VW Dannenhauer

We love finding rare VW models and sharing them with you. Do you know about the VW Dannenhauer?

VW, Dannerhauer, Rare VW, Old VW, Convertible VW

Here is a great write up from TheSamba.com:

Shortly after the war Dannenhauer, along with his son Kurt Stauss set up their car building firm. Dannenhauer had had experience with the early Volkswagen prototypes before the War, he had worked for Reuters, who had built the bodies for the 1937 VW38 prototypes. While Dannenhauer and Strauss were keen to build their VW based sports car they’d decided to let another team design the bodywork for their car. Herren Wagner and Oswald were given the task. These two had studied in Stuttgart under Professor Dr. Kamm, who before the war had been a pioneer of streamlining and was among the first people to use wind tunnelling to achieve areodynamics. Wagner and Oswald had already built a streamline Volkswagen based car, only one of these was built but as can be seen this was a definitive forerunner of the car they designed for Dannenhauer and Stauss. 

D & S built what is too many the most Porsche like Beetle based sports car to have been produced in 1950s, but unlike the 356 body construction; the Dannenhauer and Strauss was still built on a Beetle floorpan and chassis. 

The body for the prototypes, and the eventual production cars were largely hand-built, the metal steel sections being hand formed over wooden “moulds”. Only the doors, engine lid and front bonnet where press steel components. The doors featured hidden hinges, placed at the rear (so-called suicide doors); early cars featured VW door handles, while later cars featured Porsche handles. Exterior trim was kept to a minimum-perhaps because the designers were such streamlining enthusiasts 

The first cars had a split front windscreens, as seen on the Drews cabriolet and many other sports cars of the time. By 1953 many changes had been made, both the nose and tail ends had been made longer and a one-piece windscreen had been added. Early grooved bumpers also gave way to clean blade type bumpers. A Porsche type grill was also added to the rear deck lid, while Porsche also supplied the chrome-plated numberplate light, which was also the cars only brake light. 

Inside, the car sat much lower than the Beetle it was based upon, this meant that the low seats were Dannenhauer and Stauss custom items; sitting on narrower runners. Real leather seat trimming was available as an added extra. The rear seat was a rather spartan affair, being just a padded wooden board. There was still a luggage space behind the rear seats. The folding hood was of a quality found on the Karmann Beetle Cabriolet, being well insulated with horse hair and covered on the inside with a full headlining. The small wooden-framed glass rear window was later replaced by a sown in plastic window. 

The dash often echoed the Volkswagen it was based on. Early cars featured the vintage Volkswagen twin open glove box with two centre instrument panels, one installed with the speedometer, the second with a radio. By 1953, following Volkswagens lead; the dash was updated with a central chrome Grill, closeable glove box and a new speedometer. 

Headlights were pure Volkswagen; rear headlights were made by Hella and can also be seen on some Porsche 356s. Although semaphore indicators were fitted to early cars flashing indicators were installed on all production models from the beginning. 

All in all the Dannenhauer and Strauss was a very sporty looking, sleek sports car. However the production car retained the Beetle engine and while the cars’ streamlining gave it the edge over the Beetle; it was no powerhouse. Early cars featured the vintage Volkswagen 25 hp engine, later updated to 30 hp. 32 mm Solex carburetors were also fitted to the standard Volkswagen engine raising this to 34 hp. Many owners obviously wanted a bit more performance from their sports car, modifying the engines with superchargers and a popular early twin carburettor system from the firm of Okrasa. The engine bays on Dannenhauer & Stauss cars was wide and spacious making these modifications relatively easy. 

Interestingly enough, somewhere in the region of three hardtop coupe versions were built. The first of these coupes was probably made in 1953, and possibly featuring the rather mundane 34 hp engine. The final Coupe, built in 1954 was ordered by a rich tobacco dealer, who stipulated that Porsche engines and breaks be fitted, which gave his sleek D & S coupe the Porsche performance it deserved. 

As is often the case at these times, with these small firms, production figures remain a matter of guesswork, with estimates varying from 80 to 135 cars being built, 18 of which are known to have survived today. Production began in 1951 and continued until 1957, it was the cost of building these hand-built cars, and stiff competition from the Karmann Ghia Coupe, introduced in 1954 that eventually ended the production life of the Dannenhauer and Stauss. In 1951 the car would have cost you DM 4,250 (you would have had to add the cost of the engine and beetle chassis to this figure), the last example built cost DM 8,742 by the time all the extras were added. Compare this to the deluxe export version of the Beetle which cost DM4,600 and the Karmann Ghia Cabriolet version which was introduced in 1957 and cost DM8250. The firm of Dannenhauer & Stauss is to the existence today, but sadly no longer producing such curvaceous VW based sports cars. 

All in all the Dannenhauer and Strauss was a very sporty looking, sleek sports car. However the production car retained the Beetle engine and while the cars’ streamlining gave it the edge over the Beetle; it was no powerhouse. Early cars featured the vintage Volkswagen 25 hp engine, later updated to 30 hp. 32 mm Solex carburetors were also fitted to the standard Volkswagen engine raising this to 34 hp. Many owners obviously wanted a bit more performance from their sports car, modifying the engines with superchargers and a popular early twin carburettor system from the firm of Okrasa. The engine bays on Dannenhauer & Stauss cars was wide and spacious making these modifications relatively easy.

vw, rare vw, vw dannenhauer

One response to “VW Dannenhauer

  1. Pingback: strange old car - Pelican Parts Technical BBS·

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