I’m Not Sure They Thought This Picture Through: Cold Start

Cs Gogo1

I’m a big fan of the tiny and charming Goggomobil, and if you look up at that picture from a 1959 brochure, it looks like I’m not alone, as that little olive-colored car has attracted a trio of admirers there, happy to stand there and gaze with approval on the Gogomobil. Remember, this was pre-internet days, and standing and smiling at a car was their equivalent of scrolling through Instagram. There’s one issue here: I don’t think the Goggomobil ad people really considered the implications of this picture.

A clue as to why is here:

Cs Gogo Cutaway1

As you can see, the Goggomobil is a rear-engined car. That dude there isn’t peering into the trunk, he’s looking at the engine, and his posture and expression are painfully familiar to me, as they look like the body language of someone thinking “why the hell won’t this little bastard start?”

The crossed feet, the hands braced on the sides of the engine bay, that stare into the oily madness, desperately trying to figure out why the hell it’s not working – I know these all far too well. And, I also know that it’s not what I’d pick to put on my car’s brochure.

I’m sure that wasn’t the intent here; maybe they wanted him to seem like he was just admiring that little 300 or 400cc air-cooled inline twin, but I just don’t think that’s how it came out.

I bet if they had a better picture, you’d be driving a Goggomobil today! Probably with at least 750cc or something crazy like that.

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41 Responses

  1. I really want a Dart, but I’d settle for the more common TS400.

    I had a Spot-On Gogomobile toy, red one with a black roof as a kid.
    Lack of power was not a problem, when you could zoom it with your hand. (-;

  2. He _might_ be thinking that there sure seems to be room for some extra storage back there and silently composing a blog post explaining his theory. He wishes he had a camera in his pocket so he could include art in his post. Maybe with lines and arrows on it.

  3. Actually, Torch, if you knew Dutch, you’d know he’s saying: “Fantastic, what a simple engine block, that can’t need hardly any maintenance!” A feeling you must surely share.

    For the record, the other speech bubbles (from left to right):

    “Economical in use, low tax and insurance – the household can afford that!” (really the best sales pitch in Holland: the reputation of the Dutch for…frugality is well deserved)

    The couple to the right, on the other hand, must have been to an Amsterdam “coffee shop”, because they’re clearly delusional:

    “Finally a small car in which four can travel. [Not very far, I’m afraid] I find it beautiful! [Check your eyesight, madam]”

    “Handling, acceleration and safety are like those of a large, expensive car [The Cugnot steam car, perhaps?] What more do we want? [A Beetle, probably]”

    And the title is:

    “WE BUY A GOGGOMOBIL!” [Good for you]

    1. “Economical in use, low tax and insurance – the household can afford that!” (really the best sales pitch in Holland: the reputation of the Dutch for…frugality is well deserved)

      One of the things I really love most about the Dutch, that, and the bluntness/directness, just get to the point. Easy to deal with, I believe Finland has a similar stereotype

    1. fantastic, what a simple engine. That possibly can’t require much servicing”

      That engine was an air-cooled, two-stroke, two-cylinder unit. My dad used to drive three-cylinder, two-stroke SAAB’s which offered the same -theoretical- advantage of no valve train. My dad, an engineer used to like to say, “The Redline is one rpm short of the destruction point of the materials”.

      So great simple little engines you could wind the piss out of. Perfect except for their propensity to seize up solid if they ran the least bit lean, and yes you did have to add the oil to the fuel by eyeball and by hand. So, kind of like nuclear power plants, they are amazing until that sudden moment when all hell breaks loose or seizes up as the case may be.

      1. Goggos are oil injection, not premix, so you don’t have to worry about getting the oil-gas mixture right. And the nice thing about a two-stroke engine is that if they do seize up, you can often just wait for it to cool down and un-seize. The Messerschmitt Kabinenroller manual told you to smoke a cigarette if this happens and by the time you’re done, it should be good to go again.

        1. Oil injection can still fail spectacularly, as I found out on my Suzuki RG250WE1. The oil injection pump on the gearbox has a metering valve operated by one of the throttle cables, and badly repaired crash damage by a previous owner led to the cable breaking, so the valve stayed at its ‘idle’ position. The rough running/misfire that results from a 2 stroke engine running dry of oil and beginning to seize is basically identical to the symptoms of carbon buildup in the expansion chambers, which is generally fixed by running wide open throttle at speed for 10 minutes or so to burn all the carbon out.
          So of course this means when my engine actually seized, I was in the process of holding the throttle fully open at top speed on the freeway (145km/h). The mark the rear tyre left before I pulled the clutch in was over 30 metres long.

  4. This is a man who is not only a thinker, but a humanitarian. His life, experience, and survival of WWII has prepared him to see the future. As such he is doing some simple math equations. Perhaps trying to figure out how many East Germans can be stuffed into the engine bay. Because the Godless Russians are gonna build a wall, and a wall of despair in a very short time through Germany. And as a good guy he is not willing to put up with that shit for very long…Perhaps we see a future Noble Prize nominee here?

  5. He’s probably wondering where to put the two-stroke oil. I had a Goggomobil that exact same color. They’re great little cars. Very well made with some interesting quirks like the pre-select electronic gearbox that the American ones came with. It was also the best selling microcar of all time. There was a moment where Glas almost bought BMW because they were flush with Goggomobil money. Eventually, of course, the opposite ended up happening.

  6. While Harald tries to decipher the oily madness of his new Goggomobil, his conservatively dressed wife Gretchen gives his new olive gray lump the side eye. Well what do you expect for a two-smoke built in Dingolfing (which despite the funny sounding name to American ears is now BMW’s largest manufacturing site.)? At least it’s better than a communist Trabant. Meanwhile GrandPappa and his squeeze, Gretchen’s hot sister Gretl, laugh and laugh. Or at least smirk.

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