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89/1523 Automobile, full size, and parts, 'Goggomobil Dart', body No. 712, engine No. 02/129295, chassis No. 01127418, fibreglass / rubber / metal, designed by Bill Buckle, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1959. Click to enlarge.

1959 'Goggomobil Dart' minicar

The Goggomobil is considered to be the most representative "minicar" on sale in Australia in the second half of the 1950s. Minicars of the period were characterised by small physical size coupled with interior spaciousness, small engine with high power output, low fuel consumption and simplicity. The Goggomobil was possibly the most successful and profitable attempt to design, manufacture and market a minicar in Australia.

The Australian "Modern Motor" magazine in its December 1958 road test …


Object No.


Object Statement

Automobile, full size, and parts, 'Goggomobil Dart', body No. 712, engine No. 02/129295, chassis No. 01127418, fibreglass / rubber / metal, designed by Bill Buckle, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1959

Physical Description

Open two-seat full size minicar with red painted fibreglass body on German-built chassis and mechanics. It is powered by a twin cylinder air-cooled two stroke engine. (The equivalent of two Victa lawn mower engines). The odometer had a reading of 34,528 miles when the car was inspected in 1989 prior to its acquisition. Blinkers were fitted as a later addition. The interior of the car is fitted with two bucket seats. The car was resprayed in 1975 and a new black hood and side curtains fitted in 1978. The car's weight is only 350 kg.

The car is accompanied by documentation including supply receipts, workshop manual, Australian and German handbook and spare parts manual.

Chassis No. (Plate in engine compartment): 104390
Engine No. (Stamped into engine casting): 02129295
VIN No. (Original German plate riveted to gear shift tunnel in driver passenger compartment): 01 127418* (the star is scratched in rather than stamped so it may not be original)
Engine: Rear mounted 2-cylinder, 393 cc, air-cooled
Gearbox: a four-speed motorcycle type
Fuel consumption: 45 miles per gallon (6.25 litres per 100 km)
Cost new: 685 pounds ($1370)



1118 mm


1400 mm


3048 mm


350 kg




Bill Buckle, a Sydney car dealer, designed and built the fibreglass body of this Goggomobil. The German Goggomobil company offered an attractive combination of chassis and mechanical components for Buckle's project, and these were imported.

From the end of the Second World War until about 1960 there were a number of motor vehicle manufacturers operating in Australia. Most of them built sports cars, or other vehicles ranging from amphibious to four-wheel drive vehicles, which did not have a major share of the market. Few produced more than 100 vehicles and even fewer were profitable. One exception was the Sydney motor vehicle dealer, Bill Buckle.

Buckle went into the automotive business at the age of 19 when he joined the service department of his late father's firm, Buckle Motors, in William Street, Sydney. He was a fitter and turner apprentice at the time. After a trip to England, where Buckle saw what the British were doing with fibreglass cars, he returned to Australia with the idea that he could do better. In 1955 Buckle designed and built a luxuriously appointed, 2.6-litre, six-cylinder GT Sports Coupe on a Ford Zephyr chassis with a body shell formed from fibreglass. About twenty-four of these vehicles were made. It was said they went faster than Austin Healeys, Bristols, Jaguars and Aston Martins.

Buckle Motors sold expensive car makes at that time so there was a need for more cost effective vehicles in the range. In 1959, Buckle began selling a range of motor cars made under licence from Goggomobil in Germany. He secured the rights from Hans Glas in Bavaria and using the imported chassis, engine and running gear from Germany (to reduce import duty taxes which protected the local Australian car industry) Buckle added his own fibreglass body shells to his Goggomobils.

The Australian "Modern Motor" magazine in its December 1958 road test concluded "A combination of several factors gives the Goggo its amazing manoeuvrability in local traffic - its tiny size, tight turning circle afforded by small wheels and more direct steering ratio, snappy gearbox and nippy acceleration". The sedan's initial success encouraged Buckle to produce a coupe version of the Goggo with a more fashionable body.

A range of Goggomobils unique in Australia was subsequently produced. These comprised a sedan, a coupe cabriolet, a "Carryall" van and the "Dart" convertible. The Dart, a two seater design without doors, was the most stylistically advanced of the range. The fibreglass bodies were lightweight and fairly resistant to dents.

The "Dart" was introduced in June 1959. The Dart body shape was low to the ground and streamlined. It showed the influence of such cars a Pininfarina's Cisitalia 202 GT coupe of 1947 from Italy and the Jaguar XK 120, a two seater of 1950 from the United Kingdom. Both of these cars influenced the styling of racing coupes of the 1950s. Of the 5000 Goggomobils built, 700 were fitted with the Dart two-seater body. Of the 700 only about 50 Darts are thought to have survived.



The early history of this Goggomobil, built in 1959, is not known though it is thought to have been purchased in 1971 by Peter Pokorny of Chatswood, NSW. Mr Pokorny had the car resprayed in 1975 in a Red Satin colour at the Artarmon Body Works, Artarmon, NSW, at a cost of $115.60. A new roof and side curtains were added to the car in 1977 supplied by Barry Hopkins Motor Trimmers of Artarmon. During this period the car appears to have been serviced at Continental Cars Citroen Centre at Punchbowl. Mr Pokorny probably sold the car in 1979 to Bob Short of Wheeler Heights, NSW. The car was then purchased by the Museum from Mr Short in 1989. The car was displayed at the Orange Motor Show in the 17 and 18th July 1993 and various exhibitions at the Museum.


Credit Line

Purchased 1989

Acquisition Date

10 December 1989

Cite this Object


1959 'Goggomobil Dart' minicar 2023, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 June 2023, <>


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