That Weird Retro Car Company Wiesmann Was Way Older Than You Thought

I sort of always assumed Wiesmann appeared out of thin air when Jeremy Clarkson drove one on old Top Gear in 2005. But it’s older than that. No, it’s older than that, too.

I’m sure vast throngs of you are standing up at your desks right now, hurling coffee, screaming “haha! Wiesmann has been around since the late ’90s!”


Well, you’re close, but you’re not all the way there.

Wiesmann was a pretty straightforward idea: make a classic roadster but with modern German build quality and tech. That was the one basic formula for all of Wiesmann’s life, up until it liquidated in 2014 and passed into small-manufacturer limbo, where it totally absolutely will get reborn definitely probably.

As such, there has only ever been one basic Wiesmann car. You know how it looks and you know it has a BMW engine under the hood, first a straight six and then a V8. You saw it on Top Gear above. Wiesmann gave different versions different names depending on what exact version the car is, but it’s all the same basic thing.

The first one of those was the Wiesmann MF 30, which Wikipedia says was “the first Wiesmann model ever built.” This is not strictly correct. German Wikipedia is closer to the mark saying that it was Wiesmann’s first car it put into series production. As it is, the car came out not in the 2000s, not in the late ’90s, but all the way back in 1993. Thankfully for us, someone uploaded what is claimed to be a 1994 brochure for the car. As you can see, it’s not really any different from any other Wiesmann that has come or is set to come after it.


But is this the first Wiesmann? Of course not! There was another, or at least I can find one photo of one more.


Called alternately the MF 25 or the MF 28 depending on whether it had a 2.5- or 2.8-liter BMW straight six under the hood, this was Wiesmann’s actual first car. This photo shows it along with an Wiesmann aftermarket hardtop. This is, seriously, the only photo I could find of it, posted to a couple different Russian websites. It was shot at the 1993 Frankfurt International Motor Show, claims, which is where I first found this shot. I do hope that it’s a press photo from Wiesmann, which normally I’d be able to check, but Wiesmann’s website hasn’t been the best since the company went under in 2014.


Apparently the little early roadster was made in small batches up until 1996, per Kolesa, and I think it’s rather sweet, cute and handsome in a way that the later car’s didn’t quite capture.

What’s interesting is that this was just the first real car from Wiesmann, but it didn’t pop up immediately. The company itself formed back in 1988.


So the whole operation is a lot older and stranger than I had ever thought. Now, if you have any other photos of these super early MF 25/MF 28s, let me know. I need to see more.

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Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.