I don’t remember how it came up, exactly, but I was talking to a friend about either wasps of Hanomags – sometimes it’s hard to differentiate the two – and I remembered this incredible chance chromatic event I once experienced. I was at the Lane Motor Museum, driving their Hanomag 2/10 “Kommisbrot” for a story and video for The Old Site, when I happened to notice this little wasp that landed on the engine lid of the car. Incredibly, the color scheme of that wasp exactly matched the Hanomag. Like, it matched perfectly, as though someone had that wasp in a jar when they bought this car in 1925 and took it to the paint shop and said, “make it look like this,” then handed over a jarred wasp.
It’s a fantastic paint scheme for wasp and car alike, I think, rich and deep caramel browns, working well with the warm wood of the wheels and the other bits of wood. If you’re in the market for a car or wasp, I can’t recommend it enough.
The wasp itself I finally identified, too: it’s a Ropalidia romandi, but to friends it goes by yellow brown paper wasp, and it makes nests that look kind of like lumpy paper bags.
If you’re wondering if the queen has larger metasoma, then yes, good eye! The queen certainly has larger metasoma than the workers! Oh, and these fellas can sting multiple times without dying!
As far as the car goes, the Hanomag 2/10 Kommissbrot is a favorite of mine. It’s one of the first cars with “envelope” styling – the fenders integrated into the overall body design, not separate – and was a really clever little economy car with a rear 500cc single-cylinder engine, built between 1924 and 1928. In fact, between the World Wars, it was likely the most fuel-efficient mass-produced car you could get!
The little Kommissbrot (that nickname refers to a small loaf of bread fed to German soldiers) was usually a roadster, but had one of the boxiest hardtops ever built, literally almost a cube that you’d plop on top of the otherwise rounded car. I think they look weirdly appealing with that boxy top; Beau has one in his collection, so maybe we can get it running and do a big video about it at some point soon.