Classic Car Anniversaries in 2022: Part 2


Following our recent piece on classic cars celebrating anniversaries in 2022, we’ve been inundated with excellent suggestions from you all for other cars that deserve to feature. There are so many that we’re turning this into a series, so if your favourite classic celebrating an anniversary this year isn’t featured, just send us a message!

Today, we’re looking at an older cohort – cars which entered the scene 70 or more years ago.

DKW F2 – 90th birthday

Suggested by Manuel

The DKW F2 was launched at the Berlin Motor Show in April 1932. Its timber-framed body housed a 584cc engine and front wheel drive configuration, and it was longer than its predecessor, the F1. The F1 and F2 are notable as the first successful consumer cars to feature a transverse engine in a front-wheel drive vehicle.

All four of the F2’s wheels were attached via independent suspension. With its soft top and fixed window frames, the “cabrio-limousine” body style was the most popular.

DKW F2 produced 1932-35 90th anniversary classic car
The DKW F2 was one of the first front wheel drive cars with a transverse engine

The F2 was not DKW’s only model during this period, but it was the company’s top seller by a large margin; around 17,000 F2s were built and sold between 1932 -1935. These numbers may not be vast, but German motor production was at a very low level in the early 1930s, and the government at the time took the decision to abolish the tax on new passenger cars in order to stimulate growth. After this happened (in 1933), sales went up and DKW overtook Mercedes-Benz to become Germany’s second bestselling auto-brand, beaten to the top position by Opel.


Austin Champ – 70th birthday

Suggested by Grant Lohair

Primarily built for the military, the majority of Austin Champs produced went to the British Army. Officially known as an Austin Mk.1 Truck, they represented a commissioned alternative to the Willys MB Jeep used by the US armed forces, and Austin won the contract to build 15,000 of them at their Longbridge plant.

The 4-cylinder petrol engine, designed by Rolls-Royce, along with the fuel system and all electrical items were waterproofed, and a snorkel fitted to allow the vehicle to wade up to 6 feet.

The Austin Champ classic car anniversary
The Austin Champ, an open ‘tub’ of welded pressed steel panels

The Champ wasn’t cheap to build, and the civilian version which was launched in 1952 had limited success with only around 500 produced. In 1956, production was abandoned. The majority in military service were replaced by the Land Rover which was cheaper and simpler to maintain.

Of the civilian versions of the Champ, only two are known to have survived in the UK. It seems that many of them were shipped out to Australia, where some can still be found.

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Bentley Continental - 70th birthday

Suggested by Manuel

The R-Type Continental is one of the most exclusive models ever built, with only 208 produced. These luxury grand tourers, with a top speed of 115mph, built on the success of the “Standard Steel Saloon” R-Type (aka the Bentley Mk.VI), and became the second car in Bentley’s post-war line up.

The Continental’s body was built in lightweight aluminium, with aerodynamic styling, and the 4.5 litre engine could be tuned to a customer’s specification, along with such choices as manual or automatic gearbox, cockpit layout, even the type of seats. The production was supervised closely by Rolls-Royce, who had bought Bentley in 1931 and had been initially sceptical of ‘Olga’, the Continental’s prototype.

Autocar described the Bentley Continental as ‘a modern magic carpet’. For all its luxury, the Continental was missing a radio – this was omitted to save weight.

This car was also one of the world’s most expensive automobiles, costing £6,928 in 1952 – almost fifteen times the UK average annual income! In 2015, a 1952 R Type Continental in unrestored condition sold for over £827,970.


1952 Bentley Continental classic car anniversary
The Bentley Continental, a style icon

In our next edition, we’ll take a look at classics launched in the 1960s. If you have any suggestions for inclusions in this or a future classic car anniversary feature, please send us a message below.