The first car made in Eisenach was built in 1896, and this was
the first car to bare the Wartburg name. (It was named after the
castle that looks down onto Eisenach)
From that time up until the second world war a diverse range of
vehicles were produced at Eisenach including a version of the Austin
7 built under licence called the Dixi. Before hostilities broke out
the Eisenach factories were part of BMW and were building high
quality cars and motorcycles.
After the war Eisenach became part of Communist ruled East
Germany. Production of cars and motorcycles restarted there with
modified versions of pre-war BMWs. Initially these were sold with BMW
badges, but this was quickly changed to avoid problems with BMW in
West Germany. Cars were sold badged as Autowelo and then later as EMW
(Eisenach Motoren Werk) as they were further developed.
The cars were fitted with a 2 litre, 6 cylinder engine which
initially produced 45 to 50bhp. Further development of the engine
added an extra 10bhp from 1949 onwards.
Cars were made with a variety of body styles.
EMW also produced some successful racing cars using a 1.5 litre,
6 cylinder, double overhead camshaft engine.
These EMW racing cars are pictured preparing for a race in Italy.
There was a great need in the Eastern Bloc countries for cars
that were simple to build, maintain, and own. There was also a need
to export cars and earn vital foreign currency. This led to the
production of EMW road cars and motorcycles being stopped in 1953
when the production of the IFA F9 car was moved from Zwickau to
Eisenach. The 1.5 litre EMW racing cars continued until 1955.