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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !