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.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Let the...Moon...shine in, Part 2.

Springtime in the back yard at my house causes some interesting things to pop up on the lawn. With dandelions under control, sunroofs clips inevitably follow. Pictured to the right is a clip I've been debating on installing into the Nautilus. It's time to make a decision, so I decided to fully break it down to really see what I've got.

What a treasure trove of info in this little gem. With most of the headliner intact, I was able to carefully peel it off to retain for future use. My intents are to have a very accurate replacement made from the remnants of this one. To get the headliner completely loose, I had to remove all of the guide rail screws and remove the center front and corner rail pieces, as well as remove the coat hooks. I also had to break loose the side guide rails. Check out the picture below to see how the headliner was cut in around the corners. Under the headliner is a bead of rubber that protects the front edge and side edges of the headliner from the sharp body edges of the sunroof opening.

The sliding steel roof section also has a headliner frame that slides along in its own track, right along with the main panel. It is held to the underside of the sunroof panel by a combination of clamp strip and two corner screws. Remove the corner screws, slide the headliner frame to the front of the roof by 5 inches, pull it down slightly, then push it fully to the rear of the sunroof opening to completely reveal the underside of the sunroof panel. With everything out of the way, it starts looking a lot like the underside of a Volkswagen Bug sliding steel sunroof.

To remove the sliding steel sunroof panel fully, I decided to remove the sunroof mechanism transmission and motor pieces. This gave me the opportunity to compare these original 6 Volt parts to some Porsche pieces I recently acquired on ebay. Thankfully, Golde seems to have designed the operational sunroof assemblies for most of the European automobile manufacturers, which is greatly improves the sunroof enabled Type 34 owner's chance for finding spare parts! It also mades me wonder a little about Golde's ability to keep up with production back in the '60s, given that so may companies used their product. It might be that Golde licensed production of certain parts to other companies to keep up with the demand. Or, it might be that other companies had a better product. Either way, the original sunroof motor and transmission on this Type 34 sunroof clip were both made by Bosch. And, as it turns out, the 912 Porsche sunroof motor and transmission I bought through ebay are likewise Bosch--and 12 Volt! Which will make my own 12V conversion a bit more trivial, should I choose to do it. The mounting bracket attached to the Porsche sunroof motor is exactly the same as the one attached to the original 6V Bosch motor that came from this sunroof clip, too, which now makes me wonder about other parts such as the sunroof rails and cables. Check out those sunroof motor rubber mounts. They are part of an imprisoned assembly that appear to be tacked to the roof during assembly at the factory. Another interesting find was the body number for the sunroof assembly stampled into the transmission mount area.

Next time I post about Type 34 sunroofs, it will definitely include what I know about sunroof cables and parts interchangeability. In the meantime, it is interesting to note that this clip was from a late '65 through '66 model year car. I know this for a couple of reasons. The length of the sunroof motor to transmission drive shaft on this clip was the short one, which according to the parts books, started appearing on cars very late in '65. The second reason is a bit more obvious. The paint color is Bermuda, a '65 and '66 color, which someone at the factory conveniently penciled on the underside of the sliding steel roof section. I knew that the intended body color was grease penciled (usually red, black or white) into the right front headlight bucket, but this additional location came as a bit of a surprise.