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Wanderer W25 streamline in the driving report: A hiker on the move

Hardy Mutschler
Wanderer W25 streamline in the driving report
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E a rain suit is a piece of clothing that motorcyclists want protects against external moisture, but has about the breathability and consistency of a pond liner. Doesn't sound nice, it is even less. So I actually don't want to wear them, but my travel companions insist.

So I let myself be persuaded to put on the black rubber suit for the trip from Ingolstadt to Spa. After all, rain clouds linger in the northwest, the oncoming cars have their lights on, and a little later the smell of a wet country road flutters across the flat windshield. I'm sweating and already half an hour and 30 kilometers behind Ingolstadt I think that this might not have been such a brilliant idea after all.

75 . Anniversary of the team victory

It would be, the Audi traditional department suggested in the spring, a great thing, the Wanderer W25 streamline for the 75th anniversary of his team victory at the Liège - Rome - Liège at the starting point. Sure, I said, and then: “How does the hiker get to Spa?” On the move, if I really want to go there, they flatten.

Now I'm sweating in the motorcycle suit, wedged between them Steering wheel and a poorly lined aluminum seat shell of the Wanderer W25 Streamline, 600 kilometers of country road ahead of me, and for the first time notice that the drivers were probably cast from a somewhat tougher alloy back then.

Getting into the flat Wanderer W25 Streamlines are still very smooth, after all, there is no roof , the small doors are actually superfluous. The legs disappear into the aluminum tube to the left of the engine, somewhere far forward the feet feel three pedals, which are apparently designed for shoe sizes under 44. The steering wheel is big and thin and looks like it came from a construction machine from the era of the economic boom. The impact protection consists of an aluminum nut, it mainly protects the quick release on the steering column.

Of course, this Wanderer W25 streamline is not at allOriginal. None of the four streamlined W25 roadsters, which were once built especially for long-distance travel, have survived to this day. So ten years ago Audi started a small special series. Three specimens were built from the remnants of the hardly recoverable Wanderer limousines, from which the chassis, engines and transmissions were taken.

Wanderer W25 streamline with reconstructed body

The bodies were created from photos, there were no remains of the originals or even construction drawings and similar documents. Restorer Werner Zinke, from whose workshop the cars come from Zwönitz, Saxony, suspects that the originals were destroyed or rebuilt during the war, unlike the Type C and Type D racers, which disappeared in the Soviet Union and then returned in fragments appeared, there is still no trace of the hikers.

D-racers who disappeared in the Soviet Union and then reappeared in fragments are still missing from the hikers any trace. If already reconstructed, they could have given the driver a little more living space, I think, while the rain is getting thicker. Lights on, a black Bakelite button pulled, two six-volt bulbs in the front now shimmer through the streaks of rain into oncoming traffic. Speedometer 80, fourth gear, that's a little faster. Fifth gear, click, the gearshift is precise and as short as it is smooth. Only when shifting down do I double-declutch for the joy of driving, then the gears whip in even better.

The originals had four gears plus an extra high speed gear, which turned into a synchronized five-speed box when the Wanderer W25 streamlined was rebuilt, because ultimately the hikers shouldn't collect dust in the museum, but should be used at rallies and events, and most motorists nowadays find it easier with gearboxes that are optimized for synchronism. -beta '> Wanderer W25 streamline with moderate weather protection

It remains one of the few concessions to modern times. The wind and weather protection, on the other hand, is hardly better than it was in 1939. The splash of water splashes into the gap between glasses and helmet, and now I probably look like a steam locomotive heater. We still follow the B 13, soon it crosses the B 2 near Ellingen. Time for a little history lesson. Not to the Wanderer W25 Streamline or the Rome long-distance journey, but rather in German country road history. The B 13, formerly Fernstrasse 13, connected Würzburg and Munich, was one of the busiest interurban roads in southern Germany. It was not until the completion of the A 3 between Würzburg and Nuremberg and its connection to the A 9 that the B 13 was degraded to a street on which one might still drive from Stopfenheim to Gunzenhausen today.

Behind Weißenburg, the B divides 13 for a few kilometers theRoute with the B 2, an even older long-distance connection that goes back to the Amber Road from the Baltic Sea to Italy. We take the Wanderer W25 streamline through Ellingen, then we are alone again with the B 13. And the rain. Walking speed 100 is easy here, the road leads straight ahead between fields and wooded areas, curves around the artificially created Altmühlsee southwest of Gunzenhausen, a compensation basin for the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, also a piece of German traffic history.

B 13 and B 27 along the Main, and now it's starting Only really rain. The little wipers are about as effective as Brazilian defenders against Özil passes. Soon we turn north with the Wanderer W25 Streamline, B 276 through the Flörsbachtal towards Gelnhausen. It is getting warmer and brighter, a few rays of sunlight peek through the clouds. We have already driven well over 300 kilometers, the fuel gauge wobbles under the half-full indicator, that means refueling, because who knows how much the two-liter in-line six-cylinder will take?

Stage goal Nürburgring

Barely twelve liters of super on average and half a liter of oil. That works for a car from 1938 with 70 hp and three Solex horizontal carburetors. The opening ceremony at the gas station attracts a few onlookers. But most passers-by react strangely cautiously to the silver Wanderer W25 Streamline, which pounds through the Saturday traffic like a four-stroke UFO. A few glances on the motorway at Elzer Berg, a few more astonished tourists later in the old paddock at the Nürburgring, our first stage destination, that's it.

It's almost dark and clearly cloudy, Eifel weather and high time for a longer break. For ten hours and 450 kilometers I've been trapped in the Wanderer W25 Streamline, Spa is another 200 kilometers away. Fortunately, there are no pictures of getting out in the hotel's underground car park. The boys who sat in the car for around 100 hours in 1938 and drove to Rome and back, now I envy them even less.

They included professional racing drivers such as August Momberger, but also gentlemen's drivers such as Count Carl Max from and to Sandizell. Incidentally with Auto Union manager Carl Hahn sen. was friends, this one after the war ingranted hospitality to his castle near Schrobenhausen and thus ensured that Auto Union, which was newly founded after the war, relocated its headquarters to nearby Ingolstadt. But that's really a different story.

After the parforc ride on the Nürburgring, the kilometers to Spa are a Sunday drive. The sun comes through between the Eifel and the Ardennes, no more thought of the rain suit, it's just a bit cold. On the racetrack, amateur pilots do their laps in colorful 911 GT3s. Maybe a trip has to end like this, so that you really understand spa.

650 km of country road in the Wanderer

Round There are 650 kilometers between Ingolstadt and Spa - including the short detour to Liège. A considerable distance for a pre-war car. It didn't require any special preparation, the Wanderer has 70 stable horsepower from a two-liter straight-six. A marching speed of between 80 and 100 km /h on the country road is just as little a problem as 110 to 120 km /h on the short section of the motorway from Bad Camberg to Wehr.

The ride was in two stages: 450 km from Ingolstadt to the Nürburgring, on the second day about 200 km via Liège to Spa. The total travel time: around 18 hours including photo stops as well as refueling and coffee breaks - what feels like 80 percent in the rain.


The Liège - Rome - Liège rally was probably the toughest long-distance drive for automobiles in the 1930s. The teams covered almost 5,000 kilometers in just four days. They only stopped for refueling, without any further breaks the vehicles raced over mostly bad country roads from Liège to Rome and back again. In 1938 and 1939 Auto Union used streamlined Wanderer W25s, and in 1939 the team won the team championship. The cars disappeared during the war, ten years ago Audi had three vehicles rebuilt on original W25 chassis, the car on this page is one of them.


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