The Rometsch was brought into production in 1950 by German coachbuilder Friedrich Rometsch. His dream was to build an affordable alternative to the flashy sports cars of the time. Rometsch designed, built and sold two versions of his sports car the coupe and the cabriolet. The cabriolet retailed at 8,250 DM and the coupe at 7,950 DM. They were popular with the Hollywood rich and famous and both Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn were Rometsch owners.
The Rometsch is based on a Type 1 chassis and uses the standard gearbox and a slightly modified VW 1200cc engine. A Rometsch sales brochure from 1960 suggested the new revived engine featured a total of 50 horsepower. The body was constructed entirely by hand and the steel inner body frame was supported by hard wood pillars and support beams from the door hinges to the firewall whilst the outer body is made of smooth lightweight aluminium. It was this design that caused the rarity of the car because the hardwood frame was subject to rot particularly in harsh climates and the aluminium body was easily damaged and expensive to repair.
Alongside the chassis and running gear other parts borrowed from VW included Karmann Ghia headlights, ashtray and mirrors along with Beetle sun visors. Fredrich Rometsch also utilised existing parts from other European automotive manufacturers, including Fiat 1959 1100 D taillights, Ferrari 375 Mille Miglia front indicators and the lesser known Borgward for its chrome 1959 Isabella door handles. However, various items such as the Beetle hubcaps were slightly different, featuring a smooth finish, void of the VW logo similar to the moon discs of today.
While the Rometsch coupe was produced for roughly 10 years, their were significantly more cabriolets produced than coupes. Out of the estimated 500 Rometsch built, only around 29 are known to have survived and out of this 25 are cabriolets and 4 coupes. Rometsch also produced a four door taxi model in the early 1950's also based on the Oval VW Beetle. Very few of these taxis are believed to have survived.
If you wished to add a Rometsch to your collection you will have to dig deep into your bank balance as collectors are willing to pay well to own one. Prices for those that come onto the open market can range between $35,000 (US) for little more than a shell requiring full restoration to upwards of $55 - 80,000 (US) for an early cabriolet in concours condition.