Austrian garage owner and amateur racing driver Wolfgang Denzel started making sports cars in 1949. His cars were made using Volkswagen parts. The first cars were shown at the Geneva Salon with the maker's name "WD" and this only changed to Denzel in 1957. Customers found the VW engines lacking in power so he switched to Porsche engines and with a Porsche-powered car, Denzel won the Rally of the Alps in 1954, which provided him with valuable publicity. The original open roadster was followed by a less successful coupe. When Denzel realised that he could never successfully compete against Porsche, he closed his works and returned to life as a garage owner. In 1980, Denzel was the importer for Volvo, Ferrari, BMW, Mitsubishi and several other makes and he had showrooms and workshops in virtually every major town in Austria.