2009 FRANKFURT MOTOR SHOW: The Wonder of Wiesmann’s Assembly Process

Every Wiesmann is custom built by hand. Don’t believe that claim? Here, it'll show you...

In order to showcase their cars’ construction and design, automakers invariably rely upon cutaway models to show their wares from the inside out. Wiesmann, a German manufacturer of some sweet retro-styled sports cars, took a different approach at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show: they’re building an entire car at the show.

A pair of craftsmen from Wiesmann's factory in Dülmen, Germany, set up shop on the company’s display stand yesterday afternoon, bringing neatly-arranged tool chests, a dolly, creeper, and a basic chassis tub along with them. Since then, they’ve slowly (but carefully) been building an actual Wiesmann MF4 GT coupe, not unlike the brown example shown in this gallery.

It’s hard not to love a Wiesmann: every model is beautifully styled (if not somewhat derivative of a Jaguar XK120), fitted with a luxurious interior, and packed full of power. The latter comes courtesy of BMW -- the MF5 Roadster, which made its debut at the show, stuffs the 5.0-liter V-10 from an M5 underneath its hood. Given the car’s 3000-pound curb weight, we imagine that makes for a wild ride. Even the MF4 sounds fun -- it uses BMW's 367-hp 4.8-liter V-8, which can rocket the car from 0-62 mph in 4.6 seconds.

Sadly, we didn’t have a chance to see that monster engine get squeezed between the inner fenders. Between yesterday evening and today, the MF4 gained a number of suspension and driveline components, and was about to have the entire wiring harness installed (how about those Volvo relays?). Fun fact: no two Wiesmann electrical harnesses are exactly alike, which must make servicing a car or finding parts years out real fun.

If all goes according to plan, the dynamic duo will finish the car on the 27, and hopefully without the usual leftover fasteners that accompany my assembly projects. They'll have to hurry, though -- even if; given 24 hours each day to wrench on the MF4, they'd still fall short of the 350 hours Wiesmann says goes into building each car.

There’s a good bet that this particular car will be sold to a customer (Wiesmann builds approximately 100 cars a year), but given the company has no interests in shelling out the expenses required to certify their cars to NHTSA standards, it won’t be headed to America.

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