1939/40 Auto Union 1.5 litre
Posted 08 October 2000 - 18:06
Much to my surprise I discovered it to be a 1939/1940 1.5 litre vehicle. I believe this vehicle is a replica and not an original, but I may be incorrect, and am now seeking information on this. According to detail posted it was designed in anticipation of a 1.5 litre formula for 1940.
I had hoped that the Chris Nixon book 'Auto Union Album' might throw some light on it but this did not progress beyond 1939 developments. A video tape I have which issued via Audi mentioned that Auto-Union development continued until 1940 so presumably this was 1.5 litre car was the development in hand when the war curtailed activities.
This was the first mention I have come across of such a development. Does anyone have information on this development project?
David J Jones
Posted 08 October 2000 - 21:05
Posted 08 October 2000 - 22:28
Posted 09 October 2000 - 08:30
The car at the Donnington Museum can therefore only be the Cisitalia Type 360. In December of 1946, the Porsche Büro design office at Gmünd, Austria, with Chief Engineer Karl Rabe as trustee, accepted the commission by Piero Dusio to design a Grand Prix car. It was later called the type 360 since it was the 360th design. Designer Karl Rabe, Ferry Porsche and the designer staff started this car, joined later with advise by his sick father, Professor Ferdinand Porsche, after his release by the French on 1 August of 1947. The Cisitalia type 360 was a somewhat similar design as the Auto Union type E with von Eberhorst also involved as consultant and construction of the car in Turin, Italy. By the end of 1948, one car was almost completed but never raced, which finally ended up in Buenos Aires. A last attempt was made to race the Cisitalia Type 360 at a 1954 formula libre race as Autoar, but was withdrawn during practice because of serious drivability problems. In 1959, this car then ended up with the Porsche factory where it is now displayed in their Stuttgart Museum. The second type 360, assembled from an original chassis and parts but a body shell made during the Seventies, is at the Donington museum. This is most likely the car seen by our friend David.
Posted 09 October 2000 - 17:49
No this was indeed a 1940 1.5 litre Auto-Union. The Cisitalia was still there as it was when I visited the museum in the 1970's to see the 1939 Mercedes W154 acquired via Czechoslovakia. The latter vehicle was not present when I went I wonder what happened to it.
i believe that the Auto-Union is a replica built from plans by Crosthwaite but i am not sure how much is original. I will make plans to revisit to see if I can get more information
Posted 09 October 2000 - 21:04
Nice contract to land! Some work was outsourced to Australia, too, for Don Biggar in Brisbane to do.
Posted 09 October 2000 - 21:29
The car is an East German production that appears to have been designed with the 2-liter Formula 2 in mind as it is unsupercharged. It came west as a chassis only; the Donington people I believe have fitted it with a body that represents what it might have looked like. There is no record of it ever having been completed or run. A real oddball.
Posted 09 October 2000 - 22:32
Want to know more?
It's not East German car(!), because at the time of it creation there was NO such country[p][Edited by Flicker on 10-09-2000]
Posted 10 October 2000 - 03:28
Posted 10 October 2000 - 07:08
Posted 10 October 2000 - 07:57
Yes, Flicker, I for one, cannot wait to hear another interesting story. You may hold the key to this confusing situation. Please tell us!
Originally posted by Flicker
And this car (at least one of them) raced!
Want to know more?
It's not East German car(!), because at the time of it creation there was NO such country[p][Edited by Flicker on 10-09-2000]
Posted 10 October 2000 - 08:12
Has anyone read the report on this car in the December 1985 issue of 'Classic and Sportscar' magazine? This was written by no less a person than Doug Nye. In it he describes how Tom Wheatcroft was informed of several old racing cars that may have survived in Russia, including detailed reports of Auto Unions being freighted across to Russia in 1945-46. A follow up phone call to Wheatcroft by a German indicated that the whereabouts of one of the cars in question could be supplied to the Donnington museum, if interested.
A deal was agreed on and the car was shipped directly from East Germany to England. This car turned out to be the one in question - the DAMW/ Auto Union E-type (which is correct?). Nye goes on to say the car was "...bare and tatty, but it rode on original late forties Pirelli racing tyres...it had been constructed by serious people with fine facilities...it looked every centimetre pre war Auto Union, just like the 1939 D-type photographs we had studied for years."
Nye then goes into some detail on the rebuild of this car, as well as piecing together the puzzle of the cars origin. His opinion is that the car was built by AU for the upcoming 1.5 litre GP formula and NOT as a Voiturette - it was an official factory effort from the Zwickau manufacturers.
As Hans has mentioned, Robert Eberan von Eberhorst was in charge of the technical department at AU at the time, with a single cylinder engine being built and tested as a first step. However, it became more and more apparent to the Germans that WW 2 was fast approaching, and development on this Project dropped off throughout 1940. In December of 1940 von Eberhorst released 'Test Report 307', which summarised the AU E-types progress to date. Alas the war intervened and the project died. In von Eberhorst's own words ".. some full engine parts had been made, but certainly no cars."
Now we skip forward to the end of WW 2, with the Russians occupying the lower Saxony, an area which contained all the old AU plants. These buildings were virtually flattened by the Russians, and with it went much of the pre-war GP history. However some cars and spares were dispersed with and survived, including, according to Nye, some of the E-type engine components and original drawings.
In 1945 the former AU factories were nationalised in East Germany, and production of pre war BMW's was begun. Later on in the same decade a project group named DAMW was set up with the East German Governments backing to develop 3 types of racing cars for 1951 and beyond (remember Germany was banned from international motor racing competition until 1950). Do you see Doug Nyes theory evolving yet?
After study and inspection of both the Wheatcroft car and AU E-type drawings and technical reports (von Eberhorsts 'Test report 307') Doug Nye concludes that the V12 engine in the car, as displayed at the Donnington Museum, "...was clearly based either around a study of the Auto Union E-type project, or more probably, upon its actual drawings. Its construction, layout, bearing type and sizes, con-rod types and length all match pre and immediately post war details of the E-type engine." He then goes on to say "..too many chassis parts are utterly identical to pre war AU to be coincidence. If those parts were not made by the old team pre war and survived the conflict, they were certainly made to AU's drawings and to an astonishlingly high standard which East Germany' immediate post war reputation does not suggest possible."
Nyes summary of the car in question is as follows." While we cannot prove whether this fascinating mystery car is more post than pre war, more DAMW or EMW than Auto union, I am now convinced its chassis is at least 75 per cent AU practice and design, and in part possibly of pre war manufacture. Its engine certainly forms the mortal remains or descendant of the 1941 Auto Union E-type project..."
So then, an Auto Union design, completed with slight modifications by DAMW? What do you think?
Flicker, please enlighten us on the race history of this car![p][Edited by KzKiwi on 10-10-2000]
Posted 10 October 2000 - 11:34
And because AUs always intrigue me...
Posted 10 October 2000 - 16:29
Nye's summary of the car in question is as follows: " While we cannot prove whether this fascinating mystery car is more post than pre war, more DAMW or EMW than Auto union, I am now convinced its chassis is at least 75 per cent AU practice and design, and in part possibly of pre war manufacture. Its engine certainly forms the mortal remains or descendant of the 1941 Auto Union E-type project..."
While not perhaps the sharpest knife in the drawer and only a 25-watt bulb in a 100-watt world, I think that it is really stretching it to call the DAMW F2 car an Auto-Union Typ E. I have the Nye article somewhere which is what I was going to look for. When I started my ill-fated first attempt on German F2 racing from 1948 - 1954, I looked very hard at the Nye article, other information, and just what seemed to be the possibilities. In my opinion -- and it is just that, an opinion -- the Typ E never got past the technical study phase. The test motor, the drawings, plus the handful of engine parts and so forth was about it. As one may have noticed, there were other more pressing concerns in Germany in 1941 than racing cars....
After the war, with Mercedes winding up in the West and A-U in the East, guess who gets all the reams of paper devoted to them...
Anyway, there was still an inclination -- despite the political situation -- in the East to race cars. The bulk of the A-U workforce ended up in the East. As a group of them began developing a car for the National Series (F2), they naturally turned towards what they were both familiar with and what they knew worked. The work done by Robert Eberan von Eberhorst and the staff was most likely brushed off and used as the basis to begin the design of the car.
So while Nye is correct on the influence and even the origin of the concept, it simply isn't a true A-U Typ E. It is a car constructed by a group of former A-U staffers that while owing much to the idea of the Typ E, is properly an DAMW.
A word about the East German drivers and some of their machines during the 1948 - 1954 period: they were good! It is a shame that this period is not better known. Indeed, Edy Barth was one of the stars of this period. Although he defected about 1956/1957, he cut his teeth racing in the East.
Should I ever discipline myself to allocate my time better, I might actually get this story written yet. Any help will be graciously accepted...
Posted 10 October 2000 - 16:36
This issue needs to be plumbed properly, for time will undoubtedly bestow authenticity on the view that it is a 1940 car... simply because someone said it might be.
Posted 10 October 2000 - 17:05
Keep in mind that we are talking about a team in the East Zone where it it was not merely the bending of the metal, but getting the metal to bend! Even in the early 50's when the West Zone was starting to recover, the East Zone was still in bad shape.
Hans has a few years on me and perhaps can recall much better than I can, but I remember as a boy the huge differences between the zones. Where in the West things were looking up, in the East it was not so pleasant. By 1954, recovery in the West was well underway and accelerating. In the East Zone, the story was quite different. Our youth group at church used to help with the "DP's" and assist in their resettlement. "DP" meant "Displaced Person" and even in the early 50's we still had lots of them. While still only fairly young, their stories and my looks into the East Zone made a Big Impression on me.
The fact that so many of those in the East Zone coped and managed to find the materials & resources to build and race cars with is extraordinary. I am much more impressed with the fact that the car was built by DAMW than I would ever be if it were an A-U. It took a lot to build that car in the East. There are obviously some who would like for it to be an A-U since surely....
Again, Ray is correct that perception -- as we all know -- becomes reality. Since many perceive that the car at the Donington Collection is an A-U, it must be an A-U or why would they otherwise label it as such?
Anybody here willing to set Tom right?
Posted 10 October 2000 - 17:15
Anyway, that's how I see it.
Posted 10 October 2000 - 17:17
Posted 10 October 2000 - 17:24
Posted 10 October 2000 - 18:00
Any other speculation goes under wishful thinking. Unless proven to be correct.
Posted 11 October 2000 - 00:31
Posted 11 October 2000 - 06:53
The cynical side of me however is unsurprised at the acceptance of incorrect fact. I do find myself wondering how the vehicle can be described as an Auto-Union when the evidence clearly shows it was not built.
I understand that Audi have the records for the A-U team revealing how much was spent on all A-U projects up to 1940 so perhaps the final answer lies in a library in Dresden. (at least this is what is claimed on my A-u video tape)
How does one convince those who should know better on both this subject and the 1939 Championship about the truth?
Posted 11 October 2000 - 06:56
Sorry, but the welder allegedly died long time ago.
Thank you for your excellent and very interesting account about the DDR car. I had never shown much interest in this design since I considered it to be unimportant.
Do you have the issues of the 1976 "Automobil-Chronik"? One number supposedly has some pictures about the DDR car and maybe a write-up by possibly Knittel or Schrader?
In 1951 the DDR (official term for East Germany till 1990) founded the IFA-Rennkollektiv VEB (IFA=Industrievereinigung-FAhrzeugbau Racing Collective VolksEigene Betriebe or Publicly Owned Concerns). Their goal was to build sports and racing cars and enter these at races. The DAMW (Deutsches Amt für Material und Warenprüfung) or 'German Office for Testing Materials and Goods', was then responsible for the execution of this task. They had a modern, well-equipped concern, the Berlin-Johannisthaler Versuchs- und Prüfamt für Kraftfahrzeugtechnik, where their racing cars were developed and produced. It is possible, that 'the DDR car' originates from here during the 2.0-liter Formula II period, but this is pure speculation on my part. However, they developed the 1.5 and 2.0-liter sports cars as well as formula II racing cars with six-cylinder 125 hp engines. At the end of the 1952 racing season, the 'IFA-Rennkollektiv' was affiliated as racing department to the IFA-VEB-Automobilfabrik EMW(Eisenacher Automobil Werke).
Stefan Knittel's 1980 book AUTO UNION Grand Prix Wagen includes one page with seven pictures about this car. The caption reads, that the identity of this car was mysterious but it was not the 1.5-liter Auto Union as had been suspected early on. The car had been constructed during the early Fifties in East Germany but never raced. The incomplete car had been sold to England where it received a new body. (Built from photographs.)
Martin Schröder, collaborator of Gianni Cancellieri and Cesare De Agostini in the book AUTO UNION Die großen Rennen 1934-39 shows five pictures of this car. He writes, that during 1977, this car appeared in the DDR as rolling chassis with 12-cylinder engine and shows a picture where the car is driven on a regular road.
The former racing driver H. Niedermayr had offered this car to several collectors as the 1.5-liter Auto Union GP car Typ E. It was then sold to Tom Wheatcroft. This may be the reason, why it is still shown in Donington as such a car.
Closer inspection revealed that the chassis consisted of Typ D parts and had close resemblance with the last edition of the Typ D. The front axle was identical with the last editions used on the Typ D. The space frame chassis itself looked like a shortened Typ D version. The brake drums were similar but had less cooling fins. But the rear axle was different, a simple execution of the De Dion type. Also the arrangement of the drive train was different than Auto Union: engine—transmission—rear axle. The V-12, 1991cc engine without compressor was designed for the Formula II from 1948-1952, but the production date is still unknown. Supposedly two cars were completed but were never entered in a race.
[p][Edited by Hans Etzrodt on 10-11-2000]
Posted 11 October 2000 - 07:52
According to Nye the car has been exported from GDR somewhere in the early 80s, so it may be interesting to look at the legislation and practices of the GDR concerning export of antique and art items. This business was centralized and handled by a special agency, which officially belonged to the Ministry of Trade, but as we know today was led by the Ministry of State Security. Their only target was to make money, foreign currency of course, which was needed heavily by the regime especially in the 80s. They sold everything to the West they could put their hands on, a lot of it confiscated from individuals. Whether genuine or not, doesn’t matter, if not genuine, they had all state resources at their hands to make it genuine.
There was also a sub-division in Berlin specialized in classic cars. Forgot the name of the guy who was in charge, but some of my friends imported cars from the GDR in the 70s and 80s, and told me their experiences. There was no – I repeat NO – possibility to let a car go out of the country without involvement of this agency. Okay, of course I know the tales of some people who claim to have carried a Ferrari V12 to East Germany and went back with a AU V12, but firstly such story is not proven, and secondly this would have been no export but smuggle. This guy in Berlin was the only allowed negotiation partner, direct trading with the private owners was prohibited – although of course often it took place anyway. The agency in Berlin fixed the price, and everyone hoping for a bargain usually was heavy disappointed. Price was in DM, and the real owners only received a fraction of it, of course only in East Marks, the balance was “state income”. Concerning car histories they presented everything the potential buyer expected to see, no miracle of course with all state resources and authorities behind. So for me there is no question that the sale of this car to Wheatcroft was handled by exactly the same East Berlin agency, and it is obvious that they presented documents confirming the car was an AU Type E. If so, there was no reason for Wheatcroft to doubt any such documentation, as he was dealing with official state authorities. Only after the German reunification many of these doubtful practices came to light.
Posted 11 October 2000 - 12:56
Once upon a time, long, long ago... appr. in 1946 on the territory of Russion occupation zone in Germany was born soviet-german JS Comppany 'AutoVello'. In one of its departments (in Hemnitz, then Karl-Marx-Stadt...) began works on theme '55A', i.e. F2 (formula B) racing car. The head of team was russian V.G.Miskin (the same so-name, as Dostojevsky's main hero in 'Idiot') and the technical chief was german engeneer I.Wittber.
At this time DDR have no really strong drivers. Only old and not very strong R.Krause, K.Baum and young and unexperienced E.Barth ans H.Melkus.
But the work continued... First race-tested 31 March 1952 the '650'-model not exeeds 3500rpm and 115 km/h. Step by step rpm and max speed growed up to 5000 and 175 km/h. (8 april 1952 at autobann near Bautzen). But...
Suddenly appeared the order from Russia: 'The both cars must be transported to Moscow by air'. The inspirer of this was Stalin's son Vassily (Gen.-leut. and the Head of Moscow Air Forces). He (The Vassily Stalin) was a great admirer of sports, esp. of any motor-variations. <(BTW, my father was a member of motorcycle VVS-team (Vojenno-Vozdushnije Sil'i= Air Forces), later named CSKA (Central Sports Army Club). Despite of rare international appearances motorcycle team incl. my father was multipuple times participated in Int. Six-days Trials and mostly all members was awarded gold individual medals there.>
In Russia the car (named Sokol-650) <'Sokol' in russian means Falcon> started only once: 30 june 1952 - in Moscow championship. The pilots were: motorcyclist from VVS-team Pavel Baranov and one of Vassily Stalins drivers - Vassily Kuznetzov. Both cars retired due to difficulties with ignition.
About engine in brief: 12-cil. motor have to be fueled with complicated ethil-methanol mixture. Spark Plugs No. 280 appeared not to cold enaugh, etc. etc.
P.S. Full technical details are also available... (because there are many official documents incl. plans, sketches...)
P.P.S. Why I say that it's not german car... :-)
...because the DDR as a state appeared only in 1949.
P.P.S. In the end of 1952 the cars returned in Germany but... the time was lost. Later the cars was the exhibits of Drezden motor-museum and slightly decorated take part in one DDR-film (called smth like: Rivals at the Wheel) about motor-racing in 1959.
P.P.P.S. And at last... this is not the development of Auto-Union Type E, because technical comparison reveals a lot of diffs. But of course the breed is the same.
Posted 11 October 2000 - 13:07
Posted 11 October 2000 - 14:02
However, even Flicker’s story confirms it was no A-U. Concerning East Germany resp. GDR, well, it may be that the company was founded as early as 1946, but it the first test runs took place in 1952, it is likely that the physical construction of the car took place only after 1949, so the physical origin would be GDR, the development origin Russian Sector of Germany, and the basic design origin Auto Union.
Posted 11 October 2000 - 15:24
Superb work, folks. I am sure that there is more to come...
Posted 11 October 2000 - 15:37
After the war about 18 cars were taken... mmm... appeared in the USSR. I am sure that till today there are detailed documentation about those cars (some of them was picked to pieces and unscrewed to last smallest screw). A lot of the scretches were in the archives of Moscow NAMI (Scientific Researching Automobile Institute).
Posted 11 October 2000 - 21:06
Posted 11 October 2000 - 23:06
Posted 12 October 2000 - 06:42
Back to the woodwork...
Posted 12 October 2000 - 09:06
I noticed a few differences in bodywork detail on the pictures you posted. The rear 3/4 view shows 6 cooling slats towards the rear of the engine cowling, with a further 4 slats on the rearmost panel. Your second picture of the car in action shows an engine cowling with 4 slats mounted further forward on the cowling...are these detail changes between the two cars, or is it the same car slightly modified ...can you confirm?
On the subject of bodywork the Wheatcroft car has visually different detail work in a few key areas to the pictures that Flicker posted - this alone rings a few alarm bells about authenticity. This is especially so around the front of the car. The Wheatcroft car has a very distinct and abrupt vertical grill, whereas the side view of the Sokol has a more rounded profile. From both the rear 3/4 and side views it appears that the Sokol tapers downwards in conjunction with the overall engine cowling profile, whereas the Wheatcroft car has a pronounced bulbous look to the rear panel line - in effect two very separate humps.
Interestingly, Nye states in the "Classic and Sportscar" article that Wheatcrofts panel builder, John Cole, was responsible for the replacement body on the Donnington car, "...based upon photographs of the original published - apparently from an East German source - in 1976". If only I had a scanner I could post some pictures of the Nye article!
If reputable historians like Doug Nye and Karl Ludvigsen say that the car in question is not an Auto Union (Typ E) and my findings arrive at the same result, then that is what I believe.
Hans, in my humble opinion, I believe that Doug Nye supports the view that the Donnington car IS the Auto Union Type E - certainly more AU than DAMW, whereas Karl Ludvigsen is of the opposite opinion. That is is one of the main reasons why I mentioned the "Classic and Sportscar" article , to show that 2 very well respected and reputable historians are poles apart in their thinking.
Perhaps another link to Nye supporting this view is that the official Donnington collection museum catalogue (guide)lists the car as a '1941 1.5 litre Auto Union E-Type Project (D/DDR)'. I may be wrong but isn't Doug Nye the Donnington Museums historian?
Sorry to babble on, but this car has close links to the German national racing scene and period that I have a particularly keen interest in!
[p][Edited by KzKiwi on 10-12-2000]
Posted 12 October 2000 - 09:38
Posted 12 October 2000 - 14:08
Originally posted by KzKiwi
I may be wrong but isn't Doug Nye the Donnington Museums historian?
[p][Edited by KzKiwi on 10-12-2000]
I was going to raise this point when someone suggested Wheatcroft might have been "hoodwinked". I would have thought he would have asked for Nye's opinion and therefore, if he went ahead and purchsed it, Nye must have believed it was what they are claiming it to be.
That doesn't mean I agree with their theory, it's just that it occurred to me that this must be the case.
Did Flicker tell us where he found those excellent photos?
Posted 12 October 2000 - 16:21
This not so pleasant thought now has rolled around in my head as well. It is a puzzlement. Somewhere I have a pile of the old "Skullduggery" columns he used to do. I will look there for the article mentioned earlier.
While I am unsure as to the relationship twix Tom & Doug today, I am pretty sure that Nye was either 'the' or one of the historians used to vett the acquisitions for the collections. This relationship also helped Nye boost himself onto the front of the grid as far as motor racing historians are concerned.
If I were a truly sporting person , I would forward this thread to Mike Lawrence (may his knowledge be forever expanding) and see what he thinks....
As to the info Flicker has provided, Wow! Fabulous! More! More!
This is just one of the many threads that is leading me to think that we really need a 'virtual' journal dedicated motor racing history and research or a combination print & virtual journal deal.
Posted 12 October 2000 - 21:16
Originally posted by KzKiwi
...I believe that Doug Nye supports the view that the Donnington car IS the Auto Union Type E - certainly more AU than DAMW, whereas Karl Ludvigsen is of the opposite opinion. That is is one of the main reasons why I mentioned the "Classic and Sportscar" article , to show that 2 very well respected and reputable historians are poles apart in their thinking...
Let's please look again at Doug Nye's quote:
Nye's summary of the car in question is as follows: " While we cannot prove whether this fascinating mystery car is more post than pre war, more DAMW or EMW than Auto union, I am now convinced its chassis is at least 75 per cent AU practice and design, and in part possibly of pre war manufacture. Its engine certainly forms the mortal remains or descendant of the 1941 Auto Union E-type project...
Doug Nye’s quote is in agreement with what Schröder had written in the AUTO UNION book (see my post of 11 Oct). I am still under the impression that all these historians, Doug Nye included, stated that this is NOT the Auto Union Type E, even Flicker told us so. To me, Dog Nye’s summary sounds very convincing, especially after I have spent now several hours searching and reading about this topic. "its chassis is at least 75 per cent AU practice and design, and in part possibly of pre war manufacture." My interpretation of this is that some people salvaged Typ D parts and drawings (possibly Typ E) from the heavily bombed factory and built a new racing car as close as possible to the drawings. A Typ E it was not.[p][Edited by Hans Etzrodt on 10-12-2000]
Posted 12 October 2000 - 21:24
I suspect this is the most important thread yet for the Nostalgia forum. Certainly it is the first time that it has resulted in the re-identification of a whole car.
When the existence of the car in England was first announced I was extremely sceptical about Doug Nye's assurance that it was an Auto Union. All the evidence seemed circumstantial at best. I was not alone in this as Philip Whiteman of Middlesex wrote a letter to Classic & Sportscar, which they titled "A Pack of Nyes". If anyone wants to read his full argument it was in the June 1986 issue and he wrote a further note in the October issue. I suspect others may have had similar misgivings, but were not prepared to cross swords with Doug Nye.
Please don't take it out on Nye and Wheatcroft. It was an error, yes, but caused by enthusiasm to see a genuine E-Type Auto Union, rather than wilful deception. Thankfully Wheatcroft has not subsequently sold the car for a fortune as one of the few surviving Auto Unions. However, I imagine this thread has reduced the potential sales price of the car something rotten!
I really look forward to seeing a complete translation of Flicker's sources. Maybe they will even spark Doug Nye into writing a full recapitulation.
Posted 12 October 2000 - 23:09
Searching through more back numbers of Classic & Sportscar, I came across two further items on the "Sokol" by Doug Nye.
In the first he refers to "a mission to Germany" by Sir Roy Feddon "as Special Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Aircraft Production." (With a title like that you have to believe his findings!) This had been reported in The Motor dated October 3 1945 and had been passed to Doug Nye by David Burgess-Wise. Sir Roy had "a long talk with Dr. Richard Bruhn, the Auto Union director, who said that they had completed construction of a team of 1 1/2 litre racing cars and claimed that in tests they had given good results.... The cars were stored in a garage in a suburb of Chemnitz.…...up to the middle of June (1945) and could have been taken away by any British representatives who were interested, but the Red army took control of the area only a few days before Sir Roy appeared in Germany, and since then nothing has been heard of the cars….."
Nye preferred to believe Eberhorst's version that only a few engine parts had possibly been made. He dismissed Bruhn's detailed story on the grounds that after the surrender, high-ranking Germans tended to tell the Allies whatever they wanted to hear. I can't imagine why Feddon would want to hear this particular tale, unless he had been plaguing his seniors to carry out the mission in June! Or maybe it was a snub by Bruhn to the Allies for giving the Russians the 'privilege' of conquering Eastern Germany. Seems unlikely, doesn't it?
The second note by Nye shows a photograph of the naked rear-end of a rear-engined sports AWE taken by none less than Denis Jenkinson at Monza in 1956. The de Dion tube looks identical to that of the car in Flicker's pictures i.e. the Sokol. The original photo appeared on page 490 of that year's Motorsport. Nye states that "Everything about these (AWE) sports-racing cars was impressive. Evidence of the time and money invested in them is seen in those heavily finned brake drums…..and in the highly polished - or plated? - sliding spline half-shafts." All of which contradicts Nye's argument that the Wheatcroft car must have been made by Auto Union, because such high quality craftsmanship would not have been possible in the Eastern Zone after the war.
I don't think Doug Nye actually practiced to deceive, but he certainly produced a tangled web.
Posted 12 October 2000 - 23:20
I still think Mike Lawrence should see this...
Posted 12 October 2000 - 23:48
Posted 14 October 2000 - 08:07
I do, however, find the way this thread has unfolded to be amazing in that it would seem that stated facts have been accepted without independant verification when, according to the response here, the information on this car was freely available to anyone actively seeking it. It would also seem that risks in connection with the enterprise were not fully identified and evaluated
I certainly had not heard of such cars and could not recall seeing them mentioned in the first of DSJ's volumes on GP cars in the 1950's (which my elder brother had a copies of)
Eventually curiosity took complete control and I had write to the forum to see if I could find out more.
Is anyone in the UK going to contact the Museum and see what documentary evidence they have?
Posted 14 October 2000 - 14:49
DAMW had its fingers in many pies and was responsible for the 2-litre V12 normally aspirated Auto Union which is in the Donington Collection. This derived from the Auto Union E-type which had been originally designed for the supercharged 1½-litre formula which had been due to be implemented in 1941. Components intended for the E-type appear to have been revived by DAMW around 1951 and turned into a normally aspirated 2-litre car which would have qualified for Formula Two.
Most of the chassis was typical Auto Union, with a large-tube ladderframe and Porsche trailing arm and torsion bar front suspension, but the torsion bar and de Dion rear axle layout was similar to the later EMW sports-racers and may have been designed at Eisenach. A similar layout was used by the Eisenach line of sports cars from 1954.
There appears to have been three such cars, two of which were tested by Eisenach and a third, unfinished car, which is now in the Donington Collection. Two cars were delivered to Eisenach from Chemnitz (Karl-Marx-Stadt) which had been the branch of Auto Union where Wanderer cars had been built. Running without a supercharger, however, caused lubrication problems and Formula Two versions of the BMW 328 engine were substituted.
Eisenach was close to the East/West border. If you drove out onto the autobahn towards the West, within a few hundred metres you met the squat concrete buildings, and the checks and searches. This was not, however, the real border. That was 10-12 Kms to the West beyond the untilled arable land and the villages, reached only by special pass, which did not appear on East German maps. It was No Man's Land but running through it was a section of autobahn which could be easily controlled and that became EMW's test track.
Paul Thiel tested the Auto Unions along this stretch of autobahn. "The seating position was so restricted," he remembers, "that the steering wheel touched my chest; and in sharp corners the back wheels liked to go first!" It was decided not to persevere and both cars were scrapped.
...but I can tell you this, I have met someone who has driven the 1.5-litre Auto Union!
He is Paul Thiel who drove for the EMW works team in the 1950s.
Posted 14 October 2000 - 15:57
I would rather see things as they were with no parts being replaced.
A similar situation occurred with historic aircraft with the result that few of the aircraft being displayed in the museums are the full shilling. Many of them are complete rebuilds and there is always a danger that.......
Posted 14 October 2000 - 16:58