Wartburg Concept

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Their name was revived in 1956 by VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach and given to an updated version of their IFA F9 car which had been in production since 1950. The new car had a more powerful version of the 3 cylinder 2-stroke engine driving the front wheels and a completely new body. Exports to West Germany started in 1958, and by the early 60s the car was exported to many countries in the world, including the US. The 311 model was manufactured in a number of variations, such as pick-up, station wagon, and a 2-seater roadster.

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The engine was enlarged to 992 cc in 1962 and a completely new body was manufactured after 1966. Also in 1966 the gearbox gained synchromesh on all speeds. The new car, the 353 was based on a Polish-built Warszawa 210 and remained in production for decades with minor modifications. The two-stroke engine was replaced by a 1300 cc four stroke Volkswagen engine in 1988, but otherwise time and technology passed it by, and the car could not meet modern standards. The final nail in its coffin was the introduction of the Deutschmark (DM), as the cost of producing a car reached 20,000 DM. Production continued until 1991, when German reunification spelt its end. The factory was acquired by Opel in 1991.

There are still many cars in drivable condition and Wartburg owners’ clubs exist throughout Europe. Many Wartburgs are still used as rally racing cars. The sports car Melkus RS 1000 used a mid-mounted 3-cylinder 2-stroke engine from the Wartburg 353.

Scribbled on December 19th 2006 in Miscellaneous, Wartburg
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