Spohn Coachworks

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An ad for "Karosseriebau Hermann Spohn" from 1926.
The emblem on the Vlk Family Custom
Jack T. Chandler's 1941 Ford of Huntsville, Texas. Jack's Ford was restyled by Spohn Coachworks in Ravensburg, Germany. It was completed around 1951 - 1952, featured in Speed Age October 1952, and it is the first LeSabre inspired Spohn build we have found in print. The rear end of Jack's car was inspired by both the LeSabre and the Buick XP-300.
1950 Pontiac restyled by Spohn. Unknown owner. [1]
1950 Pontiac by Spohn
1953 Ford restyled by Spohn for an unknown owner.[2]
An unknown Spohn car.[3]
An unknown Spohn car very similar to the one above.[3]
A 1950 Chrysler restyled by Spohn Coachworks in Ravensburg, Germany for an unknown owner. The front of the car was inspired by the 1951 Buick XP-300 concept car, the fins were inspired by the LeSabre. A photo of the car was published in Special Interest Autos, Jan-Feb 1974.
A Veritas sportster with body by Spohn. The car has been fit with 1951 GM LeSabe inspired fins, chromed skirts and more. Photo courtesy of Special Interest Autos.
This Spohn is part of the Dezer Collection in North Miami. According to Dezer, it was built in 1957, and it is supposedly one of the last Spohn's ever built. While the two above have split-windshields, this one has a one-piece windshield.[4] In 2015 the car was sold to Wayne Carini of F40 Motorsports.[5]
The Gaylord Gladiator is an automobile develooped by the Gaylord Brothers of Chicago. Designed by Brooks Stevens, the Gaylord Brothers wanted to compete with cars such as Rolls-Royce. Two Gladiator prototypes were handcrafted by Spohn. The car made its debut at the 1955 salon de Paris. 25 orders were needed to keep the project afloat. They never came. Photo courtesy of Michael Banovsky.

Coachwork company in Ravensburg, Germany run by designer Hermann Spohn. Spohn Coachworks was formed in the early 1920s. In the 1930s Hermann Spohn gained fame with his Bugatti, Mercedes-Benz, Steyr, and Maybach creations. The Maybach people were so impressed with Spohn that as the 1930s dawned they designated the small works as their official Karosseriebauer for their zeppelin-engined goliaths.[7]


In 1931 Hermann Spohn designed a streamlined car that would revolutionize the art of coachwork. Seven months later he had sculptured a body from metal that incorporated such advanced features as a torpedo rear deck, a hidden spare tire, bumper-mounted license plates, recessed door handles, fender-mounted headlights, and fadeway fenders. The car was powered by an aluminum Maybach airplane engine, and was able to drive well over 100 mph.[7]


In 1936 Spohn exhibited another streamlined Maybach creation at the Berlin Automobile Show. Well ahead of its time, this car looked like the grandfather of postwar Studebakers, and boasted such innovations as blended-in fenders. Spohn fit the car with split wipers that were designed to work on the curved windshield. The wipers were the first of the type that the world had ever seen.[7]


During the World War II the French forces occupied Bavaria, and forced Spohn to build French Army vehicles. After the war, the once prominent name was forgotten. In the 1950s American soldiers on occupation duty in Germany rediscovered the talent-full coachbuilder, and had him build them unique custom cars based on american cars. The result was another era of Spohn, and many of the cars he built were based on the design of the 1951 GM LeSabre Concept Car.[8] Josef Eiwanger Jr, current owner of Spohn, and son of one of the original partners, saw a business opportunity with the U.S Army personnel, and had plans about invading the U.S. market with custom bodied Cadillac, Chrysler, and Ford chassis marketed undet the Spohn name.


The Spohn Plastik

In 1955 Spohn Coachworks created West Germany's first plastic auto body, the Spohn Plastik. The roadster body was mounted on a Volkswagen chassis and had a detachable hard roof section that slided into a recess in the rear. The body was made from polyester resin reinforced with fiberglass mats.[9]


The Gaylord Gladiator

The Gaylord Gladiator is an automobile develooped by the Gaylord Brothers of Chicago. Designed by Brooks Stevens, the Gaylord Brothers wanted to compete with cars such as Rolls-Royce. Two Gladiator prototypes were handcrafted by Spohn. The car made its debut at the 1955 salon de Paris. 25 orders were needed to keep the project afloat. They never came.[10]


Cars Built and Restyled by Spohn Coachworks

Jack T. Chandler's 1941 Ford
Arthur Cooper's 1941 Packard 6
Nickolas M. Staranick's 1947 Buick Sedanette
Charles Justice's 1947 Cadillac
George W. Love's 1947 Oldsmobile
Robert Mooselli's 1948 Mercury
Louis W. Struna's 1949 Lincoln
Ralph W. Angel's 1950 Chevrolet
James L. Price's 1950 Oldsmobile
H. G. Luiscombe Jr.'s 1952 Lincoln
Dan Wylie's 1952 Pontiac Catalina
1952 Spohn Palos


References






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