Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Austria 2016 - Denzel WD Super 1300

ISSUE DATE: 26 August 2016

Wolfgang Denzel was an Austrian racing driver, car manufacturer and entrepreneur. One of the sports cars that he built himself is being presented by Austrian Post on a commemorative stamp from the “Cars” series. Born in 1908 in Graz, Denzel built his first motorcycle whilst still a trainee. In 1934 he laid the foundations for the company, which is still in operation today. He became the rep for BMW vehicles in Carinthia and Styria, and later became BMW’s general importer for the whole of Austria. His links to the BMW brand were also visible in his racing success: for example, he won the Bodensee-Plattensee marathon on a BMW motorbike, with a sensational lead of over five hours. Denzel was also successful as a racing car driver, later as an ocean-faring yachtsman, and even as a downhill skier. In 1948, after the end of the war, he started on the construction of his own racing car, originally based on a VW Kübelwagen – often using wartime models which had subsequently been scrapped – and later using the chassis of a VW Beetle and a VW four-cylinder flat engine. From 1952 onwards he designed his own square tubular frame,with lightweight aluminium bodywork, subsequently replaced with solid steel. Denzel also overhauled and optimised the engines. Around 350 such Denzel sports cars were built, first roadsters and later also coupés. The brand was named “WD” after the constructor, later changing to “Denzel”. Wolfgang Denzel also enjoyed sporting success with his own sports cars. The Denzel sports car was produced in the models “Seriensuper”, “Super” and “International”. It had a performance range of 52 to 80 hp. 

The “Super” – which is the model shown on the stamp – delivered 64 hp with a capacity of 1,290 cubic centimetres. The model shown on the stamp dates from the year 1959. Denzel’s experience with sports cars was an important factor in the decision by the financially challenged BMW group to enthusiastically embrace his design for the BMW 700 in 1958; the model went on to be BMW’S saviour and launched the company’s success story. Starting in the 1960s, the Denzel company also began importing other brands of cars, including Volvo and Jaguar. Branches sprang up throughout Austria, and there are now 14 customer centres offering sales of new and used cars, repairs and financial services. In 2009 the various sections of the company were united under the umbrella of Wolfgang Denzel Holding AG. In his final years Wolfgang Denzel’s passion was ocean sailing – he built ocean-faring racing yachts and became world champion in the two-tonne class at the age of 70. In 1982 he was awarded the Decoration of Honour in Silver for his services to the Republic of Austria. He passed away in 1990.


Stamp images and description thanks to Austrian Post - Österreichische Post
La Poste