Wednesday, 5 September 2018

1958 ZUNDAPP JANUS 250 - Albion Motorcars Belgium

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The Zündapp Janus was a microcar made by the German motorcycle manufacturer Zündapp between 1957 and 1958, and the only car ever built by the company. The car was developed by aircraft manufacturer Dornier, and then sold and further developed by Zündapp. With their engineering input, the car was considered as a quality bubble car, with the special design feature of having a front opening door for driver and passenger, and a rear opening door for access to the rear-facing rear seat. This "coming or going" design was named after the Roman god Janus who had two faces : one looking forwards and one looking backwards. The car was powered by a mid-mounted two-stroke monocylinder engine of 245 ccm developing 14 hp (10 kW), and enabling a top speed of 80 km/h. The Janus had a very comfortable suspension and four ventilated brake drums. The production started in June 1957, but unfortunately it failed to reach decent production figures due the high price. In total, Zündapp only produced 6902 examples of their Janus between 1957 and 1958, and then abandoned the project and concentrated again on the production of motorcycles.
Due to this low production volume, a Zündapp Janus in now one of the rarest microcars you may find. The few remaining examples all reside in private collections, and almost never come available on the public market. This example was delivered new in Germany in 1958, and had 4 german owners until 1973 when it came to Belgium. It was then restored and put in a museum. Being an older restoration, the Janus is still in remarkably good condition and drives well. It still has the original German logbook from January 1959, which mentions all previous owners. The Zündapp Janus also featured in the Pixar movie "CARS 2" as Professor Zündapp.
This little microcar is a great addition to any world class collection, as it is one of the strangest car designs ever made. It is a unique opportunity to obtain a proper Zündapp Janus, which almost never comes available on the public market.


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