Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Not So Fast: 1959 Tempo Rapid

Commercial vehicles don't usually excite the average gearhead until the completely useless and obscure concepts start being explored during late nights in the garage. Anyone keen to make an Gogomobil Dart race hauler? A Gutbrod authorized service vehicle?  Find this 1959 Tempo Rapid for sale in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey for sympathetic offers via craigslist.

The Rapid, built by Vidal & Sohn Tempo-Werke in Northern Germany, was one vehicle in a line of very quirky commercial vehicles that seldom came to the US. Constructed like a large oceangoing mammal, the Tempo's stressed backbone acts as the engine cradle, frame, and probably flexes enough to improve ride quality.

The motor is either the most accessible thing in the world or the biggest pain in the ass to service ever, based solely on how the end user decided to construct the bed. Surely there were a few farmers who just blasted the last stick weld onto the headache rack only to realize when trying to reconnect the battery that he had completely fortified the engine bay.

This truck is indeed very far gone, but how difficult a restoration would it be, really? Most of the metal looks to be intact, the engine is straight BMC, and the missing parts were meant to be homemade anyway. Certainly there will be some oddball parts to source or build but pretty much anything has more pieces. 

See something more deserving of a kitschy commercial motif? email us here:

Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the remaining third on keeping them on the road.


  1. Guppy might be a better name like the PTO Gen to Rad Fan connection

    1. Wow, I had not noticed that until now. Look at the rag joint on the back of the generator. Fun stuff!

    2. I remember GM mounting power steering pumps to the back of Generator units late 50's early 60's I am sure there is more oddball or Eng. Marvel stuff maybe a DT feature to find weird stuff under the hood that is Wacked or Unusual...

  2. Seems like a good candidate to frame swap onto the front of an RV chassis?

    1. I was thinking of an RV addition like the early Trillium fiberglass trailers, just make sure to leave access for the engine bay. George in Toronto


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