Fantastic in Plastic- The Enzmann 506

DSCN4750 In the 1950s, Volkswagen’s Type 1 was the basis for a huge number of one-off sporty cars. We’ve previously seen one of those, in the form of the Rometsch Beeskow, and there were many, many others such as Karmann, Dannenhauer & Stauss, Drews, Denzel, Beutler, Wendler, and Hebmuller. One of the rarest of the breed is the Enzmann 506, but as my local Cars and Coffee seems to draw out the odd and the interesting, I happened to catch one of them at a recent meet. DSCN4694 The Enzmann was produced in Switzerland by the Enzmann brothers, and featured a fiberglass body fitted to a VW Type 1 pan, powered by either a VW or Porsche engine. The cars were first introduced at the Geneva International Auto Show in 1957, and the name – 506 – is derived from the company’s booth number at that show. DSCN4692 This is one of about 100 cars produced over the Enzmann’s short life span, which was nominally about 1957 through the mid-sixties. I say nominally because the body molds apparently outlived the company and to this day you could have one commissioned if you happen to be in love cars that have steps instead of doors. DSCN4697 That’s right, entry to the car is facilitated by a pair of inset steps in the car’s flanks, sort of like on a boat. Needless to say, modest women in miniskirts need not apply. Once you do manage the leap over the gunwale, you’re faced with a tight but sporty interior and a three-section windscreen that again is suggestive of its boat-builder origins. This car has the iconic padded hump on the passenger side of the dash, but it lacks the twin handles that on many models bookended the lump. In some pictures of the car from back in the day, that hump served as a holder for a rally map. DSCN4693 As we noted with the Rometsch, these one-off cars were killed when Volkswagen eventually refused to sell the cottage makers platforms or cars any more, and it became financially unfeasible to purchase new cars from dealers and then convert them. In the end, cars like the Rometsch and the Enzmann 506 paved the way for Volkswagen’s own Karmann Ghia and its successors, the Porsche 914 and VW Scirocco. Images: ©2014 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

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