Mys­tery car

New Zealand Classic Car - - Automobilia -

This month’s mys­tery moves us from mid 1950s East Ger­many to mid to late ’60s Ja­pan — those wing mir­rors give that away im­me­di­ately! Who can iden­tify this four-seater sa­loon? Send your so­lu­tion to ed­i­tor@clas­s­ic­car.co.nz or by mail to Mys­tery Car No. 256 April 2017,

Newzealand­clas­s­ic­car, PO Box 46 020, Herne Bay, Auck­land, by June 5. Last month’s Mys­tery was the Horch P240, aka the Sach­sen­ring P240, built from 1956 to 1959 in East Ger­many. It’s hard to find de­fin­i­tive info about this car. What there is is of­ten con­tra­dic­tory, which car his­to­ri­ans hate to find! We do know it ran a 2407cc six-cylin­der over­head-valve en­gine, which pro­duced a torquey 60kw at 4250rpm, enough power to pro­pel a solidly-built 4.8-me­tre six-seater along with rea­son­able urge. But be­yond this sort of info, the con­tra­dic­tions be­gin. One 21st cen­tury source claims the en­gine was a pre-war Horch de­sign, also used in a mil­i­tary jeep-type ve­hi­cle, while an­other, older and well-re­spected Bri­tish his­to­rian, writ­ing in 1978, says not so, that it had no Horch con­nec­tion other than hav­ing the Horch name at­tached to it. Who do you be­lieve? Our older his­to­rian also claims that the car in­cor­po­rated some EMW (see above) de­sign fea­tures, both from a still­born 342 se­ries de­sign, and from the 326 se­ries, es­sen­tially a pre-war BMW de­sign. A fur­ther de­vel­op­ment in this rather cu­ri­ous tale came about when a dispute arose as to whether the East Ger­man Sach­sen­ring or the big Czech Ta­tra sa­loons should be used as the Iron Cur­tain’s main pres­tige ve­hi­cle. A contest of some sort (de­tails are scanty) was held to de­cide which was the more suit­able ve­hi­cle. Ta­tra won, and this was the fi­nal blow to the Sach­sen­ring P240, which was pulled from pro­duc­tion in 1959. No one seems to know for sure how many were built — es­ti­mates vary be­tween 1300 and 1400, with one guess at 3400 (less likely, I think), and sur­pris­ingly — con­sid­er­ing the low pro­duc­tion fig­ures — there are pic­tures and Youtube film show­ing con­vert­ible (four only?) and es­tate car (150 built?) vari­ants. Our mys­tery back in April proved a tricky one, and our su­per­sleuth from South­land, David North, came up trumps on this one, though even he found it a bit of a snarler. It was the rare and im­pres­sive Za­gato-bod­ied ver­sion of Lam­borgh­ini’s first su­per­car, and for the life of me, I can’t fig­ure out why this great-look­ing car did not go into im­me­di­ate se­ries pro­duc­tion!

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