Monday, June 24, 2013

Hanomag 1.3 Litre

I don't have any data to prove this (alas, and me a numbers guy!) but my impression is that very few low-price and mid-price European cars were imported to the United States in the 1930s. Those that were, were probably mostly occasional instances of personal cars purchased overseas and shipped home. And there might have been a few British cars that trickled over the border from Canada. That's why I have no recollection of seeing pre-World War 2 cars of that type driving around Seattle's streets when I was young. I would imagine that others didn't notice many or any either.

One result of this is that even American car buffs might be ignorant of lesser Europeans brands that faded before the post-war import boom. Which is unfortunate, because a number of those unknown (to Americans) brands had interesting styling.

One such make was Germany's Hanomag, briefly described here. To me, the most interestingly styled Hanomag was its 1.3 Litre car introduced in 1939. There are few images of that car on the Internet, but I did manage to find a useful trove here, three of which are shown below.


The Hanomag 1.3 Litre was a low-priced car intended to compete at the high side of Volkswagen (at the time, called KdF-Wagen after Hitler's Strength Through Joy movement) that had not yet entered regular production.

The (likely) publicity photo at the bottom shows the scale of the car -- quite small. Yet the stylists were able to craft a trim fastback with nicely integrated 30s style teardrop profile fenders. Note that there is no exterior running board, a touch just being introduced in the USA at the time. A more archaic feature is the split rear window ("backlight" in stylist-speak).  But that feature is justifiable because the splitter is an extension of the central wind split extending from the center bar of the grille over the hood, between the windshield panes and over the top.  For some reason, I'm a sucker for wind splits, so this gimmick is okay by me. Oh, and it adds visual interest without quite becoming clutter.

In summary, a neat design for a small car. And maybe some day I'll finally have the pleasure of seeing a Hanomag 1.3 in person.

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