1959 DKW Monza

1959 DKW Monza 1959 DKW Monza 1959 DKW Monza Coupe
The DKW Monza was a coach built sports coupe named after the famous race track in Italy. The Monza used a standard DKW chassis and drivetrain with a fiberglass body that was much more aerodynamic and lighter than the standard DKW sedan. This increased the top speed from 70 mph to 88 mph. Three different coach builders built the Monza from 1956 through 1959 and about 80 cars were built. About 50 cars are known to survive today. The DKW Monza was piloted by a team of German and Swiss drivers who set 5 world records on the Monza race track averaging 87 mph for a 72 hour period in 1956.

The glass-fiber reinforced polyester coupe body offered less aerodynamic resistance because of its rounded frontal area and low profile. Like all DKWs of those days, the Monza has a compact chassis, weighing in at just 1,720 pounds.

The fiberglass body was easy and cheap to produce so it made little senses to tool-up production of bespoke trim pieces. Consequently parts bin raiding was common among many specialty models of that period. The elegant sculpted body over a conventional but unusually nicknamed DKW 3=6 drivetrain offers many intriguing details. Headlight trim is from Opel and turn signals are of Karman-Ghia provenance. The rear turn signals are from a Porsche 356 and the steering wheel has been seen on many a Volkswagen bus.

This car is from the last series built by R. Schenk in Stuttgart. Its engine is a 980cc water-cooled 3 cylinder two-stroke offering 55 horsepower. It would have cost approximately $2,500 US. This car was found in a California junkyard in deplorable condition with the roof having been ripped off by a forklift trying to pick it up. The current owners acquired the car in 2003 and it remained in storage until 2008 when Lane Motor Museum member Jim Biery bravely agreed to restore the car. Seven years and countless hours have been spent bringing the Monza back to its former glory.

The DKW Monza was produced from 1956 through 1958 and the exact number of examples produced is not known. Poor record keeping along with kit cars has figures ranging from seventy to two-hundred and forty. The DKW Monza Club believes that around 70 to 80 examples were built and fewer than 50 have survived.

The Monza was comprised of components from several manufactures including DKW, Opel, Karman-Ghia, and Porsche. It had a conventional DKW 3=6 drivetrain, front turn signals from a Karman-Ghia, rear turn signals from the Porsche 356, and the headlight trim was from Opel. It had a tube-frame, lightweight fiberglass body, a 3-cylinder two-stroke engine, and front-wheel drive configuration.


By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016



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