Friday, 30 June 2017

1940 DKW Engines for Transport





DKW produced a variety of stationary engines for industrial purposes. One of these uses was in various transport machinery, such as the triporters and luggage haulers shown in this flyer. 

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A second DKW F9 prototype discovered

It was long believed that of the ten DKW F9 prototypes built in 1939, only the single example at the Audi Tradition museum in Ingolstadt has survived to this day.

The DKW F9 prototype at Ingolstadt with its luxury stablemate, the Horch 920S, in the background

The story of the Audi Tradition car's survival is quite extraordinary and worth retelling. The car was built in 1939 and used for road testing and exhibitions during the early war years. As the war dragged on however, the German army increasingly turned to confiscating personal cars for military use. Auto-Union executives were forced to hand over their Horch, Wanderer and Audi cars but DKW cars were exempt from confiscation because the German army disdained their two-stroke engines. Auto-Union chief designer, William Werner, who was the lead designer on the F9 project, adopted this particular prototype as his personal vehicle.

On 6 May 1945, Auto-Union management held an emergency meeting and decided to flee westwards to escape possible Soviet retribution for the company's use of slave labour and Soviet POWs during the war. Werner set out in his F9 to Flensberg, near the Danish border, in the British Occupation Zone. There the British recognized the car as a new type and seized it for technical evaluation. After testing the British handed the car over to the Australian government as part of a war reparations exchange. At that time the Australian government was interested in establishing a domestic automobile industry and the studies done during the war years had recommended manufacturing a cheap and robust car "like the German DKW." However, in 1948 the government decided to back the American backed General-Motors Holden project and the DKW idea was dropped. The car was now deemed surplus to requirements and was sold off at an army surplus auction in 1949 (along with the very early VW Beetle that now in the York Motor Museum).

Werner's F9 therefore became the first post-war DKW on Australian shores. Although attempts to restart DKW sales in Australia in 1953 and 1958 failed a smattering of personal imports trickled into the country as the private imports of migrant families.

Because the car was a prototype with a unique engine (the 3=6 engined F93 wouldn't arrive in Australia until late 1958), it was virtually guaranteed that any serious breakdown would be fatal to the car and at some point in the mid-1950s the engine did indeed fail. There still were DKW mechanics in Australia at the time servicing and supporting pre-war DKWs and they solved the problem the same way DKW did, by transplanting the F9's body onto a pre-war DKW chassis with a two-cylinder engine. In this hybrid form the car continued to provide many more happy years of motoring. Fortunately the owner retained the original chassis and engine.

The car as it looked when Peter owned it. It has F89 running gear and bonnet.

In the 1980s the car, along with its original chassis and engine, was acquired by Melbourne DKW Club member Peter Thorogood, who intended to restore it to its original spec. Unfortunately the boom years of the 1980s did not last and he was forced to sell it before the restoration could be undertaken. The car eventually returned to Audi Tradition in Ingolstadt where it is now on display.


The 'new' car
In late September I was contacted by a friend in Germany with some exciting (and disappointing) news. This fellow has long been on the trail of the lost F9 prototypes and had even managed to locate a pre-production 1940 engine in the hands of a collector, which he hoped to use in a F9 replica he was planning to build. To build his replica he began searching for a very early IFA F9 to provide a donor body, as the East German version of the F9 is very similar to the pre-war DKW original.

East German brochure for the IFA F9. Early F9s are identifiable by their split front and rear windows.

From a client in Estonia he obtained a lead on a promising car, but upon inspection he found that it was not a 1949 IFA but one of the lost 1939 DKWs. The car had been commandeered by a senior officer in the Soviet engineering corps that was tasked with supervising the dismantling of Auto-Union's factories for shipping to the Soviet Union. This officer took the car back to Russia with him and used it for many years. Like Werner's car, the engine eventually failed and was replaced with a four-cylinder four-stroke engine and the car converted to rear wheel drive. After many years of service the car was parked up in a shed and then forgotten.

My friend attempted to buy the car immediately but his interest in this wreck (as the car is in very poor condition) led the owners to suspect they had something of greater significance. They contacted Audi Tradition independently, who after examining their records confirmed the car was indeed one of the lost prototypes. This confirmation led to a bidding war for the car and unfortunately my friend was outbid. The car has now gone to another collector in Germany who intends to restore it. The car itself is little more than a shell and will require extensive restoration, but it will be great to see it saved.


Cars were hard to come by so when they broke down every effort was made to fix them. The car received a new engine with rear wheel drive, necessitating some drastic modifications. This wasn't uncommon. I have seen many photos from Russia of Tatras and Volkswagens re-engined with conventional front mounted engines, and even IFA F9s with rear mounted VW engines!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

1939 DKW F9 Prototype


In 1935 the DKW design team started work on a new car project. The 'hohe-klasse', or 'high class', was conceived as a wholly new design and was a quantum leap away from DKW's budget car heritage. The driving force behind the project was the recognition that Hitler's KDF-Volkswagen would come to dominate the budget car market in Germany by 1940 and if DKW were to survive, they needed a new and modern car to compete.

In 1936 DKW began trialing a new 3 cylinder 900cc engine. There is some evidence to suggest that this new engine was derived from the British Scott Triple motorcycle engine of 1934. It is on the record that DKW purchased two Scott Triples from Scott’s French importer in 1935 or 1936 and the layout and the capacity of the Scott and DKW engines are strikingly similar.

At any rate, DKW tested the new engine in a series of three streamlined, endurance racers. The racers featured a new chassis, new suspension and each car was fitted with a different engine - the standard 688cc two cylinder two-stroke; the V-4 1000cc two-stroke; and the new 896cc triple. In line with DKW’s standard practice, the triple engine was mounted transversely in the engine bay, although this was a very tight fit and widened the frontal aspect of the car. The new engine compared very favourably against DKW’s other engines and the trio of cars performed well in the 1938 Rome-Berlin endurance race. http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/auto-union-streamliners.html
Auto-Union adapted the streamliner concept in its stunning 1938 Horch 930S. After it was unveiled to great acclaim, Auto-Union began designing a version for DKW.

As stunning as the Horch 930S looked, it was a very expensive, coach-built car and very few were built. If the new DKW was to compete with the Volkswagen it would need to be cheap and mass producible. Auto-Union designers recognized that a unitary, self-supporting steel body would be cheaper to produce than the traditional separate body and chassis method, but few companies had experience in this field. The Ambi-Budd Karosseriewerks held the patent in Germany from their US parent and it was used almost exclusively by German Ford and Opel. Auto-Union approached Ambi-Budd but felt the license costs were excessive.

In 1938 Auto-Union consulted the independent engineer, Friedrich Maier, who offered an alternative solution. Maier had been an aircraft engineer for Junkers but in 1934 he had struck out on his own as an auto designer. In response to Adolf Hitler’s call to build ‘the cheap car’ for the German people, he built a single all steel prototype vehicle called the ‘Maier Lightweight.’ Maier’s unorthodox, highly streamlined vehicle was powered by a rear mounted 600cc DKW engine and featured a self-supporting pressed steel body for which he held the patent. http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/1935-maier-leichtbau.html

Maier assured Auto-Union that his patented method could be used to manufacture the new DKW. Extensive discussions were held with Maier but Auto-Union eventually decided to continue with the traditional construction methods as Maier’s company was simply too small a player and Auto-Union couldn’t convince themselves that Ambi-Budd wouldn’t opportunistically sue for patent breach. Besides which, time was running out.

In 1938 the Volkswagen was unveiled to the German public, and tens of thousands of Germans immediately signed up to the purchase scheme. Almost half a million would have signed up by the start of the war. DKW sales immediately took a hit. The new car needed to be unveiled soon.

By 1938 the new triple engine was production ready even if the car it was to power wasn’t. As a stop gap, DKW considered installing the triple engine in the new DKW Sonderklasse in place of that car’s poorly performing V4 engine, but this idea never came to fruition. http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/the-big-dkw-48.html

For road trials, the new engine was installed transversely in the engine bay of modified F8, but it quickly became apparent that this was not a suitable placement so a second car had its chassis modified to accommodate an inline engine. This change, originally intended solely to provide sufficient access for the driven stub axles, led to a complete redesign of the engine bay and vehicle layout.

A mystery DKW engine discovered by Winfried Kuhl. It appears to be a 3=6 prototype engine but has a production serial number. Did DKW begin small scale production of the 3=6 engine in the mid-1940s?

The compact engine-gearbox layout of the F8 was not possible in the F9. As the gearbox needed to be positioned behind the engine, the engine had to be pushed forward and lower. This supported a more streamlined profile, however, the reduced frontal profile and gently sloped bonnet was inadequate for a front mounted radiator, so the radiator had to mounted behind the engine. Cooling was achieved by thermo-syphonic effect so there was no water pump, but ensuring sufficient airflow to the radiator required the addition of a fan,which was driven by a pulley from the front of the camshaft. The pulley also drove the Dynastart, which combined the function of generator and starter motor.

Placing the radiator behind the engine meant there was no room in the engine bay for the petrol tank. All earlier DKW cars had their petrol tank mounted behind and above the engine, allowing gravity to feed gas to the engine. The fuel tank was moved to the boot, as in most modern cars, but this required the addition of a fuel pump - a novelty for DKW. In accordance with DKW's design principle of economy and simplicity, the fuel pump was a very basic affair that used the vacuum within the crankcase for its motive force. It was simple and it worked but it was a weak point in the engine.

In 2015 the Werner car was part of an exhibition about the early development of the IFA F9 'People's Car' in Chemnitz. This very successful exhibition included a prototype transverse mounted engine (seen here in the foreground) from one of the early test vehicles. How this example survived is anyone's guess. Other vehicles on display included a prototype chassis, several very early IFA F9s and F9 racer. http://fahrzeugmuseum-chemnitz.de/?event=der-f9-ein-gesamtdeutsches-auto&event_date=2014-12-18

The Plastic Car

By 1939 the Auto-Union Central Design Bureau had finalized the car’s modern, streamlined form and work began on the preproduction prototypes. No sooner had work started than Auto-Union’s steel allocation - a scarce strategic resource in Nazi Germany - was substantially reduced. This provoked a crisis at Auto-Union and a rationalization of projects in development. A more expensive Wanderer version of the F9 in the pipeline was cancelled after two preproduction prototypes, but as Auto-Union’s future was tied to the new DKW an alternative to steel was required.

The stillborn Wanderer W31 project reveals that Auto-Union was planning to standardize the F9 concept across their range. Only two full size cars were built.

Fortunately, Auto-Union had a solution in hand. For many years Auto-Union had been working in partnership with the chemical company Rommler AG to develop a synthetic product called Duroplast. Duroplast was manufactured by pressing phenol resin impregnated wood pulp in a heated press. Once dried the Duroplast panels were strong and flexible. From 1938 DKW undertook extensive road and crash testing of Duroplast bodied F7s to prove the utility of the new product, in the process becoming the first company in Europe to undertake professional crash testing.

Auto-Union undertook crash testing for all its cars in the 1930s, from steel bodied Audi's to plywood and Dynoplast bodied DKWs.

For DKW the benefits of Duroplast were obvious. Firstly, the component raw materials of phenolic resin and wood pulp were both waste products and therefore low cost. Secondly, Dynoplast could be pressed into complex curves which could substantially reduce manpower effort spent building and weatherproofing DKW's wooden bodied cars, which were very labour intensive to fit out. In 1939 DKW began using Duroplast on the rear body of the F8.

DKW's Duroplast bodywork panels on display at the 1938 Berlin Motor Show. Duroplast is probably most famous for its use in the Trabant, but DKW's Duroplast was developed from wood pulp while the Trabant panels were manufactured with cotton waste.


By September 1939 though, ten steel-bodied prototypes had been built and were being put through road trials. Advertising material was prepared and the car was scheduled to go into series production in early 1940. However, these plans were put on hold with the start of the Second World War. Road trials and further enhancements went on until 1942 when all the military situation began to turn against Germany and all civilian projects were shut down.

Two prototypes on a test drive. This photo must have been taken during the early years of the War as both cars have their headlights masked and the left hand car has a black-out light over its headlight.

From 1942 things went progressively downhill for both Germany and Auto-Union. Both Wanderer and Horch plants were given over to war production from 1940; Horch producing trucks and Wanderer a wide range of military vehicles. DKW was the only member of the group exempted from military takeover, largely because the Wehrmacht deemed their two-stroke engine unsuitable for military use. Production of DKW civilian motorcycles and F8 cars continued until 1943.

By 1944 transport shortages in Germany had become acute and the military were forced to confiscate private vehicles for military use. Only a few vehicle types were exempt, such as the Mercedes-Benz 130H, which had a poor reputation, and DKW vehicles. Auto-Union’s executives lost their Horch, Audi and Wanderer limousines and were forced to make do with DKWs. The ten F9 prototypes, along with the Wanderer and DKW endurance cars, were distributed among the Auto-Union executives as replacement cars. Head of Design and Development, William Werner, who had headed up the F9 project, took possession of a hard top sedan.

Technical director William Werner studies a model of a Wanderer sedan around 1938.

The Spoils of War
In April 1945 at an extraordinary meeting of the Auto-Union board in Chemnitz the chief executives of the company agreed it was in their best interests to flee from the Soviet Occupation Zone to the west. Werner took his F9 and fled to Oldenburg, near Bremen in the British Occupation Zone. There he set up a DKW spares and servicing company to eek out a living.

All across Germany Allied specialists were combing the ruins for hidden German technology and in 1946 the British Ministry of Supply seized his car and sent it to the School of Tank Technology in Cobham, Surrey for evaluation. Auto-Union executives, including Werner, were interviewed about the genesis and development of the F9 car. The British report noted:
"The F9 car was developed solely to meet competition offered by the Volkswagen. The Volkswagen (subsidised) was cheaper than their F8 model, and had more room and was faster. They reckoned that in producing the F9 which had a much better appearance than the Volkswagen and was about 15 kph faster, they would hold the market somewhere between the Volkswagen and the higher priced cars." Quoted from Karl Ludvigsen's "Battle for the Beetle" page 373.
After a period of testing in England the car was handed over to the Australian Army. The war had convinced the Australian Government that the country needed to develop an indigenous automobile industry and in 1944 proposed that Australia begin manufacturing "a car similar to the German low priced two-stroke DKW", so the British handed the car over to the Australians for the purposes of evaluation. Nevertheless, after extensive testing, the F9, along with other confiscated German vehicles (including a 1946 Volkswagen), was put up for public auction in 1949 and sold.

After changing hands a number of times, the car was purchased by Mr Leo Redfern of Victoria in the 1960s. Having a preproduction engine without any possibility of spare parts, it was inevitable that the engine would one day fail. This forced Mr Redfern to make significant changes to the car, transplanting the body onto a pre-war DKW F8 chassis and engine. An F91 bonnet and radiator screen replaced the original bonnet.

The car changed hands a couple of times before it was tracked down by DKW collector, Peter Thorogood in the 1980s. Peter also obtained the original chassis and engine (which was dismantled in a box) and planned to do a full restoration, however, when the economy turned bad at the end of the 1980s he was forced to put the car up for sale. By this stage Audi AG had become aware of the car and were keen to obtain this important vehicle for their collection. Forty odd years after it had left Germany the prototype finally returned home. Audi Tradition undertook the long awaited restoration. An early IFA F9 bonnet and grill replaced the missing original. The engine however was not fully repairable. The car is now on display at Audi's Ingolstadt museum where it can be enjoyed by everyone. http://www.audi.com/com/brand/en/experience/audi_forums0/audi_forum_ingolstadt/museum_mobile.html



In late 2016 a second F9 prototype made a surprise appearance. This car had been confiscated by a Soviet engineering officer involved in the dismantling of the Auto-Union factories in the 1946-47. The car returned home with him and served as the family vehicle for many decades. As with the Werner car, the engine failed at some point and with cars being something of a luxury in the USSR, a new engine was grafted into the vehicle. Creative Soviet mechanics converted the car to rear wheel drive by installing the complete drive train, inclusive of a floor mounted gearbox and transmission tunnel. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the battered and mutilated car was found derelict in a farmhouse in Estonia. It has now been purchased by a German enthusiast for restoration. http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/a-second-dkw-f9-prototype-discovered.html


The F9 is reborn

Auto-Union’s factories in Chemnitz, Zwickau and Zschopau were stripped by the Soviets as war reparations between 1945 and 1947 leaving the company with nothing but the empty halls. Nevertheless, a few items escaped the net. When the war turned against them, the Nazis distributed heavy machinery into mines, forests and villages to protect them from bombing. Once the East German government was established it nationalized what was left of the auto industry under the name VEB, which meant something like public owned company. The Auto-Union factories were re-badged IFA. Stocks of spare parts for DKW cars and motorcycles were recovered from their hiding places and IFA began to flicker back into life repairing pre-war cars and building motorcycles from spare parts. In 1948 production of the pre-war F8 car began

Another F9 prototype had been recovered in Leipzig and was returned to the old Audi factory in Chemnitz. This car was dismantled, examined and reverse engineered to become the template for the IFA F9. In external appearance, IFA F9 was a faithful replica of the original F9, however cost cutting measures resulted in a few noticeable differences. For the sake of simplicity the IFA engineers initially placed the petrol tank in the engine bay, buttressed between the radiator and firewall. It meant a smaller tank but it did mean that the fuel pump was no longer necessary.

The new car was unveiled at the Leipzig Motor Show in 1949 to great excitement. However, production at Chemnitz was painfully slow due to the chronic shortage of parts and only 1600 cars had been built there before VEB transferred production of the F9 to the former BMW autowerkes at Eisenach.

Eisenach were then producing two cars, the large EMW 340 sedan and the sleek EMW 310 roadster. Neither car found a market in East Germany’s straitened circumstances so production had ground to a halt leaving the workforce underemployed. Eisenach's workers were horrified to be asked to build the cheap F9, which they regarded as beneath them. Nevertheless, they set to work and very rapidly made improvements, such as increasing the size of the rear window, replacing the ‘walking stick’ centrally mounted gear shift with a column shift and otherwise improved the fittings and build quality of the car. In 1956, they undertook a complete restyling of the car, which was renamed the Wartburg 311.


Revival in the West
Over in West Germany things were in much the same state of disorder. The surviving Auto-Union executives met in Dusseldorf and agreed to reconstitute the company. Former managing director, Dr Richard Bruhn and Deputy Director Dr Carl Hahn secured a line of credit from the State Bank of Bavaria based solely on their good standing and a new company, Auto-Union Spare Parts Depot Gmb was registered. Former company assets across West Germany were located and bought into the new company and contact was made with the numerous service stations and selling agents. As in the east, the new Auto-Union started on the road to recovery by offering repairs and servicing to DKW car and motorcycle owners, and here Auto-Union had a particular advantage. Due to the Wehrmacht’s wartime prejudice against DKW there were 65,000 privately owned DKW cars still on the road in 1945, and large numbers overseas.

The original DKW F89 prototype in Ingolstadt. Despite the oddly overblown bumper, the design closely resembles the original F9 design, especially in respect to the styling of the grill and the split windscreen, however, as the IFA F9 already on sale, DKW were forced to restyle their car.

Auto-Union had managed to recover a test body for the F9 from the DKW bodyworks in Spandau, outside Berlin. It was far from a complete car, the find included many of the machine presses used to construct the original cars, so it was shipped to Auto-Union’s factory in Dusseldorff where it became the template for a new DKW. Auto-Union had briefly considered building the pre-war F8, but the Berlin Spandau werkes was now located on the other side of the new border with East Germany, making transport to and from difficult. They felt it was better to simply start with a new car from scratch. Several hundred F8 chassis from DKW’s stock of spares were bodied with a new, steel bodywork from Baur as the F10, but this venture was quickly abandoned once the F9 body was recovered. Minor modifications were made the F8 chassis to mount the F9 body, and the resulting hybrid car was named F89P. Being powered by the F8's two-cylinder 688cc, 23 horsepower engine meant the new car was underpowered, but it looked the part and was on par with other budget cars of the early 1950s, such as the Volkswagen Beetle or Goliath GP600.

Auto-Union managing director Dr Richard Bruhn (left) is joined by motoring journalist W Ostwald, August Horch and Dr Carl Hahn (right) inspecting the new F89P.

DKW owners would have to wait until 1953 before the 3=6 engine finally made its appearance in the DKW F91. It's highly likely that Auto-Union acquired a 3=6 engine from IFA and reverse engineered it for their car.

The F9’s descendants, both in east and west, proved to be very long lived. The DKW F91 was superseded by an improved version, the F93, in 1957 and then the Auto-Union 1000S in 1960. The 1000S remained in production until 1965 when Volkswagen retired DKW's two-stroke lineage.

The IFA F9 disappeared underneath the restyled Wartburg 311 in 1956, but despite significant restyling again in the 1980s the Wartburg retained the fundamental mechanicals of the DKW F9 originally developed in 1939.


Monday, 19 June 2017

Auto-Union Streamliners

Aeronautical engineer Paul Jaray was at the forefront of streamlined automobile design in the 1920s. Within a year of his first patent in 1921 prototype vehicles had been produced by Audi, Ley and Dixi. Unfortunately, none of the these radically new vehicles proved practical enough to go into production. Despite this failed experiment, Paul Jaray continued working on improving and refining his designs and in 1927 he founded Stromlinien Karosserie Gesellschaft in order to promote and improve his designs.

Paul Jaray's early streamlined car designs were clearly influenced by his work at Zeppelin and featured cramped seating and poor use of interior space.

The Audi Type K streamliner was one of the three Jaray built 'ugly ducklings.' The three cars, built by Ley, Audi and DIXI (who would later become BMW) were very experimental and not particularly successful. It would be almost ten years before anyone would seriously revisit the streamlined concept.


By the 1930s the automotive streamlining concept began to regain acceptance and numerous car companies initiated experimental projects. Auto Union, the Saxon automotive conglomerate was again in the forefront of developments, with several interesting projects based on Paul Jaray patents.  By this time Jaray had begun actively promoting rear-engined, teardrop shaped design concepts. Dozens of companies attempted it, but the engineering proved extremely challenging. DKW attempted to build a Jaray rear-engined car in 1933 but it too proved unsatisfactory. Lessons from its testing however were incorporated into DKW's new, semi-streamlined schwebeklasse model of 1934.

Jaray's rear-engined, low centre of gravity design tempted dozens of companies but proved technically difficult to achieve. Only Tatra and Volkswagen really succeeded making the design work. http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/tatras-streamliners-yesterdays-car-of.html and http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/volkswagen-world-beating-peoples-car.html

DKW made much of the streamlined quality of the wooden bodied Schwebeklasse, but it was at heart quite a conventional car. https://dkwautounionproject.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/1934-dkw-schwebeklasse-brochure.html

Although DKW's rear-engined car project was not a success, the concept was picked up by Auto Union's racing program. Auto Union's chairman Baron Klaus Von Ouertzen had recently secured a 500,000 Reich Mark grant from the Nazi government to support the company's racing program. This much needed injection of capital allowed the company to undertake ambitious design projects - as long as they could deliver results on the track. The ambitious designer Ferdinand Porsche was engaged as technical director of the Auto Union race department and given a free hand in design. The result was Auto Union's famous 'Silver Arrows', which between 1935 and 1939 dominated the world's Grand Prix circuits.

Hermann Muller hurls his Auto Union Type D around the track during the Swiss Grand Prix on 21 August 1938. These monstrous beasts were powered by a mid-engined V16 engine generating some 550 horsepower. Porsche trialed his torsion rear suspension on the cars, which contributed to their massive over-steer problems. To say they were challenging to handle would be an understatement. In fact, Bernd Rosemeyer, probably the best Silver Arrow driver, was a motorcycle racer without without experience of conventional front-engined racers.

This streamlined Auto Union Type C was driven by Hans Stuck to set a 199 kilometre per hour world speed record in 1936.

The AVUS Type C world record car of 1937 was the pinnacle of aerodynamic streamlining.

A German documentary about the Auto Union racing team. It also features some interesting footage of car construction at the DKW factory.

The Silver Arrows were the cutting edge of automotive streamlining, but it wasn't easy applying this technology to a successful passenger vehicle. In 1935 DKW took the lead and fitted a Jaray patented streamlined body to an F5 Sonderklasse. The result was a handsome, modern looking vehicle with fully enclosed wheel arches and headlights.

Drawings of the DKW sonderklasse from the Chemnitz archive.

The 1935 DKW Stromliner. The body was built by Hornig-Karosserie

The F5 Stromliner concept was also trialed successfully by Audi. A replica of this car was recently built for a new Audi advertising campaign.

The Wanderers

With a successful concept in hand, Auto Union returned to motorsport in order to develop the design further. For the 1938 Liege-Rome-Liege endurance race, Wanderer constructed three streamlined racers. The cars were something of a hybrid, combining Wanderer's W-24 chassis, mounting a DKW schwebeklasse floating axle and powered by a 2 litre W-25K engine with triple carburetors. The engines were not supercharged however and rated only 40 horsepower, but the aerodynamic effect of the lightweight aluminum bodywork delivered the cars the performance equivalent of 70 horsepower. Although the cars had a top speed of 160 kilometres per hour breakdowns prevented any of the cars completing the race.

The three Wanderers, followed by a DKW overlander jeep. While the Wanderers' failed to complete the race, the DKW overlander did - dead last.

The cars performed better the following year with better tuned engines. One car tying for 4th and another gaining 11th position.


The DKWs

For the 1938 Berlin to Rome endurance race chief DKW designer William Werner fielded three streamliners based on the Wanderer design. The cars were fitted with 700cc four-cylinder twin-V engines with priming cylinders. Strikingly, these little engines delivered 40 horsepower - the equivalent power output of Wanderer's 2 litre engines - and could push the cars along at 140kph.

For the 1939 Berlin to Rome race the DKW team trialled different engines in the cars, including a tuned two-cylinder 700cc two stroke from the contemporary F7, the four-cylinder 1000cc engine of the DKW Schweberklasse and their new three cylinder 900cc engine. Further improvements were planned for 1940, but were put on hold by the war.

This DKW Rome-Berlin stromliner was photographed in Baden-Wurttemberg after the war but then disappeared. Perhaps it will be rediscovered one day, like the Volkswagen Rome-Berlin racer that now resides in the Prototyp Museum in Hamburg. http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/prototyp-museum-hamburg.html

Production Vehicles
Auto Union's central design team in Chemnitz took the lessons learned on its streamlined endurance racers to develop a series of modern, streamlined passenger vehicles. The result was three exceptional machines, two of which never really made it passed the prototype stage and one that went on to become the foundation of DKW's post-war success.

Horch 930S

Horch unveiled its new luxury limousine, the 930S, at the Berlin Auto Show in 1939. Designed by Günter Mickwausch, Georg Böhm and John Hufnagel, the chassis was based on the 930V of 1935 and mounted a V-8 3.9 litre engine. The hand crafted bodywork was closely modeled on the DKW-Wanderer endurance streamliners of 1938. The car was a sensation, with all the luxury fittings, such as a fold out washbasin behind the front wheel, that were the trademark of the Horch brand. Performance tests on the Dessau racetrack clocked the 2300 kilogram car at 178 kilometres per hour. Only three cars were built before the war intervened.


DKW F9 Hohnklasse

Meanwhile, over at DKW, William Werner's design team were working on a budget version of the design. The F9 Hohnklasse (high class) was also based on the DKW-Wanderer design and featured the new three-cylinder two-stroke engine. The car shared styling with the Horch 930S, which is especially apparent when the vehicles are viewed from the rear quarter. Ten pre-production examples were built before the war. http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/1939-dkw-f9-prototype.html


Wanderer W-31

Wanderer also built their own version of the DKW F9 but powered by a Wanderer 6 cylinder engine. The car was originally designated the W-31, but was then renamed either the W-4 or W-6, depending on whether a four cylinder or six cylinder engine was installed. The car barely made it past prototype stage. A four door sedan and two door coupe prototype were built and presented in May 1939, before all further development ceased and the Wanderer brand was was shut down in 1940.


The War and its Aftermath
In 1940 Auto Union shut down its racing department and placed all the cars in storage. Amongst the horde were all six DKW and Wanderer streamline endurance racers, the Silver Arrows, and the AVUS record breaking car. When the war turned against Germany and Auto Union's factories came under attack, the collection was distributed to more secure locations. Some cars were moved west, while others were hidden in underground bunkers and mines. Despite this the cars were found and seized by the Soviets after the end of the war and shipped back to Russia for study. Unfortunately the Soviets the massive Type C & D racer engines were incredibly complex and required the attention of an experienced engineering staff to run. Unable to capitalise on the technology, the Soviets were determined that these symbols of Nazism should be destroyed and ordered all the machines to be scrapped. A couple of Silver Arrows that had been sent to Czechoslovakia and Latvia as part of an exhibition escaped destruction. After the Fall of Communism they disappeared in mysterious circumstances before eventually re-emerging and were recovered by Audi Tradition, who spared no expense restoring these extraordinary machines.

The Wanderer W-31 and the endurance racers, along with all plans and blueprints were destroyed during the war. A handful of photographs are all that remain. Audi Tradition decided to recreated the trio of Wanderer endurance racers as exhibition vehicles. Without blueprints or documentation for the original cars, these cars were modeled off original photographs with modern running gear underneath.



A single Horch 930S escaped destruction in hands of race driver Tazio Nuvolari, who took it to Switzerland. The car was returned to Germany after the war and was preserved by Audi Tradition in Ingolstadt. It now resides at the Audi Museum. The Soviets found six 930S chassis at the Horch factory at the end of the war and between 1948 and 1952 complete cars were constructed using spare and scrounged parts. The cars were distributed to Soviet and East German communist party officials, who were so pleased with the results that VEB, the East German automotive collective, officially commissioned Horch to build limousines. These were known as the Sachsenring P240 and the unique Horch 950S. One of each of these cars is on display at the August Horch Museum in Zwickau.

The surviving 1948 Horch 930S was found in Riga, Latvia and restored for the August Horch museum in Zwickau. The post-war 930S' had a different front end to the pre-war models.


Only the F9 survived the war to be resurrected as both the DKW F89 in the West and the IFA F9. Although most of the car's blueprints were lost during the war, three examples survived. One complete car was found in Leipzig and became the template for the IFA F9. A body shell was found in Spandau and shipped to Ingolstadt where it became the template for the DKW F89. DKW however did not have complete car or engine, so the new DKW car used a modified F8 chassis and 700cc engine. The third car escaped intact, was commandeered by the British and later shipped to Australia, where it was later recovered by Audi Tradition. The F9, in all its guises, proved to be an outstanding success, both in the West and in the East. For more information see http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com/2011/01/dkw-germanys-post-war-wonder-car.html and http://heinkelscooter.blogspot.com/2011/02/veb-sachsenring-east-germanys-peoples.html

The first post war F9 is unveiled at the Leipzig Motor Show in 1949 by IFA.

A DKW F9 and IFA F9 parked side by side highlights both their similarities and differences.