Automotive manufacturer Wuppertal,Germany from 1945 to 2001.
Drews body shop , including body Drews or short Drews , is a former German Coachbuilder of Wuppertal in Bergisch Land . It is known mainly by its 2 + 2-seater sports cabriolets from the years 1947 to 1955 light alloy - bodies on VW Beetle - chassis . In addition, various special bodies were created on the basis of various passenger cars in individual production on behalf of customers , as well as individual complete racing carsand several lightweight special bodies for motorsport .
Originally came from Neustettin in Pomerania . From there he moved to Berlin to learn the body shop, in which he subsequently worked for an unknown company during the interwar period . He came into contact with Friedrich Rometsch , who ran the Rometsch car body construction company in Berlin-Halensee from 1924 and held an important position in the Berlin car body construction guild .
During the Second World War , Gerhard Drews was called up for military service and from 1940 had to work for the Air Force of the Wehrmacht in aircraft construction in Riga . In the further course he moved to the aircraft factory Gottlob Espenlaub , for which he processed aluminum sheets in particular in Düsseldorf , possibly on the original premises directly at the airport in the Lohausen district . In addition to Gerhard Drews, the aviator and aircraft manufacturer Gottlob Espenlaub (1900–1972) was interested in automobiles, who had been dealing with questions about aerodynamics since 1928as well as lightweight construction in automobile construction and created several, sometimes bizarre, aspen-leaf automobiles . Officially, however, both were not allowed to continue working on it until the end of the war.
Gerhard Drews founded his own company on January 1, 1945 in Wuppertal- Oberbarmen , before the end of World War II . The company premises had the address Rauental 36 and lay in a commercial area with a property depth of around one hundred meters to the river Wupper . It is unclear why Drews chose the Wuppertal location. However, Gottlob Espenlaub had also relocated the headquarters of his company and the aircraft production, which was now banned in post-war Germany, to Wuppertal- Langerfeld in 1939 ; possibly this made it easier for Drews to obtain material in the early years. Furthermore, the long-established residents of the Elberfeld district of Wuppertal wereKarosseriewerke Joseph Hebmüller Sons resident; to this extent, hopes could have existed for skilled workers and for participation in the orders of the competitor, who was well-utilized before the war.
Initially up to the currency reform in 1948 , the main focus was on various repair work, which was often done in exchange for food or fuel . During this time, Gerhard Drews took his two brothers Werner and Erwin into the business. He was a member of the German Motor Club , the association of German sports and racing car drivers based in Wuppertal, which had around one hundred members at the end of the 1940s. This brought him into contact with entrepreneurs, designers and racing drivers such as Petermax Müller , Otto Glöckler , Emil "Teddy" Vorster andAlexander von Falkenhausen . This resulted in the first body construction contracts for racing cars and monopostos .
The most important and best-known product from Drews Karosseriebau in Wuppertal was the Drews-VW sports cabriolet ; it was marketed in-house and could be ordered through VW dealers, but - unlike the cabriolets from Karmann and Hebmüller from 1949 - it was not part of the official delivery program of the Volkswagen factory . A first prototype was created as early as 1947, before the Porsche 356 No. 1 Roadster , which was not ready to drive in the Porsche factory in Gmünd in Carinthia until June 1948. One of the first newspaper reports about the Drews-VW Sportcabrioletappeared in the magazine Der Motorsport (3rd year, 1949 issue 1) on January 1st, 1949; the first public presentation took place on the first West German Motor Show 1949 in Rheydt instead. From 1948 to 1955, Drews built the convertible in small series to order; Depending on the source, a total of “less than 100 copies” or “at least 150 vehicles” from 1949 to 1951 alone were produced . With the appearance of the VW Karmann Ghia Type 14 as a Coupé in 1955 and as a Cabriolet in 1957, the comparatively expensive Drews lost-Model of attractiveness. Parallel to the VW-based sports convertible and until the end of the 1950s, Drews produced various custom-made special bodies, some of them passenger cars, some racing cars and monopostos. Around 1960 the Wuppertal company even produced its own Formula Junior racing cars with DKW mechanics.
In the further course the company traded as "Karosserie Drews" and maintained the departments of radiator construction , paint shop and saddlery ; later the legal form changed to a general partnership with the new company name Gerhard Drews oHG . The company's focus was increasingly on accident repairs.
The importance of Gerhard Drews oHG dwindled from the mid-1960s: the increasing transition to self-supporting bodies , increasing demands on road safety and a greater variety of models from the established manufacturers made the construction of special bodies difficult or in many cases uneconomical; Accident repairs were increasingly carried out by branded workshops. In the second generation, Joachim Drews and Elfie Fischer, geb. Drews, the company continued until 2001, nephew and niece of the company founder Gerhard Drews and children of his brother Werner, who worked for the company. In 1995, in its 50th year of existence, 15 people were still employed. Special features from the last few decades, especially around 1982, were new builds or reproductions of vehicles that had been bodied by Drews in the 1950s and 60s .
The former Drews premises in Oberbarmen is currently (as of 2019) being used by Vorwerk & Co. KG as part of the Rauental II plant . A leisure pool was initially to be built on the former premises in Elberfeld , but this was ultimately rejected by the Wuppertal city council ; then a new Peugeot agency moved into the premises.
The model was designed as a sporty 2 + 2-seater convertible with a light metal body in a pure pontoon shape. The lightweight body rested on its own tubular space frame , which was connected to the unchanged platform frame of the VW Beetle ; the body structure was similar to the patented Superleggera principle of the Italian Carrozzeria Touring in Milan and reduced the weight compared to the original model by 40 to 700 kilograms . The convertible was usually equipped with a four - cylinder boxer engine from the VW Beetle that was enhanced by double carburettors , however, the contemporary, closely related engines of the Porsche 356 could also be used. A first prototype was made in 1947. Small series production started with the currency reform in 1948; the price quoted was 10,000 D-Marks (for comparison: the four-seater Beetle Cabriolet from Karmann initially cost 7,500 D-Marks, the Porsche 356 as a convertible 12,400 D-Marks). The production of the Drews-VW was particularly time-consuming and required around 1000 working hours. In terms of price and its sporty concept, it competed with the more powerful, but shorter Porsche 356 and the convertible special bodies from Dannenhauer & Staussin Stuttgart and the Rometsch-VW Beeskow model . There are also conceptual similarities to the early WD sports cars based on VW from Denzel in Austria and the VW sports cars from the Beutler brothers in Switzerland .
In addition to the series-produced Drews-VW sports cabriolet , a number of other models were produced on customer orders on different chassis from the late 1940s.
From the late 1940s to the early 1950s, the designer and racing driver Alexander von Falkenhausen endeavored not only to market racing cars and Formula 2 racing cars he had designed himself under the AFM brand, but also to market small-series passenger cars. In 1949, Drews designed and built for him the AFM Super 2500 in possibly up to four copies, a luxurious convertible with a chassis designed by Falkenhausen and based on his racing sports car, as well as a modified, performance-enhanced drive unit from the Opel Kapitän. The four-seater vehicle had a pontoon body with only slightly modeled rear fenders. In 1949, the open car took part in a much-frequented car parade through Wuppertal together with a Drews-VW sports convertible. Furthermore, in 1951 a coupé on the same basis as the AFM 2.5 liter was presented, the body of which had also been designed and built by Drews according to individual sources. Also from 1949 is a sporty and elegant AFM convertible with a pontoon body based on a Fiat 1100, dressed by Drews, which formally picks up on some stylistic elements of the Drews-VW-Sportcabriolet. Ultimately, however, von Falkenhausen lacked the financial means to be able to build up series production of his own passenger cars; In particular, considerations failed to market the AFM Super 2500 model internationally, especially in Brazil . It was therefore left with a few individual pieces and von Falkenhausen returned to BMW in 1954 , where he had already worked before the Second World War. As far as is known, none of the AFM passenger cars has survived to this day.
In 1951 , Drews designed and built a sporty, elegant convertible based on an Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 with right-hand drive for racing driver Walter Schlüter . It is unclear whether a new post-war chassis was used or a pre-war chassis was rebuilt. The whereabouts of the vehicle is unknown.
In 1956, Drews designed and built at least one DKW 3 = 6 Spyder. The open two-seater vehicle is reminiscent of the DKW-3 = 6-Monza- Coupé, but had a light metal body instead of a plastic one. In any case, such a vehicle took part in the Rossfeld race , a hill climb in the Berchtesgaden Alps, in 1958 under the driver Hartmann . One example has survived to this day, was rebuilt by Drews around 1980 and is occasionally shown at events, for example in historical motorsport at the Rossfeld races in 2014 and 2015 and at a DKW brand meeting in Ingolstadt .
For Dyna-Veritas , Drews designed and built the sporty roadster version with two seats and a choice of 33 or 40 hp (24 or 29 kW ). According to individual sources, the model had its public premiere in October 1950 at the Paris Motor Show ; In Germany, the roadster only became a little better known in the following two years, which is why individual sources date it to 1951 or even 1952. Special feature of this roadster, which is removed from the larger Jaguar XK 120remembered was the windshield, which, together with the emergency cover, could be folded forward and stowed under the long hood that could be folded forward. It was probably left with a single piece because the manufacturer lacked the necessary money for series production and the company Baur Karosserie- und Fahrzeugbau in Stuttgart , which produced the convertible and coupé versions on behalf of the company, was not interested in drafting a body shop Take over competitors.
From 1951 Drews offered a four-seater two-window convertible with a pontoon body based on the Ford Taunus G93A with a platform frame ("Buckeltaunus"). Characteristic were the two-part windshield, the large side windows and the relatively high convertible top, which was pulled far to the doors in the rear area. Stylistically, it took up many of the features of the Drews-VW sports convertible. Several vehicles were created that differed in detail, for example in the design of the vehicle front and the chrome-plated trim above the wheel cutouts; individual specimens already show small tail fins , in line with the emerging fashion at the time. As far as is known, no complete vehicle has survived to this day; At the beginning of the 2010s, however, a body appeared as a so-called garage find.
From around 1952, Drews offered conversions of the Mercedes-Benz 220 to two-door convertibles with four seats and a pontoon body. They dispensed with the typical Mercedes radiator grille and instead had a large oval cooling air opening with several vertical, convex, protruding chrome struts. At least three versions of the vehicle model are known, partly as a two-window, partly as a four-window convertible, i.e. with and without additional side windows behind the doors, partly with two unusual "kidney-shaped" ventilation openings on each side in the area of the front fenders and doors and with different modeled wheel cutouts.As far as is known, no specimen has survived to this day.
Basis of many Drews were vehicles platform under the VW Beetle, initially of repaired jeep from the VW Type 82 or Commander car from the Type 87 from war production, and later the "standard" -Käfer (type 11) and from July 1949 the model "Export" (type 11 a). As with other coachbuilders - with the exception of Karmann in Osnabrück , Hebmüller and later Westfalia-Werken in Wiedenbrück , which produced works to order - was the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburgnever ready to deliver unbodied chassis; Drews therefore had to procure complete vehicles (or have them provided by his clients) and use the sheet steel body parts that were not needed for accident repairs or sell them on to insurance companies.
- Flatbed truck : In the immediate post-war years, Drews produced at least one pick-up with a high loading platform and protection of the load with a tarpaulin with high bows ; A single-axle trailer could be coupled to the rear. The concept was similar to the Type 83 , which was built in small numbers by the factory during the war , but differed from it in that it had a square instead of a round rear end and additional side air slots for engine cooling. Background of the design was that owners of such commercial vehicles in the times of state coercion management fuel - rationsand the first VW bus as type 2 (in the form of the T1 transporter ) was only available in 1950.
- Coupé: According to individual sources, Drews also built coupés based on the VW Beetle. The idea for this went back to the late 1940s and the design largely corresponded to the sports convertible. There is also a special VW coupé from 1951 with a Porsche engine and several atypical bodywork features: the front window was already one-piece and curved, the rear window, a large three-part panoramic window, was drawn around to the side; This gave the roof pillar behind the doors an unusual trapezoidal shape that widened towards the top . The taillights were camberedmodeled out, the wheel cutouts shaped differently and the rear end more rounded and provided with more striking, American-style chrome-plated decorative elements. The design shows, especially from the rear, similarities to the Aspen Leaf 1000 from 1952 and 1953. In this form, the model was probably a one-off; its whereabouts are unclear.
- Four-window convertible: In contrast to the conventional sports convertible, Drews built at least one other convertible in the mid-1950s that was intended for Sweden . It had additional retractable side windows behind the doors, a one-piece, curved windshield and different, fashionable chrome trim strips in front of the rear wheel cutout (three short horizontal strips, one above the other and tapering towards the rear). It did not come to a small series production, possibly because shortly afterwards in 1955 the factory model VW Karmann-Ghia Type 14 appeared.
Drews vehicles for motorsport
A Veritas Meteor racing car from 1953 according to the Formula 2 regulations; As early as 1950 Drews had built a Veritas RS racing car that was both visually and conceptually similar
- DKW Formula Junior
- Scampolo BMW
- Veritas RS : Around 1950 Drews built at least one single-seater racing car in Wuppertal with the mechanics of a Veritas RS and distinctive slotted light alloy disc wheels according to the Formula 2 regulations . It is unclear how a connection between Veritas and Drews came about; possibly it was originally an order for the competitor Hebmüller in neighboring Barmen, who had already dressed several Veritas racing cars, but due to the catastrophic fire in the larger Wülfrath branchfrom July 1949 had delivery problems. It is also unclear who commissioned the monoposto; The entrepreneur Emil "Teddy" Vorster (1910–1976) from Rheydt comes into consideration , who had already had several racing cars built by Drews , but had given up his own racing career in mid-1949 after a serious accident.
- Vorster-KdF Monoposto