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1957 Auto Union: Unknown Oddball


Here’s a head-scratcher that has both me and the seller baffled: a 1957 model-year Auto Union creation here on eBay in Germany with the model type completely unknown! This finned coupe is truly eye-catching, but whether it’s in a good way or not is up to the beholder. Combining what I would describe as classic American fins with a front end vaguely reminiscent of vintage Saabs, this oldtimer DKW is somewhat of an orphan at the moment.


The rear end reminds me vaguely of the Auto Union 1000 SP, with the resemblance attributed to the rear window arc and the tail lights integrated into the fins. However, it appears there is another set of fins mounted on top – a clear deviation from stock (we think). The rear window also has some sort of bracing across it, so perhaps it’s another custom styling cue added by bored owners over the years. The gas cap is also in the incorrect location for a genuine 1000 SP.


The interior photos don’t help us much, mainly because this is the only one in the listing! I’m a firm believer that, if you don’t know what kind of a car you have, you should take as many pictures as humanly possible. I’m always surprised by what other people can spot just by being a casual observer. From what I can see, the interior is mostly intact, with an original steering wheel still in place and seats that don’t appear torn up in what little I can see.


This Auto Union does appear fairly dry and intact, but there are so many wild cards when buying an unusual project car. Has it been hacked apart elsewhere? Is their rust I can’t see? How hard will it be to track down any necessary parts, especially if they’ve become NLA? I think the last concern is almost a certainty with a car as unusual as this one. The 1000 SP was dubbed the “Baby Thunderbird” when new, and I’m hoping its notoriety may help us identify this mysterious variant. Thanks for Barn Finds reader Sheldon D. for the find!


  1. Avatar photo William H

    Not a clue but following the post so I can get any replies from those that do.

    Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Dave Wright

    I suspect with a selling price of over 15,000 euros………a few people knew what it was.

    Like 1
  3. Avatar photo JK

    The fins are reminiscent of the fins on the Auto Union 1000 speziale or s or sp as sometimes abbreviated online. Can’t find that front end though.

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo MeToo

    Man! That thing is in a class of its own in terms of ugly.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Barry T

      When I googled the word “ugly” they had a picture of this thing.

      Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Matt Tritt

    It went for way more than I expected it would for such an ungainly Auto(Union)! It reminds me in an unpleasant way of the DKW “Humel” moped than came out about the same time. Stylists gone mad!

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo James

    According to the second from top eBay comment this is a customized brown DKW f93 that had a newer engine fitted in 1977. A previous owner (the customizer?) was Peter Lohrer. Lohrer was a member of the Auto Union-Veteranen-Club.

    The car is highly modified having begun life as a DKW f93 2dr sedan/coupe which looks to have been sectioned (note steering wheel position relative to belt line/windows) and had a wrap around windshield from a Opel Rekord installed to replace the stock curved windshield per commenters info. Beyond that it was apparently customized using SP 1000 body panels and whatever else suited the customizer’s fancy. Interesting, but like so many customized cars, it’s a hodge podge of design elements – more likely to be considered hideous rather than good-looking.

    €15,001 successful bid – Amazing!

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

      I agree it’s a highly modified f93 sedan. It has1000SP body parts, but the interior is not 1000SP. [I know, I own one.]

      Like 0
  7. Avatar photo VetteDude

    And, I didn’t think that I could read German! Ha!: “This listing has ended.”

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    Hey, every car has the right to be ugly, but this one is abusing the privilege!

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo MeToo

    Geez, how many of those 4 ring symbols did they think it needed? From the photos I count four and I am betting there are more. Bet the original hubcaps had them as well. LOL

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo Olaf E

    Again, not my cup of tea. But this car is the result of somebody’s dream/vision, to me he (she?) is a hero.

    Dear Bf, at the moment busy with a special project from India, it’s a dog! Will start soon, I hope, sending you my ‘finds’.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jamie Staff

      Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

      Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Dolphin Member

    There just aren’t enough shiny chrome circles and strakes on it to suit me. Not enough fins either.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jamie Staff

      Ok, *now* I’m laughing :-)

      Like 0
  12. Avatar photo justin

    I find a little humor in the write up. Not only is the car a joke, but the word chosen to ask if “there” were any rust that I cannot see. “(Is their rust I can’t see?)” It is like asking if they are adding their own rust to what this car may already have and they are throwing in additional rust should that not be enough as they just were cleaning out their shop and had additional rust the new owner could have. If rust was an option, I would decline to accept it.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Karl

    George Jetson, your car is at the valet stand.

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo MikeW

    I like the Baby Thunderbird: Auto Union 1000 SP much better !

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Dougm

    a two bagger

    Like 0
  16. Avatar photo Steve

    Looks like the offspring of an Audi that had a 3-way with a Citreon and a Buick

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo tom

      it is funny

      Like 0
  17. Avatar photo Wayne

    Apart from the bonnet scoop, this looks fantastic. Love the rear especially.

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Olaf E

    Dear Bf people,

    Almost every make started from a dream/vision, also Tesla for instance. Consider them as odd, they are a part of automotive history, no matter the uglyness or else.

    For years I’ve been having discussions regarding old designs, experiments and or faillures in Formula One. The only argument I use justifying all those is the competition of the Tyrrell P34.


    Won only one GP, but this is a part of what made F1 what it is now (and yes, it’s not great the last 10-20 years). The same with this Auto Union, the way I see it is that somebody designed and built his own concept car, which equauls design houses such as Pininfarina (look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyundai_Lavita ) or Zagato.

    Here in Europe, USA cars have been a no go area for decades for most buyers. Okay, there were some who accepted the huge depreciation in value. Only a few though, for the most it was an ‘exotic’ and out of their comfort zone (non European design but especially sizes). Old Dutch saying: What the farmer does not know, he does not eat.

    The exchange of Lancia – Chrysler badges is the last proof of my statement. The same for the Saab 9-3, this was an Opel Vectra (idea from GM, hahaha!). But Saab sold more of this 9-3 in one year in Europe than USA cars were sold in 5 years.

    This Auto Union is an early friendly warning. I see many American (European too!) cars on Ebay, Craigslist and other sites that have been misshaped and that will continue. Next ‘fool’, please!. And in 10 or 20 years Barnfinds will probably be filled with these disfugered cars, not to forget the listing of Barnfinds.com at Nasdac. :)

    History will repeat itself. What great years to come!

    Like 0
  19. Avatar photo m.w.reichert

    More informations to this car in german here:http://www.motor-talk.de/news/wer-er-kennt-dieses-auto-t5471898.html

    Like 0

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