7 thoughts on “DTW Festive Teaser (2) – Mystery Car”

    1. It is indeed.

      Produced from 1957-59 to add some glamour to AWZ’s Trabant-Vorgänger P70 range, the coupe’s body was built by VEB Karosseriewerk Dresden (KWD), the predecessor business of which was established as early as 1864, and gained some distinction in the 1920s and ’30s as the well-regarded but financially troubled Gläser Karosserie.

      The Coupe is the only member of the P70 family to have a full steel superstructure. The Limousine and Kombi used composite panels on a timber frame.

      Only 1500 or so Coupes were made. As the DDR regime became more hardline, there was no place for such “playboys cars”. The AWZ car and the contemporary Wartburg 311 and 313 coupes failed to make their case as exportable hard-currency earners.

      KWD was absorbed post-Wende into the Schnellke Group, and continues to supply steel pressings for VAG.

  1. Another mystery is solved too, the “other” antecedent of Figaro (Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile for the roof section).

  2. Perhaps there was somebody with a DDR fixation high up in Nissan in the late ’80s to mid ’90s . The 1994-2000 Rasheen looks heavily inspired and informed by the Wartburg 353 Tourist.

    As to the inspiration for the Figaro, I’ll throw in the 1950-54 Gutbrod Superior, this time from West Germany.

    The Figaro doesn’t look like a direct copy of anything, more a skilful and literate synthesis of several designs from the early -mid 1950s. It’s astonishing that such effort and care went into a car – intentionally – produced for only one year, and in only 12,000 examples – 50% more than planned.

    The Japanese industry in its pomp could afford such ephemeral diversions. Certain western manufacturers would have seen the potential, and stretched and manipulated the design over several decades, with some horrors along the way.

  3. Thanks Robertas. Both AWZ and Gutbrod are new to me, only this particular Gutbrod’s mudflaps seem familiar.

    That extreme positive camber at the rear is quite the eye opener as well. I started driving just as radials became ubiquitous, but I suppose that older tire technology largely defined the limits of safety in all designs and all situations, so a constant state of entertaining oversteer might better help a driver to remain in touch with the limits of adhesion than would an occasional snap oversteer situation.

  4. I’d have expected the weight of two people and their luggage would have sorted out the camber, but the Superior is quite heavy – 690kg, about the same as a Fiat 127, so the load wouldn’t have made as much difference as to a similarly swing-axled 500kg Lloyd LP300, which looks even more alarming.

    The cutaway shows quite an advanced chassis, with coil springs all round. It has front wheel drive in a DKW-like arrangement, with a water-cooled in line two stroke twin using Schnürle porting. The central tube serves as the chassis backbone, an arrangement also used by Lloyd, Goliath and Tempo.

  5. Re Nissan’s inspiration for the Figaro. I will see your 1950-54 Gutbrod Superior and raise you a 1949-55 Fiat 500C Topolino.

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