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Wagner Automobile


#1

This is my second company, but there are waaay less cars than the main company CMT.
Wagner is located in Hetvesia, where Bruno Wagner founded the company in 1949. The owner of several service garages started to grey-import CMT vehicles as the company was not officially present in Hetvesia. He managed to get CMT engines and built a car around it.

The Wagner “Autobahn” was a 2+2 seater coupe, and it featured the 83 horsepower engine from the CMT 2000S which was brand-new back then. Today we would consider it as a shitbox, but back then, the car was definitely something interessing. The engine was mounted in the rear, but as it needed heavy duty cast pistons and conrods it was everything but smooth. The slim cross ply tyres back then were a joke even if they featured a soft sports compound, and the car was prone to oversteer at any time.
The interior was a very sporty one using light materials, but put together with good workmanship. A radio was not standard equipment. As this car often crashed as it required a skilled driver, its advanced safety features copied from CMT cars were really needed.


On the road, the car needed just 10,7 seconds to 100 kph, and 175 were really fast for late 40s Hetvesia. 12,7 liter consumption were a merit of the light weight, as the car was built on a space frame and aluminium panels. This allowed for 687 kg in the 3,8 meter car. The suspension was ultra-modern with double wishbone on all four wheels - but the tires were really not capable of this machine with its heavy rear. $19.500 were a high price for a car that managed a test track time of 2:54,75 minutes, but the competition was rather small.
CMT imported it as sports car to Gasmea with little success, but in Frunia it succeeded as track premium car, as it was totally different from the CMT sports car model, the RT2000.
The Wagner Autobahn had no comfort at all, the car was terribly oversteering and the definitely advanced suspension lacked experience in the setup, and the engine was not smooth. But that car had character and became the base of “Wagner Automobile GmbH” in Hetvesia.


#2

Can any mod please move the topic in the right folder?
I made a goof and posted it among the challenges - my fault, sorry.


#3

Wagner offered a facelifted version of the Autobahn in 1954, as the original car was more and more left behind by the competition.

MK2 models added a standard AM radio, chrome elements and different headlights. The front brake drums became a little larger as the car was heavier now, and the CMT engine was completely reworked. CMT had no problems with that as they were already working on a new OHC four-cylinder engine and left Wagner all the blueprints of their OHV engine family.


As the materials became better, there was no longer a need for heavy duty parts - conrods and pistons were totally normal parts, improving the smoothness. Some other tweaks allowed for 87 horsepower output and strong 155 nm torque. The whole car became slightly faster, now needing 10,4 seconds to 100 kph and going 178. The consumption remained identical.

On the suspension side, Wagner added an extreme rear camber (0,50 in the front, -1,8 in the rear) to prevent the car from the serious oversteer, but the improvement was little, many drivers still crashed their Wagner Autobahn despite a minor predictability gain. The time on the test track improved a little also supported by the few extra horses, and the MK2 was two seconds faster, with a total time of 2:52,17 minutes.

The comfort was still a downside, and so the sales did not go as high as Wagner wanted. The only market where the cars worked somehow was Frunia.
Bruno Wagner realized that the CMT engine was good to begin with, and still good for everyday cars, but for a sports car with a price of $20.700 something more innovative was in need.


#4

In the case of the Autobahn line this is totally justified; it’s a rear-engined car with narrow tires. On a front-drive car with its weight mostly up front, however, creating oversteer (up to a point) is more desirable, and so the camber angles for such a car should be increased in the front and decreased in the rear.


#5

The MKII models were not terrible cars, but not using their full potential. Bruno Wagner had to make the descision if his company should stay a “hobby” automaker or becoming a real manufacter. He choosed the second, and already in 1954 he gave green lights for an own engine designed to be used in the Autobahn. He hired the experienced engineer Rainald Holtmann (father of CMTs later chief engine designer Klaus Holtmann) to lead the team.

The WB20 engine was ready in 1957, and still a four-cylinder had two liter displacement - a car so light and small like the Autobahn would have been a death trap with more than that.
The boxer layout fitted better in the rear of the car, and the lower center of gravity improved the dangerous handling significantly. This also allowed for less rear camber, as many MKII owners complained the high cost for sports tires that were quickly worn out on the rear axle.
The change for wider radial tires now available made the MKIII the driving machine it was meant to be.

On the engine side there was also immense progress - the engine was still made of cast iron, but had SOHC instead of OHV valvetrain and - copied from latest southern frunian cars like Ferrero and Beta Giulia - four valves per cylinder. Forged pistons and conrods made it at least a little more reliable than its rivals, but the two two-barell carburetors were difficult to maintain. The car urged for premium 98 octane gas, as sports car buyers are not on a tight budget and prefer some extra power over lower gas prices. 118 horsepower from two liter displacement were indeed something brilliant back then.

The top speed passed the magical 200 kph-line with 201 kph, and 8 seconds to 100 were a rocket in the late 50s. The consumption was remarkably low with only 8,6 liter - so the use of premium gas was bearable in total. The MKIII models are today considered as the best compared to their time period, and they were indeed like another car compared to the predecessor that was introduced only three years ago.
The time on the test track improved dramatically to 2:39,99 minutes, more than 12 seconds less.

For a price of $22.500, not even 2.000 more, the car sold good for the first time in the Hetvesian home market and became the number one sports car, some see it as a national anthem even today. In Gasmea and Frunia the demand was there, especially in Frunia, but the company was too small to meet the demand, so Bruno Wagner sold 33,3 percent of his company to CMT to get the money for a larger factory that already opened in 1958.

This was also necessary due to the second model Wagner offered - a roadster. Other than the Autobahn, the Wagner Tourer was front-engined, but the flat hood was already designed for the new boxer engine. The chassis in general was kept, a space frame with aluminium panels and double wishbone suspension in front and rear - Wagner saw no reason for buying new tools and used as much as possible from the Autobahn. Despite the small size with a lenght of 3,7 meter and hardly any space for the two occupants, the car was over 200 kg heavier than the Autobahn, as its frame was totally reinforced to give at least a little safety in such a driving coffin. This made the car slower, as it needed 10,3 seconds to 100 kph and only had a top speed of 179, but the test track time was not bad with 2:45,91 minutes, mainly due to the perfect 50/50 weight distribution that was one of the main objectives. 11,4 liter consuption were noticeably more than the Autobahn, but in return the Tourer was easier and less expensive to serivce.
The car was a very good seller in the convertible sport segment for $21.200, mainly a reason why CMT started developement of their second sports car, the Monza, that was basically a technically simpler and cheaper, less-radical interpretation of the Tourer that cared about daily use and some basic comfort.



#6

1961

Bruno Wagner died in 1959, and the employees elected Rainald Holtmann as their new boss. He was excentric but he knew what he was doing. A brilliant engineer and a good salesman.
He was very angry that CMT copied the Wagner “reciepe” with their 1960 Indianapolis, a car with double wishbone suspension in front and rear and aluminium panels, but with V8 engine - this cut the market space above the Autobahn. In return, Holtmann bought himself a CMT Monza and made a list what to change to have a great everyday sports car at aceptable cost. But before this car was done, Wagner showed facelifts of the existing models in mid-1961.

The Autobahn had another facelift, this time more changes were made to the previous design than in the facelifts before. The MK IV had effective changes under the aluminium as well, such as even wider tries, disc brakes in front and rear, slightly better safety and an engine update with a more agressive camshaft and two four-barrel carburetors, as the Autobahn was not just good in a straight line as its name implies but became a capable track tool, so more high-end power was needed, now 129 horsepower in total, a lot for a two-liter engine in the early 60s.


The test track time improved once again, now the course was completed in 2.34,88 minutes. The car accelerated to 100 kph in just 7,62 seconds and was able to get up to 209 kph. The consumption suffered from the sport camshaft and in general higher revs, but 9,5 liter premium were still low for what the car offered performance wise. $ 23.400 were a quite high price, but the car was still not a weak seller, especially Frunians still bought a lot of them - even until its end in 1968.

The Tourer MKII recieved the same engine update and new indicators and grille - that was it mostly. It accelerated in 9,55 seconds and managed to run 186 kph, but needed 12,2 liter gas, but with 2:42,43 minutes it was not much slower on the track. For $ 21.800 it was still a popular option in the roadster segment. But it was obvious Wagner did not put much effort in the Tourer, they worked the most on their third model.