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1977 Wartburg 353

Proletariat of the world, unite in celebration! It’s not often that we get to see a car produced in the German Demoractic Republic – better known to you and me as East Germany. When we do see one, it’s often the much loved for being horrible Trabant that steals the limelight. So you know you’ve got something special when the car in question is referred to as “the other car made in the GDR”. It was a stunner, too – with such innovation as windows, wheels and even seats. The seats even had a class system – no socialist bench seating here! By separating the driver into their own separate seat, this progressive automobile showed that it was a world beater. Who said the Communists couldn’t think outside of the box? Speaking of boxes, did I mention that sleek exterior? It was a face only a Yugo’s mother could love, but compared to the Trabant – a car stuck believing 1955 was the future – the Wartburg 353 seemed to be emerging from the jet-age. Pioneering the concept that less moving parts was better, the Wartburg’s 2-stroke 3 cylinder engine was the prototype for the Tesla motor; it took Elon Musk 40 years of research to reduce the Wartburg’s 7 moving engine parts to only one! Rare to see..well, anywhere, check out this car that gave Captialist designers nightmares:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1977 Wartburg 353 on eBay

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Wednesday Wheels Roundup

It’s been a little while since we did a wheels post, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things. Here are a few compelling sets I found this week – they all look like pretty good deals if you’re looking for some wheels either set your ride apart or return it to a factory appearance:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: MSW 15×7 4×100 Wheels on eBay

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Feature Listing: 1960 Lloyd LT600

Microcars have witnessed a revival in the past few years, with good examples of cars like the BMW Isetta and Messerschmidt bring big dollars at auctions. Now that the popular models have taken off in price, it a good time to look around at some of the lesser known models, such as this Lloyd LT600 for sale by our friends at Evolve Motors. It’s what could best be classified as a fixer upper, but is complete and would make a great runabout for an urban business looking to catch some attention on the streets.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1960 Lloyd LT600 at Evolve Motors

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1986 Audi Coupe GT

Do you think you know Audi and Volkswagen products from the 1980s well? There are a lot of people who claim to, but it seems that at times even VAG didn’t know what it was producing. Take, for example, this 1986 Audi Coupe GT. Now, according to most sources for a long time, if you wanted to get the digital dashboard in a 1986 Audi Coupe GT, you had to get the “Commemorative Edition” GT which came only in white or graphite. Yet as the owner of what was originally a Oceanic Blue non-CE Audi GT with an original digital dashboard, I can attest that in fact cars outside of the normal production run were fitted with the somewhat quirky bit of 1980s fad technology. If you talk to most Audi folks, they stand firmly in two camps. The small camp says that the digital dash is really, really cool; the far larger camp sees it as a glitchy gimmick that seldom works properly and is hard to service. But having owned one for the best part of two decades now, I can say mine has never experienced much of an issue. It had neat features, such as the “shut off the entire dash” feature which left you only with a speed reading. I think I used it once, only to show someone that it existed. At startup, you could tell your friends that you had programmed the cover art to Ghost in the Machine by The Police into your dash. Much more fun, though, was the ability on the fly to switch the dash from English to Metric units; if you were alone on the highway with an unsuspecting passenger, you could flip the dash into metric and then brag about how you were going “150″ with ease. Okay, maybe I was the only one who thought it was funny, but there really weren’t many advantages to the digital dash otherwise. Despite that a smattering of 1986 and 1987 (non-”Special Build”) cars, seemingly with no particular order or logic, were fitted with the Atari-esque bit of technology:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Audi Coupe GT on eBay

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1969 DAF 55 Coupe

You have to love car companies. Marketing geniuses will tout the superior advantages their cars offer, often referring to the technology incorporated as “ground breaking” or “innovative”. One such “recent” innovation has been the CVT – continuously variable transmission – that offers peak power and improved fuel efficiency. The only problem is that it is in no way recent; take today’s 1969 DAF 55 Coupe, for example. Launched in 1967 from a Dutch company otherwise known for producing trucks, the DAF 55 took their boxer-engined 44 and replaced the lump with a Renault-sourced 1.1 inline-4. But more interesting was the “Variomatic” CVT transmission – but surely, you say, it wouldn’t have worked back then. Well, it did, and like the NSU TT I wrote up Monday the DAF 55 enjoyed some time as a gentleman’s race car, even winning the 1968 Alpine Rally and having custom 4-wheel drive versions made. Sound neat? Yeah, it was! DAF was later swallowed by Volvo, but for a time these microcars were the realization of what would happen if you combined styling from all the various European nations into one car. Seriously, there are hints of British, French, German and Italian cars all wrapped up here in one neat little package. Today, there’s a stunningly nice example available on Ebay:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 DAF 55 Coupe on eBay

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