The immediate post-war period wasn’t easy for many people. In many places, they had lost everything and were left with nothing. Nevertheless, there were still some wealthy people in Europe who wanted to enjoy themselves. Those who could afford it used their cars for the first motorsport events, which were increasingly taking place. Accordingly, the demand for automobiles suitable for racing also increased, but this demand couldn’t yet be met by the manufacturers alone. Small workshops and companies stepped in to realize suitable conversions based on new or used vehicles. One of these companies was Glöckler from Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Otto Glöckler had already been selling BMW and NSU motorcycles since World War 1. Later, vehicles from Hanomag were added. Actually, they also wanted to offer the KdF car in Frankfurt, but as is known, there was no real series production before World War 2.
Unique racing cars from 1948
After the war, the son of the founder, Walter Glöckler, took over the general agency for Volkswagen in the Frankfurt area. From 1950, the range was supplemented by the Porsche sports car brand, which had recently relocated its production to Stuttgart. Since Walter Glöckler was one of the motorsport fans mentioned above who took part in racing events, he tinkered with conversions from 1948 onwards with some of his employees, including Hermann Ramelow. The first vehicle was based on the technical components of a Hanomag in a self-developed tubular frame. In addition to an oval grille, the freestanding wheels were particularly eye-catching. In 1949, Walter Glöckler won the Schauinsland race with this car. For 1950, the second self-built car was created again with a tubular frame chassis, but this time with clad wheels in an open body. In addition, this time the four-cylinder boxer engine from a Volkswagen served as the power source. The installation of a Porsche cylinder head and further fine-tuning of the engine increased output to 48 hp, or even to 62 hp when running on alcohol-based fuel.
Glöckler number three went to the USA
According to the internal information, two examples of the second Glöckler car were built. In 1950, 1951 and 1952, these cars won the German sports car championship up to 1.1 liter displacement. In 1951, Glöckler himself was already working on the third in-house design, which was again based on a tubular frame. This time, the four-cylinder boxer engine came from Porsche and had a displacement of 1.5 liters. Meanwhile, the team left the chassis of the predecessor, but improved the settings. The body was fitted with devices so that a hardtop could be mounted in just a few steps for the first time. This included gullwing doors and a windshield. With the roof, topspeed increased significantly, leading to numerous speed records on European circuits and a victory in the 1951 Schauinsland race. A year later, the car showed up at various races in the USA after Max Hoffman bought it.
Glöckler numbers four and five were based on the Porsche 356
In the same year, a visually identical car emerged as Walter Glöckler’s fourth design. Underneath the body wasn’t a tubular frame, but a slightly shortened chassis from the Porsche 356. The 1.5-liter engine also came from this base vehicle. After winning the sports car championship up to 1.5 liters, this car also became the property of Max Hoffman in the USA. The racing successes previously achieved led to some racing drivers becoming aware of the Glöckler conversions. In 1953, the German entrepreneur and amateur racer Richard Trenkel ordered the fifth Glöckler as a compact roadster with a 1.1-liter Porsche engine and tubular chassis. With it, he won the sports car championship up to 1.1 liters in the same year. A second car with a 1.5-liter boxer engine went to the Swiss Hans Stanek and received a red and white livery for it. Two identical bodies went to Porsche from the coachbuilding company C.H. Weidenhausen as models and inspiration for the 550 Spyder.
Number seven was the final Glöckler special
In 1954, Glöckler’s seventh and final design was created. It is also the only coupé in the series. It was based on the chassis 12213 of an unfinished Porsche 356 A, with an early “vertical shaft” engine by Ernst Fuhrmann. In addition to the three-piece panoramic rear window and the concave wheel cutouts already used on the predecessor, the side windows are particularly noteworthy. Curved glass was complex and therefore expensive to manufacture. That’s why they divided them into two areas, of which only the narrow one merged into the roof. Glöckler actually wanted to start with this car at the Mille Miglia, but couldn’t complete it quickly enough. So the first race for it took place with Helmut Glöckler (cousin of Walter Glöckler) and Max Nathan at the wheel at the Liège-Rome-Liège endurance rally. Porsche then examined the design of the one-off in detail before a sale to a US customer too place at the end of 1954. After a traffic accident in California, the car stood unrepaired in Los Angeles for decades.
Extensively restored, up for auction at RM Sotheby’s
It wasn’t until 1993 that Lufthansa employee Hans Heffels was able to negotiate a purchase agreement and bring the wreck back to Frankfurt. However, he overtook himself in the restoration. Therefore, he sold the Glöckler-Porsche in 2005 in partially dismantled condition to Hans Georg Frers. Frers than had an extensive restoration carried out by Ulrich Weinberg, during which almost all of the original aluminium body was retained. Only the front panel couldn’t be saved. However, it was preserved as a separate part and belongs to car, as does extensive photo documentation. Presumably as early as the 1950s, the Glöckler coupé received the 1.5-liter powerplant from the Porsche 550 Spyder with chassis number 550-0026 as a replacement engine, which was overhauled by the team of experts around Armin Baumann in Switzerland. From 2016 until now, the car belonged to another owner. Now RM Sotheby’s is looking for a new home as part of Monterey Car Week. A hammer price of between 750,000 and 1,000,000 US$ is expected.
Images: RM Sotheby’s, Dirk de Jager