaxion Chronofile at Stanford University and the National Auto Museum in Reno, Crosthwaite & Gardiner set out to recreate as accurate as possible recreation of the Dymaxion #3. The Dymaxion Car book is kind of divided in half. The first half of the book is dedicated to the original three Dymaxions. Lots of great historical documents, drawings and photographs. The second half of the book is dedicated to documenting the recreation of a forth Dymaxion car commissioned by Norman Foster and built by Crosthwaite & Gardiner. If you're a fan of Buckminster Fuller or have an affinity for automotive history, design, engineering or fabrication, this is a must have book.

Rear view of car #1 with framing in progress, July 9,1933.

The framed up "hull" of car #1, 1933

Completed Dymaxion car #1, 1933

Interior of Dymaxion car #1

Dymaxion car #3 photographed at the Chicago World Fair in the summer of 1934.

Patent application drawing. Patent #2,101,057 was granted on December 7, 1937.

Detail of the steering gear housing for car #3, dated December 13, 1933.

Drawing of the never built triple engine Dymaxion D-45, 1942

Crosthwaite & Gardiner building the frame for Dymaxion #4.

The chassis, engine and running gear in the process of being dry assembled.

Steven Aspden of Peter Freebody & Co at work on the ash frame.

Fitting the aluminum body panels to the frame.

The final body panels were made by Roach Manufacturing - a company with expertise in forming complex aluminum body panels.

The completed rolling chassis waiting for the delivery of the body.

The bodywork being fitted to the chassis.

Click on the photo to view a video of Norman Foster driving the Dymaxion he commissioned Crosthwaite & Gardener to build.

Here are a few more links about Dymaxion #4 that you might want to check out:

My personal opinion is that this is a really great thing for Bucky's legacy that Norman Foster has done. Once again people will be able to experience first hand the imagination and ingenuity of Buckminster Fuller. There is no doubt that Buckminster Fuller will continue to inspire future generations of forward thinking visionaries working towards more sustainable and harmonious ways of harnessing the resources of planet earth. Definitely a man way ahead of his time. One last thought, how about a Revell 1/18 scale die-cast of the Dymaxion. I would think that virtually every museum shop and design store would want to carry it, and a portion of the sales could benefit the Buckminster Fuller Institute. A Dymaxion die-cast sure would look cool sitting next to my Revell Isetta w/ Camper.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

ROLLERei und MOBIL - Sept. 1955

Isetta - Center Brake Light

As far as I know, most of the sliding window export models that found their way to the United States did not have center brake lights. Most of the Isettas exported to the US had a black opaque plastic insert manufactured by Hella that provided illumination only for the license plate.

As you can see, my tag light lens is in pieces. One side of the lens was already broken when I removed the housing. After I had carefully ground the head off the rivet on the other side, I was pushing it out and broke the other side. WARNING - these lenses are VERY brittle and easily break.

The plastic of the US tag light insert looks to have been crudely notched by hand to accept a different type of bulb and socket than what was originally intended. I guess either Hella or BMW did not want to spend the money making a new mold for the US export models.

I wanted to have a center brake light on my Isetta so I picked up a new reproduction brake/tag light from Isettas "R" Us. Now I need to call Werner and see if he has a replacement for the tag lens I broke.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rheingold Beer

Beginning in 1940 and continuing through 1964 Rheingold Beer's media campaign held a "Miss Rheingold Pageant" with the winner decided by votes from the public. It was a wildly popular advertising campaign. The above advertisement features Madelyn Darrow "Miss Rheingold 1958" posing with an Isetta. Miss Rheingold (Madelyn Darrow) also appeared on a BMW Isetta 300 and 600 brochure produced by BMW.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Isetta - Cushion Between Frame & Body

The Isettas original padding between the frame and body was kind of a fibrous webbing type material. I'm not sure what it was made from, but it was pretty crumbly when I was scraping it off the frame. For it's replacement I picked up a roll of 1.25" wide x 3/16" thick camper top weather strip from Metro Molded Parts (look under universal parts). A 25' roll sells for about 17.00. Metro Molded Parts also sells exterior rubber kits for the Isetta as well as the bumper to body seal, engine cover bumpers, and the stop bumpers for the front steering knuckles. Even though Metro is the manufacturer of these items, often Isetta parts suppliers sell them for less than you can purchase them for from Metro.