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It was the first real attempt at car production in Norway, but only five cars were ever built. Trolls are Norwegian and Swedish mythical giants similar to ogres in Great Britain.
The Troll car was made as a 2+2 sports car with a glass-reinforced plastic (or fiberglass) chassis. The idea was to build the first mass produced car outside the US in this material. In the US Chevrolet made its Corvette in fiberglass, but no one in Europe made cars in plastic yet.
Fiberglass was a relatively new material in the late 1950s, and the benefits were many. It would not rust, the Troll car would be 130 kg lighter than an equivalent metal car, and the production would be significantly simpler and therefore cheaper.
- 700 cc straight-twin two-stroke engines made by Gutbrod of Germany with Bosch fuel injection.
- 30 hp (22 kW)
- Top speed: ca 130 km/h
- Fuel consumption: 5 litres/100 km (47mpg)
There were plans to change to a SAAB engine, but these were never implemented.
Engineer Per Kohl-Larsen got hold of the molds for the car in Germany - the man behind the design was Hanns Trippel.
The first car
The first Troll car was revealed to the press in October 1956. It was not completely finished, but the form of the chassis was final. The car could however not be driven. This car was later used as a prototype, and many changes was made during later testing.
The first customer got his car May 1, 1957.
Production and bankruptcy
As the production commenced, Kohl-Larsen had to work hard to get a permit from the government to sell the car. He was only allowed to sell 15 cars in Norway. The reason for this was a barter treaty Norway had with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe to buy cars from them as they bought fish products from Norway. The government was afraid domestic car production would disrupt this trading balance. Kohl-Larsen therefore started plans to export the cars to Germany and Denmark. There was also requests from other countries like Finland and Belgium. At one point there were plans to build 2000 cars a year, but after some moderation they said they would be happy with one finished car a day.
However, the company was never allowed to sell more than those 15 cars on the Norwegian market. In addition they didn't get hold of the investment capital necessary to start large scale production. When the government made it clear that they never wanted to support the Troll car, all the potential investors closed negotiations. Hence, Norway's first car factory went bankrupt in early 1958. Only five complete cars had been produced.