Tag Archives: DKW

Out Of Obscurity – Elva FJ 100

In 1959 Frank Nichols hitherto sports racing car manufacturer Elva turned it’s attention to building single seaters for the emerging Formula Junior Championship.

Elva 100, Mark Woodhouse, Chateau Impney Hill Climb,

Their first single seater model was the Elva FJ 100, like the one seen driven by Mark Woodhouse at the recent Chateau Impney Hill Climb in these photographs.

Elva 100, Mark Woodhouse, Chateau Impney Hill Climb,

Victories for Bill de Selincourt in his British Motor Corporation ‘A-Series’ example and Peter Arundell in his DKW, supplied by Gerhard Mitter, powered example saw a flood of orders for the 1960 season.

Elva 100, Mark Woodhouse, Chateau Impney Hill Climb,

However by then the rear engined Lotus 18 and Cooper T52 were emerging as the superior machines leaving Jim Hall at Sebring and Roger Loyer at Montlhéry as the only winners for the marque in their DKW powered examples.

Elva 100, Mark Woodhouse, Chateau Impney Hill Climb,

Mark Woodhouse’s Elva was built in 1960 and spent it’s early life in relative obscurity in the United States. Since returning to the UK in the 1970’s Mark Woodhouse has driven the car to four championship successes in the front engined class and winning the outright Historic Formula Junior Championship with this car in 1999 as did his son Jack in 2009.

Thanks for joining me on this “Out Of Obscurity” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Stanley-BRM. Don’t forget to come back now !


Zweitakt Dreizylinder – Mitter DKW

Born to a family expelled from his birth place, Krásná Lípa in Czechoslovakia, Gerhard Mitter grew up in Stuttgart and trained as a mechanic.

Mitter, Rudolf Ernst, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone,

To finance his racing activities Gerhard sold DKW three cylinder two stroke engines to his fellow Formula Junior competitors.

Mitter, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone,

The related Wartburg and unrelated Saab 3 cylinder 2 stroke motors were also campaigned in Formula Junior.

Mitter, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone,

From what I have been able to establish Gerhard built his first DKW powered Formula Junior car in 1959 racing it to at least one third place finish, at the Eifelrennen meeting on the Nürburgring in July 1959.

Mitter, Rudolf Ernst, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone,

It would appear Gerhard sold this car to Herbert Ott for the 1960 season and built today’s featured DKW powered car for himself.

Mitter, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone,

From the data available it would appear Gerhard drove his Mitter (60) DKW to wins at Rottach-Egern and Berchtesgaden (Hill Climb) before switching to a rear engined DKW powered Lotus 18 with which he won the hill climbs at Freiburg, Deggendorf and Pirmasens to secure the 1960 German Formula Junior championship.

Mitter, Rudolf Ernst, VSCC Spring Start, Silverstone,

Gerhard went on to win three consecutive European Hill Climb Championships driving for Porsche from 1966 – ’68 he also drove a Porsche with Udo Schütz to win the 1969 Targa Florio, three months later he was killed at the wheel of a Formula 2 BMW during practice for the German Grand Prix.

Rudolf Ernst is seen in these photo’s at the wheel of the #93 Mitter DKW at last years VSCC Spring Start meeting at Silverstone.

Thanks for joining me on this “Zweitakt Dreizylinder” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a sweet sounding Shadow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Anything Except Grey – Wartburg 311 De Luxe (311/6)

Wartburg is the name of a Castle in Eisenach, Thuringia which first lent it’s name to a motor vehicle in 1898. The Wartburg name was dropped when Automobilwerk Eisenach the manufacturer changed ownership in 1904, and briefly made a reappearance on BMW’s first sports car the 1930 BMW 3/15 DA-3 Wartburg after BMW had taken over Automobilwerk Eisenach, which had been selling vehicles under the Dixi brand, in 1928.

Wartburg 311, Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham

After the 1939 – ’45 war the newly nationalised VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach resumed production of pre war DKW designed IFA F9 car in 1950 and in 1956 VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach revived the Wartburg name for the 311 model designed by Hans Fleischer.

Wartburg 311, Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham

Fleischer had been an apprentice at the BMW Eisenach works before the war and rejoined the staff at the renamed VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach after his release from a prisoner of war camp. Mechanically the 311 was developed from the IFA F9 with a 900 cc / 54 cui 3 cylinder 2 stroke motor and completely new monocoque / unitary chassis and body.

Wartburg 311, Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham

This particular 311 was built in 1965 and delivered to the UK in early 1966, note the wipers are set up for left hand drive. It has been repainted VW Polar Grey to closely match the original, almost all East German vehicles of the 50’s and 60’s were painted utilitarian pastel light colours of beige, grey and light blue and East Germans visiting the West often remarked how colourful vehicles from the West looked by comparison.

Wartburg 311, Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham

The 311 was built with 13 different body styles from 1956 to 1965, the 311/6 designation denoting the 4 door De Luxe right hand drive saloon / sedan option of which 450 examples are thought to have been sold in the UK between their UK introduction in 1964 and the end of production 1965.

“Thanks for joining me on this “Anything Except Grey” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Four Rings Return – Auto Union 1000 S

At the end of the 1939 – 45 the once great name of Auto Union disappeared off the map as a consequence of the new communist administrative arrangements that emerged in East Germany.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

What assets remained of Horch, Audi and the Auto Union racing departments in Chemnitz and Zwickau were liquidated and those in Zwickau were handed over to VEB (Volkseigener Betrieb = Peoples owned Enterprise) which went on to build a series of two stroke vehicles, starting with pre war DKW designs, that were eventually sold under the Trabant brand after a law suit compelled VEB to desist selling models with the DKW name.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Auto Union AG was reconstituted in 1949 with only the DKW brand name surviving which sold a variety of two stroke vehicles including a motor cycle and delivery van before moving back into automobile manufacture.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

In 1958 the now Daimler AG owned Auto Union brand returned to the market place with the Auto Union 1000 S powered by a 44 hp 1 litre / 61 cui two stroke straight 3 cylinder motor driving the front wheels.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

The 1000 S model was available in 2 door saloon, as seen here, 4 door saloon, 2 door pillarless Coupé and Estate variations. There was also a “baby” thunderbird” sports car option which I’ll be looking at in a future Wednesday Continental Curiosity edition.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

As with most front wheel drive vehicles the Auto Union 1000S gave occupants greater interior space than their competitors which in this case was the Volkswagen Beetle.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

In 1960 a now 50 HP Auto Union was tested with a rest to 60 mph acceleration time of 23.6 seconds and top speed of 80.9 mph. Auto Union 2 stroke motors branded DKW were to be found in the proving ground open wheel series known as Formula Junior.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

1961 saw the introduction saw the introduction of a clean oil regulator which was intended to reduce the blue exhaust smoke haze, common to two stroke motors, by ensuring an exact 40 to 1 petrol to oil mix using a separate oil tank to feed the carburetor. Unfortunately because of the severe European winter in 1962/63 oil viscosity and flow through the narrower new carburetor feed was adversely affected resulting in crankshaft damage.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

This 1963 model seen at the Rare Breeds show at Haynes International Motor Museum a couple of years ago is said to have come to Britain from Sweden via Norway.

Auto Union 1000S, Rare Breeds, Haynes International Motor Museum

Between 1958 and 1963 171,008 Auto Union 1000 S models were manufactured at Auto Unions plant in Dusseldorf. By 1964 Volkswagen had acquired Auto Union and DKW and Audi. VW ditched the Auto Union and DKW brands as production of 2 stroke models was phased out in favour of new water cooled four stroke models that derived from the DKW F103 which was marketed as the Audi F103 in 1965 which transformed the fortunes of first Audi and then as the new motor was further developed later Volkswagen.

Thanks for joining me on this “Four Rings Return” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


The Sure Bet – Lotus 22 #22-J-17

In 1962 Lotus built one of their more significant models, the Lotus 22, for competition in the 2nd tier open wheel Formula Junior in 1962. The 22 was an upgraded version of the Lotus 20 but now featuring disc brakes all round.

Cristoph Burckhardt, Lotus 22, Goodwood, Revival

The Lotus 22 dominated Formula Junior in 1962 with Peter Arundell and Alan Rees at the wheel of the works cars which dominated the European Junior scene.

Arundell won 75 % of his races including the Monza Loteria and was crowned British Junior Champion. Moises Solana won FJ races in Mexico.

The design of the 22 was also used as the basis of the two seat the Lotus 23 sports racer, which I’ll be looking at next week, the 22 design was given a second lease of life with the emergence of the third tier open wheel Formula 3 in 1964 which mandated single seat vehicles with space frame chassis like the 22 which was upgraded to Lotus 31 spec in F3 guise though the chassis numbers for Lotus 31 curiously ran 22-F3-xx. The 22 design had yet another lease of life when Jim Russel converted a couple of 22’s and 31’s into Ford Kent powered racing cars and inadvertently invented Formula Ford leading to yet another run of cars being built to the basic Lotus 22 design now upgraded to Lotus 51 spec.

It is thought 77 Lotus 22’s were built in their original Formula Junior spec between 1962 and 1963.

Formula Junior was open to cars weighing a minimum 400 kgs / 880lbs fitted with 1100 cc / 67 cui motors or 350 kgs vehicles weighing a minimum of 350 kgs / 770 lbs with 1000 cc / 61 cui.

Chritoph Burckhardt’s car, thought to be chassis 22-J-17 seen above at Goodwood Revival, like most FJ cars in 1962 is the heavier 400 kgs type with 90 hp Cosworth tuned Ford 4 cylinder engine with a mandated production based block, this one canted over at 30 degrees to lower the centre of gravity and minimise the frontal area of the car.

Other FJ engine options included a BMC and DKW two stroke motor as used successfully by a German Gerhard Mitter in his Lotus 22.

At this point I’d usually wrap up this post in the usual way but I’d be doing the model a grave injustice since the Lotus 22 is the stuff of legend that ultimately brought down hitherto respected Porsche racing driver Richard von Frakenberg who survived flying literally of the Avus track to become an equally respected journalist for Auto Motor und Sport one of Germany’s most successful motoring publications.

On Sept 30th 1962 there was a German Formula Junior Championship race on the short 5 mile Südschleife track at the Nurburgring. There was much rumor and gossip in the paddock that weekend about a simple way to increase the engine capacity of the stock block Ford Formula Junior motors by changing the Ford Anglia crankshaft for a crankshaft sourced from the larger capacity Ford Consul that used the same block with the same diameter cylinders but increased the combined swept volume of the blog by having a longer stroke.

The race was notable because the championship title was to be decided between two drivers, the aforementioned Mitter in his DKW powered Lotus 22 and reigning champion Kurt Ahrens jr driving a Cooper T59 with a Cosworth prepared Ford motor of the type which could be easily oversized.

To secure the title all Ahrens Jr needed to do was finish ahead of Mitter, if he finished just one place behind Mitter the two would share the title. bizzarely the latter is exactly what happened Ahrens trundled around behind Mitter’s DKW powered Lotus until the DKW lost one of it’s three cylinders when Mitter pitted Ahrens Jr drove as far as the Müllenbach corner at the back of circuit and promptly stopped his perfectly good car and waited for Mitter to affect his repairs and come past and then followed Mitter across the line to ensure a tie in the Championship.

Richard von Frankenberg absorbed some of the rumors, which should probably have been taken with a pinch of salt in the first place, from the meeting and the following week published a story full of scandalous accusations under the Title “The Biggest Disgrace in International Motorsport”.

In his exposé Richard pointed out that during the Formula Junior season none of the motors had been checked to measure their capacity during scrutineering either before or after races and alleged that some teams had taken advantage of the situation.

Specifically Frankenberg accused reigning champion Kurt Ahrens jr & Austrian Kurt Bardi-Barry winner of the race of running with an oversize engines on September 30th.

He also accused Alan Rees who was running in a work Lotus 22 with a Cosworth Ford motor of running in practice with an oversize motor during which he crashed and eliminated himself from the race.

Frankenberg then went on to report Alan had openly declared that his team (Lotus) had been running oversize motors through out the season.

Finally Frankenberg challenged Colin Chapman to send two cars to Monza to rerun the Lotteria race distance at the same average speed that the cars had achieved in June and then have the motors legality checked.

In the aftermath of the publication Kurt Ahrens Jr and Kurt Bardi Barry won civil actions against von Frankenberg and Auto Motor & Sport both presented motors which passed inspection well after the event but it was concluded that hear say in the paddock was not sufficient proof that either driver had cheated.

The ONS, governing body of motorsport took Ahrens Jr, Bardi-Brady and Mitter to task about events on the September 30th 1962 and concluded that the hear say evidence of Mitter was not proof positive that Ahrens or Bardi-Brady had cheated but they did find Mitter and Ahrens Jr guilty of conspiring to fix the race results for which they both had their licenses suspended for six months.

Colin Chapman accepted von Frankenbergs suggestion, offering to run one Lotus 22 Formula Junior car at Monza over the 30 lap distance of the Lotteria held in June and made a bet of £1000 that his car would not only achieve the same or better speed at Monza over the 30 race distance and be proved perfectly legal. In the event von Frakenberg and Auto Motor und Sport lost the bet they would pay Chapman £1,000 and publish a retraction of the accusations against the team.

All parties duly deposited their stakes and convened at Monza on December 1st 1962. Peter Arundell did some slow warm up laps and blew his engine, it was agreed this should be repaired for a second attempt the next day.

On December 2nd a new attempt was made after cement had been strewn across patches of ice found under the trees at the first Lesmo Corner. Despite another slow start Peter Arundell soon started lapping ahead of the target time eventually crossing the line for the 30th time 52 seconds faster than he had in June.

On completion of the race distance he did one final blinding flying lap and lowered his lap record of 1’50.9′ in June to 1’49.8′ in December.

It was noted at the time the cooler conditions gave Peter an advantage, as much as 4% extra horse power by my calculations, but his times by my calculations are only 1.5% quicker for the race and and 1% quicker for fastest lap.

Once Peter returned to the pits the car was meticulously weighed, the engine dimensions were measured, as 1092 cc / 66.6 cui, and so the car was declared fully compliant with the Formula Junior regulations to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Immediately after the technical inspection the “Monaza Lion” as the car became known was sold for £2,000 to a Sig. Motta, thereafter Richard von Frankenberg shook Colin Chapman’s hand and formally apologized in front of all those present and an apology with full retraction of the false statements was printed in the following issue Auto Motor und Sport.

Peter Arundell won a second consecutive British Formula Junior Championship in 1963 and looked to have a promising future until an accident in 1964 saw him thrown out of his car. Colin Chapman kept a seat for Peter until his return in 1966, however Peter showed none of his earlier promise during his comeback season and retired from the sport completely in 1969, after selling his Garage Business from which he and his family were lucky to escape from a serious fire he moved to Florida where he founded the notorious adult software gaming company Mystique.

Colin Chapman went from strength to strength his Lotus team wining the first of six World Drivers and seven World Constructors Championships in 1963.

Kurt Ahrens jr regained his German Formula Jr title in 1963 but never quite broke into the big time he did however win the 1969 Austrian and 1970 Nurburgring 1000kms races driving with Jo Siffert and Vic Elford respectively, the 1968 Austrian event was the first ever to be won by a Porsche 917, he also took two consecutive pole positions at Le Mans for the 24 hour races in 1969 and 1970 both in works Porsche 917’s. He retired in 1970 to look after his family’s car dealership and scrap metal business and still takes an interest in the historic racing scene.

Gerhard Mitter drove in seven Grand Prix but like Ahrens Jr never secured a permanent seat on the Grand Prix circuit, he won the 1969 Targa Florio driving a Porsche 908 with Udo Schutz. Gerhard was kiiled during practice for the 1969 German Grand Prix after either suspension or steering failure caused him to crash.

Soon after he lost the Monza bet von Frakenberg left his staff position at Auto Motor und Sport. He was killed in a road accident in 1973 aged 52.

My thanks to every one on The Nostalgia Forum particularly, Doug Nye, Arese, r.atios, Ralf Pickle and Charlieman, on the L’affaire Lotus/von Frankenburg thread, RWB, Macca & Rob on the How many Lotus 22s? thread, finally but not least Cheapracer and saudoso on the Ambient air temperature and car performance thread.

Thanks for joining me on this bumper edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !

PS Don’t forget …

Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz

Automobiliart, Paul Chenard

December 26th – January 2nd

Win a set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards

Sports-GT cars set, Paul Chenard

Set 1 Sports & GT Cars

Phil Hill, Sharknose Ferrari Set, Paul Chenard

Set 2 Phil Hill World Drivers Championship 50th Anniversary Edition

1934 GP Season Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 3 1934 Season

1950s Grand Prix Engines

Set 4 Grand Prix Engines of the 1950’s


Mike Hawtorns racecars Card set, Paul Chenard

Set 5 Mike Hawthorn’s Race Cars

The Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will comprise 8 categories.

Overall winner chooses one set of Paul Chenard Greetings Cards from the five sets shown above.

The cards measure 15.24cm x 11.43cm, come in packs of 12 with 3 copies of 4 designs in each set, plus A6 envelopes.

Which set will you choose ?

The free to enter Automobiliart GALPOT Seasonal Quiz will run from December 26th – January 2nd Entries close January 8th 2012, Winner announced January 16th 2012.

Full details on December 26th at GALPOT.

Looking for Automotive Seasonal Gift Idea’s? Visit Automobiliart Now !


Rare Breeds – Haynes International Motor Museum

Last Sunday I made a ‘little’ detour to the Rare Breeds Car Show at the Haynes International Motor Museum on the way to the airport to pick up some friends.

Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

Among the 70 odd vehicles on display were half a dozen Formula 500’s some 50’s (UK) Stock Car replica’s, for those in the US these are more like 1/4 mile paved and dirt Late Sportsman race cars than NASCARs Stock Cars, and a number of interesting vehicles one is unlikely on an average everyday commute.

Austin 3 Litre, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

Around 10,000 Austin 3 litre vehicles nicknamed ‘Land Lobsters’ were built between 1968 and 1971 which though well appointed were no competition for the similarly sized Triumphs, Rovers and Jaguars which would soon all become merged into the same nationalised British Leyland conglomerate. There are thought to be around 60 of these vehicles left and this one has been in the Stephen’s family since new.

Austin 7 Hamblin 7 Cadet, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

Some of you may remember my blog on the wreck of a Bowden Super Two I wrote some months ago, this is an Austin 7 Hamblin Cadet with the smaller body that the Bowden Super Two bodywork was based on. At £34.10/- this was the cheapest bodywork on the market, it was made to fit pre war Austin 7’s. The owner of this car is the son of Sid Hamblin who founded the SE Hamblin company and personally built this car.

Austin Mini Wildgoose, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

The Austin Mini Wildgoose RV has also featured on GALPOT before, this is a 1967 model with larger wraparound cabin windows and a tilting roof incorporating canvas sides, looks a little less like an airport control tower than the original. This particular vehicle has had the original 850 cc / 51.8 cui motor replaced with a 1275 cc / 77 cui unit and gearing to match so that it can easily cruise above the minimum motorway speed limit of 50 mph.

DKW 1000S

My Uncle in Germany had a DKW 1000S before he swapped it for a more versatile square back. These two stroke powered cars were relatively expensive in the UK so not many were in imported although Jim Clark made his racing debut driving a DKW before going on to win two World Championships and the Indy 500. This Left Hand Drive (LHD) model was imported from Sweden via Norway.

Fordson 7A, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

From 1933 – 1939 Ford commercial vehicles in the UK were badged Fordson. This Fordson 7V served as an auxiliary fire tender during World War 2. Because of it’s relatively powerful V8 motor 7V’s were much in demand for use as racing car transporters after hostilities ceased.

Model 48 Ford, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

E691 is a replica of Nev Hughes 1935 Model 48 Ford raced, in 1955, built by Keith Barber. Current owner Roy Clarke rescued it in 2006 and it recently featured, as did several of the vehicles seen in the back ground in an advertisement for the Audi R8 V10 Spyder. It can be seen painted black with red stripes under the ‘B9’ at 1m 01 secs in this clip.

Gaz, M21 Volga, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

Also featured in an earlier post has been a GAZ M21 Volga, this 1962 model one of only two known to be in the UK is in considerably better condition than the one I featured on the former East German border in 2006.

Lafitte 5CV, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

Described as very difficult to drive this RHD Lafitte 5CV Cycle Car is positively bristling with innovative technology starting with an inverted Y 3 cylinder air cooled radial engine that tilts with a hand mechanism in order alter to the friction driven gear ratio. The Lafitte has way ahead of it’s time independent front suspension but no foot brakes ! This car has recently been certified as roadworthy for the first time since 1964 but the owner thought discretion was the better part of valour and brought this amazing device to the show on a trailer.

Spirit Gordini M3, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

There seems to be a lot of interest in triking at the moment stimulating no doubt Morgan’s recent return to the manufacture of trikes. For those who cannot afford Morgan’s starting price their are plenty of alternatives. The front wheel drive Spirit Gordini M3 started life as two separate front wheel drive Renault 5 / Le Car models one ’79 tother ’85.

Tornado Talisman, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

Another new manufacturer to me is Tornado apparently founded in 1957 in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire by Bill Woodhouse and Tony Bullen. Amazingly this car had lain awaiting restoration when it’s owner passed aeay and thanks to the Faithorpe Sports Car Club it was passed on to Bill Woodhouse who did not know what to do with it until two gap year students the Hillier brothers took it upon themselves to rebuild the car in order to gain engineering experience under the guidance of the current owner and founder of the company Mr Woodhouse. The Talisman is one of 186 Ford powered examples made.

Triumph Spitfire Special, Rare Breeds, Haynes IMM

Finally my car of the day award goes to this Triumph Spitfire based Special made by Martin Harcourt using an English Wheel and alot of effort to make the polished aluminium panels on this unique single seater. When it’s complete Martin hopes to use his shiny special in sprints and hill climbs. I am sure he will have plenty of fun with it.

Thanks for joining me on this Rare Breeds edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !