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East German BMW: 1952 EMW 340


Here is a very unusual car, thanks to Dik S. for sending in this tip! This is a 1952 EMW 340 and it’s in Eberswalde, Germany. It’s listed as a classified ad on eBay with a price of €7,500 ($8,381).


The BMW 340 was the first new post-war car produced by BMW, although it was a slightly-reworked BMW 326 with a few different body panels and other bits. BMW produced cars in their Eisenach plant in the 1930s and in 1945 it came under Russian control, following an agreement with the US, in the years following WWII. In 1952 it came under the control of East Germany and they were known as EMWs, after being threatened  that they would lose access to western currency if they continued to sell them under the BMW name. That is much too short and incomplete of a history of this cool, convoluted merger/takeover, but it’ll have to do until you read my doctoral thesis on the BMW/EMW 340.. Kidding. Although, if a person were to write a doctoral thesis on cars, I can think of worse subjects to research than that.


This particular Eisenacher Motorenwerk-built EMW 340 is from Finland, according to the seller’s description, which I can somewhat decipher thanks to Google Translate. Apparently, this car hasn’t been tinkered with which the seller says often leads to missing, hard to find parts such as headlights (I’m confident that someone will correct my cyber-German!). Notice the suicide doors; very, very cool.


As you can see from this photo of a restored 340, there’s a bit of work to be done on this car, to say the least. The 4-speed manual shifter is on the column here not on the floor, but it would still be a tight squeeze to have three people in the front seat, unless they’re very close comrades. The rear seat looks like it was comfortable and nice at one time, and it will be again, but plan on a total nut-and-bolt restoration here. Or, that’s what I would do with this rare car. There were a little over 21,000 of these cars made but I’m not sure how many have survived.


This is BMW’s M78, 1,971 cc, inline-six with around 55 hp. If there’s a company that knows how to make an inline-six it’s BMW, they’re as smooth as it gets, generally. Of course, this one will most likely need a total rebuild as part of the restoration, but once you’re done it’ll look something like this. The seller says that the engine turns freely and the transmission and brakes are working as far as loading it onto a trailer for shipping to your garage or restoration shop of choice. This would sure be an interesting vehicle for any car show, it would have to draw a crowd. Have you heard of this strange chapter in BMW’s history? Or, have you ever seen one of these EMW cars?


  1. jimbosidecar

    I’m familiar with the EMW bikes, but I didn’t know they also made cars

  2. Jesper

    Eberswalde is a little north from Berlin.
    They are not wery rare, but always expensive. A little north from Dresden, where i live is a dealer of east cars.
    Her have more of these. There is also a little museum beside the dealer, where there is only cars from the old DDR.
    The town is named Calau.

  3. Jesper

    I see if i can post some photo’s

  4. whippeteer

    I want the ambulance variant!

  5. JimmyinTEXAS

    Does the nurse go with the ambulance variant?

    • karld

      Yes, Jimmy, she does. She’s a steroid-enhanced ex-Olympic weightlifter

      • JimmyinTEXAS


  6. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I’m familiar with the EMW cars, The letters stand for Eisenach Motoren Werke, as opposed to Bayerische Motoren Werke, AG. With very little changes other than the BWM identification badges, ID plate & front clip, they are almost identical to the pre-war BMW. However EMW build quality never came close to BMW quality.

    I worked for a BMW dealership in Maryland back in the late 1970s. The owner of the dealership collected vintage BMW cars, and had an EMW like the one shown here on BF, it sat in the back lot for years, & was intended as a parts car for a future purchase of a BMW 326 sedan, but the dealer never bought one, so it just sat. Don’t know what happened to it.

    Eisenach is the town where pre-WW2 BMW vehicles were manufactured, also the town where Wartburg vehicles were made. The Wartburg factory is now part of the GM-Opel group. [I visited there in 1997]

    A good friend of mine here in the States has a post war EMW version of the BMW 327 convertible coupe, but sometime over the years it had a BMW 327 front grill & hood installed, along with BMW emblems.

    To distinguish it from the BMW, they took the standard BMW front clip and modernized it with flush headlites, added a fender continuation line/bulge to the front doors, and more modern bumpers.

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