Samba Alternative: 1958 DKW Kombi

1958 DKW Kombi

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In the 1950s the VW Vans were very popular. Other companies tried their hand at building vans to compete with VW, like this DKW listed on eBay in England, but located in Spain. It’s priced at £7,500.00, about $11,600. A similar van sold recently on Samba for $11,000. Very few were imported into the US. They are front wheel drive with a low flat floor, a 22 horsepower two-stroke 2 cylinder 700CC engine. They switched to a three cylinder 900cc 32 horse 2-stroke engine in 1955, so it’s a puzzle that this has the earlier engine. These were very popular around Europe for a long time and there are still a few in use.


This hasn’t been driven in 20 years. The seller hasn’t done any work on it, but it looks complete and original. There are some areas of rust to be repaired.

front inside

There isn’t much to the interior, so getting it to a usable point shouldn’t be too difficult (as long as the wooden floors are still solid).

DKW Restoration

Here is a before and after pictures of a restoration a few years ago to give you an idea what they can look like. There are many incredible pictures of the restoration here.

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  1. z1rider

    So ugly I want one. Or maybe a Thames. Oh decisions decisions!!!!

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  2. Bobsmyuncle

    The restoration article is a good read. Had a decent laugh about the “timed” screw heads.

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    • Karl

      Everybody that visits this site needs to read this article. The restoration work done was absolutely amazing. I wonder what it cost to do, and how much the little bugger went for at the 2013 auction.
      I smiled at the “timed” screws too. One of my old bosses who was a perfectionist insisted while we were painting the office that we turn the screws on the light switch and receptacle plates so that all the slots were vertical. I’ve done that in my houses ever since and it does strike a tiny spark of satisfaction every time I flip a light switch.
      As for the discrepancy in the engine types, this is a fifty-seven-year-old utility vehicle. No doubt some Spanish business owner long ago blew the original motor, and his grizzled old mechanic shifted the cigarette to the other side of his mouth and said, “No problem. I’ve got a two-cylinder out back in the tow yard that’ll drop right in. Just tell everyone you’ve decided to switch to a smallblock.”

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  3. randy

    I’d drive it! Cool little car.

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  4. RayT

    I like it. The styling comes from one of my favorite schools of German design — don’t know what it is, just call it the “Schuco Look” — and you would never lose it in a parking lot! The only downside I can imagine is that it would be the worst possible choice for highway use.

    The restored example David linked to is incredible. That’s the way I’d want to restore any vehicle, at least if I had the money and skill to be so finicky. The total bill must have been staggering.

    Of course if I DID turn out a piece like that, I’d mess the whole deal up taking it out immediately and driving it. What else can/should you do with an automobile?

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    • Matt Tritt

      Me too! I don’t find it ugly (for some reason), just a bit homely in a nice way. If you’ve never driven an early Deek with the 2 cylinder engine, they’re surprisingly zippy and have an excellent ring-ding-ding exhaust note that’s hard to duplicate. While I was stationed in Heilbronn in 1967, my visiting brother bought an early 2 cylinder sedan from the local VW agency’s “what do we do with these?” storage yard for about $20.00 Because he was American with an American driver’s licence it didn’t have to meet all the German motor vehicle code requirements. For a thermostat it had a fabric window blind controlled by a pull string: Raise it when it’s cold, lower it when it’s hot. It also had no water pump, but cooled via the thermosyphon principal. It was beautifully made, suicide doors and all. 2 = 4!

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    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      Back in 1952 I was given a Schucco clockwork model car for Christmas that had a cable going through the roof that activated the front wheel steering while walking along behind it. What a wonderful toy that was and I wish I still had it.

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  5. jaygryph

    I guess I should have bought that one for $800 at the swapmeet last year. It was an old 7up delivery van. Had I known they were so rare in the US I’d have snapped it up. It did get sold, so someone will be doing something with it I’m sure.

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  6. Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

    When a person offers a vehicle for sale, and claims that it has been restored to better than new, then this restoration is the one to look at in comparison. Absolute perfection as far as can be seen. I had one needing a resto job when I operated the classic car sales for an auction house and one of these was on offer. The seller wanted what I thought was a LOT of money for it so I nearly didn’t take it in for the auction. What did I know, three people wanted it and outbid each other until it finally sold for nearly 4 times the sellers lowest price. I saw it restored a couple of years later and it looked very nice, however, this one would blow it away in a heartbeat!

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