The Monza seen here is one of a handful of survivors, out of an unknown total production numbering fewer than 240. Being such a low-volume car, it is what the British would refer to as a “Bitsa” – it has a bit o’ this, and a bit o’ that…
The beautifully sculptured body over a conventional DKW 3=6 drivetrain has many details to reveal. The headlight trim is Opel; the front turn signals are Karman-Ghia, and the rears are Porsche 356. The “Golden Lady” steering wheel was also found on Volkswagen buses. While the fiberglass body was easy and cheap enough to produce, it made little economic sense to tool up production of bespoke trim pieces, so parts-bin raiding was commonly seen in small, specialty models of the period.
Originally conceived by two German racers as a record-setter, the car was to be tube-framed, with a standard (but shortened) drivetrain and a lightweight plastic body. During its short production run, three different firms were contracted to build them. This car is from the last series, built by R. Schenk in Stuttgart.
While down on displacement, the Monza performed admirably as a sports coupe, due to the DKW 3=6 engine coupled with sports car-like steering and light weight – under 1800 pounds. In fact, the prototype (then-named Solitude) set five world records at the famed Autodromo di Monza racetrack in Italy – averaging 87 mph during a 72-hour period in 1956. The Monza name followed the record run.
Manufacturer: Auto Union GmBH (drivetrain); Robert Schenk (body and trim)
Country of Origin: Germany
Drivetrain Configuration: Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine: water-cooled 890cc 3-cylinder two-stroke, 40HP
Transmission: 4 speed manual
Top Speed: 88 MPH
Years of Production: 1956-1958
Number Produced: 70-80 or 230-240; the three companies all produced at the same time, recordkeeping was poor, and kits were also sold. The exact number will never be known. The Auto Union Monza Club believes 70-80 is correct. Fewer than 50 survive.
Original Cost: 11,175 DM ($2500 USD)
Check out this episode of The Inside Lane for a tour and brief history of the Auto Union Monza: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw-tC0xpOPM&t=7s