This Sunday at the Orphan Car Show, you can see examples from more than a hundred car companies that contributed to the automotive industry that you may never even heard of. The show is held each year at the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum and showcases automobiles that are 25 or more “model-years” old and are no longer manufactured or imported into the US. Zundapp definitely falls into this category. Zundapp was a major German manufacturer that was founded at Nuremberg in 1917 producing munitions. They departed from that business at the end of World War I and the first motorcycle emerged in 1921. In the early 1930s, motorcycle sales were sagging and they decided to take a stab at building an automobile. They never got past building prototypes and they returned to their primary interest of motorcycles and later, aircraft engines.
Twenty five years later, after a decade of postwar concentration on motorcycles and light machinery, the completely different Janus went into actual production. The odd-looking auto has one forward facing seat for the drive and one passenger and one rear facing seat for two more passengers. The name Janus came from the Roman god who faced two directions… well played. Approximately 6,900 were built before Zundapp again abandoned the car business and returned to motorcycles.
See our 1958 Zundapp Janus at the Orphan Car Show in Ypsilanti, Michigan this Sunday, September 15, from 9:00-4:00. Cost is $6.00 per person, children 12 $ under are free with adult. www.ypsiautoheritage.org for information.