Nuremberg in 1955: The company Zündapp, which came to fame for its motorcycle construction, tried to gain a foothold in the local car market with the small car ‘Janus’. But the small car segment was not the only new intended business field. Also “sporty” customers, which have a much higher readiness to spend their money, should be targeted.
In the spring of 1956, Zündapp contracted out the first design for the car called ‘Project KF IV’. The Nuremberg-based company spared no expense for the design and hired Pininfarina’s design office to create an appealing body. For this purpose, Zündapp delivered the chassis fitted with an engine dummy to Turin. Finally in the autumn of 1956 the commissioned design was finished. Company boss Hans Friedrich Neumeyer drove to Italy to have a look at Zündapp’s newly designed future sports car. The hand-finished aluminum skin weighed 450 kg, including seats and equipment. This weight was supposed to be further reduced in series production. In the end, a final weight of the finished car with the original car body of 775 to 800 kg was intended. Due to not having a own, suitable engine, Zündapp draw on a 1.1 liter and 78 hp-strong sports engine of the English manufacturer Coventry-Climax. The development of the sports car quickly became the absolute pet issue of the owners family and lasted the whole year of 1957 and beyond. From the spring of 1957, the first practical test were completed – but not with the expensive Italian aluminum skin, but with a so-called ‘running-in body’. The test drives revealed numerous large and countless smaller deficiencies and their adjustment led to serious delays of the originally established schedule. The start of the serious production, which was planned for spring 1958, had to be postponed early. Time ran out for the sports car and there was still plenty to improve. Financial worries arose and were aggravated as the sales of motorcycles further declined.
In the summer of 1958 it was decided to cease ‘Project KF IV’ and just to focus on the production of two-wheelers.