The Alken D2 – One Of The First VW Fiberglass Bodied Sports Cars: You’ve Never Seen/Driven/Owned Anything Like This! (1958)

Hi Gang…

There are so many cool fiberglass sports car brochures out there.  Wait ‘till you see what we at Forgotten Fiberglass have in store for you over the 2011 summer!  By the time we’re done, you’ll think fiberglass sports cars were in every town across America in the 1950’s.  A great thought, but far from the truth.  All of these fiberglass “gems” make hen’s teeth look as common as a shiny new penny (fiberglass penny?)

Anyway…

We’ve only found a few Alken based cars out there, and good friend and fiberglass / VW aficionado Javier Munoz has two Alkens.  It’s going to take me a long time to catch up with Javier!  His cars are both unrestored at this time, but with this initial story on the Alken – and several more to follow this summer – I challenge Javier to begin the restoration of one of his cool cars, and Javier….I’ll promise we’ll cover it monthly on our Forgotten Fiberglass website.

Go get ‘em Javier!

So now, let’s discuss the topic for today – one of the first – if not the first – Alken D2 brochure.

Examining the Brochure:

Some brochures are easy to share here on our website.  Others are more of a “pickle.”  This one unfolds and unfolds and unfolds.  Hmmm… what I’ll do is open each panel up and repeat the text here – to make it easier to read.  Off we go!

Page 1:

The Alken D2 brochure is titled:

“You’ve Never Seen/Driven/Owned a VW Like This! “

Kind of playful, and the image of a small VW beetle replaces the non-existent “VW” wording on the cover.

Page 2:

 

Alken spanned the Atlantic to combine the automotive know-how of two continents into one superb sports car.  For the first time, brilliant German engineering has been successfully united with dramatic American styling.  From any angle, the long, low, modern lines of the Alken D-2 Volkswagen are in good taste – and the best company.

Page 3:

Alken’s distinctive design – with better visibility and more storage – is lighter, longer, lower.  Exclusively styled for Volkswagen, Alken D-2 makes Germany’s “car that is built like a sports car” look and handle like a sports car.

Full-measure protection is assured with the revolutionary unitized bumpers fore and aft.  For the week-ender, there’s room under the locked hood for tire, battery, gas, tools and luggage.

In the rear, Alken styles for tomorrow with upswept tail fins and modern, angular deck line.  The cockpit, roomy and modern, combines luxurious comfort with wind and weather protection.  There is plenty of room behind the specially engineered bucket seats for luggage, packages, or passengers.

Page 4:

The stock speedometer is mounted in an easily visible position on the high-styled dash, with room for radio controls and special VDO instruments – if you want them.  The stock VW tail lights mount to Alken in a new exciting manner.

Steering, brake, and clutch pedals and the emergency brake are untouched.  Even the heater controls remain in factory position.  Factory headlights fit the D2 without tiresome, prolonged conversion.  Installation is as easy as changing a light bulb.

Every inch of the D2 is built to the exacting specifications of factory-made models.  It proudly wears Volkswagen identification.  Alken’s use of VW headlights, tail lights, instruments and controls means distinctive Volkswagen identify, easy replacement and the lowest possible change-over cost.

Page 5:

Exciting design is only part of the Alken story.  The body has been engineered to meet the rugged demands of sports car owners yet to provide the fullest comfort of an American convertible.  A special system of 16 transverse and cross internal bulkheads make the Alken strong, as strong as the factory sedans, yet Alken engineers have made a body that’s 300 pounds lighter than metal versions.  This means the Alken D2 handles better, goes faster, lasts longer, and uses less gas.

Alken’s D2 is the only completely engineered fiberglass sports car body designed exclusively for the Volkswagen.  Because of this specialization, all body supports and stiffners are tailor-made for the VW and molded into the body at the factory.  There is nothing else to buy – no special framing to engineer, no last minute cutting or fitting.  Alken fits like a glove – is as easy to install as speed equipment.

The precision-engineered system of bulkheads makes the Alken D2 long lived.  The bulkheads resist racking.  There’s never a cracking or alignment problem.  The D2 stays showroom new:  worth more when you buy – or sell.

Available Extras:

  • Alken is an all-weather sports car.  Your dealer can supply a variety of optional equipment, in any combination:
  • Removable hardtop – custom made to fit the D2
  • Roll-up windows – for the best protection against wind and rain
  • Plexiglass side curtains – weather protection plus roadster styling
  • Custom bucket seats – engineered to body contour, down soft
  • Spacious luggage compartments – between cockpit and engine

Page 6:

Important New Features:

Alken is lower and 300 pounds lighter than closed model VW sedans.  Improved aerodynamics and decreased weight mean faster acceleration, more power, better fuel economy.  Compare these figures with factory specifications.

  • Wheelbase: 94 and ½ inches (stock)
  • Tread: 50.8/49.2 inches (stock)
  • Curb Weight: 1320 pounds (more than 300 pounds less)
  • Overall Length: 162 inches
  • Height, at Door: 32 and ½ inches
  • Width, at Cockpit: 59 inches

Some Questions Answered:

  • Q: Does the VW chassis have to be modified to take the Alken D2 body?
  • A: Because the D2 is more than 300 pounds lighter, the suspension, front and rear, must be lowered and the jacking points re-located.
  • Q: Are there any other modifications?
  • A: Only three.  The steering column must be adjusted, the gas tank modified, and the carburetor air cleaner replaced by a VW Kombi air cleaner.
  • Q: What facilities are required for installation?
  • A: The D2 can be installed at home, by any body shop or Alken dealer.  It is the easiest custom body to install.
  • Q: How is the body shipped?
  • A: The body is finished in fiberglass primer coat, packaged in a protective wood crate, and shipped by truck or rail.
  • Q: Where can I buy the Alken D2?
  • A: From any Alken dealer, or if there is no dealer in your area, direct from the factory.

The Alken D2 is a product of:

Alken Corporation
Research-Development
2100 Zeno Place
Venice, California

Summary:

We’re still trying to identify the reason the Alken is referred to as the “D2.”  Time will tell, and perhaps the naming convention will be revealed, but for now our best guess is it’s the second model – so we’re still looking for the first model that perhaps never made it beyond the prototype/concept drawing stage.

I’ve included close ups of every image shown in the brochure – in the photo gallery below.  I think you’ll enjoy the photos as you review them one by one.  Remember…you can click on every small photo on our website to expand it and make it easier to read.  I don’t know about you, larger pictures are much easier on my eyes, so click away on these smaller photos gang – and think of them as fiberglass eye candy.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Geoff

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* Click on the following link to view all stories on:  Alken Sports Cars

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Comments

The Alken D2 – One Of The First VW Fiberglass Bodied Sports Cars: You’ve Never Seen/Driven/Owned Anything Like This! (1958) — 1 Comment

  1. Really cool to find this site, and finally after probably 40 yrs I now know what the fiberglasss V.W. kit body I have is. The ALKEN D2. From what I have read here there was only ever approx. 50 of these ever made….cool! Do you have any more info you could share. did they ever have a mold or were they all hand laid. most importantly..was it a common windshield that fits in the fiberglas frame, and if so from what donor car?Any idea of the current value on one of these, mine is just a bare body, or how bout if completely built and road ready? thanks for your time and any help would be appreciated. Hunter

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