Category Archives: Autopioneer

Autopioneer September 2018

By Maz Woolley

All text by, and copyright of, the Author. Photographs provided by the manufacturer.

Thorsten Sabrautzky the owner of the Autopioneer model range has sent us details of his latest release. The model is made in resin to 1:43 scale in Europe and is limited to 50 pieces. A programme of six models is planned per year.

Borgward “Windspiel” 1937


Borgward was a traditional German car manufacturer based in Bremen making vehicles from 1929 to 1961. Four brands were
produced: the “Lloyd” small car, the “Hansa” mid-range cars and the “Goliath” delivery van, as well as high end cars under the Borgward name including land speed record and racing sports cars.  For most of their existence they were the fourth largest car producer in Germany.  Borgward also made trucks and buses as well as tractors, tanks and helicopters.

The “Windspiel” four-door sedan was developed in
1936 by Borgward’s chief designer Herbert Scarisbrick and their factory manager Friedich Kynast at the Bremen “Hastedter” plant. It first shown in 1937 at the German International Motor Show. With its streamlined bodywork and the patent four-piece windshield, the Borgward “Windspiel” attracted considerable attention.

The “Windspiel” had a top speed of around 130 km/h. It was powered by a four cylinder petrol engine with rear wheel drive and an output of 40hp.

Streamliners were making an intellectual claim to be the future of design in Germany at this time as the new Autobahns allowed people to drive faster, for longer, imposing new demands upon cars which now needed to run at high speeds for hours on end. Aerodynamic experts Paul Jaray and Reinhard Koenig-Fachsenfeld were amongst those trying to persuade the market that streamlining was the way forward. Sadly Borgward did not put this car into production as the conservative market place preferred the older upright styles so popular in the 1930s, an attempt to re-use the engineering for a car under the Hansa badge failed too.

Ahead of its time, elements of this design finally made their way into the 1938 Hansa 2000 and it was influential on the shapes of the post war Borgward and Hansa cars by which time the public had started to catch up with the desirability of streamlining.

Thorsten tells us the next model car to be released will be the Opel Regent of 1928, officially the Opel 24/110. No trace of this car exists today as after GM took over a majority of the shares in Opel they realised that this eight cylinder model from Opel was a huge sales threat to the Cadillacs and Buicks that they hoped to sell in Germany. They stopped production of this car and bought back and destroyed every car already sold to clear the market for their US built models which ironically failed to sell in significant quantities as the economic crisis hit Germany in the early 1930s which was to be followed by nationalistic buying habits encouraged by the Nazi Party.

The photograph above shows a pre-production test model.

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Autopioneer – Made in Europe

By Maz Woolley

All photographs are supplied by, and copyright of, the manufacturer.

Autopioneer is a new range of models made to 1:43 scale in resin with white metal and photo-etched fitments. They intend to release a model every two months going forwards. However, unlike many similar ranges specialising in glamorous coach built cars from the past it is not built in China, but in Europe.  Each model will remain unique as they will not appear again in other colours and only 50 of each model will be made. This means that the models are expensive as well as exclusive.

Like Matrix, AutoCult and others Autopioneer only intends to announce each model shortly before it becomes available in the hope that the model will not be copied by others and spoil sales.

This article covers the second model made in this range which is a Hooper bodied creation on a 1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith chassis made for Nubar Gulbenkian. Guilbenkian  was a playboy tycoon who lived at the Ritz Hotel in London. His money came from the family’s oil business – it owned five percent of BP‘s stock. He liked big, fast and expensive cars and developed a taste for Rolls-Royce cars. All his Rolls-Royces were coach built to his own suggestions for design and were extravagant in style and luxurious in fitment.

The car modelled was the first of his flamboyant Rolls-Royces and was based on a 1947 Silver Wraith chassis. There was a
traditional sliding Deville extension over the chauffeured compartment – a recurrent theme on his cars. All windows were electrically operated. There were no sweeping, but flush,
door handles which were not visible from the outside to support the streamline shape. It is said that deeply conservative Rolls-Royce was not very happy with the car and that the English coachbuilder Hooper had no desire to give his name in connection with the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, but both needed the business.

The car is coloured in the corporate colours of Gulbenkian’s firm after the pictures of the car which is currently undergoing restoration in the UK.

The photographs below show a well modelled representation of the original vehicle finished to a high level of detail.

The arrival of another entrant into this sector of the market means that collectors of unique coachbuilt cars have an even wider choice of models to collect – if they can afford them!

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