Basic motoring

The Evolution of the Modern Ultralight Economy car.

Chapter 8 The European Two-stroke Three’s


IFA F9IFA F-9
The use of the two-stroke twin-cylinder engine from 400cc to 600 cc was well established in Germany in the 1930s. DKW was part of the Auto Union group of companies and the DKW and Audi factories was at that time in the town of Zwickau in the German State of Saxony. The DKW management decided to produce a new model with a larger two-stroke engine and to use the knowledge they had acquired developing the smaller engines they decide to use a three-cylinder configuration, the result was the DKW F-9 with a 900cc water-cooled two-stroke three-cylinder engine, The engine was mounted longitudinally ahead of the front axle, with the front wheel final drive between it and the gearbox behind, in the same layout as used by Audi to this day. it was at the preproduction stage in 1939, but before production could commence it was shelved due to the demands of war material production and was first produced after the end of the Second World War. The Auto Union factories in the town of  Zwickau was now in East Germany, The DDR part of the Soviet Block.  The work on the F-9 was put to good use in 1950 when the first cars were produced at the Audi factory to those designs as the IFA 9.  Production was later moved to the ex-BMW plant at Eisenach also in the DDR. Over forty-thousand were produced before production ceased in 1956. The Wartburg 311/312 in production from 1955 to 1966, was based on the F-9 underpinning with a 900cc later a 992 cc engine and a stylish new body and was made at the ex-BMW factory at Eisenach and over a quarter of a million were made. The final Wartburg models the  353 and Knight with the 993 cc engine were produced from 1966 to 1988 and one and a quarter million were produced. After losing all their factories in East Germany, The Auto Union management had re-established themselves in West Germany and by 1950 had begun car production. In 1953 they produced the F-91 Sonderklasse, based on the design of the F 9 with a 896 cc engine, It was produced until 1959 in various body forms as the F 93, F 94 and the Monza Sports car. This was developed into the DKW Auto Union 1000  with a 980 cc engine. The DKW Junior was produced  between 1959 to 1965 was completely new smaller car with a 741 cc engine using the same layout . A larger version of the Junior the F 12 had a 890 cc engine and was produced from 1963. In the twelve years of producing two-stroke triples DKW had made over six-hundred thousand under one litre cars. From 1965 their output would have larger four-stroke engines and would be named Audi.

DKW Junior                                                                                                                                                                                                 DKW Junior
In the early 1950s the Saab management decided that an updated model was required if they were make headway in international markets. A new  chassis with coil spring IFS and a torsion beam rear axle again with coil springs was designed. To go with the new chassis and body they wanted a new engine so designed the first Saab three cylinder 750cc two-stroke engine being similar in concept to the F-9, but was a totally original design in every detail. The result was the Saab 93 produced from 1955 to 1960. The second Saab Three the  95 had a 841cc engine also an estate body and was made from 1959 to 1968. The last two-stroke engined model the Saab 96 was restyled 93 with the 841 cc engine and was in production from 1960 to 1968. Between 1956 and 1968 Saab made over six hundred thousand three cylinder cars. The last of the European three cylinder two-stoke engined cars was the Polish produced FSO Syrena 104. The original Syrena had been produced with twin-cylinder since 1960 and in 1966 an updated model that had a three-cylinder two-stroke engine with a capacity of 843 cc that was also later produced by FSM in Warsaw. Between then they produced over half a million Syrena by 1983. By then the two-stroke triple had been adopted by the Japanese motor industry.


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