Bill Buckle, an Australian was a man who sensed an opportunity at the right time. While demand for small, fuel-efficient cars was strong in Australia in the late 1950s, high import taxes discouraged bringing in microcars from Europe. What if chassis, which would be taxed at a much lower rate, could be imported from Europe, and bodied in Australia?
Buckle, who had seen fiberglass-bodied sports cars during a visit to England in the early 1950s, approached Goggomobil, one of Europe's most successful producers of microcars. He traveled to the Bavarian city of Dingolfing to meet with the company's founder, Hans Glas and despite the language barrier, Buckle was able to convince Glas on his scheme of things. Buckle was soon importing Goggomobil chassis with flat-twin, air-cooled, 2-stroke engines of 250cc and 300cc, and fitting them with fiberglass copies of their standard Goggomobile T (sedan), TS (sport sedan) and TL (transporter) steel bodyshells. Soon, Buckle saw there was another opportunity to create something new - how about creating a sporty, open two-seater on the Coupe's chassis?
The result was the Dart of 1958, a vehicle entirely unlike anything Goggomobil was offering back home. Two large fiberglass pieces made up the Dart's doorless body; a rubber strip was used to hide the joint. The rear-mounted engine, of 250cc or 300cc, drove the rear wheels through a four-speed gearbox with reverse, shifted via a floor lever. Suspension was by coil springs, steering was rack-and-pinion, and hydraulically operated drum brakes were fitted to all four wheels. The windshield was the back window of a Renault Dauphine.
Buckle produced about 700 Darts over the next three years, every one of which was sold on the domestic market. So successful were these microcars that Buckle tried to persuade Glas to adopt the design, but at that point, the end of the microcar boom was in sight. 1961 would be the last year for the Dart, though Buckle still remains in business, selling brand new Toyota’s through his firm called Bill Buckle Toyota, in Sydney.