The 50th anniversary of the manufacture of the tiny Goggomobil in Australia will be celebrated in a big way with a display and a parade at the Shannons Eastern Creek Classic historic race meeting on August 24.
Around 25 Goggomobils representing the five different models sold in Australia will be heading for Eastern Creek, with enthusiasts from as far away as Germany, the USA and Perth making the pilgrimage.
Sydney’s Bill Buckle, who manufactured Goggomobils in Australia and also designed the iconic Dart sports car and lesser-known Carry All Van, will be in attendance as a guest of honour with two his own beautifully restored Darts.
Manufacture of Goggomobils began in Sydney in 1958 after Buckle, an Australian fibreglass pioneer, successfully negotiated with the German Glas factory to represent its popular micro-cars in Australia.
The first local Goggo produced was the sedan, powered by a small twin cylinder two-stroke engine – the equivalent of joining two lawn mower engines together.
It was the cheapest car on the Australian market and sold for £652 (pounds) – the then equivalent of $1,304. It would seat two adults with two children in the back.
The diminutive Dart sports car, which was locally designed and built by Buckle, joined the range in 1959. The Dart today is regarded worldwide as a collectors’ car, but unfortunately only 700 were made and demand outstrips the supply of remaining vehicles.
The Goggomobil Coupe, the Coupe convertible (Cabriolet) and finally the Carry All Van, completed the Australian range, all of which shared a common chassis, running gear and two-stroke 392cc engine.
However in the early 1960s the Morris Mini arrived in Australia and decimated Goggomobil sales, along with those of other small European economy cars such as Messerschmitt, Lloyd-Hartnett and Goliath. Manufacture of Goggomobils ceased in 1962.
In total, around 5,000 Goggomobils of all five models were made in the Punchbowl NSW factory.
The cars remained little-appreciated curiosities for many years until actor Tommy Dysart appeared in a 1990s Yellow Pages television advertisement, where he played the role of a Scot repairing his small Goggomobil sedan.
On the phone trying to find a spare part, he uttered the now-iconic words: “G.O.G.G.O, that’s Goggomobil. No,no – not the Dart!”
Following this in 2002, Shannons purchased a Dart in Dubbo, NSW and repainted it ‘Shannons Green’ just in time for Tommy Dysart to record Shannons first television commercials just two weeks later. Dysart and the Dart have since become inseparably linked with Shannons in both television and magazine advertising.
Shannons stable of Darts has also increased to three over the years, with a second Dart purchased locally for the company’s Sydney office in 2004, while the third was acquired later the same year and now resides in Perth.
To look its best for the nation-wide Anniversary celebrations, the original Melbourne Dart was recently given a comprehensive ‘birthday’. It now shines brighter than ever with a new Shannons Green paint job by noted Melbourne body repairer Phil Munday of Phil Munday’s Panel Works, while it’s interior has received a full interior makeover by top Motor Trimmer Mick of “Mick’z Motor Trimming and now features tan seats with green piping, complemented by chocolate carpet and mats, while a new snug-fitting black tonneau cover has also been fitted.
The Sydney-based Dart will be present at the Shannons Eastern Creek Classic for the 50th Anniversary Goggomobil celebrations.