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Short Shed Find: 1959 Goggomobile T400

This car combines the best of all worlds – it’s an unusual, small vehicle and it was found in a barn! Or, a shed. This 1959 Goggomobile T400 is listed on eBay and it is a project car, as you can see. The current bid price is just over $500, but of course the reserve isn’t even close to being met at that price. And, as if anyone needed another excuse to visit Oregon’s beautiful wine country, this one is in McMinnville, Oregon.

Sometimes small cars are big projects, but this car doesn’t appear to be very rusty on the top side, which is nice. Tread lightly on the underside, but at least there doesn’t appear to be any rust-through other than on the right side and that’s more than enough. Who knows how thin that metal is. A German company called Glas made farm equipment and moved into scooters and finally vehicles such as this Goggomobile. The company made three models, the T-sedan, the TS-coupe, and the TL-van. These are rear-engine, two-cylinder, two-stroke, air-cooled vehicles. And, look at what a great family car this one would be! Trade in that $48,000 humongous SUV that you commute with, here’s your next ride!

I can imagine that several generations of rodents have made this car their home sweet home. The “shed” that it was found in doesn’t appear to be too air-tight, with pine needles everywhere and who knows what else. The body appears to be as solid as Sears! Although, that may have been a better description a decade or two ago than it is now. The body does appear to be rust-free for the most part but you can see that a few details are missing. You’ll have to be plugged in to a Glas or Goggomobile club to find some of the missing pieces for this car, but it’ll be worth it. Hagerty lists a #3 “good” car as being valued at $26,500 and a #2 “excellent” car as being valued at $37,000 (!) so there’s a lot of room for a nice restoration on this car, depending on what the seller’s reserve is. The seller isn’t some hayseed who doesn’t know anything about these cars, he drives an EV-converted Goggomobile T400 as we speak.

This is the lone interior photo but it doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would in there. Although, there’s a solid layer of pine needles, styrofoam packing peanuts, and assorted stuff scattered around. It looks pretty complete inside but there are no dash photos and no detail photos or behind the seats photos where the fuel shut-off would be, since there was a gravity fuel system on these cars. And, then there’s that underside..

Yep, a full, nut-and-bolt restoration will be in order here. I’m not sure if all of the fan shrouds and related engine parts are there, but I doubt it. There were three versions of the T-sedan (and, coupe, and van), the T250 had a 250 CC, 14-hp air-cooled twin, the T300 had a 293 CC, 15-hp twin, and the car for sale here is the hot rod T400 with a 392 CC with 18.5 hp! I think that this is a great project for someone who likes unusual, and valuable, little cars and has a lot of restoration talent to do a lot of the work him/herself. If you can do a lot of the work yourself you could do this for less than the value, but it depends on the seller’s reserve price. Are there any micro car fans out there?


  1. terry

    Poor car looks sad and lonesome. The way a lost puppy would look.

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  2. Rock On Member

    Don’t know if I could drive this car knowing that my lawn tractor has a bigger engine.

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    • Nova Scotian

      Put your tractor engine in it! 4 stroke power wold be a riot!

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  3. Fred W.

    Just watched an episode of Chasing Classic Cars entitled “A Lawnmower Has More Horsepower!” where Wayne buys a 1950 Citroen 2CV which has only 9HP, yet is capable of 40mph. This Goggomobile is a muscle car in comparison.

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  4. jaygryph

    You could always swap in a radial aircraft engine, like this fella did!



    Amazing packaging that guy did to get that to fit. Talk about an off the wall project car!

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    • D. King

      Why on earth anyone would want a radial engine a few inches behind his head is beyond me. IF there was a need to convert to something else, wouldn’t an electric motor be ideal for this size car? it’s not going to be going very far and would make fun city runabout!

      (I personally prefer originality, though.)

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    • Adam T45 Staff

      I just watched all of the YouTube clips for this, and all I can say is that it is an amazing feat of engineering. Mind you, I suspect it would be one of the scariest rides ever in the wet!!! Thank you jaygryph.

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  5. Dan

    So that guy is unloading his parts car after he picked off all the parts he needed. If he is no hayseed, and this is what he had to do to get parts, then how will us country bumpkins find what we need to put this back together?

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  6. Chas

    Goggomobils are really great little cars. Very well built, reliable and a whole lot of fun. Once they are sorted, they are relatively bulletproof and a blast to drive. They provide more smiles per dollar than almost anything else that you can buy.
    Not sure what the reserve price is on this particular car, but it sure looks like a very solid example, with no apparent significant rust in the floors or rockers.
    It is a US Export model with the larger “frog-eye” headlights, and it likely has the more desireable “Big Block” 400cc engine which means that it likely has the complicated electric shifter mechanism as well. These electric shifters are great if they work, but are a nightmare if they need to be repaired as all of the solonoids reside within the crankacase/transmission case, which requires horizontal “splitting of the cases” to repair or replace, although I have had good luck resurrecting many of these units without problems, except on one which was a pain to repair.
    The Hagerty guide values are ridiculously high, and should not be used a a barometer for the purchase price, as I have seen fully restored Goggomobils sell for between $18K and $25K, so a # 3 condition car is certainly not worth $26K and a # 2 excellent car is not worth $37K. I also have several running, driving, and ready to use Goggomobils which I would sell for well below the Hagerty values.
    The Hagerty values are driven primarily by auction vlaues which are seriously inflated. Sure, there have been some ridiculous sale prices at auction, like the Bruce Weiner auction, where not so perfectly restored Goggomobils drew over $40K, but that was certainly an anomaly with over 300 exceptional microcars at one venue, which allowed the room to be filled with serious money bidders, many of which had more money than brains, and $40K is “chicken feed” to wealthy “investors” who are accustomed to paying millions for investment quality Ferraris and Lamborghinis. You would be hard pressed to duplicate these values unless you had 299 other perfectly restored microcars to offer as well.
    These cars are great fun and a reasonably good investment. You should not hesitate to embark on this project, as the mechanical work is far easier to do than rust repairs. I have a ton of spare parts for these cars, and can probably source the headlight buckets, muffler and other parts that you might need to complete this project. Most other parts are available from a very reputable and relaiable supplier in Germany, who is also a personal friend.

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    • Kevin A. Waldrop

      I like your style sir and advice on these cars. I would certainly like to see more of your personal findings of these vehicles in the future just wanting some good advice and knowledgeable information from someone who knows.

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  8. BHB

    These post war German cars had to stay under 20 horsepower to avoid a large tax. The 18.5 hp on this one may be understated. A little tuning will certainly get it over that, as I’m doing on my 1959 BMW 600. I doubt Ralph Nader will like those swing axles, but maybe the corvair fix can be put on this car. Those non-trailing locating links attached at the rear look scary.
    This looks like a solid project to start on but make sure you can last thru the possible deflation in classic car prices. That is, thru to the next cycle ( 12 years?) of price increases.

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  9. Adam T45 Staff

    In Australia the Goggomobile developed something of a cult following due to a nationwide television commercial during the early 1990’s. As an aside, in Australia we received a unique “sports” version ( the word “sports” is a rather loose term!) called the Dart. It was based on the T400 and received a unique fibreglass body. I have attached a picture for you. About 700 of these were produced here, which in hindsight was about 699 too many! As you can see it was a door-less convertible. Entry and exit was straight over the side, which I guess is kind-of cool if you’re 20 years old, but not so cool when you are older and arthritic! One of the great draw-backs of its design was that with the roof in place you couldn’t get in or out of the car!

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    • Chas

      I love the Dart.
      You are corect Adam. In fact, the photo that you posted above is a photo of one of my Darts, as well as my Goggomobil TS250 Sport Coupe in the background! That photo was taken at our annual Gould’s Microcar Classic Event.
      This is one of the last Darts produced, and if you look closely, you will note that unlike all of the others, it does have a single suicide door on the driver’s side (right side as it is an Aussie car).
      These “Barbie Corvettes” were designed and built by Bill Buckle who also designed and built the Buckle Sports which were raced successfuly in Australia. Bill is over 90 years old now, and was very active in sailboat racing in the America’s Cup series. He and his lovely wife Alva visited us at our home here in the states several years ago. He is a fascinating man and a brilliant designer. He also reproduced a nuber of other standard Goggomobil models in glasfibre for the Australian market including the limousine (T250), and Sport (TS250) models as well as a unique transporter van called the Carryall, which had an overhead rolling door on the side.

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      • Adam T45 Staff

        Wow Chas. That’s awesome. I didn’t even pick up on the door. If all of them had been produced that way I think they would’ve been more successful. The door-less feature to me was their greatest failing. I LOVE the Carryall. That is a concept that would be so relevant today. It was ahead of its time when you consider what the Japanese are producing in the Kei car range. Congratulations on all of your vehicles. Whether people love them or hate them, it is vitally important that our motoring heritage is protected for future generations.

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  10. Chas

    Here’s another photo of the Carryall which shows the roll up door!

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  11. Chas

    Still impossible to get into with the top up, even with the door! The Carryalls are not mine. They are owned by Bill Buckle and by David Nobbs, both from Australia. I wish that I had a Carryall, but I do have a Goggomobil TL300 Transporter, which was the German variant.

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  12. Doug Towsley

    Chas IS the Man! Take that all you haters!

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  13. CliffG Member

    That is a nostalgic photo for me. In the early 1970’s a friend had a nice blue Goggomobil under the pine trees in Northern New Hampshire: Bethlehem, to be precise. I did get the engine running but the preselector electric shifting refused to do anything useful, despite having the schematic. These days my nostalgia is limited to looking at these great photos because the frustration comes back as well.

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  14. Doug Towsley

    Well, I always thought a micro car would be fun, A SENSIBLE addition would be a YanMar 3 cyl diesel engine with a 6 speed trans. Things sip fuel and could be the ultimate mileage and commuter machine. (Same motor in most all compact and mid size tractors such as John Deere, Kubota, and others..
    But I have 3 of these engines, brand new, zero miles. Norton 961cc twins. come stock with a Bosch fuel injection and electronic ignition. (Yes I have the rest of the parts too) I am selling one of them as a project bike-basket case and would make a HELL of a statement and fun vehicle that will get you invited to all the cool events. Nortons are iconic painted in Silver with Black and red pin strips,, but British racing green would sure be striking. Of course you COULD go with the John Player Special paint scheme which would really stand out. The white with red & blue stripes was the team colors when they sponsored Norton, but I really prefer the Black with Gold accents they used for other race teams. If you are not familiar with it look it up under Google Images.

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  15. Doug Towsley

    Heres another photo of some of the Norton factory racers,,,Picture this car painted up in the same livery with one of my motors powering it and you will have a rocket ship that will turn heads not to mention the sweet sweet music burbling out of the twin megaphone exhausts will be the symphony moving you down the road.
    No need for a Kraco 8 track with 6×9 Jensen 3 way speakers in the back. This will be all the noise you need as you work it thru the gears in Portlands west hills or the Columbia river gorge snaking thru the S curves and up and down the hills keeping the motor on song and working the gears. You will need a silk scarf, Leather drivers gloves and a jaunty cap, perhaps a tweed jacket or aged aviator leather coat to complete the ensemble.

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    • hans grafftenberg

      Why would you hijack a German micro car thread with some British motorcycle stuff?

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      • Doug Towsley

        Sorry If I offended your sense of German purity, The discussion was to restore as all original or perhaps modify it. Perhaps you over looked the part where I suggested a Yanmar diesel engine?? In the realm of original or modified there is a number of videos and articles online of people stuffing things like a Hyabusa motor in these micro cars and creating an insane and overpowered go kart. I actually have 3 of these motors, and while Norton is associated with the UK, the brand was actually revived here in Oregon US of A and I am associated with that. I do have a CB750 motor one could stuff in this car, perhaps paint rising suns all over it but I just thought my motor or something equally interesting such as Moto guzzi? Would be an interesting exercise

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  16. Chas

    Maybe it is just my preferences, but although I love the Norton engines, I never understood why anyone would consider buying a tiny Goggomobil or any other microcar if they wanted to put a honking 100 horsepower engine into it?
    Why would you repower a perfectly good microcar. The engines in these little cars are bulletproof reliable, and simple to rebuild if it becomes necessary.
    Replacing the engine with a modern or huge alternative will:
    1) exponentially destroy any inherent value of the original microcar, and
    2) ruin any original reaosn that you may have purchased a microcar for,
    3) plus once you tread down that slippery slope, you have to contend with brakes, suspension, tires, and handling issues
    4) as well as how to get the power to the rear wheels.
    That might be a great solution for a wreck or incomplete microcar, but why bastardize a perfectly good and remarkably restorable example.
    In fact, I love original cars, and I might not even restore this car, but rather revive it with all of its original patina. This car is in incredible shape and has been remarkably well preserved. Hell, that little two stroke, 400cc, two cylinder engine might just fire up and be fine just as it sits. If not, there are other engines available for these cars. If the buyer needs another engine, I have several to choose from.
    Please do not buy this car to repower it. These are far to rare to destroy in that manner.

    Like 1
    • Doug Towsley

      Chas thank you for your thoughtful response. When i was talking about repowering it I was speaking in general for micro cars. I am sure you have seen the Youtube videos of some of them. Keeping original or modified is a frequent topic here and I am not going to be buying this car so its safe from me. I have way too many motorcycle and car projects already and need to downsize the sheer volume.
      If it CAN be restored, by all means please do so. It sounds like you are an ideal contact for tech and parts for these. But frequently many vehicles are in too rough of shape or too hard to find parts for. That was the concern with this one and many people also discussed the issues with the trans and shifter as being difficult to resolve. As to any motor that has sat, eventually Ol seals, gaskets and corrosion are an issue. In my experience any 2 stroke motor that is vintage has to have the seals renewed as its critical for operation they work correctly. But thats not a big problem.

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      • Chas

        @Doug. Thanks for your response. I appreciate it.
        While I understand your concerns, after pulling literally hundreds of cars out of barns and sheds over the past forty years, inclduing an abundance of two stroke microcars, I have only had to rebuild or renew the seals on a handful or less than six engines. The rest have come back to life without any issues whatsoever.
        I have had slightly less luck with motorcycle two strokes which have sometimes required seal replacement, but still the vast majority go back into service with no significant work necessary.
        And, as I posted in my first message, the Goggomobil electric pre-selector shifter mechanism is a work of art that is really nice when it is right, and most of them have come back without issue as well. I only warned that if it fails, it can be cumbersome to repair or replace.
        However, even a total engine/gearbox rebuild on this tiny two stroke would be far less work that shoe horning in a motorcycle engine, and sorting the chain drive and igntiion components to work properly, and this Goggomobil is reasonably complete, so it should be saved and it will likely come back wthout much work at all.
        In fact, if you are lucky enough to free the stuck pistons or able to remove the head and cylinders, you would probably simply reassemble the top end and fire it up, as I have done on so many of these Goggos.

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  17. LD

    One of my closest friends passed away last year, he had been the accountant for Goggomobile in the US , BITD.
    He enjoyed telling that he worked for them and that Perry Como appeared and sang on their commercials. Somewhere I think he had a photo of PC standing in a Goggomobile convertible singing.
    He became a Mini afficinado but remembered the G cars affectionately. It’s great to see all these body styles and in such great shape!

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  18. Scotty Staff

    Auction update: this l’il Goggomobile sold for $2,800!

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  19. Doug Towsley

    Thanks for the update Scotty, I guess Chas and the others cheering this car on were spot on and posters like Lil Abner who received so many down votes are set straight on this. $2800 is no small sum for a project car.

    Like 0

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