My Car Quest

October 18, 2019

The Denzel 1300 Serien Super – My First One!

by Mike –

I had never heard of this car until I saw this one at a car event. From a distance this car looks like a Porsche 356 but as you get closer it doesn’t look exactly like a Porsche 356. But what is it?

Denzel 1300 Serien Super

I had to read the signs on the cars to know they are 1958 Denzel 1300 Serien Supers.

Wolfgang Denzel built his first sports car in Vienna, Austria in 1948 using a wartime Volkswagen chassis and its 1.1-liter air-cooled flat-four engine.

Denzel 1300 Serien Super

Denzel eventually moved to a chassis of his own design with aluminum bodywork and engines as large as 1.5-liter using custom designed cranks, rods, pistons and valve train.

Denzel achieved some success in European rally and hill-climb events and they produced approximately 65 cars between 1948 and 1960.

I wonder how many different car marques were made based on a Volkswagen chassis and engine? I think a lot.

Denzel 1300 Serien Super

How many other car models are there that I have never heard of?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Denzel 1300 Serien Super

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The Denzel 1300 Serien Super - My First One!
Article Name
The Denzel 1300 Serien Super - My First One!
Description
From a distance this car looks like a Porsche 356 but as you get closer it doesn't look exactly like a Porsche 356. But what is it?
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Comments

  1. IMO It looks more like a 550 spider or a earlier version known as the Glocker

  2. ~ wow! 2 of them side-by-side? remarkable!

  3. Denzel produced a small quantity of cars, as you said. They are mainly known by VW enthusiasts for their kit to upgrade the first VW 36 HP engine.

    Inspired by the Porsche engine design, the Denzel evolution of the VW engine delivered 54 HP (Denzel 1300) and 65 HP (Denzel 1300S). It was the most powerfull kit offered on VW engine in early 50’s

    In 1955, they switched to the 1.6 Porsche engine, that offered more development possibilities

    Enjoy !

    • Excellent breakdown, the other option was listed in the back of many Road and Track magazines the Judson or Pepco Supercharger!

      The Rometsch Beeskow was just mentioned on Chasing Classic Cars

      I guess a Devin fits that category too, or the Meyers Manx.

  4. Mike, I have photos of what I believe is the same car posted here.

    http://automotivetraveler.fotki.com/1958-denzel-1300-ss/

    I have a feeling that the next car that you never knew about, that you’re going to feature might possibly be a 1957 Rometsch Beeskow, owned by the same person.

    Here’s the photos I have of that car.

    http://automotivetraveler.fotki.com/1957-rometsch-beeskow/

    Am I correct?

  5. alan deacon says

    Its easy its Noddy’s car

  6. Herbert Putz says

    More about the Austrian Wolfgang Denzel (by the way Ferdinand Porsche was Austrian too) you can find on the Website of the car-dealer company he found (unfortunately in German) which still exists in Vienna:

    http://www.denzel.at/unternehmen/denzel-gruppe/geschichte

    or on this website in english: http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z17844/Denzel-1300WD.aspx

    Austrian based Wolfgang Denzel was the owner or a garage that started building sports cars in 1949 using Volkswagen parts. He introduced his cars at the Geneva Auto Salon under the name of ‘WD.’ The name was changed to Denzel in 1957.

    The main customer criticism about these Wolfgang Denzel built cars were their lack of power. In responds, Denzel switched to Porsche engines. One of his Porsche-powered cars, driven by Denzel, won the Rally of Alps in 1954. This victory earned Denzel much attention, praise, and publicity.

    Denzel would continue in the sports car business for several years, but would later close to focus on his garage business. By the 1980s, Denzel had grown his business to include showrooms and garages in many towns and cities throughout Austria. He would become the importer for BMW, Mitsubishi, Ferrari, and Volvo, along with several other automakers.

    This Denzel 1300WD is powered by a Volkswagen engine offering 64 horsepower. The aluminum bodywork rests on a tubular steel frame chassis. Top speed is in the neighborhood of 105 mph.
    By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2009

  7. Patrick Baptist says

    The Denzel is indeed a very nice and rare car. It is known in the VW and Porsche world and has a lot of racing history in Europe and even in the US. In total there were 65 Denzels built and 30 of them are still known today.

    The Denzel is often considered as a coachbuild VW (like the Rometsch and the Dannenhauer and stauss). The fact is that only the first 12 Denzels were built on a VW chassis, but after that Denzel build his own designed frame and the Denzel car can’t be classified as a coachbuild VW anymore

    Regards
    Patrick.
    Coachbuild VW specialist

  8. It looks like a little spaceship!

  9. Denzel – These are great cars! The photos of the two white cars posted above by Mike G. are of the 1957 Denzel DK 151 (has race no. 20 on it) and the 1958 Denzel DK 158. Both originally had 1300 Denzel engines in them, and both still do have Denzel engines in them. Over the years, many Denzel engines were replaced by either VW or Porsche engines as Denzel parts became very difficult to obtain. The last Denzel (owned by me) was completed in mid-1960, over 50 years ago, which is why parts have been so difficult to obtain for many years. The above link to ten photos referenced by Rich Truesdell show DK 158.

    I know of no evidence that the Denzel factory ever put a Porsche engine in any of their cars. An individual owner certainly could, either because his Denzel engine was not running or he wanted the power of a Porsche 1600 cc engine. Incidentally, Denzel made 1100, 1300 (two versions) and 1500 engines (two versions, both very rare). DK 151 (produced in 1957) came with a Denzel engine (see period road test with engine photos of this very car in the circa December 1957 Road & Track), DK 158 (produced in 1958) still has its original Denzel engine, and DK 160 (produced in 1960) came with a Denzel engine. Peter Denzel’s DK 164 (completed in 1959) also has a Denzel engine in it. When you study period photos of engines in Denzels, you can always tell whether or not it has Denzel cylinder heads, as the spark plugs (and holes for them in engine sheet metal) are at a much different angle than those in Porsche or VW engines. Another feature of the later Denzel engines in Denzel cars was a large-diameter full-flow oil filter, as opposed to the smaller by-pass filter used in Porsche.356’s.

    Early Denzel engines were mostly VW parts. However, by the mid-1950’s, Denzel had its own crankshafts, pistons and cylinders (made by Mahle), its own cylinder heads, and its own valve train including rocker arms and push rods. Also, virtually every one of the many sheet metal pieces on the engine were unique to Denzel. The only major component that was still produced by VW was the engine case.

    Jim Perrin
    Editor, Denzel Bulletin

    .

    • Jim,

      Thank you very much for sharing your expertise. This has been educational for me and I am sure for a few other My Car Quest readers.

      • And, we can point out that these later Denzels (and most Denzels except for the very first ’48 and ’49 versions) had a steel tube frame and not a VW chassis, sort of Spyder-like. So, by about 1952 (or so) Denzel appears to have had a steel tube frame. And, one cannot say anything other than both the Denzel Prototype and the Porsche #1 came at the same time…there’s a reason we know this.

        -Tom

        Owner of DK 151, the ’57 1300SS Roadster with the #20 on it…which represents the exact way it looked as it went from the dealer showroom to the Pomona Road Races in February of 1958. Photos don’t tell a lie, and they can also be a curse!

        Of the 75 +/- Denzel cars produced, I will concur with Jim that none were delivered with a Porsche engine.

        Thanks Jim and Mike.

        • By the way, there’s no “lack of power” with a Denzel engine. I have the spec engine that was delivered with my Denzel in the car. It was one of the few and possibly the only one delivered with Weber 40 DCM carbs. It will flat out fly…

          As Jim P. mentioned, check out the Nov. ’57 issue of “Road and Track”. The speed and handling of my Denzel was discussed there in “Test #151”.

          In the late ’50s and early ’60s in Southern California, Denzel engines were indeed sold through a limited network of shops for customers. The “kits’ were expensive. But, they found their way into a few cars and even into a drag car.

          There is a guy in California that has a period Denzel engine in a mid-fifties Beetle. It has about 125 horsepower…possibly more. We are waiting to see the dynomometer test results.

          So, there needs to be no mention of a potential “lack of power”!

          Thanks all. Thanks for the interest in the Denzel and other Coach Builts!

  10. Bonjour,
    je possède une DENZEL 1300S, il me manque le moteur je cherche tout renseignement pour en trouver

    google translation

    Hello,
    I own a 1300s DENZEL I lack the motor I try to find more information
    thank you

    Jo

    • Patrick baptist says

      Hallo jo,

      Welcome here.
      Just are what you want to know. But please also share the details of your car. Did you find a number on your car?

      Regards
      Patrick baptist

  11. William M. Craig says

    There was a Woodill “Wildfire” out by me with an “Olds Rocket 88”
    . I could find no VIN number and so I don’t know if it was a kit or a real Woody? There was a Devin S.S. running at the old Caddo Mills drag strip in the fifties with a Ford instead of a Chevy in it. I suppose there a lot of exceptions to the rule when it comes to small limited production cars. All you can do is to get input from people who were around back then, Records are really hard to come by..

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