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LSR Karmann Ghia Blog, August 14, 2009


The following was sent to the Karmann Ghia Club of North America's email list on August 14th, 2009:

On Fri, 14 Aug 2009, PAUL ESPERANZA CANNEFAX wrote:
> Richard
> FYI Britt has all the info about ACE (Air Cooled Engineering). As a
> matter of fact Britt is dialing in his car there. Justin & Coulton
> have a '57 beetle they is going to run there a
> great bunch of kids. What is a Denzel Motor? I have never heard of
> such a thing. Although it sound like a lot of $$ motor. It comes to
> mind I think Larry knows him. Seems like he was here about 10-15 years
> ago. Art is known for his Carburator abilities plus motor building.
> Your going to flip when you see his shop he's anal about it being
> CLEAN I mean spotless.... He also runs an add in the back of Hot VW's
> Here is Arts Thrane info:
> ACE Heating and Airconditioning
> 360W 6100S Suite A
> Murray, Ut
> 801-747-3340
> Paul Cannefax
> Farr West, Utah
> 801-824-9436

Thanks, Paul. I'll give them a call today.

...Not to be pedantic, but the engineer in me has to call out one vital point: As they came from Karmann, every Karmann Ghia had TWO motors: A starter motor, and a wiper motor. The thing in the back that Chip and Dale get paid wallnuts to provide you forward motion with is an engine. ... Yes, we have oxymoronic expressions and idioms in english like "motor oil", but the reasons for those are historical. ... So, there's a Denzel ENGINE...

Sorry - just had to get that off my chest! It bothers me _every_ time I hear someone call an engine a motor and I know the problem is exclusively mine. Thank you for tollerating my hiccups on the matter!

So... ...Wolfgang Denzel was an Austrian engineer who, following World War II, did _exactly_ what Ferdinand Porsche (Ferry Porsche, actually!) also did: create a sports car using the Volkswagen Beetle as a starting point. (Note that Ferry and Ferdinand were also Austrian, not German.) I don't know when Denzel started but if I recall the dates correctly, Denzel beat Porsche's bottom in the Alpine Hill Climb race of 1952 (or maybe it was '51). It was clear that Denzel had done so because its driver did not need to shift gears as often. This, in turn, was because Denzel had a better "bottom end" - it could turn faster without failing by virtue of _aluminum_ connecting rods - and also because the car had a very small body of tube-frame design with aluminum skin and was therefore much lighter.

Porsche's response was to create the Hirth roller-bearing crankshaft with single-piece connecting rods as a short-term solution and to develop the Fuhrmann Engine (aka "4 cam") to prevent any competition on similar grounds in the future.

In the marketplace, Porsche had the inside track by virtue of their agreement with Volkswagen to get parts straight off the production line at any point they wanted as a condition of the contract for which Porsche would provide engineering services to VW. Of course, they also got favored pricing for those parts. Meanwhile, Denzel was buying retail. And, Porsche had the name recognition. So, eventually, Denzel's automobiles lost in the marketplace and the company switched into competition with Okrasa for the VW hop-up market. They were, however, expensive "kits" (you could also buy turn-key), so not many were sold. But then, you got a lot more than you did with Okrasa. For one thing, they're a vastly better cylinder head, and the crankshaft they provided was also vastly better than what either Okrasa or EMPI provided - heck, it was top of the line except for the Hirth roller from Porsche! What "killed" them in the marketplace was VWs shift to a different crankcase for the "40hp" engine in August of 1959.

If you want to see some photos, look here:

and more in general here:

and here:


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