New Zealand Classic Car

Mystery car


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 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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