Saturday, October 26, 2019

Classic Cars and Coffee October 2019

There was a huge turnout for the October Classic Cars and Coffee meet. As always there was an interesting assortment of vehicles in attendance.

The Czech contingent - my 1952 Tatra is paired with a 1965 Skoda Octavia. Both cars were built at the Skoda works at Mlada Boleslava.

Richard's Tyrepower 'Bibendum'

Jensen-Volvo and Volvo Amazon

Jensen C-V8

Citroen DS

A fine pair of Bristols! Who would have thought there would two Bristol 401s in Perth, and both in exactly the same colour? Only 611 Bristols were ever built.

The Bristol is an extremely handsome streamlined vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz SL

A very full carpark

Ferrari row

1964 Jensen C-V8


US model Ford Fairlane

Suzuki van

Morgan club out in force

1948 Wolsely 18/55B

BMW i8

Land Rover


Rambler and Chevrolet

DKW Wankel


One of the Bristol's hits the roads

And the other follows

Very stylish

Renault 8, owned since new by the same gentleman

This Renault Alpine A110 has recently been repainted from white to a traditional Renault blue.

Hillman Imp

The stunning and stylish Facel Vega


The next Classic Cars and Coffee is Sunday 17th November 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Verkehrsmuseum, Dresden

Dresden was the capital of the State of Saxony and a stunning architectural gem. The city was completely destroyed by Allied bombing at the end of the war, an event considered by some as a war crime. The heart of the old city has been thoughtfully restored. The jewel in the crown is the baroque masterpiece, the 18th century Frauenkirche. The church was destroyed in the bombing of Dresden and the ruins were left as a reminder of the horrors of the war. After reunification the church was reconstructed. The blackened stones are original.
The Verkhersmuseum (East German Transport Museum) in Dresden is located in the central square of the old city in a building that was formerly the royal stables of the kings of Saxony. The building, known as the Johanneum, was built between 1586 and 1590 and is one of the oldest buildings in Dresden. It certainly doesn't look like a stable, but a palace in its own right.

The museum presents displays of historical transport, ranging from motor vehicles, trams and trains, aircraft and ships. For information about the museum, please check their website:

The exhibition of motor vehicles starts with the Benz Patentwagen of 1886.

Karl Benz' competitor was Gottleib Daimler, who produced this powered carriage in 1886. Daimler's vehicle was a little more robust than Benz' powered tricycle and wasn't long before Benz was producing a four wheeled vehicle of his own.

1900 Wartburg. The Eisenach motorwerkes started building cars in 1898 based Benz patents.

Veteran cars and bicycles to 1910.

1906 Wanderer prototype and a bicycle with metal wheels.

Bommerland three seater motorcycle of 1927.

The 1920s and 30s - The BMW AM1 of 1932. BMW was an aero engine manufacturer from Munich, Bavaria, but as Germany was prevented from manufacturing aircraft by the Versailles Treaty, the company was forced to diversify. BMW began manufacturing motorcycles in the 1920s before branching into cars by buying out the struggling Dixi company of Eisenach, Saxony. Dixi held a license to manufacture British Austin Seven cars. Using the Austin Seven as its base, BMW developed their own lineage, notably including some magnificent sportscars.

1932 Wanderer W10. At this time Wanderer were an independent car and motorcycle manufacturer located in Siegmar, Saxony. By the end of 1932 however, the company would be merged into the Auto-Union group

Ferdinand Porsche designed the engine of the Wanderer W series, which the company was able to capitalize on over the next decade.

A rare vehicle in any collection is this Rohr 8 Type F. The company began producing high quality, advanced cars in 1928, and although they gained a good reputation, the company struggled to maintain a profit. The company went out of business in 1937 as part of the Nazi Schell plan to streamline and standardize the auto industry.

A cutaway DKW 4=8 two-stroke engine. This overly complex piece of engineering, featuring two blocks of twin combustion chambers with one charging pump cylinder, powered the 'Big DKW' range from 1928 to 1939. The engine was problematic with customers regularly complaining of high fuel and spark plug consumption and engine seizure. For more information about the Big DKWs and their unorthodox motor, check out my article:

The Opel P-4 was an attempt at 'volkswagen' in the mid-1930s. Opel attempted to get Adolf Hitler's backing to declare the P-4 the volkswagen, if he would only compromise on the price as they could not get the car down to the mandated 1000 Reichsmark price tag. The best they could was 1400 for a budget model without frills. Hitler was adamant however and would not compromise. Opel's refusal would have political repercussions later when the company was denied access to steel and other critical resources. Under the Schell plan their vehicle range was shut down and they were required to produce only trucks.

Moving into the post war section. 1949 IFA F8

The DKW F8 was introduced in 1940, until production ceased in 1943. After the war the newly nationalized DKW factory in Zwickau, now rebadged as IFA, began producing the F8 again. Production ran from 1948 to 1955.

BMW's car and motorcycle plant at Eisenach also found itself in the Soviet zone. Recognizing that the Soviets intended on stripping the factory of plant and equipment, the team at Eisenach presented a BMW motorcycle to Marshal Georgi Zhukov and offered to build vehicles for the Soviets. Zhukov agreed and the factory received a stay of execution. Plans and personnel slipped away to the west and a new BMW motorcycle plant was established in Munich. As relations between the Allies deteriorated, BMW sued the Eisenach plant over use of the BMW name and logo. Eisenach changed the name to EMW and replaced the blue and white roundel with a red and white roundel. In 1948 EMW released their new 340 sedan, a car that had been designed during the war. But a large 6 cylinder, American styled car did not find a ready market in East Germany. 

Unlike DKW in the west, IFA had access to one of the pre-war F9 prototypes, which they reverse engineered to produce their own version of the IFA F9. IFA's production facilities were somewhat limited after the Soviet engineering teams had stripped the factory so production only tricked off the line between 1949 and 1953.

With stagnant production at the EMW plant at Eisenach, VEB, the East German automotive body, reassigned production of the IFA F9 to EMW. The employees at Eisenach were horrified to go from the luxury 340 sedan and 327 sportscar, to a two-stroke engined budget car, but they had little choice. The engineers at Eisenach made several important changes to the F9, including giving the car a larger rear window and front windscreen. The petrol tank was moved from the engine bay to the boot and the gear change was mounted on steering column. The F9 remained in production until 1956, when it was replaced by the Wartburg 311.

The Industrialwerkes Ludwigsfeld (IWL) outside Berlin, was formerly a Daimler aircraft engine plant. The factory had been bombed during the war before being comprehensively stripped of any remaining assets by the Soviet engineering corps as part of German war reparations. By the 1950s the factories had been cleaned up and was manufacturing agricultural tools and a small tractor. In 1954 VEB assigned the plant a contract to build a motor scooter. Notice also the VEB Minol petrol bowser. Minol were the East German national petrol and oil company.

The IWL Pitty was IWL's first scooter. It was powered by an MZ 125cc two-stroke engine, which was a post-war version of the famous DKW RT125 engine. The little engine was under-powered for such a large machine, which carried a lot of unnecessary weigh with it's heavy nose cowling. Two years later the cowling was replaced with a traditional fender and the scooter was renamed the Weisel.

Wartburg 353 Wankel rotary engine. The Wartburg 311 was basically an IFA F9 with a newly styled body. VEB Eisenach engineers were always keen to replace the Wartburg's 900cc two-stroke engine with something more efficient, but two-strokes were cheap to build and maintain. When the Wankel rotary engine appears in the 1960s, it appeared to be a simple and effective power-plant that could supersede both two and four strokes. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Eisenach and NSU worked jointly on a Wankel rotary engine for a new Wartburg model, but the project fell through. NSU went on to develop the engine for their revolutionary NSU Ro80.

1966 Wartburg 355 rotary engine prototype. The standard two-stroke engined 353 was a popular seller internationally, even in the UK. The rotary engine prototype featured somewhat sportier lines. The body panels were in Duraplast.

Simson-Stuhl were a pre-war motorcycle manufacturer that would specialize in mopeds and 50cc scooters in East Germany. This is the famous Simson Schwalbe (Swallow), which still maintains a strong cult following today.

On the left is the Czech scooter, the Czeta. Manufactured by the Cz motorcycle company and widely exported. It was event assembled and sold in New Zealand as the Nzeta. Thanks to its unique styling, the Czeta was nicknamed 'the Iron Pig.' In the middle is a 1961 IWL Troll. This was IWL's last scooter, manufactured between 1961 and 1964, it was designed as a solid and reliable touring scooter. It was powered by an MZ 149cc motorcycle engine, with which it shared many other components. In 1964 IWL transferred production of scooters to MZ, who promptly shut them down in favor of MZ's motorcycle range. On the right is a 1971 Simson SL1 moped.

Among this display of common cars of East German streets is an English car - the Hillman Minx. Apparently the Minx was a popular imported car. To the left is an AWO-Simson motorcycle. The AWO came in either a 450cc or 250cc four stroke, with shaft drive. They were similar in design to the single cylinder BMW motorcycles. 

The queen of the MZ crop (in my opinion) is this ES250. The ES was derived from the pre-war DKW motorcycle range, but had evolved into a handsome and stylish machine. MZ motorcycles would later evolve a distinctive square look, as exemplified in the IWL Troll's headlamp.

Presto moped

A Czechoslovakian Jawa Californian. Jawa had been building two-stroke motorcycles since the 1920s, originally derived from Wanderer motorcycles. These motorcycles were extremely popular and sold well internationally.

When you think of East German vehicles, you can't go past the Sachsenring Trabant. This is the 'classic' Trabant, the P601 model, introduced in 1965. The type was derived from the kleinwagen, P50, developed in the 1958. The 601 had a bigger engine and better features, but due to its extremely long production run without major changes, it was well and truly obsolete by the time the Wall came down in 1992.

On an upper landing overlooking the ground floor is a row of vehicles primarily from the 1930s. It wasn't possible to see all the vehicles clearly. I could not discern the make of the white vehicle at the rear on the left hand side. The green three wheeler in the rear centre is either a Phanomen or Framo triporter from the late 1920s. In front is a 1925 Simson-Supra sedan. Simson went on to become East Germany's moped manufacturer.

1928 Hanomag 2HP 'Kommisbrot' is an important vehicle in automotive history as it reintroduced the idea of a rear mounted engine. A single cylinder 400cc four stroke motor in the rear drove the solid rear axle by chain. The little car demonstrated impressive handling and reliability and pointed the way towards the rear engine concept for budget cars in the 1930s and 40s.

A view down on the Dixi and Wanderer of 1932.

Phanomen light lorry. Phanomen started manufacturing motorcycles in the early 1900s before specializing in tricycle delivery vehicles. By the 1930s they had ventured into four wheeled trucks. In the post-war period they built heavy trucks under the name Robur.

In the 1930s a number of car markers attempted to develop a budget car for the masses. On the left is the Goliath Pioneer, a three wheeled light car developed by Carl Borgward. On the right is the Framo Piccolo, a four wheeled light car developed by Jorge Rasmussen of DKW fame.

1935 Framo Piccolo. Although from the outside it looks like an orthodox small car of the period, it is actually nothing of the sort. The bonnet is a facade that doesn't even open. In fact, the bonnet space contains nothing other than the steering column and storage space. The engine is mounted in the rear, powering the rear wheels via a motorcycle chain-case. The engine was either a 200cc or 300cc DKW EL air-cooled stationary engine. The whole car was extremely light, being constructed of plywood covered in leatherette. Even so the engine was seriously under-powered. This later model featured two doors (luxury!) and a false radiator grill from DKW.

The Goliath Pioneer was Carl Borgward's first attempt at a passenger vehicle after having achieved some minor success with a delivery triporter. The tricycle car was powered by a 200cc two-stroke motor placed in the rear. The body was constructed of plywood covered with leatherette. The enclosed cab was an important feature for the budget motorist.

As in the west, most of the vehicle types that were in production in East Germany after the war were pre-war types. VEB presented IFA with a specification for modern 'people's car' that could be built using a minimum of critical resources, such as steel. IFA engineers took only twelve months to present their solution - the AWZ P70. AWZ stood for Autowerke Zwickau, the former Audi plant. The P70 was an elegant solution to the problem, using an F8 chassis and running gear fitted with modern, pontoon bodywork manufactured out of Duraplast. Duraplast was a synthetic product made from resin impregnated cotton waste. The resulting product was tough and flexible. The P70 was a successful vehicle which was in production until 1958, when it was replaced by the Trabant P50.

Eisenach's gorgeous Wartburg 311 was unveiled in 1956, replacing the IFA F9. Under its skin, the Wartburg was basically the same F9, but the styling was impressive and far more appealing and modern that the contemporary DKW F93 series, which remained largely unchanged until 1964.

Simson SR2 moped in the foreground and a 1964 Skoda Octavia from Czechoslovakia. In the distance is a Citroen CX25.

1953 AWE Rennsportwagen

In the early post-war period East Germany took a serious interest in motorsport. AWE used BMW engines in its racers. Only a few were built.

The museum features a collection of historic locomotives. This wing is being refurbished and will reopen on 12 June 2020. This is a replica of the Saxonia, the first operational locomotive in Germany from 1839.

The museum has a collection of 105 trains stored at a railway depot. The depot can be visited on occasion.

Electric tender

IV K narrow gauge lo­co­mo­tive from the Saxon State Railway.

Aero Ae-45, a Czech light airliner used by the East German Interflug airline.

The aviation section included a large display of Zeppelin memorabilia.

Deutsche Luftshiffahrts-AG (DELAG) operated the first commercial airline in the world.

In two days over the ocean on the Hindenburg.

Deutsche Luftpost via the Hindenburg and Junkers 87 (the civilian version of course).

Home build aircraft powered by a Trabant engine. The builder had intended to fly it to the west. They never had a chance to use it however.

View from the window of the museum, looking back towards the royal palace.

And if the wonderful Verkehrsmuseum is not enough of a drawcard, please enjoy these photos of the wonderful baroque city of Dresden.

Dresden Catholic cathedral

Canaletto's view.

For tourist information about Dresden, check out the website: