When looking at the car, one would never assume that it had an important technical achievement under the bonnet. With this engine, it could be placed on same the level as the famous Mercedes 300 SL. You've probably already guessed, it was one of the first petrol direct-injections, this one however, together with a two-stroke engine. The fame of being the first one however, belongs to another, namely, the Gutbrod Superior. It can be seen, together with it's engine, in the picture below.
This one was the true champion. It can justifiably call itself the first serially produced car in the world with petrol direct-injection. It was even called The Superior and came from the small Gutbrod company in Plochingen, who already in the 1930s, had appeared with motorcycles and small cars. At the beginning of its production period in 1950, the Gutbrod Superior still had a carburettor, only in 1951 was it on offer with a Bosch-injection pump and an electric fuel pump.
Indeed, it was not able to assert itself, even though it had 3 kW (4 HP) more power and used 20% less fuel than the carburettor models. Neither could an estate car version save the day. Around the end of 1953 the company was forced into closure, they could however, rescue the agricultural section. The participating engineers, van Winsen and Scherenberg, were, together with the injection technology, taken over by Daimler-Benz, the latter became their chief of development.
The 700 E Goliath, being a part of Borgward, was always also mentioned, indeed, it profited from the preliminary work done between Bosch and Gutbrod, and also by the way, from the two-stroke development done by DKW. Below you can see the integration of the two-stroke engine into the front-wheel drive. Borgward only supplied a more spacious car-body and, as the substantially larger company, the superior know-how. In the Superior,e.g., there was an unsynchronised three-speed gearbox, whereby the Goliath had a synchronised four-speed. Nonetheless, Borgward, at the same time as Gutbrod, managed to get to the first post-war-IAA (International Motor Show) in 1951 in Frankfurt. This is probably why they shared the common fame.
Now, which advantages did the first petrol direct-injection have? In the two-stroke of course, very special advantages, because the injection only takes place when the exhaust ports are already closed. Thus, it is flushed with pure air and this, is where a large part of the fuel saving comes from. Apart from that, virtually an automatic separate lubrication comes about. Thus the 900 E shown above, also no longer had a freewheel. In addition, it's exhaust gases were far more acceptable than what one was accustomed to from two-stroke engines.
The car was very comfortable, with a gear-change somewhat like that of the Citroen 2CV or the Renault R4. The engine was described as being quiet, as long as the car was being driven well below the top speed. The performance corresponded to that of the mid-range cars of the time. The steering was the weak point in the first Superiors, apparently and despite the rack-and-pinion steering, it was a front-wheel drive problem. In the Gutbrod, in this case, it was too sluggish. The brakes, on the other hand, were highly praised.
At this time, the bodywork counted as being spacious and because the fuel tank was placed up front, only the flat-lying spare-wheel hindered the intensive use of the luggage compartment. The front bench-seat could even be adjusted while driving, the backrests however, couldn't be. Indeed, these could be folded to the front to allow access to the rear bench-seat.
Of course, there was one manufacturer, who knew how to utilize this development even better, and that was Daimler-Benz. As far as petrol direct-injection was concerned, it wasn't only linked to the fame of the 300 SL, but also to an, albeit short but unprecedented, racing career. Somewhat later, although they didn't build the direct injection any more, but carrying the abbreviation 'SE', and for a long time, the very much taken for granted, inlet manifold injection. 02/15