Cold Start: Heart Of Glas

Cs Glas

You know what a carmaker I bet you don’t think about enough? Glas. Just look at that crisp, clean, airy sedan up there. That’s a 1967 Glas 1700, and I find it terribly handsome. Usually, when most people think of Glas, they think of Goggomobil, the line of small, adorable cars the company made to serve the needs of postwar Europe.

Cs Goggomobil

And don’t get me wrong: I think Goggomobils are goggomogreat, but I love that this same company also made some striking four-door large sedans and even GT cars. They’re kind of like Iso that way, making the Isetta and the Rivolta and Grifo, or even BMW, licensing the Isetta and making the 507 at the same time.

Oh and hey, since you brought up BMW, now’s as good a time as any to remind you that BMW ended up buying Glas, which led to strange BMW-badged Glas cars like the BMW 1600 GT, which  was basically a re-badged (and slightly engine-embiggened) Glas 1300 GT, complete with little mouse kidney-sized kidney grilles:


At some point I should cover Glas in more detail, because I think they’re cool. Until then, just enjoy this appetizer.

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25 Responses

  1. Goggomobils look like they should be in an action movie, probably spy, as the impromptu escape vehicle for a car chase à la the Citroën 2CV from “For Your Eyes Only”.
    The only shows background appearances, although does have a documentary called D’art that may be of interest.

  2. Back in the day before the day, had a friend whose father bought a Goggomobil. If I remember correctly, he traded a Lloyd for it….

    That family had strange taste in cars. The father also bought a Fiat 1100TV roadster, and had a Henry J chassis that he planned to put a Devin body on. The mother had an early VW Bus that she traded for a Corvair Greenbrier.

    Hans Glas was creative, to say the least. I dug the Glas GT, but liked the BMW version better.

  3. I’ve only seen one and it’s a beautiful, delightfully delicate design. When I started looking for my first car at 14, I went to a place that had a bunch of old weirdos and junk as I was always a bit…different and still an optimist at the time. Checked out a (IIRC) 1916 Chandler, a couple of Goggomobiles, a Lloyd Alexander (I might have the number they had of the latter two reversed), and a Saab Sonnet III. I ended up with a ‘70 240Z from a guy they knew after talking a bit about the Saab. Looked at a bunch of other odd balls, too (Borgward Isabella, various old Volvos, a few hearses, Checker civilian wagon, ‘65 Cadillac convertible, etc., but those weren’t all at that one place).

    1. Wow,that is like a lifetime’s worth of car shopping all at once time. I grew up in a neighborhood full of oddball stuff,not quite as quirky as your shopping list but Citroens, a Renault 4, a yard full of Crosleys, a hippy dude that still drove an MG TD as a daily driver in the late 70s. Good times.

  4. Never heard of Glas. Looking forward to the in-depth piece.

    Also, thrilled to find out that this place exists as of a few days ago. Jalop has withered away and their lack of taillight coverage leaves me Goggo for Goggopuffs.

  5. A few years ago I attended Monterey Car Week and was at the Legends of the Autobahn show when I saw someone polishing up their beautiful BMW 1600GT (which later was sold on Bring a Trailer). I walked up and proudly asked “Do you have to use Glas cleaner on this?” He responded that it was just spray wax. I was so disappointed he didn’t get the joke. This would be the one place that joke could land, but nope.

    1. Great joke but sometimes they don’t land because
      1. Heard it a few hundred times
      2. Concentrating on prepping the car not another looking Louie
      3. Didn’t get it. I thought it was funny.
      4. Didn’t know the history, bought it because cool old BMW.

      I never heard of Glas but am now a big fan. Only BMW I would buy.

  6. I knew about Glas and it’s sad that BMW chose to kill off the Glas cars rather than integrating them the way Nissan absorbed Prince. As an odd bit of trivia I test Internet connectivity on client’s computers by searching for Goggomobil since it’s safe for work (to the best of my knowledge) and obscure enough that it’s unlikely to be cached.

  7. Keep shining a spotlight on quirky, interesting cars Jason. They represent the independent thinking that results in truly amazing automobiles. It broadens our automotive knowledge and I believe that’s why most of us have followed you here.

  8. Glas was a real mom and pop operation which is why they couldn’t survive on their own, unfortunately. But, the big BMW factory in Dingolfing is where the Glas factory stood, so there is a little Glas in the heart of every Beemer still. Glas started out building farming equipment and were known especially for their seed drills. When Hans Glas took over the company, he wanted to build cars and had the bright idea to manufacture a microcar that looked like a tiny normal car instead of an egg, or a cockpit without a plane. So, the Goggomobil became the best selling microcar ever even though the Isetta and Messerschmitt are probably better known these days.

  9. Can we get more on the Glas in the near future? Seems as though they had design engineering visionaries who may have gotten stuck behind the 8 ball of life. Most of us know nothing of them and you can help us be more popular at cocktail parties for Glas enthusiasts

  10. Glas … we need to talk about wheelarches.

    Your Goggomobil is super cute, and apparently has some TARDIS-like abilities if that family of four actually fits inside. But it seems your front wheels are positive-cambering themselves to death as it’s the only way to fit under that front arch.

    And your GT is like a Jag E-Type without the preposterously-long nose. I really dig it. But again, I’m not even sure any of the wheels will actually turn based on that side-on view, particularly given the fronts are going to have to, you know, steer and whatnot.

  11. Way late to this, but two Glas comments:

    1) Little-known fact: In the early ’60s, Glas was the first automobile manufacturer to use a timing belt with an overhead camshaft. BMW is said to have acquired Glas for both its factory and its timing belt patents.
    2) The BMW 1600 GT was based on the Glas 1700 GT (which was sold in the US in 1966-67).

  12. Sadly, BMW bought Glas almost entirely to expand their production capacity and any continuation of Glas designs was strictly transitional.

    It would’ve been better to keep Glas as a mass-market division and/or use their 1300-series platform, which was FWD, as a launchpad for a more complete pivot to front-wheel drive.

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