30 years ago, the era of the GDR's own cars ended

In April 1991, the factories in Eisenach and Zwickau ceased production of Wartburg and Trabant passenger cars. Thus ended the more than forty-year era of development and production of cars of our own design. Cars continue to be manufactured in the traditional industrial cities of eastern Germany. However, these are mostly only assembly plants of brands that have their main headquarters in the former GDR.

This is what the main part of the Eisenach production site looks like today, where the Wartburgs were formed 30 years ago.
This is what the main part of the Eisenach production site looks like today, where the Wartburgs were formed 30 years ago.
A scale model of the factory at the Automobile World Museum in Eisenach shows what the building (pictured right) looked like in better times.
A scale model of the factory at the Automobile World Museum in Eisenach shows what the building (pictured right) looked like in better times.
Only the entrance gate still looks preserved today.
Only the entrance gate still looks preserved today.
The employees of the East German carmakers were undoubtedly professionally superior, because just before the start of World War II, they also produced this BMW 328 in Eisenach, which was a winning car in its category at the Migle Milia and 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, the tradition of car production in this city dates back to 1898.
The employees of the East German carmakers were undoubtedly professionally superior, because just before the start of World War II, they also produced this BMW 328 in Eisenach, which was a winning car in its category at the Migle Milia and 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, the tradition of car production in this city dates back to 1898.
Production of BMW cars resumed in Eisenach, which was in the Soviet zone, after the war, against which the Munich headquarters protested.
Production of BMW cars resumed in Eisenach, which was in the Soviet zone, after the war, against which the Munich headquarters protested.
So the EMW logo was created, which is certainly similar to that on BMW cars just by coincidence ... But it didn't last long.
So the EMW logo was created, which is certainly similar to that on BMW cars just by coincidence ... But it didn't last long.
The future direction of the East German automotive industry was largely predicted by this car: the IFA F-9. It was created in 1953. Most of the less than 40,000 specimens produced in 1949-56 were created in Eisenach, the rest in Cvikov. Even then, it was powered by an in-line two-stroke three-cylinder with a cylinder capacity of 900 cm3 and an output of 30 hp.
The future direction of the East German automotive industry was largely predicted by this car: the IFA F-9. It was created in 1953. Most of the less than 40,000 specimens produced in 1949-56 were created in Eisenach, the rest in Cvikov. Even then, it was powered by an in-line two-stroke three-cylinder with a cylinder capacity of 900 cm3 and an output of 30 hp.
The same unit appeared under the hood of the Wartburg 311, which began production in 1956 and its development was the own initiative of employees from Eisenach.
The same unit appeared under the hood of the Wartburg 311, which began production in 1956 and its development was the own initiative of employees from Eisenach.
The Wartburg 313/1 Sport had increased performance, as well as very handsome shapes, for which it even won a design award at the New York Motor Show.
The Wartburg 313/1 Sport had increased performance, as well as very handsome shapes, for which it even won a design award at the New York Motor Show.
Eisenach enthusiasts even developed this AWE R3 Rennkollektiv Wagen in the mid-1950s, which drove a 1.5-liter engine. It had 137 horsepower and a top speed of 235 kilometers per hour.
Eisenach enthusiasts even developed this AWE R3 Rennkollektiv Wagen in the mid-1950s, which drove a 1.5-liter engine. It had 137 horsepower and a top speed of 235 kilometers per hour.
Pride on the ground building socialism was reflected in the logo on the hood of this machine.
Pride on the ground building socialism was reflected in the logo on the hood of this machine.
Type 311 in 1966 replaced Wartburg 353, which was almost immortal. It was undergoing a gradual modernization, which did not benefit much from the appearance.
Type 311 in 1966 replaced Wartburg 353, which was almost immortal. It was undergoing a gradual modernization, which did not benefit much from the appearance.
As part of austerity measures, the chrome elements mainly disappeared, as evidenced by the 1988 specimen
As part of austerity measures, the chrome elements mainly disappeared, as evidenced by the 1988 specimen
Inside, however, changes for the better have taken place. For example, the gear lever was originally located on the steering column.
Inside, however, changes for the better have taken place. For example, the gear lever was originally located on the steering column.
Then she moved to the floor.
Then she moved to the floor.
The four-stroke Wartburg was just a swan song.
The four-stroke Wartburg was just a swan song.
The museum in Eisenach shows that the developers in the factory were not idle, but their projects ended in a drawer. For example, they worked on this coupe in 1968-73.
The museum in Eisenach shows that the developers in the factory were not idle, but their projects ended in a drawer. For example, they worked on this coupe in 1968-73.
This "square" coupe did not succeed either.
This "square" coupe did not succeed either.
The military "convertible" also existed in only a few prototypes.
The military "convertible" also existed in only a few prototypes.
Like the sedan, for which a four-stroke four-cylinder was already planned.
Like the sedan, for which a four-stroke four-cylinder was already planned.
Cars are still being made in Eisenach. The employees moved smoothly to the Opel factory. Initially they made Asters and Vectras, now they assemble Corsa and Adamy.
Cars are still being made in Eisenach. The employees moved smoothly to the Opel factory. Initially they made Asters and Vectras, now they assemble Corsa and Adamy.
The factory, like the original, is located within sight of Wartburg Castle.
The factory, like the original, is located within sight of Wartburg Castle.
Even more luxurious cars were produced in Cvikov before the war than in Eisenach. The founding father Augustin Horch founded two car manufacturers here. He was expelled from the original one marked by his name, so he built a new one next door - Audi.
Even more luxurious cars were produced in Cvikov before the war than in Eisenach. The founding father Augustin Horch founded two car manufacturers here. He was expelled from the original one marked by his name, so he built a new one next door - Audi.
However, eight-cylinder cars were not needed in the German Democratic Republic, so the P 50 project was invented for Zwickau. An important condition for designers was the use of plastic on the body. Production of the car began in honor of the anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution on November 7, 1957. After the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite, the car was renamed Trabant (German translation of the word satellite).
However, eight-cylinder cars were not needed in the German Democratic Republic, so the P 50 project was invented for Zwickau. An important condition for designers was the use of plastic on the body. Production of the car began in honor of the anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution on November 7, 1957. After the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite, the car was renamed Trabant (German translation of the word satellite).
However, only the successor - the Trabant 601 - gained international fame. It rolled off the production lines from 1964 until the end of April 1991. However, it already had a Volkswagen engine under the hood.
However, only the successor - the Trabant 601 - gained international fame. It rolled off the production lines from 1964 until the end of April 1991. However, it already had a Volkswagen engine under the hood.
He still works in Cvikov today. On the outskirts of the city stands his large factory. For example, new Golfs are coming out of it.
He still works in Cvikov today. On the outskirts of the city stands his large factory. For example, new Golfs are coming out of it.
Only in museums and at veterans' meetings can you find MZ or Simson motorcycles, which were also made in the former GDR.
Only in museums and at veterans' meetings can you find MZ or Simson motorcycles, which were also made in the former GDR.
In some cases, IFA trucks still expire in our territory. For example, in agriculture.
In some cases, IFA trucks still expire in our territory. For example, in agriculture.
Roburs can be found here and there in a rural fire station.
Roburs can be found here and there in a rural fire station.
Many people have converted Barkas vans into small motorhomes.
Many people have converted Barkas vans into small motorhomes.
The small Multicar trucks were (and are used) mainly for cleaning crews.
The small Multicar trucks were (and are used) mainly for cleaning crews.
The BMW brand returned to the territory of the former GDR after the fall of the Iron Curtain. In addition to other cars, the state-of-the-art factory in Leipzig also produces i3 and i8 electric cars.
The BMW brand returned to the territory of the former GDR after the fall of the Iron Curtain. In addition to other cars, the state-of-the-art factory in Leipzig also produces i3 and i8 electric cars.
The Volkswagen Group has again built a state-of-the-art and luxuriously equipped plant in Dresden, where it assembled Phaeton cars. However, this project has already ended and the complex in the center of the Saxon capital is waiting for further use.
The Volkswagen Group has again built a state-of-the-art and luxuriously equipped plant in Dresden, where it assembled Phaeton cars. However, this project has already ended and the complex in the center of the Saxon capital is waiting for further use.

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