By Maz Woolley
Auto Cult continue in their quest to cover unusual subjects. Their models are moulded in resin in China for Germany. Unless otherwise stated the models are to 1:43 scale. As usual each model released is to a different theme.
#03011 Nissan Tama E4S-47
After the Second World War Tachikawa were not allowed to manufacture aircraft. So like other such concerns it looked for something to build. As there was increasing demand for vehicles, but a shortage of fuel, so they decided to “Go Electric”.
The E4S-47 was the result of this choice, built in a new factory Tokyo Denki Jidoosha. A 16 volt – 120 ampere electric motor was front-mounted and produced 3.3 kW. Its power was supplied by exchangeable batteries. Fitted with a two-speed gearbox the Tama reached a top speed of 35 km/h.
Introduced in May 1947 the model had “Tama” added to its name which was the name of the production site. However, production only lasted a year and the vehicle was replaced in 1948.
#04009 Gomolzig Taifun streamliner
Built in 1949 this car caught the public attention as it was fitted with gull wing doors. It was built by Herbert Gomolzig who was an engineer with an eye to the future at a time when Germany was still just starting to re-build after the Second World War.
The gull-wing doors were covered to the top by simple hooked in cloth tarpaulins. Once rolled up these adjustable tarpaulins conveyed a sense of driving a convertible. Whilst technically innovative the doors meant that the rest of the car had to be made stronger to compensate. Given the materials available at that time this may not have been fully achievable and may explain why the car never went into production. Little more is known about the car other than it was based on a BMW chassis and probably had a four cylinder BMW engine.
In 1952, after the Taifun did not go into production, Gomolzig founded an own engineering office, turned his back on the automobile industry and working for the aviation industry and in general engineering.
#09004 Saab 92H Motorhome
This vehicle is a precursor to the modern all -in-one Motorhome so popular in the US, though rather smaller in size.
Based on the Saab 92 with its DKW like water cooled two stroke two cylinder engine it was built in 1963 by Torsten Johannesson who wanted a car with integrated sleeping facilities so that he didn’t have to tow a trailer.
Torsten’s bulbous design created the maximum interior space but the vehicle is said to have been unbalanced with a great deal of the weight at the front. It was also twice the weight of the Saab 92 so it was very underpowered. Perhaps unsurprisingly Johannesson did not get the road approval for his 92H motorhome from the Swedish authorities, so the prototype is unique.
#10001 VW Beetle “Wolfsburger Bähnle”
This vehicle offered sightseeing with a difference. Bähnle is a German vernacular term for “little train”. This vehicle was run by a community company in Wolfsburg until 1976 providing users with a tour through the City.
Built by the Berlin bodybuilder Friedrich Rometsch based upon a Volkswagen Beetle it had only six seats which proved to be insufficient to meet demand and it was fitted with a matching trailer made by Hermann Harmening.
From 1958 the 14 metre long train towed by the VW Beetle carried up to 48 passengers at a maximum speed of 50 KPH on its regular tours. After 15 years in storage the City of Wolfsburg passed the vehicle to Volkswagen in 2003 for them to restore and use in the new Autostadt theme park at the Volkswagen factory.
#80004 Mercedes-Benz SL-X
This model is to 1:18 scale and is based upon a car that never ran. The wooden design study is as far as the development went and is on display at the Mercedes Museum.
In the mid-1960s a mid-engine sports car, internally designated SL-X, was worked on at Mercedes-Benz. Its design was based on an idea from the Italian Giorgio Battistella. Giorgio Battistella and the former head of the Mercedes-Benz design department, Paul Bracq, sat down together and pondered about the design of a new sports car with the three-pointed star emblem on the hood. They sought to produce a radical design.
The design was for an extremely low car with the engine behind the seats to allow this. A wooden mock up without an engine and any interior was produced. The design was never signed off to progress beyond the mock-up stage though it perhaps influenced Bruno Sacco when he produced the C-111 which also had gull-wing doors and the seamlessly flushed pop-up headlamps.