1958 DKW Universal Kombi news, pictures, specifications, and information
Wagon
Chassis Num: 69584369
Sold for $60,500 at 2012 RM Auctions.
Danish engineer named Jorgen Skafte Rasmussen founded a factory in Saxon, Germany in 1916 with the purpose of producing steam fittings. During the companies' introductory year, they attempted to produce a steam-driven car, called the DKW (Dampf-Kraft-Wagen meaning steam-driven car). Though the attempt was not successful, the engine was later used in a motorcycle and called Das Kleine Wunder, meaning 'the little marvel.' Within a few years, the DKW brand would be the world's largest manufacturer of motorcycles.

In 1932, Audi, Horch, Wanderer, and DKW merged, forming Auto Union. In 1957, ownership came under Daimler-Benz and in 1964, was purchased by the Volkswagen Group.

Though motorcycles were a large part of the DKW business, automobiles were also an integral part. They produced cars from 1928 until 1966 and were one of the very first marque's to use front-wheel drive and transverse mounting. Power was from a two-stroke engine that displaced 600 or 700cc, producing 18 to 20 horsepower. Their most popular pre-War models were the F1 through F8, with the 'F' representing 'front.'

In 1950, a 620cc twin, named Meisterklasse (master class) was introduced, succeeded by a three-cylinder Sonderklasse (special class) in March of 1953. The Sonderklasse was initially a two-door sedan that was later offered as a coupe, a cabriolet, a four-door sedan and a 'Universal' Kombi, or station wagon. In 1955, the sobriquet '3 = 6' was adopted, signifying that a three-cylinder two-stroke was as powerful as a four-stroke six. With the adoption of four-cycle, 1,700 cc powerplants in the 1960s, the name 'Audi' was revived and applied to subsequent cars.

This DKW Universal Kombi has been the subject of a complete rotisserie restoration and finished in Champagne Yellow over Willow Green. The car is equipped with a Blaupunkt radio with a separate marine band option and Blaupunkt speakers, Marchal driving lights and a rare factory locking gas cap. The car's odometer shows less than 22,000 miles.

The two-stroke inline three-cylinder 896cc engine offers 40 horsepower and it's mated to a four-speed manual front-drive transmission. There are four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes and a wheelbase that measures 96 inches.

In 2012, the car was offered for sale at RM Auction's sale in Amelia Island, Florida. It was estimated to sell for $50,000 - $70,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $60,500 inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2012
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