The little DKW M unga not allowed, remembers Dietmar Konegen. Back then, when he had to do his service in the Bundeswehr in the early 1970s, the soldiers tormented their two-stroke all-wheel drive vehicles to the point of white heat.
If you buy cheap, you buy three times
You had a lot of fun. 'The DKW Munga was great ', remembers the 52-year-old coachbuilder from Hilden,' he got through everywhere. ' Nobody has to go up stairs in a car. But in case it should be necessary: The DKW Munga could. Compact as it was, it snaked nimbly through the undergrowth, and thanks to the reduced terrain and four powered wheels, it rummaged through deep mud with ease. Even snow didn't stop him, 'only it was really fresh in winter,' remembers Konegen of the DKW Munga, with which the Bundeswehr drove into the Cold War of the world powers.
So militarily serious the DKW Munga comes along, so wet is his appearance away from the streets. Munga called the litter DKW. It was clever because everyone could remember it and it sounded much better than 'multipurpose universal off-road vehicle', for which Munga stood as an acronym. The Bundeswehr was even more dusty, hardly surprising: 'gl LKW 0.25 t' was the internal name of the off-road DKW.
Family affair with even more work than expected
Old cars have tradition in Konegen's family. His father-in-law, who founded the body shop in the 1950s, restored classics. Dietmar Konegen wanted to build on that with son André, 21. He even allowed him to restore his first car as an apprentice in his own company - and thus learn a lot before taking the journeyman's examination. '90 percent of it is his work,' says the father. And is a little proud.
The restoration of a car like this DKW Munga has a lot to do with craftsmanship. But not only: It takes a concept, it takes self-organization and a lot of discipline if the project is not to peter out over the years. It was an intense time for André Konegen: 'I was often in the workshop late at night.' It is not difficultto hear that he hadn't expected this amount of work. His father, too, initially expected less effort to get the DKW Munga back on the road: 'The technology was so simple,' he recalls, 'that you could repair a lot on the roadside.' But he had made the calculation without the body of his DKW Munga.
Father and son bought their first DKW Munga at auction two years ago over the Internet. Her bid was 300 euros when the bid was accepted. The car wasn't worth more either. 'That was core scrap, really bad,' comments Dietmar Konegen Munga number one.
The second already cost twice as much. It was a bit better, but just as unsuitable as a restoration base. The body was too dilapidated. Only the third DKW Munga in the group, expensive 1,200 euros, opened up a small opportunity, although in some places in the footwell five metal sheets were riveted and sizzled on top of each other. He even drove, somehow. But only off-road.
Parts are cheap - if they are available
All in all, the sad DKW Munga trio offered enough parts to get the job started. André Konegen started with one of the frames. Bolts and nuts could only be guessed at, it was breaded so thickly with fat, oil and sand. The cleaning of the DKW Munga was followed by a sigh of relief: no accident, hardly any rust, only tinkered brake lines and stubborn rubber bearings. And no one had, a big plus, sawed the front crossmember to fit a larger engine. This is the fate that befell many DKW Munga.
André Konegen beamed and painted the chassis of the DKW Munga, including a never-ending number of small parts such as retaining plates or springs, before he assembled it. He overhauled the master and wheel brake cylinders, made brake lines that he flanged himself, cut felt rings and fitted new tie rod ends. He rubbed on the bushings to match, for the special double ball bearings on which the wheels of the DKW Munga turn, he made a suitable puller based on a drawing. The leaf spring packages also shone fresh afterwards. Instead of groaning, they now worked softly and silently again.
The technical parts of the DKW Munga that Konegen wanted to see hardly caused any grief: Each shock absorber cost just 24 euros, one of the coarse tires cost 125 euros. He paid 60 euros for a steering gear that was once overhauled for the German armed forces but never installed. The dealers' warehouses seem to be well stocked.
There is also an original engine for the DKW Munga, because hobbyists still have four-cylinder and sometimes even heavy diesel engines under the hood. The Konegens paid 500 euros for a solid copy of the three-cylinder two-stroke engine, which André completely dismantled: 'The block was good, I could even use the pistons and piston rings again.'
Most of the work is in the sheet metal
He cleaned meticulouslythe cast housing of several layers of paint, only this time not with the blasting gun, but with a wire brush and thinner. There was too much concern that sand could get stuck in some channel, which would later cause major engine damage. André also fundamentally intervened in the transmission of the DKW Munga. He exchanged the synchronizer rings and repaired the defective countershaft. Then he adjusted the differential using touching paste after he had manufactured an extractor for the double ball bearings and installed new synchronizer.
However, his biggest hurdle was only now facing him - the sheet metal of the open body. Even if DKW once formed the Munga more or less over the edge bench, the side walls, fist-sized holes around the brackets and strong blooming folds required a lot of patience. Cut bodies. However, he made many sheets himself. For the transition from the wheel arches to the sill he built his own tools made of steel, with which he shaped the one millimeter thick sheet metal. He welded with shielding gas in abutment and only applied the spot welding gun where it was already in use at DKW on the production line: 'In the lower area of the DKW Munga, I ultimately inserted new sheet metal all around.' Father Konegen already had a bad conscience. But the son played his ball. After about a year of work, the DKW Munga looked so fresh again, as if DKW had just delivered it to the military administration. The two drove over 4,000 kilometers with their DKW Munga in their first season. The little one has mastered all tasks, while Dietmar Konegen thinks of the cold winters, back then during the Cold War. André, on the other hand, enjoys the military relic completely impartially - the Bundeswehr never contacted him. The times are so different today.