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Paul Pietsch Classic 2015: Certus - legend from Offenburg

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'It's a mystery on four wheels', says Holger Herrmann Schneider, co-organizer of the Oststadt tours in Offenburg. He has already collected numerous documents on the history of Offenburg, but he did not come across anything from Certus. Bastian André from the Offenburger Tageblatt has therefore rummaged through extensive archive material and launched an appeal to readers.

The trained coachbuilder and trained driving instructor Franz Wroblewski moved from Thuringia to Offenburg in 1911 and founded the Dierks coachwork factory with his friend Wilhelm Dierks in 1919 Wroblewski. In 1920 they leased land on the Ihlenfeld barracks, and in 1922 they bought part of the area including the cartridge shed and parade hall, today's riding hall, in which the Certus production facility is said to have been. The company initially worked as a body builder and supplier, and was represented by Dürkopp, who at that time still built their own cars, and Büssing for trucks and buses. In addition, they were equipped for repairs on all common makes of cars. The small Offenburg company soon had all the departments necessary for vehicle construction in-house, in addition to the body shop, a wagon, upholstery and paint shop. So it seems obvious that thoughts of building your own car were being raised.

The Certus brand was created at the end of the 1920s

1927 was when the Certus was born. However, the Certus was not yet built on an assembly line, but meticulously handcrafted by mechanics. Only the bodies were built in-house, other components were obtained from suppliers. The motors came from Scap in Courbevoie near Paris, and Bosch supplied the electrics. According to documents from the German Automobile Archive, the car was offered as a 32-hp four-cylinder and an eight-cylinder with 45 and 55 hp. The advertisement is said to have even promised compressor motors with 60 and 80 hp.

Two and four-seaters were created, and on request also special bodies, made by hand in the company's own carpentry shop and covered with sheet metal. Therefore - despite the apparently high demand - fewer than 50 copies of the Certus left the factory by 1929. The Certus even found buyers in East Prussia and the Rhineland. Some customers picked up their car themselves and combined this with a visit to the Black Forest, otherwise the wagons were loaded at the Offenburg freight yard. Production ended abruptly with the onset of the economic crisis in 1929, until now there is no surviving modelknown.

Certus vehicles in automobile races

Old editions of the ADAC Motorwelt even show that Certus -Automobile races were driven, such a thing appeared in a touring car race in 1927 in the list of winners in fifth place. However, a call by the magazine for reader experiences with Certus remained unanswered.

Franz Wroblewski opened a driving school in Offenburg with his wife Luise in January 1929, then a specialist truck and car shop in the 1930s. The company in Schutterwadlerstraße still exists today, because after Franz ‘death his wife Luise continued the business from 1949.

We owe most of the photos in the photo gallery to attentive readers of the Offenburger Tageblatt. Werner Hogenmüller's father was friends with Franz Wroblewski, Manfred Gutmann's father even owned a Certus. Both were able to contribute pictures from the family album, which not only show the imposing cars, but also the pride of the owners. It is remarkable how close the connection between manufacturer and customer seemed to be here. Unfortunately, it could only last for a short time. Does a Certus still exist somewhere?

According to research by Bastian André, Offenburger Tageblatt. Photos: Manfred Gutmann, Werner Hogenmüller, Wroblewski

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