Disclosure: This site may receive compensation when you click on some links and make purchases.

Futuristic Micro: 1957 Goggomobil Dart

1957 Goggomobil Dart

Those of you who have been with us since the start or those of you who have spent many a late night reading our old posts might recall the first Goggomobil we ever featured. It’s interesting styling left us intrigued and ever since we have been fans of these quirky little micro cars. We’ve only come across a few of these over the years, so when we saw this 1957 Goggomobil Dart here on eBay, featuring it was a no-brainer. It was restored about 10 years ago, but has been parked since and currently isn’t running. If the TS400 wasn’t oddball enough for you, then this Dart should be!

Goggomobil Dart motor

The Dart was an Australian special built under license by Buckle Motors for only a few years, with production totaling around 700 cars. The fiberglass body was attached to the TS300 chassis and would make George Jetson proud. Power came from a 293 cc two stroke motor, although a 392 cc motor was optional, with power output rated at 15 and 19 horsepower respectively. This isn’t a lot of power, but should be adequate given that the car weighs in at around 800 pounds. This is one car that shaving a few tenths of a second off the acceleration involves shaving a few pounds off at the gym, as every pound counts. If exercise sounds like too much work, we are sure there is room for a bigger motor, but options seem limited. What would you try to fit in there?

Goggomobil Dart interior

The seller claims that this one was restored from the ground up, but after sitting for the past decade, is in need of mechanical and electrical work. We can’t imagine this tiny car is all that complex, but even the simplest electrical issue can cause a lot of headaches. We are sure someone with a little know how and lots of patience could track down the issue and fix it. In all honesty, we have more issues with the color choice and the diamond plate in the engine bay, than we do with fixing some wiring. We aren’t sure if this was the original color, but we think it would look better in white or red. Given how small it is, repainting it shouldn’t be terribly expensive, but it is additional work and time.

Goggomobil Dart with top up

This little car could be a blast to have, but getting it to our shores could prove costly, as it’s currently in New Zealand. It’s small and light enough though that it might not be all that expensive! The seller’s asking price is a bit high, but not too far off of book. Even if we can’t have it, it was fun to look at. It also gave us a great chance to look back at some of our earlier posts and see just how far along this community has come!


  1. Kyle


    Like 0
  2. Dan10

    A Turbocharged Hyabusa would fit. Easy 200 hp increase

    Like 0
  3. Tim H

    I admit it, I like the looks of this better then my Berkeley. But some Berkeley’s came with 750 cc motors.

    Like 0
  4. Horse Radish

    It’s nice to think, that the rest of the world still thinks Americans have too much money.
    By that I mean the asking price.
    $25 k and reserve not met sounds very ambitious, alsoconsidering that it’s in New Zealand and RHD. But maybe the seller isn’t really trying to sell it through E-bay, but is getting global advertising….
    The car looks nice, it’s an Australian made Goggo in collaboration with Glas.

    Like 0
  5. me

    A real coil for each spark plug.

    Like 0
  6. Charles Gould

    Okay, here we go again!
    The Goggomobil Buckle Darts were produced by Bill Buckle in Australia, under license from the Goggomobil company in Germany.
    Bill had originally intended to import all of the conventional Goggomobil models into the land of OZ, but learned that the import duties would price the car out of the marketplace.
    However, there was no duty on car parts, so Bill struck a deal with Hans Glas (of Goggomobil) to purchase a few examples of the full size models as templates, which he then recreated in glasfibre in Australia.
    He then purchased running platforms with chassis/pans, engines, and transmissions as well as wheels and all suspension components from Hans Glas and assembled complete cars using his own glasfibre bodies and offering complete Goggomobils for sale in Australia.
    He produced the standard T250 and T300 “Limosine” (which just meant sedan in German) models and the sportier TS250 and TS300 Sport Coupe models, as well as his own designed tiny bubble van called the “Carryall” (with a side overhead rolling door) which differed substantially from Goggomobil’s own TL Transporter models.
    In 1959, Bill Buckle designed this tiny Buckle Dart model, which was made from two body halfs, upper and lower, attached by a seam, which was hidden by a rubber belt line moulding, which surrounded the primeter of the car.
    They were offered with a 300cc or 400cc engine, and only approximately 700 were built, including one prototype with a single driver’s side suicide door, and one prototype with a hinged hardtop, which had to be lifted up and back to allow the occupants to enter or exit the passenger compartment. As a side note, except for on the single prototype with the single hinged door, it is impossible to get into a Buckle Dart with the convertible top up!
    The majority of the cars were 300cc but a few 400cc models were produced as well. Another interesting note is that the front windscreen of the Dart was made from the rear windscreen of a Renault Dauphine!
    Bill tried to promote the new Sports car version back to Hans Glas to be sold in Germany. Although Hans expressed some initial interest in offering these for sale in Germany, he ultimately declined as the microcar demand was winding down by this point in time.
    Very few of the tiny cars survive today because after they became old used cars, and before they were valuable enough to save, they were simply discarded or left out in the elements. Being a roadster, they allowed water entry when the tops deteriorated and as a result, many of the floors and belly pans rotted from the inside out after they filled up with rain water through the detriorated tops.
    They have since become quite valuable, and are sought after agressively because they are now very rare, and are quite fast and responsive (for a microcar), as a result of the lightweight glasfibre body. The fuel tank was also glasfibre and actually molded into the body shell.
    The story of Bill Buckle is a fascinating one.
    He was very involved with cars for many, many years, including early use of glasfibre in Australia and later owning companies that did conversion of left hand drive cars to right hand drive cars, and later installing electric sunroofs into cars.
    Bill also designing and manufactured another great car called the Buckle Sports Coupe, a beautiful glasfibre sports car which drew design clues from Cobra, Corvette and several other marques. It used a 2500cc Ford Zepher engine, and only 20 were ever produced.
    It competed quite successfully although in limited numbers and venues because fo the small production numbers.
    We have owned three original Buckle Darts (including the single prototype with the single suicide hinged driver’s side door), and one extra Dart body. I have since sold the spare body shell, but I still use two of our Darts on a regular basis
    Bill Buckle also owned several automobile dealerships and still owns at least one in the Australia today. Bill is now in his 80’s or perhaps 90s by now, and is still extremely active even today. He was very active in sailing including the America’s Cup competition, and came to the states to visit his old America’s Cup friends a couple of years ago.
    During that trip he visited our home in Boston, and stayed with us for several days. I was fortunate enough to have a long interview with this amazing man, and he was kind enough to sign the dashboards of two of my Goggomobi Buckle Darts.
    Bill had long ago lost interest in his old Buckle Darts, but was reintroduced to them again by a mutual Aussie friend named David Nobbs, and Bill has since purchased and restored two of his old Darts, which he takes to car shows in Australia quite frequently.
    Now for my personal gripe. Although the Buckle Dart offered here is a very nice example, this cannot rightfully be called a restorstion, as the car was never offered in this colour and they never had the diamond plate engine shrouds or pans. In addition, this car lacks the rubber perimeter moulding and the perimeter seam has been fibreglased over. Also, the headlight recesses appear way too deep to my eyes (although I could be wrong on this issue), and they lack the clear lens covers that were on the production cars.
    All Goggomobil Buckle Darts have become quite valuable, but this price seems a bit dear to my sense of value, although not way out of line based on the microcar rise in values lately.

    Like 0
  7. Charles Gould

    The dual ignition system with two coils and two sets of points, eliminated the need for a distributor, which is more difficult to drive when you are using a two stroke engine without a camshaft. Many manufacturers of microcars used dual coils and points to avoid this additional expense. DKW and Auto Union actually used three coils and three sets of points on their two stroke 3=6 models!

    Like 0
    • Jim-Bob

      Yup! As did the other automakers who used DKW drivetrain designs-namely Wartburg, Trabant and SAAB. Also, the French did this setup too on the Citroen 2CV. It seems to have been a popular configuration for a time on small displacement engines.

      Like 0
  8. rusty

    George Jetson…hmmm you aint seen a george jetson dart till you’ve seen a dart with the rare clam shell hard top…ie: mine. rounded hardtop really pushes the George Jetson image. But I only have 2 darts left after selling off my goggo collection recently.

    @ Tim..I love Berkeleys

    @ Radish .. yes many of these have already made their way to american shores. Its not just rich Americans its rich retired baby boomers over here too. Since the famous advert over here the baby boomers who were just starting to cash in their business and super etc went crazy buying these up, some spent vast amounts of money removing the simplicity of what these were, often the bodies were smoothed out removing the original wavy body panels [as far as I am aware there were 3 dart moulds, each haveing different imperfections in them], but it did mean a lot got restored/transformed and usable. I know of only one truley original car, a beautiful blue one in lovely condition..I saw this on the first Goggo rally 15 years ago I lusted after his while he lusted after mine because he believes his family owned one in the early years with the clam shell hard top. Mine is only one currently known with one but wasnt his old one. Only caught up with him a few weeks ago and he says his isstill in that condition…Truley his is one to behold.

    Like 0
  9. erikj

    To Tim H. I also have a Berkley 1957. Mine was a feature on barn finds a while back that I bought through ebay. What is yours?
    This Goggo is kind of neat since I fell into micro-cars I can have a like for all of them.

    Like 0
  10. rusty

    Chas and I must have been writing at the same time.

    There are a number of darts over here with flip down doors [sometimes one or two doors] that hinge around the belt line [i think the original car I mentioned has one] but they would still make it difficult to get in and out with hood up, but a suicide door model like Chas’ would solve that., Bill originally made the cars without doors to keep the strength in the body…eventually bowing to needs of doors but very few were sold with doors and some probably put in afterwards.

    Re: clam shell hardtop…it has a full gantry bolted to the floor and around the perimeter of the rear cabin area… the gantry is a marvel of engineering allowing the hood to open but remain open via springs. The gantry is very compact and within minutes I can have it unbolted to remove hardtop and gantry [infact for quick removal I dont bother bolting to the floor only the perimeter bolts thats how little stress the gantry creates..truley a marvel]….once removed other than added quatervents it looks like any other dart..it also has slide up windows.. and is probably the only dart that doesnt have water flow in around the windscreen. I did not change anything and put it back to how I obtained it, even leaving the shape of the body as it came from the mould [other than repairing a few cracks]. and the Aussie period side mirrors that would have been appropriate for the hardtop.

    Like 0
  11. Tim H

    @erikj My Berkeley is a 57 also but it will probably never see the street while I have it. Right now I am just hoarding it.

    Like 0
  12. Duffy Bell

    Cute little bugger, isn’t it? Unfortunately at 6ft 5in I don’t think I could fit in it.

    Like 0
    • rusty

      yes you could Duffy, hee hee…infact people with short legs cannot drive it without blocks of wood bolted to the pedals..There is adjustment of the seats which sit directly on the floor via a bolt. But if you needed more room than the bolt supplied its simple to mount these further back with a new bolt hole in the gantry .But I reckon you would probably be ok. To get in you canterlever the seat up on its gantry …sit in and drop the seat down and forward. Unfortunately to adjust the seats you need to unbolt them first as they have no runners [being sedan seats the runners were cut off and a gantry made for access with vertical height]..

      Like 0
  13. Charles Gould

    Hey Rusty,
    It is great to know where the clamshell roofed Dart ended up!
    Are you in Australia? If so, where do you live there?
    I have many microcar mates down under, and hope to visit one day soon.
    Please know that you are welcome to visit and see our microcar collection if you ever visit the states.
    Interesting story about my interview with Bill Buckle after he verified that my car was the factory prototype with the single door. I told him that I had heard that they only made one Dart with the door. He said that was correct.
    I then told him that I had heard from another guy that two were made with the door, and from a third guy that three were made with the door, and he said, “Yes, that was correct.”
    I then said well, was it one, two or three cars that were made with the single suicide door? He said, “Well mate, that was fifty years ago, how the hell do you expect me to remember those details?”
    He later told me that he was pretty sure that it was only or or two cars. he also thought that only one or two cars were made with the clamshell roof, and than neither of those had the door.
    I had also forgot to mention the parallelogram seat mechanism which raises the seat and moves it back for easier “loading” and then it drops down into the proper driving position. A great feature that copied the Messerschmitt seat.

    Like 0
  14. rusty

    hi Chas we have been in contact years ago.. thru your car “pickeruppera'” in Qld..I knew where the 2 original imported Aussie Amphicars were located as I used to holiday there as a child and he was the local chemist, always wanted one and found the owner was still there years later but I didnt have the guts to ask to buy them [was in my very broke period, ] he gave me an original brochure. By coincidence years after me refinding them your amphicar mate contacted me to see if I wanted to sell my dart and told me they were now gone. He said you and he? had bought them and he still had one Amphicar in Qld [for himself I think] and said you were chasing a Dart..You and I corresponded and although I wasnt necessarily selling I sent you a video of my Dart of me restoring it but never heard back from you.

    Yes I showed my Dart to Bill [one of the nicest blokes] he said the same..”although I would like to claim the fame for the great work done on the gantry I cant remember as it would have been the guys in the factory doing it” so again still not confirmed..who ever did this gantry was a genius..so simple yet so technically brilliant. I never claim this as original but nor can I say its aftermarket. Ironically he would remember me as the Piano Man/singer on the night of the Sydney rally more than my car..He gets a big kick out of live music he is a man with more interest than cars as you probably know….so if you mention me mention my musical duo on the rally as there are too many goggo owners for him to remember. One of my good friends used to work for him in the sunroof business.

    As you mention 2 hardtops known… then the guy with the original dart supports this as he remembers the family dart as having the same top as mine but it wasnt mine as mine was an interstate car. Due to circumstance of Ill health and a realisation that having everything you have nothing I have been offloading my micros and other cars as i dont wish them to be buried with me. But my Dart being the only one i have left i restored and part of my Aussie sportscar collection I am holding onto although i will probaly sell off the dart project down the track…

    I am no longer involved in the car scene and am sick of project cars lying around when i can no longer push them without health problems…my aim is to buy something?? nice and running that is more modern driving friendly or spend what I get from my project cars on someone else restoring my rare aussie sports cars. Yet I shudder to think of someone else touching them when I used to weld and spray with ease….hee hee

    re: this car on this thread…I have talked about it on another blog [not negative], so i wont go into it again…without seeing it upclose and the few photos, this looks like a well executed job, not original but easily put back to original without much cost if wanted [never did see the tailights though] or enjoy it as is..

    most darts are restored just like this one as most owners have only ever owned one goggo that probably was changed from original many times over the years by the time they get it..I was lucky enough to own many original but unmolested cars, most basket cases though, so was luck enough to know what is original. If i was just getting into Darts now I would have no problem with whats not totally original on this, its not far off and if it is rebuilt as good as it looks in photos quality wise I think if you like the colour then most Darts will be rebuilt similar to this from my observations.

    Like 0
  15. Charles Gould

    Great to catch up and to learn the connections. I apologize if I did not respond to your ears ago, but I don’t recall ever receiving that video clip. Any chance that you could send it again?
    My guy in Oz was Rowan Hatfield. Great guy who bought the Chemist’s Amphicar long before I met him and no, I did not get the second car, although I had my own Amphicar for years before. That is how Rowan met me as I helped him to source many parts for his bew Amphicar and then he returned the favor 100 times over by helping me find some microcars including all three of my Darts and the extra body shell. Fortunately, I bought these Darts before the prices went crazy and got all three for considerably less than what a single good one sells for today.
    One was properly restored and the other two were unmolested originals with lots of patina. I had only intended to buy a single Dart but after Rowan bought the body shell, he found a complete Dart for me and after he bought the complete car, he found a nicer one and after we bought that one, he found the doored prototype which had been properly restored. At the time, they were not easy to sell in Australia, so we thought that it would be easier to sell the other two here in the states, as we were intending on filling a container anyway because shipping a single car was as expensive as the car itself back then! When they arrived, I fell In love with them and sold some other stuff to be able to keep the Darts.
    I want to clarify that I do think that the offered car is a very nice example as i stated in my firet post, and I am not a stickler for perfectly original restorations. It is just that I don’t think that it should be called a restoration if it is not done as original because it is misleading.
    If you want to keep in touch, you can reach me at chasgould@mac.com. I would sure love to see that video!

    Like 0
  16. rusty

    Cool chas..I always wondered if the video ever made it there or as I recorded it in Aussie it may have not been compatible to Yankee Video. Unfortunately its possibly lost somewhere as when my parents passed on, all my stuff at their place went into my mountain Art studio which is now just piles of storage [dont even know if I can find a VCR in my storage].. My homemade video did feature my car from various Aussie TV shows not long after the Yellow Pages Advert came out so if you come across them you’ll have my car.

    re: your mentioning the recessed lights look too deep..no i think they are right what I finally figured out is the headlight rims are not correct and maybe thats what looks strange also the goggo badge sits far too low again increasing the recesses looking long…I have always run mine without the perspex cover due to wanting my lights brighter and when I hand made a perspex cover by flopping perspex over the original covers in an oven i couldnt quite get them on with the new rubbers i bought..I could have cut one half of the rubbers lip away and glued them on but didnt want to do that..I dare say there are ready made cover savailable with rubbers and I guess they would fit..but having said that the fiberglass thickness around the light is all over the place.

    An Amphicar is something i could never get now..I wish I had asked him but he was such a nice guy to talk to me about them I didnt want to spoil the moment. As I had said to him I had bought Skoda Felicias as the closest car that looked like them as I figured I wouldnt find one…

    I’ll contact you as we have bored enough people now…hee hee. but good to chat.

    Like 0
  17. Alan

    Rusty and Charles,
    Thanks so much for the communications across this forum. You have both added so much history about this little car and its’ maker, that never would have been possible without you. Bored? Hardly, I read every word, and found the information and personal involvements to be fascinating.

    Questions about the cars, if I may: What was the driveline type for these? I read in the eBay listing that there was a clutch, so how many gears, and was there a reverse? I do see what appears to be a shift lever between the seats… Rear suspension: Swing axle, or trailing arm? Just curious…

    Like 0
  18. Charles Gould

    Hi Alan,
    Thanks so much for your comment. Like Rusty, I was afraid that we were boring everyone.
    I have a large collection of all types of microcars including approximatley twelve Goggomobils of various models. It sounds as though Rusty may have had me beat with a large collection of Goggos of his own! I love these little cars and they are quite unusual, and surprisingly reliable and well built microcars.
    The engines are all two cylinder, two stroke, air cooled designs of 250cc, 300cc or 400cc displacement. Most German models used a pre-mix of oil/gas (“Petroil” in Europe, and offered at the pumps!).
    The first few cars which were sent to the states from Germany often were seized because Americans had little knowledge of the requirement to premix oil into the fuel for two stroke engines. Consequently, subsequent US destined cars received a seperate oil tank with an injection pump to allow oil to be introduced near the base of the cylinder and to get at the cranshaft bearings. The cars were shipped without transmission fluids and many US dealers and owners then seized the transmissions by not filling them before delivery to the new owners!
    In any event, they eventually found their way here in the states and quite a few of the little Goggomobils were actually on our roads for a few years.
    The basic transmission is a four speed (and reverse) cluster arrangement, much like a motorcycle design in that the engine and gearbox all reside within the horizontally split crankcases, as well as a really gorgeous differential which also resides within the cases. So the entire drive line comes out with the engine as one “unit” assembly! It really is an ingenious little package:
    The stick that you observed between the seat is a conventional “H” pattern, except that it is turned 90 degrees horizontally so the bridge of the “H” runs along the length of the car instead of across it. So, to select first gear, you would move the stick forward and to the left (towards you if it is a left hand drive car, away from you if it was a right hand drive car). Forward and to the right (away from you if it is a left hand drive car, or towards you if it was a right hand drive car) would access second. Third was back and to the left and fourth was back and to the right.
    The Export cars destined for America received the “big block” 400cc engine along with an ingenious electric “pre-select” shifter mechanism that consisted of a small stick which protruded from a quadrant on the dashboard. As the driver selected a gear at the dash switch, electrical contacts would activate solonoids submerged in oil within the engine cases which used electromagnetic energy to throw the shift shafts either one way or the other, depending on the polarity determined by the selected position of the shifter switch.
    The circuit was not completed until the driver stepped on the clutch, which activated a microswitch and completed the circuit.
    That way, the driver could clutch and select first gear, and the transmission would engage first as the clutch was already depressed. After driving off in first, the driver would “pre-select” second gear on the dash stick, but the transmission would not engage second gear until the driver completed the circuit by stepping on the clutch.
    So, you would prepare for each subsequent shift (up or down) by moving the stick, but the shift was actully completed by stepping on the clutch. The system was very similar to the mechanism used on the beautiful front wheel drive Cord model 810 and 812 automobiles of the 1930’s.
    The clutch is a diaphragm type of pressure plate with a conventional dry plate, single disk clutch plate, unlike many other microcars, which often used a smaller diameter multi plate package of clutch disks like a motorcycle becuase of their tiny engine size constraints.
    The rear suspension is a swing axle arrangement with coil springs.
    Fortunately there is a wonderful supplier of Goggomobil parts out of Germany, so owning, maintaining and rebuilding these tiny cars is relatively simple and they are wonderful cars to own and drive.
    These photos really do not give you an appreciation for exactly how tiny these cars really are. My Dart is so tiny that I call it my “Barbie Corvette”!
    If you are anywhere near Boston, you are more than welcome to come and see the microcars in our collection, and I might even let you drive one of the Goggomobils, or perhaps the Dart. We host a huge microcar event in July. Details can be found at http://www.bubbledrome.com

    Like 0
  19. rusty

    Wow I just learned heaps i didnt know. Thanks Charles.

    Our Aussie cars were all Bill Buckle imported chassis/interior/motor and buckle fibreglass body later we got the 400cc which everyone craves for although the 300cc revs out better.. Buckles standard fibreglass bodies were pretty darn close to German originals incuding interior though there are little differences [obviously the Dart is Buckles own design].. Few fully Imported cars got here like you guys got. In fact the preselect gearbox is very rare here..yes I do have one although I have never driven a gog with one in so Charles description was fantastic. Also i didnt know about the external oil feed…that is a cool feature to help non 2-stroke people who wouldnt want to premix oil…except for the dealer “balls-up” which is crazy. See you live and learn.

    Since i dropped out of cars due to health there are people more knowledgeable than me in Aussie on Gogs. When I got into them [late 70’s] we goggo/micro car crazies were considered laughable/crazy which I absolutely loved or “whatthehell’youwantoneofthosefor?” [thats Aussie strine where every spoken word is strung into one long word]. which I also loved the hate towards them..now everyone and their dog are into them so there are by numbers far more Goggo knowledgeable people. To me the gog people I looked up to were those very few I met who still had their cars from the 60’s. ,

    Nevertheless I am good on whats original on Aussie gogs because that comes by default having owned heaps of unmolested Aussie cars [although half may be considered roughasguts condition]. So I have gleaned whats right and wrong simply by ownership and that came into great use when I sold off my project cars as I had to make kits of correct parts to put with each car which literally took months of work sorting out the bits for all the cars [especially when previously people told me sedan and coupe chassis were the same..well I had 4 coupes to prove the differences hee hee]… But one of my good friends here who got into goggos a few years after me is a mechanical guru in gogs which I cant claim to be and knowledgeable on many other aspects.

    But I can offer some tidbits on driving a DART..the manual gearshift gate is a wonder…as Chas says a sideways movement but I have never driven an arrangement that was quicker. Absolutely astonishing…handling amazing ..go around roundabouts without slowing down much, accelleration amazing, but top speed not suited to modern highway traffic. Brakes absolutely dumbfounding..watch out they dont put your passenger into the windscreen..yes 7″ drums on a 350kg Dart. Suspension good handling except shocks not up to rough ground if you are used to modern cars. Handling/steering is instantaneous with a litlle rack and pinion which was often pinched to be used in our midget racers in this country. I avoided a pothole once [shouldnt raise an eyebrow should it] and weeks later a fellow who was driving behind me said he saw me suddenly change direction in a wink of an eye and as if i was going to turn left but go throw it back right as if I was going to turn right and end up in front of the pothole. He said he never saw anything like it driving around a pothole…I had thought nothing of that at the time although I remember the pothole vividly as it was round the corner for where my car was stored. I used to be able to drive my everyday driver Morris Minors like that too,,both cars have handling to live for.

    But having said all this dont expect to be using one as everyday transport..its a nice dream but just a dream…if you lived in a small community and it was local shopping yeah ..maybe..but in a busy city or open road ..those days are left far behind. If you dont know how to treat 2 stroke [or learn] then its best not to get involved as the dreaded seazed motor can happen..never happened to me but I did get accused of running too much 2 stroke oil [though i mixed it to the book] as it took a mile to stop smoking but then drove without smoke. I reckon its the drying out of petrol/oil mix leaving oil in the bore. [perhaps when the petrol is closed off what is left in the carby seeps down?] . Also when I removed my original exhaust to weld it up it was 40 years of oil deposits that burnt off when i welded it [later replaced it with a cleaner one]..,well it never siezed for me so maybe my oiling regime helped, but due to my health the smoke made me violently Ill if i got caught in it too long. Though i had been told modern oils dont need as much oil so had i change to synthetic 2 stroke they may have changed that.

    Other factors to know is the attention it creates can have people sideswipe you eyeing it off, and on a highway an overtaking car could easily overtake a car and hit you having not seen you..although it never bothered me I do find many other people are worried about its physical presence on the road. Also you’ll never get away from the questions and you cant really lock it up when parked although with my hardtop version no one could figure out how to get in it, but softop ones there is no trouble.

    Here I go again thought I’d do a short reply…darn. Sorry for being Mr Knowitall [Hey Rocky Watch me pull a Rabit out of my hat]…the passion is still there even if the health is weak .

    Like 0
  20. Alan

    Charles and Rusty,

    Again, thanks for the additional information and history from both of you. The photos of the engine/transaxle unit were very enlightening. Now it makes sense how the engine placement could work without a drive chain or CVT setup. A nice piece of engineering there. I was envisioning something closer to what is common now in snowmobiles. Based on the appearance of the side axle flanges, a u-joint setup attaches the half shafts?

    As far as 2-cycle engines go, I’m sure that quite a large segment of the U.S. population does not really understand the need for oil in the combustion delivery system. The requirement that lubrication has to be delivered in such a fashion as to fog the moving parts meant that manufacturers had to go to oil injection, as pre-mixing was more than most people were willing or able to accomplish. The earliest 2-stroke now in my posession is a ’75 Yamaha RD200, and it does have a pump/injection system.

    Something else which has came along with technology development is the use of expansion chambers to alter and improve power characteristics. I’m presuming that the engines in the Goggomobils utilize fairly standard uniform diameter tubing for exhaust. Until about 10 years ago, I did not realize that some 2-cycle engines can easily run backwards, as in reverse rotation of the crank shaft. Found that out the hard way, but no harm done!

    Be careful when offering a drive to one who is afflicted by the mechanical/vehicular bug, Chas, you might just be taken up on it. By coincidence, I got a call today which may have me traveling the week of the 17th from Michigan to the Hartford area, with nearly two days of downtime there….

    Like 0
  21. rusty

    Hi Alan

    yes reverse the 2 stoke engine in some micro cars is how you officially get reverse..

    My Messerschmitts I used to have get reverse that way…so does my Lightburn Zetas

    means you have same amount of gears reverse as forward.

    just never get further than 1st gear driving a Messerscmitt backwards as many a daredevil pilot have flipped a schmitt that way..hee hee

    Like 0
  22. Don Andreina

    Holy Moley, what a great exchange between Rusty and Charles!

    Like 0
  23. Steven Mandell

    Hi Rusty,
    I’d like to hear about your Lightburn Zetas.
    Are they Zeta Sports?
    I ask because I now am privileged to be the owner of the Zeta Sport prototype, which you probably know was the only Zeta Sport Coupe ever made, and therefore necessarily also the only Zeta Sport built with doors, as they never made a one door model like they did for the Dart.

    Like 0
    • rusty

      Hi steve

      Yes a complete sports and an unused NOS body shell for a runabout [sedan with wings on roof]. Yes I remember that coupe when it was for sale in Australia before being whisked away from its homeland.

      My sports is of coarse a convertible and i think the coupe a very interesting car especially as you may have read above my Dart has a removable hardtop thus giving the benefits of a coupe

      The scuttlebut I heard over here about your coupe was that it was bought from the museum auction just to secure a spare motor for a Tiger and then sold on as a body sans motor. Did you receive it without motor? Or is that hearsay? I hope it is still with original motor. It truley is an interesting Zeta.,As for me I am loosing interest in collecting as my health wanes.

      Like 0
      • Bob

        Hi Rusty, i know its a long shot, but would you still have the zeta sports or any parts? Or the goggo dart? My email is bgtrading@outlook.com.au i would love to have a chat with you if possible. Thanks, Bob

        Like 0
  24. Charles Gould

    Hi Steven,
    Is the the Zeta Sports Coupe prototype that came from the Bruce Weiner auction. If so, I am very fascinated by this car and would like to learn more about it. Most Zeta Sports were powered by the legendary Sachs two cylinder, two stroke, 500cc engine that was also used to power the very rare four wheeled Messerschmitt TG500 Tiger model.

    Like 0
    • rusty

      Hi Charles

      All zeta sports were powered by the tiger motor. I have never heard of one that wasnt…some that had there motors taken for Tiger resurections may have had in recent years Goggo motors or other motors put in but I have never seen or heard of any as such [but have seen quite a few missing motors about 20 years ago.

      As they came from the Aussie factory they had Tiger motors.

      Of coarse the Zeta is a modified design from the Pommy Frisky Sprint Mk2 which I dont think did get produced?..it had a different motor but is not a Zeta sports though was the forerunner of the sports..

      Like 0
      • Tony C.--- South Oz.

        Steve, Rusty and Charles, funny you should mention the Zeta sports, I was in a restoration workshop last week in Adelaide, SA, and there was a Zeta sports waiting to go into the paint shop after a full body resto. On thinking back a friend of mine back in about 1960 bought a brand new bright yellow Zeta sports, it came from the Lightburn factory here in Adelaide where I live, the company also made wheel barrows, washing machines, cement mixers, etc. it was only a few years back that the company closed down and all of the Zeta parts, bodies, etc. went to auction. Apparently the prices of most of the car stuff went through the roof so there must be quite a lot left in Australia either complete or being restored. The sedan, if you could call it that, was one ugly looking car but then again what cars aren’t ugly these days? Don’t be offended guys but you have to admit they all look the same from a distance, shall we say “boring”?

        Like 0
  25. Chas

    @Tony C.
    The Zeta sedan was very stodgy and not very attractive, but the little Zeta Sports was really quite a nice excution of a microcar sportscar. They were light and nimble and relatively fast for a microcar.
    Also, they shared the same two cylinder, two stroke, Sachs 500cc engine that was used in the Messerschmitt TG500 Tiger model, of which only 900 were made and only around 300 TG500s survive today.
    As a result, I suspect that if the Zeta auction included any Zeta Sports engines, they likely commanded a real premium, I would guess close to $10K each, and I suspect that some of the purchasers were trying to source engines for their Messerschmtt Tigers and not for just Zeta Sports. However, the Zeta Sports stuff is desireable and sought after as well. I wish that I had known about this auction, I would love to find a Zeta Sports.
    On a side note, I have a 1959 Ariel Square Four motorccyle with a Tillbrook extra wide sidecar which was built in Adelaide.

    Like 0
    • rusty

      Hi Chas that auction was a very long time ago. And there were new Runabout engines sold but never heard of a sports engine sold. I have had one of the nos runabout bodies for at least 30 year or so. And had heard about the auction when i got into microcars so unless there was another auction then time flies too fast.

      Like 0
  26. rusty

    Hi tony

    The Runabout (sedan as you call it) was more a wagon concept without a rear door. The first model had fins on the roof and molded in quater bumpers quite exciting especially that the seats were able to be pulled out and mounted to the roof when spectating at sports events . Beat that other car companies.

    yes ugly to many and that’s what makes microcars so appealing until recently they were scorned and we’re affordable and we were considered eccentric…hee hee that’s is only a memory now.

    Like 0
  27. Bob

    If anyone knows of a lightburn zeta sports or goggomobil dart for sale, my father and i are looking for one for a restoration project. My email is bgtrading@outlook.com.au ,,thanks

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.