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    DKW F1 (FA 600)




EngineIn-line two-cylinder two-stroke
Displacement500/584 cm³
Bore * stroke68/74 * 68 mm
Compression ratio5,9 : 1
CoolingHeat circulation, 6 litres
Performance11/13 kW (15/18 HP) at 3200 rpm
Drive trainFront drive, transversal
TransmissionThree-speed
ClutchMulti-disc oil bath
Primary driveGear drive, later chain
Secondary driveCardan shafts, inside Hardy discs, outside Tracta joints
BodyMetal underdraught with wooden construction
Wheelbase2.100 mm (two-seater), 2.400 mm (four-seater)
Suspension f/rEach 2 transverse leaf springs
Tyres26 x 3.5
Kerb weightApprox. 450 kg (Roadster), 600 (Four-seater)
Length2.900 mm (Roadster), 3.400 mm (Four-seater)
Width1.350 mm (Roadster)
Tank capacity25 litres
Maximum speedApprox. 75/80 km/h
Electrical system Dynastart, generator and
starter in one housing
Purchase price1,685 RM
First year of production1931

You drive an Audi, maybe not exactly the smallest? Nonetheless, then you are in the right place. Because the F1 was actually the forefather (why not the first mother?) of all today's Audis with front-wheel drive. No, naturally it was not the first of this kind. It is said to be the first car with front drive built in large-scale production. But this is relatively again, because only about 4,000 were produced between 1931 and 1933.

But it was followed by many models of "Reichsklasse" and "Meisterklasse" until 1942 and that were then about 218,000 (the second largest manufacturer after Opel). But that does not change the fact that the front car (F) 1 was the first, to recognise at the obliquely forward running extension of the radiator grille for covering the front axle drive.

In a sea of rigid axles also up front, its 'full swing axles' were a minor sensation, of course. On the picture above you can see how the wheels were suspended between each two transverse leaf springs in front and rear. Together with a transversely and deep arranged two-cylinder it had remarkable driving characteristics.


The engine had to have not even much performance with this low weight. Its competitors have more, but it can keep up quite well. At least with the short wheelbase as two-seater convertible. It was too heavy as a four-seater with enormous superstructures and the fun was stopped. And its advantages with the loaded front axle during ice and snow also.


Why it's so lightweight? No, not only because the two-seater convertible, e.g. had only one door on the right. For not only the door, but the entire body is from the end of bonnet made of wood. Exceptions were the ladder frame under the body, the mudguards and of course the rims. Wood, that meant a frame made of hardwood, planked with hardboard and covered with imitation leather.


This is the Roadster now. The had no doors at all. Well, in an accident wood is probably not the best choice and case of water ingress it rots easily. But actually, it can not rust. The engine was satisfied with at most 8 litres/100km due to the lightweight construction of the body. Therefore, the disadvantages of the two-stroke engine were not so much noticeable. And if you want to see what bizarre improvements for the car were invented, then take a look at the following pictures of the F2 prototype. The boat rear was derived from the race Monoposto (picture at the bottom). Fortunately, the F2 did not go into production like this.


And what has this car to do with Audi? Quite simply, Audi has emerged from the Auto-Union and the included among others also Audi and DKW at that time. And although the F1 was a DKW, it was still developed at Audi. The then head of the group JS Rasmussen had more confidence in the two remaining Audi developers Oskar Arlt and Walter Haustein. He was right, because the car was ready in a record time of 6 weeks, timely to the Motor Show in February 1931. 06/15




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