1961-1962 Dinarg D-200 Corto & Largo
During the 1950’s the Argentinian Government encouraged car companies from around the world to manufacture their cars in Argentina. Few courageously dreamed to produce their own car individual to Argentina. However, with home grown tenacity and perseverance, the Dinarg team conceived and created the Dinarg D-200 Corto and its longer variant the Dinarg D-200 Largo which are added to the legacy and history of wonderful and amazing Microcars.
Dinarg corporation name was derived from Dinámica Industrial Argentina and was founded in 1959 by industrialists and engineers. The engineers were José Fuad Elaskar (company President), Meliton González del Solar, Gilberto Anastasio Lamarque, Enrique Rodríguez Pardiña, Walter Ricardo Santa Cruz and Roberto Antonio Suárez. As with most microcars the utilitarian ideal was to manufacture a low-cost small car that would be inexpensive to buy, cheap to run and be embraced by the public with good sales.
The Dinarg D-200 was a 2 door, 2-4-seater microcar sedan designed and developed wholly in Argentina. Conceived in 1959 with 3 prototypes completed by 1960 which were extensively road tested over 100 000 Kms before production. It was manufactured in the city of Cordoba, Argentina from 1961 – 1962, and 257 cars were produced.
The chassis was made from molded fiberglass and reinforced by plates and steel pipes at locations where the suspension and motor were attached. The small chassis designed for legroom compromised the turning circle to 9.7 m (right) and 9.6 m (left) but the microcar had good maneuverability when driven. The Dinarg D-200 was 2430 mm long. A slightly longer car, the Dinarg D-200 Largo (2680 mm long) was made on demand by cutting an existing chassis in two, inserting the longer section and re-joining the pieces. As the Largo was not made from separate molding it was not regarded as a different Dinarg D-200 model. However, the original car later became known by the designation Dinarg D-200 Corto to differentiate it from the Dinarg D-200 Largo.
Initially the only designations were D-200 and Largo. The 2 variants were designed by different staff to pursue different sectors of the car market. The essence of the D-200 was to compete with motorbikes, not with other cars, to provide workers with a cheap small car to keep them out of the wind and rain. While the Largo variant was to compete with other microcars cars such as the Fiat 600 and the Joseso (another car designed and made entirely in Argentina).
The rear bench seat was a step which could accommodate 2 children while the Largo provided more leg room to better develop the rear seat. The additional space was demonstrated by longer rear side windows in the Largo. Sliding side windows allowed door cavities to provide more cabin space. The Dinarg D-200 was 1240 mm wide and 1280 mm high. The doors opened backwards at 90 degrees and the 2 front seats folded forwards providing access to the rear seats or to a space that could store a suitcase, which was important as there was no boot storage. The tiny boot space was for access to the motor and spare wheel only.
Cars produced for hotter more northerly parts of Argentina were made with larger and slightly deeper rear side air intake vents.
The single cylinder 191 cc, Sachs 2 stroke motorcycle engine achieved 25 km / Litre of petrol. The fuel tank held 18 Litres, but as there was no fuel gauge it had to be topped up regularly. The car was rear wheel drive with reliable drum brakes in each wheel. The gearbox had 4 forward gears, but reverse required the engine to be turned off and the key in the dashboard to start in the opposite direction. The maximum speed was 80 km/h. The car weighed 300 kg. The speedometer with a built-in odometer was the only needle instrument on the dashboard. The mechanism for the turning indicator was clockwork operated and shut off after 30 seconds. Cars were manufactured with a driver’s side mirror and other accessories were added later. The side trims were either a chromed straight strip or a strip with a stylised chevron flourish.
In 1961 the Dinarg D-200 was one of the smallest cars in the world and at the time was one of the cheapest new microcars cars on the market in Argentina, costing 151 000 pesos and the Heinkel 149 000 pesos. The car was extensively track and road tested by the Parabrisas motoring Magazine and the results published in Issue No. 32. July 1963. The Parabrisas Magazine testing concluded the following features:
- Functional to the extreme
- Reliability of mechanical parts
- Very good performance in the city
- Exceptional turning conditions
- Extraordinary brakes
- Very sensitive clutch
- Parking brake does not work
- Very imprecise address
- Small turning radius
- Lack of fuel quantity indicator
- Keyless fuel tank cap
Despite the thorough performance testing and generally good review from the Parabrisas Magazine, manufacturing ended in 1962 with a total of 257 cars produced. The Dinarg D-200 Corto – 197 units, and the Dinarg D-200 Largo – 60 units. The dream had been realised, but hopes not sustained, leaving the world with yet another fascinating and amazing Microcar.
If you wish to purchase the Dinarg D-200 Corto, please see the product here.
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