Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Germans and Innovation

 I have a thing about Germans and innovation.  You can go back hundreds of years and note various technical developments that some German guy in his basement, garage, or blacksmith shop came to discover.  Some ideas worked....some failed.

I had a chance at the Speyer Technology Museum to walk around and actually 'touch' such items.

The black limo?  It's a 1919 Benz "Knight".  It was a top of the line vehicle, capable of 85 kph speeds (I know....quite unremarkable by today's standards, but in 1919.....it would have been a blur by their standards.  The negative of the car?  Well, it was a vehicle that required continual maintenance and you know how guys are about monthly bouts of fixing a reoccurring problem.

The key feature?  If you look carefully behind the driver's seat....where the VIP passengers rode.....they actually had a windshield that protected them from the elements.  My guess is that on more than one occasion, with the non-safety glass of the time.....an accident occurred and really messed up the folks in the back.  That might have been one reason to dump the vehicle.

The three-wheeler?  It's a BMW 1956 Isetta.  It was supposed to attract young buyers with less money to the brand-name of BMW.  At 78 miles per gallon, it was probably one of the cheaper cars to operate.  This vehicle operated with one single cyclinder and delivered 13 horse-power.

For parking and getting around an urban area.....it was a great car.  In car accidents?  It didn't take much to crush a car.

Top speed?  85 kph.

The HK 101 military vehicle?  This was first designed and developed in 1939.  Most would argue about the value of the front wheel.  The truth is that the steering wheel was connected to a braking apparatus that worked against the two tracks.

The value of the HK 101 was in muddy or snowy conditions....so it was mainly used in the eastern front.

Even after the war, for three years.....it was still produced and sold in Germany for farm and agricultural purposes.

It's actually supposed to be able to get up to around 40 kph.

At some point in the Speyer Museum, you walk around a corner and there's this bike.  It takes about a minute for you to view it closely and note the wheels.....all steel spring.

It's one of those designs that some guy made in a garage.....and briefly convinced someone to mass produce it.  Maybe on farm roads, it made sense.

Finally, I come to one of my favorite all-time vehicles.....the VW Karmann Ghia.  It was a four-stroke, air-cooled vehicle with a fairly limited speed of 75 mph.

From 1955 to 1974.....VW made the car....mostly as a coup.

The Beetle was supposed to be the VW economy car, and when the Ghia came out in the mid-1950s....it was supposed to be VW's sports car.....well, more or less.  Without any great speed, it was supposed to just look flashy.

By the mid-70s, the Ghia was finally replaced by the next generation....the Scirocco.

For years, there's been talk of a comeback of the Ghia but no real evidence.  Since the remake of the Bug.....I thought that the Ghia had a pretty good chance or a remake.  The 1990 Frankfurt Car Show had featured a concept car, but it didn't really attract much attention.  So the idea lingers there.

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