Audi is bringing all of its weird wagon history to Essen

The 31st annual Techno Classica in Essen is one of the largest gatherings of classic cars and associated paraphernalia, which means there ought to be something for everyone. It’s less than a week away, and what am I excited about? A smattering of Audi station wagons, of course. You should be too.

Techno Classica Essen is filled with more than 1200 exhibitors from nations around the globe. A mashup of events like the Amelia Island Concours and the SEMA show, it presents a veritable one-stop shop for anyone who lives in the automotive universe. If the station wagon orbit is where you want to be, Audi is looking out for you at Essen.

The slogan coming from the Ingolstadt-based automaker is “Space Miracle—from the Schnellaster to the Avant.” The focus falls on Audi’s more spacious models and how they trace their roots further back than many recognize. Auto Union was one of modern Audi’s early sister brands, a scrappy company which had to re-established itself in former military buildings following World War II.

photo of classic Audi van

Auto Union’s first product? The DKW Schnellaster, a cab-over-engine delivery van powered by a two-cylinder two-stroke engine. The front-wheel-drive layout likely allowed a low floor, which makes for easy loading and unloading of product. Or motorcycles. After all, the small RT 125 motorcycle was the other vehicle DKW was producing at the time. A great pairing.

Far and away the coolest thing that will Audi will be presenting, however, is the F 89 Universal. Any woodie wagon is cool, but this combination of the F8 design of 1939 and the new-for-1940 F9 three-cylinder engine and streamlined bodywork. Aerodynamics dictate the front end, but the back half features beautiful woodwork starting at the hinge of the rear opening doors.

Sadly, I won’t get to see these in person, as I have a “job” and “responsibilities” that prevent me from picking up and heading to Germany next week. If your schedule is more flexible than mine, be sure to check out these cool pieces of Audi history on my behalf. And know that I am jealous.

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