Audi Type P: The time machine - Audi's first small car

Stefan Warter
Audi Type P in the driving report
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He is a hybrid who A udi Type P, lovable, robust and frugal. He has all the characteristics that one would like to attribute to a loyal dog. After two years of healing restoration in the dark catacombs of the Riga Motor Museum, the Audi Type P is looking forward to being phased out. The new territory of the Audi Type P is the old town of Riga.

Audi Type P - hybrid of DKW and Peugeot

Between the House of the Blackheads, the Palace of Peter the Great, and St. George's Church comes the little four-cylinder heart of the Audi Type P back on track after a long time. The police turn a blind eye, not all of the picturesque Alststadtgassen are open to traffic, but the small Audi Type P makes its 1.40-meter-wide shoulders even narrower, and it refrains from marking the area in the form of small oil stains>

The transmission of the Audi type P yelps, the standing valves breathe lively, cheerful signs of life from a doomed barn find, breathed new life into the Latvian thoroughbred restorers who can hammer a headlight ring out of a piece of scrap metal. The hybrid with the DKW body and the Peugeot engine is reminiscent of the first post-war Audi with a DKW body and Mercedes engine, which the then Audi chief designer Ludwig Kraus christened 'Bastard' in hearty Bavarian heartiness. The successful hybrids from the Audi 60 to the Super 90 formed the basis for later breed breeding.

Economic crisis: Audi is expanding its model range downwards

Also the Audi Type P meant a new beginning in the popular class for the Audi plants in 1931, like the Audi 72 from 1965 for Auto Union. Because Audi had established itself as a luxury brand under the direction of August Horch, whose flagship was impressive eight-cylinder touring cars like the Imperator and the Zwickau type. But the world economic crisis played badly to the climber from Saxony. Vehicle production fell dramatically, and the extremely successful and harmonious Horch 8 quickly became the darling of the Weimar establishmentRepublic. The boss of the DKW empire, J├Ârgen Skafte Rasmussen, took over the majority of the shares in the ailing Audi works in Zwickau in 1928. First of all, he initiated the development of a contemporary, inexpensive front-wheel drive vehicle with a DKW motorcycle engine and two transverse leaf springs. The DKW Front Type FA 600 celebrated its spectacular debut in 1931 and finally brought the Audi plants the desired capacity.

Rasmussen also decided to launch a Volks-Audi quickly. Based on the DKW 4=8 type V 1000, in combination with a small Peugeot four-cylinder bought from the 201, the Audi 5/30 hp type P. Rasmussen already ruled the largest motorcycle factory in the world and bought it because he would become a prestigious automobile manufacturer wanted, in 1924 the bankrupt SB Automobil-GmbH in Berlin-Spandau. The small cars produced there surprised with their rational and stable construction.

Dr. Rudolf Slaby developed the concept of the self-supporting plywood body with artificial leather covering in Spandau. From 1928 Rasmussen manufactured DKW automobiles based on this inexpensive model. So in 1929 the type 4=8 was created, at that time still in conventional construction with leaf-sprung rigid axles front and rear and rear-wheel drive.

Too expensive, too unreliable - only 327 copies are made

What is special about the Audi P type was his V4 two-stroke engine with a 90 degree cylinder angle and two additional charge pump cylinders. High consumption and a lack of reliability disappointed customers. The Audi 5/30 PS Type P, the P stands for Peugeot, cost just 85 marks more than its DKW counterpart at 3,385 Reichsmarks, but offered a problem-free, if by no means brilliant engine and the better brand image, symbolized by the proud one the radiator grille.

Nevertheless, only 327 copies of the Audi Type P left the Spandau plant in just under a year. The Prussian-French bastard from a Saxon family was unable to convince despite good driving characteristics and a dignified finish. An Opel 1.2 liter 12 C was 1,000 marks cheaper than the Audi Type P, while the in-house competition was the front-wheel drive DKW FA 600 built by Audi. For just 2,400 marks you could get a progressive automobile.

Believed to be dead live longer: Audi Tradition finds it in the classifieds section

Ralf Hornung, a key figure at Audi Tradition responsible for the purchase of museum exhibits and for restorations, could not believe his eyes when he found the Audi Type P, believed to be extinct, in the classifieds section of a vintage car magazine two years ago. With luck and skill, he succeeded in acquiring the rarity with the character of a classic barn find; research showed that the Audi Type P was registered until July 5, 1955. The restoration of thelast of the Mohicans. The Audi Type P turned out to be quite ailing. Large parts of the body had to be rebuilt from ash wood by Latvian specialists in Riga.

Even the SE type Peugeot engine installed in the Audi type P could no longer be saved because of the cracked block. Hornung found a serviceable engine in France and sent it to Riga for overhaul. Now the newly born, little pre-war Audi Type P is again happily taking the narrow, mosaic pavement streets of Riga's old town under its narrow 18-inch wheels.

If it weren't for the tourists with their digital cameras and the local girls who were there Balancing high-heeled shoes over the cobblestones, you might think you're out and about in Hamburg in 1932. The small four-cylinder, which has only two bearings and its upright valves, hums to itself in the Audi Type P with satisfaction. It is surprisingly quiet, with the cheerful whine of the Prometheus three-speed transmission dominating in first gear. This can be shifted surprisingly easily and precisely, provided double clutch and double-declutching. The Audi Type P feels most comfortable at 60 km /h in third gear. That is enough for high-spirited races with the tram, and the passengers happily wave after him.


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