The Shelter. A Dutch dwarf car

Shortly after the Second World War, motorized traffic was extremely topical. On a BSA or Harley, which you could buy for a few hundred guilders on the 'dump', you were a whole guy. But a motorcycle wasn't a car yet. Not even a car. Because with a motor vehicle with a roof on it you really counted. The size didn't even matter: dwarf cars were once the symbol of the economic recovery after the Second World War

The Shelter, made in Holland

Engineer Arnold van der Goot designed the Shelter in 1954, based on ideas he already had before the war, after previously working for the British aircraft manufacturer Bristol Airplane Company. He took a very firm approach to designing his dwarf car. Even the two-stroke engine with dynastart including the entire transmission line came from his own drawing board. Mr. van der Goot came up with a whole bunch of idiosyncratic, thoughtful and smart constructions throughout his design.

With government subsidy

The Dutch government was interested in the project because car traffic was already a problem in Amsterdam at that time (!). Arnold van der Goot received a development investment from the government, made a prototype in Amsterdam, and left for the Achterhoek. To Terborg, where space and the craftsmanship of small craftsmen were to form the basis of the success of the 2,26 m long Shelter.

In fact, the Shelter came too late

At its introduction, the cake was already divided between Messerschmitt, Heinkel, the various Isetta variants, Trojan and a few other players from the first hour. Few Shelters are made and fewer are left. But Auto Motor Klassiek had a long conversation with the now-aged designer, engineer Arnold van der Goot, and with his son who was also bitten by the dwarf car bacillus. And we saw what was left of Shelters and parts thereof. The best specimen has now been displayed in the Louwman museum. We also have that on photo. But the yellow survivor who is waiting for a rebirth in Terborg stole our hearts.

From that specimen you can see everything that made the Shelter a 'raincoat on wheels'. It was especially noticeable that the Shelter never really became ready for production. The first models were marketed by the manufacturer through a kind of lease model. In this way, the manufacturer received direct feedback about problems occurring. And those could then be resolved to optimize the end result.

The whole history is full of technical details (and problems)

Smart things and problems that could have been solved. Van der Goot had a schedule for 20 cars but only 7 were actually built. There are at least two copies left, one (plus an impressive amount of parts) with Van der Goot's son, and dwarf car enthusiast, Erik and one with collector Sjoerd ter Burg. Around 1970, the last Shelter was made from leftover parts.

Even smaller than in real life

The most surprising thing is that there even has been a manufacturer who ventured into the Shelter: The German 'Autocult / models' made an 1 on 43 plastic model of the Shelter, including the correct number plate. With a length of six centimeters, that model is slightly smaller than the original. It is available for around € 80.



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