You all know by now I pride myself on digging out the rare, the bizzare and the unique in this hobby. And this thing ticks all three boxes. It’s one of the finest additions to my rather bloated hoard. Say hello to the Zundapp Janus by German brand Siku.
The Janus was a microcar produced by German motorcycle brand Zundapp between 1957 and 1958. Based on an earlier Dornier design, the Janus featured novel back to back seating to maximise interior space. It also featured an almost symmetrical design with a door at both the front and rear to enable access to the cabin. The name “Janus” was appropriately chosen, named after the Roman god of doors, gates and transitions who had two faces. Powered by a 245cc single-cylinder two-stroke engine with 14hp, the Janus was capable of 50mph. Zundapp had intended it to be a real family car, and despite the interior space and comfortable ride, the car was troubled by poor handling characteristics and a high price. It failed to catch on and only 6902 were built before Zundapp pulled the plug on the project.
This Siku hails from the company’s early days where the primary material of choice was plastic. These models are some of the most collectible and sought after Siku cars and can fetch high prices. I feel lucky to have found this one for a touch under €30, and it’s fast become one of my favourite models.
There really wasn’t a lot to these models. Features and detail were kept to a minimum but they remained wonderfully evocative of the real vehicles and the Zundapp is an utter beauty.
I have a couple more of these plastic Siku and all seem to have lump of metal (perhaps lead?) affixed to the chassis to give some added weight. Some seem to be clipped together, others like my DKW Schnellaster and this Janus are glued together.
A simple but beautiful little model and one that I hope will be one of many plastic Sikus in my collection.
(Explore Siku on Ebay)