Justifiable obscurity? Porsche-Enzmann 506 Spyder

Goodwood FoS is an undertaking of such magnitude that its gravity can pull in far more than your average classic car show can manage. Sure, there are MGBs and E-Types, Austin Healeys and Aston Martin DB5s, but they mostly stay in the car park. Head on over to the Cartier ‘Style et Luxe’ concours, though, you’ll find an array of machinery that never fails to astonish.
I’m reasonably well versed on early Porsches, but my depth of knowledge comes to an abrupt halt where it comes to those where independent coachbuilders are concerned. I’m happy to concede defeat, though, when the subject is as obscure as this — the only Porsche-Enzmann 506 ever built.

The two most famous Swiss coachbuilders are both represented here at Goodwood today — there’s a Monteverde only a few yards away, and there’s this Enzmann. Initially glanced from some distance, its oddness and the fact that my brain couldn’t parse what it was looking at conspired to drag me, zombie-like, towards it. My intrigue grew as I drew closer — is that an air intake in the side? Could this be some kind of advanced pre-NACA ram-air induction setup?
I knew I was looking at something imbued with Porscheness as soon as I saw the wheels with their brazenly exposed hubs and five widely spaced bolts. I guessed 356, and was very nearly right. Certainly, there’s quite a lot of 356 going on under the Enzmann’s slightly homely surface, not least the 1.3-litre, flat four typ-506 engine. Wikipedia tells me that the engine number had no bearing on the car’s name, though — it’s named for the motor show stand number that it was first displayed on.

That intriguing side indentation is actually nothing more than a step, and it seems a little odd that such a feature should have been seen as necessary when Porsche’s own 550 Spyder manages perfectly well without. I like it, though. I enjoy how absolutely no effort was made to integrate the step into the car’s lines, which would have flowed quite delicately if it wasn’t for having a big gouge chiselled out of them.
This body was, incidentally, usually found clothing a VW mechanical package, and the majority were home-built from a kit of parts. The Enzmann was one of many cars where you simply unbolted the Beetle body and discarded it, bolting on the Glassfibre (built at a boatyard) Enzmann body in its place. Having inherent similarities to the Beetle, it comes as no surprise that 356 mechanical bits fit quite neatly, and many owners made advantage of this fact. This car, though, was built at Enzmann’s own premises, and was Porker-powered from the outset. It also has hefty brakes from a Porsche 718 RSK racer.

And that’s pretty much all I’ve learned so far. I’ll go on to say that the rather ad-hoc looking convertible hood reminds me of that fateful night of Cornish camping where my tent tore in two and all my possessions were scattered across the campsite. And I’ll register concern that the dogleg windscreen surround looks something of a lash-up, and those miniscule doors surely can’t justify such a lavish built-in step.
Frankly, I’m pleased that it exists, but I’m not sure it merits an early chapter in Porsche’s family album.
(Images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2018)

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2 responses to “Justifiable obscurity? Porsche-Enzmann 506 Spyder”

  1. Zentropy Avatar

    Interesting, but a complete train smash, design-wise. I penned more elegant cars in elementary school. I appreciate you sharing, though, as I’ve never in my life seen one.

  2. desmo Avatar

    There was a factory in Brazil which was #1 in making fake Plastic-Porsches on Beetle chassis’. And those things were quite affordable, killing off the whole competition of faked Plastic-Porsches. Once we had one of these on the ramp in our company and I remember an awful ride and a trembling car body, but from far away It looked convincingly like a 356.
    So I guess that this odd design has a reason, namely to add a bit more stability to the plastic body. If you just copy the Porsche 356 body into fiberglass you will end up with a surprisingly wobbly ride.