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Alken Gallery

1958 Alken D2

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In the early-to-mid-1950s, one way to own an affordable American sports car was to build one. Fiberglass and aluminum bodies were growing in popularity and often fitted to pre-existing chassis and powered by a variety of easily-sourced mechanical components. One such example was the Alken, which had a stock Volkswagen chassis and wore a fiberglass body designed by Allan White, president of the Alken Corporation of Venice, California. Plastics engineer John A. Wills offered consulting help for the Alken designers.

The Volkswagen offered great fuel economy, but with the fiberglass body, the weight was reduced by several hundred pounds, and improved fuel economy even further. The sleek sports car body offered seating for two. The conversion from the factory sedan body to the Alken 'Special' was said to take just a few hours and could be performed at home. Only minor modifications to the stock Volkswagen chassis and suspension were required. Since the D-2 was more than 300 pounds lighter, the suspension was to be lowered and the jacking points re-located. The only other modifications were to the gas tank, the carburetor air cleaner replaced by a Volkswagen Kombi air cleaner, and an adjustment to the steering column. Many Volkswagen design elements were retained including the headlights, tail lights, controls, and instrumentation. Using the factory parts helped with replacements, quality, and the relatively lower conversion cost.

In total, fewer than fifty bodies were made. This particular example has a 1958 Porsche engine, transmission, brakes, and wheels.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2016

Performance and Specification Comparison

Industry Production

#1#2#3Alken
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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