Founded by Hans Glas of Dingolfing, Germany in 1883 to produce farm machinery, it was not until well after World War 2 that the company would commence automobile
manufacture. Following the war cheap and cheerful cars were borne through necessity rather than desire, and Glas turned their hand to the manufacture of a scooter that proved very successful. Few could afford fully fledged automobiles, and with a burgeoning micro car market it made sense that taking the next step up the ladder would involve manufacturing something that had more than 2 wheels, and less than 4 cylinders. Sales of three-wheelers were going through the roof, and once powerful manufacturers such as Messerschmitt and Heinkel were busy manufacturing their own unique iterations.
The Goggomobil’s would hit the market in 1955
, and were in many ways vastly superior to much of the competition, whose vehicles resembled more a covered over scooter than an automobile
. The Goggomobil would soon be outselling practically all other micro-cars from the era – right up until BMW
took control (their survival being in no small part due to the 3 wheeled Iso Isetta). Sydney company Buckle Motors would begin the import of Glas chassis and mechanical components in 1958
, fashioning fibreglass replacements for the original steel Goggomobil bodies – and in doing so avoiding Australian import taxes. The All-Aussie bodies looked the same, but were marginally disproportionate and, more importantly, were lighter.
The weight advantage gave the Australian iterations a performance and handling
edge over their German stable-mates, and despite Australia not suffering the economic hardship as was being experienced in Europe, the little “Goggo” proved very popular, with approximately 5,000 being assembled until 1962
Also see: The History of Glas GmbH