Tag Archives: Wartburg

Maintaining A Motorbike – Wartburg 353 W

While a student and a devotee of the form follows function philosophy of industrial design Carl Klaus Dietel experimented with aerodynamic shapes of cars at the Weissensee College of Art in Berlin in 1961. Later he was transferred from the Central Research Center in Chemnitz, then called Karl Marx Stadt, to the VEB Automobilwerk Eisnach where his hatchback / notchback design was given to Wartburg 311 designer Hans Fleischer with instructions to get rid of the NATO jeep like grill and add a proper boot.

Wartburg 353, Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham

Fleischer did as he was instructed and also raised the waste line from bumper level to the mid point of the now square specified headlights. Power for the new 353 model came from the 3 cylinder 2 stroke engine inherited from the 311 model but now giving 55 hp. These motors had only 7 parts and so the saying came that one could drive a 353 car while maintaining a motorbike. It was a nippy performer too with of 95 miles an hour and thanks to the high revving engine could reach 62 mph from rest in 12 seconds.

Wartburg 353, Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham

Design of the interior of the 353 was shared between Dietel and Lutz Rudolph. Upon launch in 1966 the 353 immediately out performed it’s eastern block rivals from Lada / Zhiguli and Moskvitch in every way including safety, acceleration, top speed, thanks to a free wheel function economy, ergonomics, handling, space and all important off road capability, despite being saddeled at the behest of the Soviets with only a two stroke motor.

Wartburg 353, Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham

This particular 1984 Wartburg 353 served as a taxi for ten years before being imported to the UK. The current owner acquired it as a non runner with a snapped off column shift and substantial damage to the bonnet and both front and rear wings. After the panels were repaired and or replaced and a new sill was welded in the car was resprayed it’s original flame red colour.

Wartburg 353, Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham

Before the collapse of the Eastern Bloc a single 353 was fitted with a Volkswagen 4 stroke motor in 1988. However a combination of political events and globilisation over took production and VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach closed it’s doors in 1991 for good after just 152,775 4 cylinder Wartburg 1.3’s and 1,225,190 353’s had been produced in two series; 353 from ’66 – ’75 and 353 W ’75 – ’88.

Thanks for joining me on this “Maintaining A Motorbike” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. 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 !


The Footman James Classic Motor Show – NEC Birmingham

Thanks to the generosity of Ted Walker I found myself making a trip to the National Exhibition Centre at Birmingham at the weekend for The Footman James Classic Motor Show, billed as ‘The place to share your passion for cars”, today’s blog features a random selection of some of the 1500 motor vehicles that were on display.

AHC Daimler SP250, Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

On the Daimler SP250 Owners Club stand was this unique 1960 AHC Daimler SP250 was rebodied by King & Taylor so that it could be used for a prototype electro hydraulic operated rigid roof that was patented by Anthony H Croucher in 1964.

Lea Francis Lynx Roadster, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

After a six year hiatus in car production Lea Francis prepared the Lynx Roadster in 6 months using a chassis which dated back to the 1948 14hp Sports, a Ford Zephyr Mk II 6 cylinder motor with new rack and pinion steering and disc brakes in time for the 1960 Earls Court Motor Show. Seen on the Lea Francis Owners Club stand is the 2nd car of three built, which appeared on the Earls Court stand in this colour but sans motor. No orders for the ‘new’ car were taken and the Company went into receivership in 1963.

Triton 750, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Whilst I have never been a motor cycle man I do hope at some time in my life I might get to ride a Triton like this 1959 750 example, on a suitable piece of open track, these café racer specials combine a Norton frame said to be the best handling at the time, with a Triumph twin motor said to be amongst the most reliable at the time.

Lamborghini 2241 R, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

What do Porsche, Lamborghini and Ferrari have in common ? These names all appear on agricultural vehicles. Here on the Lamborghini Club UK stand is a 1960 Lamborghini 2241 R.

Peel P50, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

The Peel P50 was designed to take carry one person and a brief case to work, indeed a 6′ 5″ TV presenter once did exactly that droving through office corridors and driving into a lift to reach his office, in the worlds smallest production car a record it has held since 1962. I am not sure if the one seen here is a replica, one of the new one built since 2011 or one of the 27 known survivors from the original batch of 50 built on the Isle of Man, but it was used earlier this year for a chocolate TV advertisement.

de Tomaso, Guará, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

The de Tomaso Guará was the last project brought to fruition by founder Alejandro de Tomaso. Between 1993 and 2004 around 50 are thought to have been built the one seen here on the de Tomaso Drivers Club stand being one of no more than 12 Barchetta’s.

Bubble Top Hot Rod, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Unfortunately when I was visiting the show was still not open to the public so many of the stands were unmanned so I did not find out anything about this Bubble Top Hot Road on the National Street Rod Association stand. If you know anything about the bubble top please chime in below.

Wartburg 353, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

A couple of weeks I made my first ever e-bay bid for a Wartburg 353, albeit for a 1/32 scale slot car racer. Seeing the real thing I regret not being more experienced at the time, the slot car went for just £8.00. This particular model on the Wartburg Trabant IFA Club stand started out life as a taxi in East Germany and has been restored to original colour and condition.

Cadillac 355, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Perhaps the ultimate in bling is this 1931 Cadiallac 355 on the American Auto Club North West stand, according to the description it is covered in 23.5 carat gold leaf, has a mink over carpet, and 7 diamonds in each wheel ! The car spent many years in a German motor museum where it is described as having been the property of the pianist Liberace, who was very popular in Germany, however no one is able to verify the veracity of the claim but on the other hand who else could possibly have anything approaching such chintzy taste in motor vehicles ? If this floats your boat the car was for sale.

Sunbeam Tiger Mk II, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Several rare and storied Sunbeam Tigers were on the Sunbeam Tiger Owners Club stand, the one seen here is one of only 10 Right Hand Drive Mk II models built, the first 6 went to police traffic enforcement agencies and four more went to dealers, this one went to the Hatfield Rootes Group dealers W Waters & Sons and remained in the family until 2009.

Elva MK III, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

This 1958 Elva Mk III is usually on view in The Technology Collection at the Bexhill Museum. Bexhill on Sea has a ‘disputed’ claim to being the birth place of British Motor Racing and was home to Elva until the company moved to bigger premises in Hastings where I believe this Mk III would have been built.

March 75A, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

This March 75A Formula 5000 has gone through many changes the original ’75 Formula 2 chassis tub was swapped for a ’76 Formula 1 chassis tub in 1977, the engine was originally a 3.4 litre / 207 cui Ford GAA V6 before it got swapped for a 3.0 litre /183 cui Ford DFV V8 and then a 5 litre / 305 cui Repco V8 it has won races driven by yet to be World Champion Alan Jones in ’75, Damien Magee in ’76, Guy Edwards in ’77 and to sprint victories Terry Smith Brighton and on the Isle of Man in ’79 and ’82 respectively. 75A/1 is now fitted with an original spec Ford GAA V6 motor and the March 761 formula 1 chassis tub from it’s second 1977 incarnation.

Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

On the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club stand there were several cut away items on display including this Rolls Royce Silver Shadow II.

Ford P100, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

This 1987 Ford P100, on The Mk III Cortina Owners Club stand, would originally have carried a Ford Sierra front end but it has been modified to carry older Cortina Mark III wings and bonnet and nose. It is fitted with a Ford Cologne 2.9 litre / 176 cui V6.

Austin Allegro S2 1300 DL, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Austin’s Allegro replaced the various badge engineered ADO16s in 1973 with its curiously for the time rounded styling and a novelty ‘quartic’ steering wheel that was subject of much period derision. The ‘quartic’ steering wheel was quickly and quietly dropped. In 1975 Series 2 Allegros, like the 1977 HL seen here were introduced. I was recently at a talk given by Mike Nicholson who was a works British Leyland co driver who took part in the 1975 RAC Rally with Pat Ryan and he reckoned reliability issues aside it was not a bad car. The car above seen on the Allegro Club International stand was bought for parts in 2007 and when it was realised the body was still solid it was repaired and sold by the current owner to friend, requiring further repair the current owner bought it back fixed it up and took it on last years Rat Rod Rally2Romania, to find out what happens next you will have to read the Allegro Club International newsletter, Quartic.

Shirely MK2, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

On the Ford Sidevalve Owners Club stand I found a manufacturer I have never heard of. Shirleys were built at the Monks Path Garage at Shilrley, Solihull outside Birmingham. Originally these GRP bodies were known as Kenmars. This Mark II with revised nose was purchased as a body believed never to have been fitted to a chassis in 2007, it now sits atop 1949 Ford Anglia chassis and running gear. Production of Shirleys came to a halt in 1962.

Volkswagen Type 2 (T2c), The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Silverstone Classic were represented by this 2012 Volkswagen Type 2 (T2c) production of which will be coming to a halt in Brazil next year.

Connaught A Type, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

On the MotorSport Magazine stand I found this Connaught Type A Formula 2 car, I’m not sure of it’s history but it will give me something to work on. If you know the history of this car please chime in below.

Bristol 411, The Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham

Finally on the Classic of the Year stand this Bristol 411 was on display voting is closed and the winner will be announced on November 21st. The Bristol was bought and restored by the present owner in time for him to take it to Amsterdam where he celebrated his 50th Birthday.

My thanks again to Ted Walker of Ferret Photographic for facilitating today’s blog.

Thanks for joining me on this “The Footman James Classic Motor Show” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !