1 of 5,000: 1959 Auto Union 1000 Sp

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The Auto Union 1000 Sp was an interesting sports car built by Germany’s Auto Union beginning in 1958. Just 5,000 coupes and 1,640 convertibles were produced through 1965, taking many of their styling hints from the 1st-generation Ford Thunderbird. The example from 1959 looks like it’s been meticulously restored, but we don’t know for sure as the seller is also a dealer. For a car seldom seen in the U.S., this beauty is available in Tacoma, Washington, and here on craigslist for $29,950. Another nifty tip from Kyle K!

Auto Union AG, formed in 1932, would become a predecessor to what is now Audi. Production of the Sp was dependent upon a 981-cc, 2-stroke, 3-cylinder engine that had an output of 54 hp. It was first displayed at the 1957 Frankfurt Motor Show, the same time that the new T-Birds were popular in the U.S., with bodywork was done in Stuttgart, Germany. This same car changed hands two years ago, at which time the auction fetched $10,000 less than the asking price today.

We derive from the 2021 sale of the car that it has a 4-speed manual gearbox (column-shifted), a woodgrain dash, 15″ wheels with chrome inserts, and a contrasting-color steering wheel. Prior to the sale, it reportedly spent time in California where a previous owner may have refurbished it. The two-tone black-over-red paint looks as good as it gets, although there may be a chip or two to be found in a place or two. We’re not sure how difficult it will be to find parts for this rare car and eventually you will need something.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. TomP

    It looks similar to a Renault Caravelle.

    Like 5
    • Will Fox

      Remember the animated movie “CARS”? One of these was in the background as a female “character”.

      Like 4
      • Paul G

        Greetings! My dad had a 58 DKW which also was part of the auto union. My brother purchased the 59 DKW like the one pictured. It had all the features like the one pictured. Note also it was a 3 cyl 2 cycle motors in both vehicles, 5 gallon gas tank and came with a Blaupuntk am fm short wave radio. Leather interior with reclining bucket seats. Note also that the body of the SP1000 was aluminum. Both vehicles had front wheel drive too!

        Like 5
    • Rick

      With the aforementioned dose of the original T-Bird, plus a hint of 1960 Buick in the tail.

      Like 3
  2. gippy

    I think that is Bucky Austin’s shop in the old S. Tacoma Chevrolet building.

    Like 1
  3. Mike
  4. bobhess bobhessMember

    Nice looking car but I think I’d go for the T bucket in the background first.

    Like 1
  5. Gary

    Looks like a goofy T Bird to me

    Like 1
    • Scott L.

      Baby Baby Bird

      Like 0
  6. Martin Horrocks

    There were about 100 of these sold with a factory endorsed 6 cylinder 2 stroke engine. A guy I know has one snd you’ve never heard anything like it!

    Like 4
  7. Robert HagedornMember

    Russ, your last sentence puts a whopper of a damper on this beautiful car. Too bad.

    Like 1
  8. Eric

    Looks just like the one Park Place had a few months ago.

    Like 1
  9. chrlsful

    yup, frnt view – the Bird, back?
    our ’50s big 3 for the glass house/dog
    house or above deck (roof line, window, trunk).

    Like 0
  10. Jeff W

    Change the roof and it will look close to a 57 t bird

    Like 0
  11. Bill McNaughton

    Last of 5 DKW/AU’s I owned at school in the late 60’s. Delightful cars here in Canada as the front wheel drive with big lugged snow tires made the slush directional in the winter. :) Only problem was the bottom 4″ rotted away with the winter salt. When I sold it the would be purchaser had 2 questions. Are the taillights intact? No frame from the rear axle back so bumps from the rear got the bumper farther in than the tip of the taillights so they got “popped” if you backed against a wall. Second question was about the hubcaps. Yes they all had the Auto Union rings insignia bolted on. Seems there was more scrap value in the brass plated hubcaps than the price of a replacement so shipping boxes of hubcaps were going straight from the dealers to the scrap yards. Insignia was replaced by a sticker on a more “tinny” hubcap.

    Like 2

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