1-of-168: 1955 Fuldamobil S4

The Fuldamobil is an interesting car for a very unusual reason. Karl Schmitt, the head of Fulda, was reluctant to build any of his cars in significant numbers, in spite of the fact that the brand had a fairly strong following. He actually treated the entire process as more of a hobby than a business. This 1955 Fuldamobil is 1-of-168 examples of the S4 model built in a 13-month period between 1955 and 1956. It is an essentially complete car and is in need of restoration. It is located in Oslo, Norway, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the pocket-sized classic has reached $1,825, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The S4 is built on a steel chassis, with the body constructed of aluminum. One of the great features of the car is the comparatively large rear hatch, giving easy access to what is essentially a pretty small cargo area. The body of this S4 is basically complete, but it does display a number of dents, which is not uncommon in a car where the body is made of such light-weight and soft material. All of the glass appears to be in good condition, but I have noticed that some of the external lights appear to be missing. Sourcing replacements may prove to be difficult, but given the fact that some of these items are shared with other Fulda models, it might not be impossible.

From the front, the S4 looks positively cute and almost makes you feel like you should take it home and tuck it up somewhere wrapped in a warm blanket. One of the design changes that was supposedly made to the S4 when compared to its predecessors is that the windshield wipers were supposed to be mounted at the top of the windshield, rather than the bottom. That isn’t the case with this car, and it isn’t the only S4 that I’ve seen with this configuration. While the body of the S4 looks nice and solid, we have no information on the state of the frame. As I said, this is made from steel, while the floors are constructed of plywood. The design of the chassis is actually pretty rudimentary, so if there are any rust issues, these should be fairly easy to address.

The interior of the Fuldamobil is pretty basic, but it does appear to essentially be in pretty good condition. That distinctive seat upholstery is a common theme across the Fuldamobil range, and in this case, it appears to have a what I think might be single tear on the passenger side. There are no internal trims on the suicide doors, nor is there any padding on the dash. The dash is complete, and includes the wiper motor, with integrated switch, poking out of the dash directly in front of the driver. Restoring the interior of this car shouldn’t be a big job, and would involve some paint, and some cleaning.

Powering the S4 is a 191cc Fichtel & Sachs single-cylinder engine, producing 9.5hp. This power is sent to the dual rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. The chain drive is maintained by an in-built oil bath system, while the transmission features an electric reverse gear. The greatest weakness of the S4 is its weight. With a robust steel chassis, the S4 tips the scales at a relatively heavy 816lbs. Even so, the S4 is capable of a top speed of 53mph. However, with such a high weight and a tiny engine, I suspect that acceleration times might be measured with a sundial. The owner doesn’t provide any information on the state of the engine, but the Fichtel & Sachs units were a pretty common engine, and sourcing parts for a rebuild is surprisingly easy.

There is no doubt that the Fuldamobil S4 is something a bit different, and the fact that it is located in Norway is probably the only factor that is stopping our resident microcar guru, Scotty Gilbertson, from buying it himself. The low build numbers make it a bit of a rarity, and when they do come onto the market, they sell for some pretty surprising prices. For instance, I found one that was in a similar condition to this one, and it sold at auction for just over $16,000. It’s a lot of money, but people who love these little cars are true enthusiasts and are willing to pay that sort of money for something as rare and unusual as this one. Do we have any readers that fall into that category?

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Comments

  1. TimM

    Never seen one of these before!!! Kinda cool a guess!!! Single cylinder 194 cc’s would be stopping traffic but not in a good way!!!!

    Like 4
  2. ken tilly UK Member

    These were also built/assembled in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe, RHD cars) back in the sixties by a company called CBR Bentall at which my elder brother worked. They weren’t very successful as many of the “roads” were actually two tarmac strips running parallel to each other about 5 feet apart. When another car approached you had to dive off to the left until your rhside wheel was now running on the lhside strip until the other car had passed by so that you could then swing back onto both tarmac strips! We used to accomplish this while sometimes doing 70 mph or more! Even more fun when I was riding my 1956 Triumph Tiger 110 motorcycle and the oncoming driver refused to get off the strips! This was o.k. for the 4 wheelers but the Fuldamobile being a 3 wheeler meant that the rear wheel had to bump along in the gravel between the tarmac strips. Very uncomfortable.

    Like 9
  3. Little_Car

    Someone call Jeff Lane! This needs to be in Nashville at the Lane Motor Museum.

    Like 1
  4. canadainmarkseh Member

    I say leave it in Norway. This thing looks like it was cobbled together in a barn using spare rider mower part. If Scotty wants It i say just give it to him.

    Like 2
  5. Carter J

    This is actually a NFW 200 (Series 1) produced in Wilhelmshaven by NFW because Fulda couldn’t make the rounded body panels in aluminum at first. The ILO motor and Wilhelmshaven logo are the big clues but the rear window is different too and the S4 has 4 wheels. About 700 were made like this. Fulda made the later S2-7s primarily with Sachs motors.

    Like 1
  6. brianashe

    I want a dozen of these.

    Like 1
  7. jimmy the orphan

    These little cars were made in Germany as well as 3 or 4 other country’s. They used several different motors. The one in this car had a habit of the barrel and head blowing off the crankcase and smacking into the back of the seat ! Ya can’t beat good clean fun like that ! No sir. Later…………………..JIMMY

    Like 2
  8. Chebby Staff

    Aha! I wrote this car up for my pending BF application. Fun to read someone else’s version.

    Like 3
  9. Rodney - GSM

    If cars laid eggs, this would be the result.

    Like 2

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