Basic motoring

The Evolution of the Modern Ultralight Economy car.

Chapter 10 Alternative Advances


Ardie GanzThe Ardie Ganz
Throughout the decade most mainstream manufacturers were content to stick to the formula of a combination of the System Panhard and the evolution of the farm cart, the four cylinder water-cooled side-valve engine and a transmission comprising stepped gears and shafts to a live rear axle.  Some engineers mostly in mainland Europe  were not content with this and strived to improve the comfort drivability and safety of the small car.
They saw that an alternative to the formula mentioned above was the only way forward and devised various different designs to achieve their aims. An outspoken advocate of change was the German motor journalist Joseph Ganz who published his ideas for a small light Volkswagen preferable a streamlined saloon,in the journal Motor Kritik, this began in the early nineteen twenties. It is therefore not surprising that the great advances in ultralight cars should take place in Germany and central Europe. He was particularly inspired the rear engined Rumbler Troptenwagen, the Tatra T11 and a very small German car the Hanomag 2/10 PS Kommissbrot. The Kommissbrot was more of a microcar although it would have been thought of as a cycle car at that time it was practical vehicle and over fifteen thousand were produced. It was a lightweight compact two-seat car with all round independent suspension. The downside was that had a single cylinder engine and chain final drive, it was the concept that was of interest. What was needed were designs that would result in a lighter more compact platform with an improved form of suspension. Ganz worked with Ardie a German motorcycle manufacturer in 1930 to produce an experimental two seat car with a backbone mid engines frame with independent front suspension by a transverse leaf spring and lower wishbone, chain final drive and swing axles. Then in1931 Ganz worked with Adler a German car manufacturer to produce another similar prototype. Neither car reached production but demonstrated the concept; but led to other manufacturers. In 1929 Colonel Frank Searle the managing director of the Rover Co Ltd of England decided that the company needed a small car to widen its range. He set Maurice Wilks and Robert Boyle, both to become key figures at Rover, to design and produce a prototype of a small rear engined car at his home Braunston Hall near Rugby in a similar way that Herbert Austin had done with the Austin Seven earlier in the decade.

Standard Superior

                                                                                                                                                        Standard Superior
The outcome of their work the Rover 7 HP or Scarab was unlike any previous Rover design with a Rover Patented
engine, transmission and rear suspension layout. The rear mounted O.H.V fan-cooled 60 degree "V" twin engine was of 839 cc. The ladder frame chassis was of advanced design with coil spring sliding pillar front suspension and coil spring swing axles at the rear with a pivoting support member giving zero roll stiffness. The four-seat tourer body was a simple affair of wood framing clad with steel sheet of compact dimensions, the car being designed down to a price of  £85. Unfortunately the engine proved to be rough, noisy and prone to overheating. With the departure of Colonel Frank Searle from Rover in 1931 the Scarab didn't go into production as it was considered too radical and at the same time too Spartan by the Rover management. As with the Austin and Morris £100 cars available a few years later a certain level of refinement was required to be successful.                      
The first prototype of the Tatra Type V570 designed by Erich Ledwinka, the son of Tatra's chief engineer Hans Ledwinka was produced in 1931. Although this prototype had a body of conventional form, the inspiration for the rear engined Tatra came from the idea of taking full advantage of the streamlined forms proposed by the aerodynamicist Paul Jarey. By locating the engine in the long tail, a low hood or bonnet line could be achieved. It had a platform chassis and the air-cooled flat twin engine of 845cc; gearbox and final drive was located at its rear. Tatra produced a second Type V570 prototype  in 1933, with an aerodynamic body , the project was not continued as the Tatra board decided that the streamlined rear engined concept was to be reserved for limited production high cost cars.
In 1933 In Germany Standard Fahrzeugfabrik began manufacturing the Standard Superior. The first of cars based on the designs of Josf Ganz to go in production. It had 396cc horizontal parallel  twin two-stroke water-cooled engine located on the backbone chassis just ahead of the rear swing axles which it drove. It cost RM1590, or £78 at the 1935 exchange rate. At  the motor show in 1933 in Berlin Carl F. W.  Borgward presented the new car "Goliath Hansa 400". It was fitted with 2 cylinder ILO engine of 396 cc that produced 12 HP. In the end of 1933 it was joined by the  Hansa 500, which was equipped with a 2 cylinder ILO engine of 494 cc that produced 14 HP. The maximum speed’s, were 40 and 44 mph respectively. In 1934 a convertible saloon was also produced.

Volkswagen prototypeVolkswagen Prototype
The purchase prices lay according to version between 1650 and 1720 Reichsmark. Towards the end of 1933, Dr. Everhard Bungartz, director of the newly established company Bungartz & Co., contacted Josef Ganz because he wanted to develop and build a small car according to his patents. Technically the new Bungartz Butz model was very similar to the Standard Superior, introduced one year earlier. It featured a tubular chassis, a mid-mounted engine, and independent wheel suspension with swing-axles at the rear. The Bungartz Butz was available in two basic versions: the Butz Cabrio-Limousine and the Butz Touren-Wagen. Both versions were two-seaters. The Butz had a plywood body covered in artificial leather and fitted with metal wings. Unfortunately, only a few copies could be sold from the year 1933 to 1934.  None of the mid or rear engines models mentioned above achieved  more than limited production, the mid engine layout occupied too much of the space available; but would find favour with sports and racing cars in the future. There was one under one litre rear engined cars that was developed and reached production, the Porsche designed Volkswagen, with an engine of 995cc. Only a few hundred cars with this engine were produced before the requirement for military vehicles took precedence. From 1942 a 1131cc engine was substituted it being recognised that the car was to heavy for the smaller engine, and the larger engine was retained for car production that recommenced in 1949. It was not until the next decade that the compact small capacity rear engined car would come into it own.
An alternative to moving the engine to the rear of the car to reduce the impact of the transmission was to move the transmission to the front to join the engine, this was the approach  taken by DKW. The DKW FA was the first in a long line of DKW small cars that would influence many other makers designs  for the next sixty years. The difference between the P15 mentioned in chapter three and the FA of 1931 was the drive train, the FA having front wheel drive. The FA 's transmission layout, was as common practice at the time on front wheel drive cars, with the with final drive at the front, with the gearbox behind with the engine located at the rear.

DKW F5

                                                                                                                                                       DKW F5 Meisterklasse
The difference from other designs was the transverse engine/gearbox installation. The 490cc engine produced a modest 15 bhp giving it a maximum speed of 47mph (75 kph). The suspension was as innovative as the transmission being independent using twin transverse leaf springs front and rear of the ladder type chassis. The DKW front wheel drive series of cars were produced throughout the nineteen thirties in a range of models with the names Reichklasse, Meisterklasse and Meisterklasse Luxus in various combinations. They  began producing the F-2 Reichklasse, with a fabric covered wooden body in 1932 . The engine as fitted to the FA was now increased to 584 cc, producing 18bhp, and from 1933 the engine had been redesigned to incorporate the idea's of Adolf Schnrle to improve the porting. Approximately 17,000 were produced by 1934.  In 1934 They introduced a revised model the F 4. The engine was now increased to 692cc,  the spur gear primary drive to the gearbox was replaced by a chain.  The F 5 Meisterklasse with a 692cc engine and the F 5 Reichklasse with a 584cc engine, now with a dead rear axle, were produced between 1935 and 1936 with 60,000 produced. The F 7 with the same two models was made from 1937 to 1938, with 80,00 produced. The final model of the 1930s was the F 8 Reichklasse, with a 589cc engine was made from 1939 to 1942 with 50,000 produced. In 1934 Jawa was a Czech motorcycle manufacturer, that  began car production with the Jawa 700. It was similar in design if not bases on the current DKW and was produced from 1934 to 1936. Jawa also made the 600 Minor , similar in design to the 700. Adler of Frankfurt on Main, Germany, started by making bicycles in 1880, later typewriters and commenced car production in 1900. The first of their front wheel drive cars, the Trumpf, was designed by the company technical director of the time, Rohr. This was in 1932. As well as front wheel drive, the car had other advanced features, The body was electrically welded to the box section chassis, making it a near monocoque. All independent suspension using torsion bars and rack and pinion steering. The layout of the power train was similar to Tracta and Alvis cars, with the final drive at the front, with the four-speed gearbox next and then the engine. This resulted in a long bonnet, which fortunately was still fashionable at the time. Tracta joints were used in the outboard end of the transmission. The Trumpf-Junior, a smaller version of the Trumpf, also designed by Rohr, with a 995 cc engine,and was produced from 1934  using the same engine, gearbox, final-drive layout as the Trumpf, in a chassis independently sprung on all wheels, using torsion bars at the rear, with rack and pinion steering.


DixiDixi 3-15ps
The rest of the specification was normal for the time, a water-cooled inline four, side-valve engine and cable operated Bendix drum brakes. Although fairly unconventional for its time, the car was a success. Almost one hundred and three thousand Trumpt-Juniors had been made by 1941 when all Adler car production ceased. There was a third way forward to improve comfort and drivability while retaining the front engine rear wheel drive configuration. That was instead of having a flexible ladder frame cart springs and beam axles; use a stiff backbone or unitary chassis with independent suspension at both front and rear. BMW in Germany and Steyr  in Austria did that for their  light cars. BMW bought the Automobilwerk Eisenach in 1928, they had been Dixi 3/15ps a licensed copy of the Austin Seven since 1927. In 1930 a version with a controversial form of independent front suspension retaining the transverse leaf spring, was produced until 1932.This was superseded by the 3/20 with a backbone chassis and a 788cc over head valve, pressure lubricated engine that was otherwise similar to the Austin engine and independent swing axle rear suspension.  A few thousand of these were produced. The 3/20 was a much heavier car than the 3/15ps, the former weighing 660 Kg and the latter 388 kg.  From 1934 to 1936 BMW produced another small engined car the 309, that had a twin tube chassis frame, independent front  suspension by wishbones and an upper transverse leaf spring and a live rear axle with half elliptic springs, a configuration that would prove very successful for their later sports cars. It an 849 cc engine four cylinder version of BMWs sixes, and six thousand were made. The Steyr 50 was in most respects a very advance design with unitary chassis/body, all round independent  suspension and moderately streamlined shape; but the 978 cc horizontally opposed water-cooled four cylinder engine had side-valves limiting the power output and the performance. At £235 on the British market it was expensive.   With the onset of war in Europe in 1939, as the military had no use for economy cars production came to a stop as factories all over the world were converted to arms manufacturing, not to be resumed until well into the next decade.


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