1950s / German / Goliath

Goliath Express 1100.

As two readers guessed correctly the mystery car is a Goliath Express 1100. Goliath, part of the German group Borgward, started life in Bremen, Germany, in 1931 making little two-stroke, three-wheeled trucks similar in conception to the Motoguzzi Motocarro. They attempted to carry over this three wheel setup to a passenger car but it didn’t appeal to the German public and Goliath pulled the plug on the project in 1933. This was the last passenger car the brand produced until 1950 when they launched the GP700, a completely new model with a proper four wheel configuration. Well ahead of its time, Goliath offered fuel injection on the two-stroke GP700 (688cc, two-cylinder) and on a sister model with a bigger engine dubbed the GP900 (886cc, two-cylinder). 1957 saw the introduction of the GP1100 to replace the GP900 line. As opposed to its predecessor the 1100 had a more modern four-stroke, water cooled flat-four engine with a displacement of 1093cc.

The GP1100 brings us to the mystery car: created as a direct competitor to the Volkswagen Type 2, the Goliath Express was produced from 1953 to 1961. Early models were available with either the 688cc from the GP700 or the 886cc from the GP900 but starting in 1957, the Express 1100 benefitted from the new 1093cc engine, giving it a top speed of approximately 100km/h (about 62 mph). To cater to the biggest possible public, buyers could choose from five different body styles: a low bed pickup, a high bed pickup, a panel van, a van with side windows or a more luxurious van similar to a 21 window Volkswagen Type 2 Samba. Regardless of which drivetrain powered which body style, the engine was always lodged between the front seats and spun the front wheels.

These uncommon, unappreciated and nearly unknown vans that almost smile at you were largely overshadowed by the Volkswagen Type 2. When the Borgward group raised the white flag in 1961, the Goliath brand and the Express model said their last words as well.

This Express 1100 was photographed in Salt Lake City, Utah:

An ad for the Goliath Express pickup:

The new 1093cc engine:

Goliath Dreirad (literally meaning “three wheels”). Launched in 1955, this was the last generation of three-wheeled trucks produced by Goliath:

8 thoughts on “Goliath Express 1100.

  1. My father owned one of these in the early 1960’s. We used to call it the “Ramset” van because it was painted up with advertising for that company. Indeed if you look on Page 6 of this brochure you will see an interesting photo. http://www.ramset.com.au/Document/Detail/226/Ramset50thAnniversary
    The vehicle was not in Dad’s business long as i believe spare parts were a problem. I would love to crawl over one now and have a decent inspection.

  2. I have a 59 Goliath Express pu (red) just like the one in the artistic rendering above, also in Salt Lake City – (801)580-7917

  3. I’m looking for a 1960 Goliath Express 1100 Panel van that I can customise like my ’85 Toyota and my ’75 Dodge “Canadavan”. Any takers?

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