Sunday, October 23, 2011

Importing a South African DKW

As will be quite apparent from this blog, I'm a big fan of DKW cars, bikes and scooters. Relatively few DKW cars were ever exported to Australia. During the pre-war years 1290 DKW F5s and F7s were imported into Australia and sold relatively well, but DKW sales never recovered post-war.  Maybe 5 F89 Schnellasters and 10 3=6 Sonderclasse were imported by Standard Motor Company in 1958, but they failed to sell.  Consequently they are extremely rare in Australia, most of the examples being fairly recent private imports.

This is not the situation in South Africa where the DKW enjoyed an excellent export market. Thousands of DKWs made their way there in the mid to late 1960s, and, thanks to the dry climate many are still on the road. There is also a large enthusiast community in South Africa and many specialist mechanics and parts suppliers.

While prowling around the Internet I'd seen a couple of nice examples up for sale on South African Gumtree. I'd idly commented about them to a few friends. The trouble and risk of buying a car, sight unseen, from another country was simply too much of a risk. Just before we set off on our US holiday I was speaking with a South African colleague and mentioned my interest in DKWs. He advised that if I was interested he had contacts back home could look the car over.
I had seen a lovely green DKW for sale and Shelly - to my surprise - agreed that we could buy the car. Unfortunately the car sold, so I shelved the idea again. Then this beautifully restored example came up for sale in Johannesburg. My friend sent his dad around to inspect it and - although he disparagingly called it a 'Deutsche Kak Wagen' (German sh*t car) - gave it an extremely positive review. After a round of discussions, with my friend's dad acting as go between, we made an offer and a deal was done.
The owner is a lifetime DKW fan tracing his interest right back to his youth in Argentina. He and his son had spent a lot of effort restoring the car into the condition you see here. He has provided me a great deal of the car's history, which I will detail at an appropriate time. For the present we are engaged in the great bureaucratic exercise of arranging import approval. That can be either a smooth or a torturous experience. We'll see how it goes. You can expect updates in the blog as we go through the process.

Update 5 December 2011
At last, after 6 weeks I've finally received the import approval. The next step begins!


  1. Oh that's a sweet Deek! I have to limit myself to Ostbloc 2-strokes of the two wheel variety but Ive always hankered after a 2-stroke car. Trabbies are easy enough to come by but its the DKW and IFAs that have always attracted me. Ah well maybe one day!

  2. That is a lovely car Paul! I am more of an Alfaholic ( but will be very interested in the import process and how easy/difficult you find it. I have relatives in Aregentina who love these cars too.