Monday, May 11, 2009

Dannenhauer & Strauss

Of all the various air cooled coachbuilts cranked out from every European nook and cranny over the years, the Dannenhauer & Strauss is my absolute and unequivocal favorite. The Karmann Ghia Type 34 is a great car, and is still my preference in the Karmann family of coachbuilt cars, but if I were ever given an opportunity to stray, the Dannenhauer & Straus would be the car. The example to the left was done by Lenny Copp and crew at WCCR in Southern California.

I showed several pictures of a D&S to my wife this evening. Her immediate response was, "That's an odd looking Porsche. Were they all convertibles? That car is very feminine." Ok...I was taken aback. So I guess I like 'chick cars'. Big deal. The curvaceous Type 14 Karmann Ghia, Dannenhauer & Strauss and Porsche 356 are all beautiful cars. There are certain rounded areas that remind me of certain rounded areas. I'd throw the early Rometsch and Hebmuellers into that mix, too. Some of the greatest cars, ever. I can understand my wife's comments and really appreciate them for a lot of reasons. She's just starting to realize for herself the passion and commitment it takes to own and maintain an older car. She's developing a particular and sincere appreciation for all older German metal. She pronounces the name 'Porsche' correctly. I believe I'm finally succeeding in my attempts to corrupt her. Job well done.

The Dannenhauer & Strauss is really my dream Volkswagen. I have no idea who the white and brown cars belong to, but it's a fair bet that they still reside somewhere in Germany. This car is another damnably rare VW based coachbuilt, with fewer than 140 constructed, with maybe 30 cars still in existence. I don't expect to see one cruising down my street any time soon. It's very possible that production numbers were kept low and the model killed off due to the introduction of the Type 14 Karmann Ghia. I've seen only one of these up close, and then that was a great many years ago before I was able to appreciate what I was seeing. Even though I will probably never have one, I think they are a joy to behold. While I'm not a massive Volkswagen Beetle fanatic, the melding of the Porsche and Beetle body styles leaves me with the feeling of balance in the overall effect. They really got it right with this one.

I don't have any D&S pictures of my own for this blog post, so I've had to rob these pictures from various sources. If anything offends or is copyrighted, let me know and I'll take them down.

The car to the right was shown at the Carmel Concourse de Elegance in California in 2007. I've seen a more recent picture of this car and believe it to be located somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. Perfect climate for preservation, but I also hope that it's allowed to get out and see the open road under its own power from time to time. Truly an immaculate automobile and a great color combination.

I know so little about these cars, other than the suspension and drive train is pure contemporary Beetle. Wish I knew more.

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