• Production: June 1957-October 1958
• Units built: 6900
• Engine: noisy 1 cylinder 2-stroke engine in the middle of the car, between the front and rear bench
• HP: 14 at 5000 rpm
• Engine displacement: 245cc
• Breaker points gap: 0.3-0.4 mm
• Ignition timing: see shop repair manual!
• Carburetor: BING
• Transmission: 4speed
• Brakes: hydraulic drum brakes
• Tire size: 4.40-12″
• Body: integral sheetmetal body, two benches for 4 persons, large door in the front like the Isetta or Heinkel, PLUS large door in the rear for backseat passengers. All the wheels had independent suspension with coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers
• Weight: 425 kg
• Maximum weight: front axle 375kg, rear axle 375 kg, total 725 kg
• Dimensions: 286x140x138 cm
• Wheelbase: 1825 mm
• Fuel consumption: 5.2 ltr/100 km. 2-stroke-oil/gasoline mixture 1:25
• Top speed: 80 km/h
General information: The motorcycle customers asked for a small car in the 1950’s. Zundapp first intended to build a copy of the Fuldamobil S 6, but then the management decided to redesign the DORNIER DELTA (designed by Claudius Dornier). The front and the rear of the car looked symmetrical and only needed a minimum of die-stamped sheetmetal parts.
Janus, the two-faced roman god, gave his name for this extraordinary microcar. Two people could sit on the front bench. It wasn’t easy to enter the car because the steering column didn’t swing away with the opening door, like it did in the Isetta. Additional passengers had to enter through the large rear door and sit down on the rear bench, looking out of the rear window! The benches could be fixed in a flat position to serve as a camping bed.
The Janus won some races against stronger competitors, like the Luttich-Brescia-Luttich rallye in 1958, where the Zundapp team won the “Coupe des Constructeurs”. Zundapp worked on stronger versions with 400cc 2-cyl 2-stroke and 500/600cc flat-twin 4-stroke engines, but when they sold the facility in the town of Nurnberg in 1958, the Janus production ended. Motorcycle production was continued in the main facility in Munich.
Nowadays, only a few Janus have survived. Most of them are rotted and in a bad condition. Parts for restoration are hard to get, and if you are lucky to find a good and original car, you have to expect a price close to USD$10000. But since those cars have a very unique design, are rare and well-known by enthusiasts, they may be a good investment. If you find one, take care of it!
Title registration information for German visitors/fuer deutsche Besucher: Die allgemeine Betriebserlaubnis fuer den Typ “Janus 250” wurde am 25. Juni 1957 (+Nachtrag I und II) erteilt unter Nr. 1802 durch das Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt Flensburg.