Amongst the bodies beautiful at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor show was a skeletal frame sitting alone on a trailer in a car park between the exhibition halls. Tempting enough to alter direction my colleague and I pitched suggestions as to what it might be as we approached it, but the sole Hanomag badge on its rear quarters proved us both wrong.
We associated Hanomag with more sedate saloons of the 1930s and even cyclecars, yet the chassis of the car and its diesel engine suggested it was from the same decade. Standing back to admire the flowing lines scribed against the surrounding buildings, the framework suggested a body in pursuit of aerodynamic excellence.
Engrossed in the detail of the car, one of the German restoration team approached us and explained the origins of the model and the reason why it was originally built. Hanomag was one of the first manufacturers to offer diesel power in a family saloon and the car was built to showcase the new application of a diesel engine.
The car was featured at the 1936 Berlin Motor Show alongside the production saloons on the same chassis but its crowning glory was on the Dessau Autobahn during the February 1929 speed record attempts when on its 1.9 litre, 35 bhp diesel engine it established four new world records along with a maximum speed of 156 km/h (95mph). The driver was long-time Hanomag test driver, Karl Haeberle whose competition past with the company included membership of the successful 4-person team in the 1931 Alpine Trials.
The original car was seriously damaged in the war years and with no original drawings available, the restoration from minimal original parts has been a meticulous process by Horst-Dieter Gorg (www.hanomag-museum.de), the restoration team and the sponsoring design and engineering companies who are supporting the project. The first three-dimensional image of the car was presented as a one-third model at the Frankfurt Show two years ago, the final design of which can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HCA-zU145k
To date, the restoration has cost in the region of €150,000 with a further €75,000 estimated to complete the project. The aim is to have the car completed and running in order to re-enact the record run, 75 years to the day on the 8th February 2014.