The name DKW is derived from Dampf - Kraft - Wagen (Steam powered
vehicle) as the first vehicle Danish engineer Jurgen Skafte Rasmussen
built (in 1916) was a light steam car. Like so many other
manufacturers, DKW were also famous for their motorcycles and by the
1930's DKW was in fact the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer.
In 1928 a new two-stroke engine was manufactured to power the first DKW car.
The same engine design was later used by SAAB in their 92, 93 and 96
In 1931 DKW adopted front wheel drive. During the mid 1930's the DKW became the
best selling people's car in Germany. After World War II DKW wanted to
re-launch the make, but had no suitable models, and so, as an interim
measure, they had Bauer fit their new bodies on a modified pre-war
chassis. The DKW Bauer F-10 Limousine first went on sale during 1950.
The far more modern Meisterklasse F89 arrived towards the end of 1950.
The car was modernised a number of times in the course of the years.
In the Spring of 1958, Daimler-Benz AG. Acquired a majority holding of AUTO
UNION G.m.b.H. The last of the two-stroke models was the F102, built in
1963-1964. Then Volkswagen took over, fitted a 4-stroke engine and
produced the car as the first of what would prove to be a highly
succesful line of AUDIs.