German Surf Wagon: 1957 Auto Union Universal

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

The last time I saw a DKW/Auto Union was in the flesh during the failed Vermont junkyard excursion of 2016. On that trip, the most interesting car in the yard was what I believed to be a very complete DKW F93. This is the first time I can remember seeing a wagon variant for sale, otherwise known as an Auto Union Universal. Find this interesting project here on eBay with an opening bid of $2K.

Fitted with modern Thule roof racks, this rare Universal looks perfectly funky and ready to serve as a surf wagon on the coast. Of course, it would also look right at home in front of a Vermont country estate with the proverbial Christmas tree tied to the roof, and given the F93’s frequent appearance on snow-packed rally stages, we’re guessing the wagon could handle winter duty with some studded snow tires mounted.

The seller seems like one of those types that is intentionally vague. The body really does have more than a few issues at the moment, with what looks like rust blistering through in multiple places. Still, the interior looks decent (in the one photo provided) and the car emits a highly original appearance. All glass is intact, which is good since you’re likely to have a hard time finding a replacement pane. Just over 6,000 Universals were made up until 1969.

The low rear suspension strikes us as intentional, with perhaps some cut springs giving it this slammed appearance. You can clearly see the ties to VW and Audi in its design, as the wheels and hubcaps look like they were lifted from a Beetle and the rear end looks like it could pass for a Squareback. Overall, this could be a fun project if parts sourcing isn’t a bear, but the seller really needs to stop being so coy with the details to put potential buyers’ minds at ease.

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Actually, I’m more interested in the car behind the “Deek,” which appears to be a Tatra 603….

    And I doubt anyone tried to “slam” the wagon. I’d blame underinflated tires, lots of stuff piled in the back and worn-out shocks instead.

    Nonetheless, it could be a fairly simple and fun restoration/get-it-running-and-enjoy project. The engine’s simple enough to rebuild (as long as the gas/oil mixture was adhered to in its previous life) and the rest of the car looks solid. No pot o’ gold for the next owner, of course, but that’s not why a lot of us buy old cars!

    6+
  2. Bobsmyuncle

    Tatra!

    1+
    • Puhnto

      Hey, Bob’s my uncle too!

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  3. Hide Behind

    Liking the unusual, now this auto is just crying out for some old school redo.
    Surprisingly a quick check found many MOS and good reusable, but costly,
    parts.
    WITHOUT a good close up hands on to check floor pan and body rustout, at 3 grand and another 7 grand body and interior redo with decent paint one would have a damned nice out of the run of the mill, good driver and neat car show trophy taker.

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  4. Coventrycat

    Last time I saw one was at Gate’s, too. Great yard. There was another at a yard in Wilton, NH, with a couple of Panhards (with the tiger print interiors) and more Renault Dauphines I’ve ever seen in one place. Don’t know if it’s still operating though.

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    • randolph rush

      Blanchards in Wilton, yes still open, Used to go there back in the 70’s and look at the giliaths, lloyds etc also

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  5. Greg Foster

    I fixed up one of these some time ago and found it to be a fun project. Parts are generally available but not cheap. Yes, the torque is minimal but once at freeway speed, cruising with traffic is not a problem and I lived in the Los Angeles area. There is or was a USA DKW club with knowledgeable people. There was a newsletter (The Blue Cloud) but I don’t know if it is still published. The club also had parts directories and copies of factory repair manuals. I ultimately sold the car and have had some level of seller’s remorse ever since.

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  6. lawrence

    There was a family – a nice one – their kids went to school with me – good kids…they had a least two DKW’s a coupe….and I think there was a wagon…the cars were a little strange – don’t think they ever drove them ?

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  7. Martin Horrocks

    DKW have good build quality and were the experts on 2 stroke engines.

    This is a rare and interesting version, but can´t see that demand is going to push the price a lot higher. Be prepared for some criticism from environmental lobbyists if driving a 2 stroke in CA. Not everyone loves the smell or the smoke.

    1+
    • fogline

      How about an eco-boost swap? Would be quite the sleeper then it would seem.

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  8. Puhnto

    That’s a neat little wagon. When I lived in Brazil in the late sixties, early seventies, there were DKWs all over the place. Mostly sedans. They were frequently used as taxis, along side of VW Beetles.

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  9. Matt

    Just a note that when this car was built there was NO familial relationship with VW. That happened much later. My brother Greg owned a ’52 version of this that he bout for $10.00 from the local VW dealership in Heilbronn, Germany, where I was stationed in the Army in the mid-60’s. It was in perfect condition, by the way.

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  10. Bill McCoskey

    Yes, that’s a Tatra T2-603 in the background. I have a ’62, and have had a ’64 too.

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    • Ivan

      It looks like Tatra 603 model 1968 onwards. I used to own a fully restored 1961 3 head light one until recently but swapped it for Tatra 87. It is really a great car to drive. I am interested to buy your 62 anytime you decide to sell it. Thanks.

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