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.
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 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.