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Small series manufacturer: Visit to Wiesmann in Dülmen

Visit to the Wiesmann factory
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E s is a gecko that lives on the roof of the Wiesmann factory is lolling. Now geckos are not exactly known as particularly heroic lizards and thus fall out of the usual grid of big cats or birds of prey that car manufacturers tend to select when they want to give their brand the aura of animal power. Nevertheless, the little crawler seems to be a good choice as a brand mascot.

Wiesmann models are meticulously handcrafted

Friedhelm Wiesmann, together with brother Martin, managing director of Wiesmann GmbH, has the same Three arguments in favor of the lizard ready: The gecko has enormous traction and can even run up walls. It is a rather friendly representative of its species, and no matter how you attach it to a rim hub cap or in the center of a steering wheel, it is never upside down. No jaguar can keep up with that. The Wiesmann Roadster and Coupés are available so that the gecko has a nice playground to frolic. At least seven lizards can be found on every model that is meticulously handcrafted in Dülmen. The big roof gecko has been watching over the little brothers since 2008, because production has been going on at the current location since then.

Wiesman initially manufactured hardtops for convertibles

Of course, the beginnings were more modest. The Wiesmann family initially traded Fiat models for many years, but a brand change turned the dealership into a BMW branch. The auto virus belongs to Martin and Friedhelm Wiesmann like a tire on the rim, and it was probably only a matter of time before it manifested itself in its most extreme form. Namely, with the desire for a car that bears its own name and works so well that it creates enthusiasm outside the family too.

The implementation of this idea began in 1986, in 1987 the prototype was on its wheels, and in 1988 it was presented to a larger audience at the Essen Motor Show. The response was very positive and there were quite a few people interested in the Wiesmann Roadster. But building cars costs money, a lot of money, that first had to be gathered. For example, Wiesmann initially manufactured hardtops for convertibles, and in the mid-1980s found a niche in the market that was barely occupied. First the BMW 3 Series was given a stiff hat, and only a little later there was hardly an open model for which Wiesmann could not supply a plastic cap. Production only ended in 2002.

Meanwhile 1,200 are runningWiesmann Roadsters and Coupés worldwide

Parallel to the hardtops, the idea of ​​the Wiesmann Roadster was further refined. In 1993 small series production began. Initially with a modest output of just a few cars a year, but the numbers grew rapidly. In good years, up to 250 sports cars were built, and even in the crisis year of 2009, fitters were able to complete 180 cars. There are now 1,200 Wiesmann roadsters and coupés in service worldwide.

70 of a total of 110 employees implement the ideas of five development engineers in hardware. They do this on two production lines

n, because the Wiesmann models may look similar, but their constructions are fundamentally different. First of all, there is the long-seller MF3 with an in-line six-cylinder. Although it has been regularly modified slightly since 1993, it has been using a steel lattice tubular frame for 17 years now, which is produced in the company's own locksmith's shop and then hot-dip galvanized outside the company. Incidentally, one of the few tasks that Wiesmann outsources - the in-house production depth is enormous.

BMW supplies six-line engines, V8 and V10 engines

These are made on the parallel production line Models MF4 and MF5, which are available as Coupé or Roadster. Typically for Wiesmann, they wear a dress made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, under which an aluminum monocoque, the individual parts of which are glued and partially riveted, ensures stability. This technology is used in a similar form in aircraft construction. The few foreign parts that are delivered from outside include engines, transmissions, exhaust systems and various chassis parts. BMW - who is surprised? - delivers the biggest chunks. Inline six, V8 and V10 engines with flanged manual or automatic transmissions are ready for installation. The V-engines are reserved for the monocoque cars, but otherwise the motto applies: What the customer wants is possible. Colors for the exterior and interior, types of leather, carpets, even the coloring of the instruments can largely be chosen freely.

Any BMW authorized workshop can service the cars

There is hardly a mass-produced sports car that can be designed more individually than a Wiesmann. The customer does not have to be afraid of buying a bitchy prima donna, because any BMW authorized workshop can service the cars. After all, the engines are installed without any tuning measures, and the exhaust system - only with a sports silencer - is almost factory-made. Sounds a little unspectacular, don't you think? It is not, because the powerful BMW aggregates seem unleashed in the sports cars, which are hundreds of pounds lighter than the solid Bayern sedans.

The Wiesmann team is pleasantly down-to-earth

In the eight-cylinder MF4 S, 420 hp meet only 1,280 kilograms, and the MF5 is hardly heavier, but again just under 100 hpstronger. Good to know that ESP is on board if the driver starts up with less talent than the width of the road requires. Anyway, at Wiesmann security is important. The aluminum monocoque model passed a Euro NCAP-compliant crash test with respectable results. But Wiesmann doesn't peddle that too, and the whole team around the two brothers has remained pleasantly down-to-earth over the years. Although cars are built here that cost well over 200,000 euros. That makes the brand likeable. The friendly gecko goes really well.


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