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 Denzel 1300WD photo

1958 Denzel 1300WD

Soon after World War II in 1948, racing driver and engineer Wolfgang Denzel began to build wooden-bodied sports four-seaters on war-surplus Volkswagen Kubelwagen chassis in Vienna, Austria. Soon Denzel progressed to good-looking compact sports cars built with a modified Volkswagen engine and tuned with twin carburetors. The chassis was twin box section with tubular reinforcement. Volkswagen suspension was used and most had three-seater open bodies, although some had narrower two-seat bodies. At 82.5-inches, the wheelbase was a foot shorter than the rival Porsche and the car was lighter. In the mid-1950s Denzel appeared in some international rallies and performed well in some events but on the whole they were little known outside Austria. By 1960 when production stopped, Denzel had built about 65 sports cars and 28 are currently accounted for.

The first Denzel appeared in 1949 and was based on the chassis of the 'Kubelwagen', the Volkswagen-based military all-terrain vehicle which was used by the Germany army during the war and was around in abundance during the post-war era. It was fitted with a simple streamlined open body made of wood and vinyl. A small experimental series of 12 cars was manufactured which attracted attention for its surprising performance thanks to the extremely lightweight construction. This promising start lead to a production model being built in 1950, now with an all-steel body and the added luxury or doors. Still on the second hand Kubelwagen chassis it was powered by a rear mounted and air-cooled 1100cc 4-cylinder boxer engine which was tuned by Denzel to produce 33 horsepower and propelled the 930 kg car to a maximum speed of 135 KPH. This car near to what the contemporary Porsche 356-1100 had to offer, though that was a closed and more luxurious design.

Volkswagen didn't approve of the competition to the Porsche and refused to offer complete components to Denzel. so as a next step-up Denzel needed to develop its own chassis, which was introduced in 1952 as the new 1300 Sport model. To many this model is regarded as the first true Denzel, as the previous models were more like coach-built Volkswagens. It had a rigid tubular chassis with a tuned 1300cc Volkswagen engine in the rear. At first the attractive open body was made of steel but soon it was replaced by an aluminum version to reduce weight. At 580 kg and 53 horsepower at 4750 RPM it could reach a top speed of 150 KPH and offered the Porsche 356-1300 some serious opposition. The following year an even more potent version appeared: the 1300 Super Sport (or Serien Super) of which the engine was extensively revised by Denzel. It now produced 65 horsepower at 5400 RPM and pushed the car to 160 KPH, similar to the performance of the Porsche 356-1300 Super.

This car, chassis number DK158 is one of the last made. It is a 1.3-liter version imported by Frank Wagenhofer of Montgomery, New York and sold to Davis Moorhead of Philadelphia. He traded in his 1951 Porsche Cabriolet at the time of purchase.

Moorhead race and auto-crossed it extensively, including the Duryea and Hershey hill climbs, winning his class championship in 1959. By the mid-1960s Moorhead focused on family matters and sold the car in 1969. It has recently been restored to original condition including the original Denzel engine. It is believed to be one of nine Denzels currently residing in the United States.

Source - Vehicle Owner - 2013 Carmel By Sea Concours

1958 Vehicle Profiles

1958 Denzel 1300WD vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: DK157

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. ....[continue reading]

Roadster
Chassis #: DK157 




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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Denzel
1963Chevrolet (2,237,201)Ford (1,525,404)Fiat (957,941)
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)
1957Ford (1,676,449)Chevrolet (1,505,910)Plymouth (726,009)
1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)

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