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Melkus RS 2000 - visit to the factory: the successor to the RS 1000 is built here

Reinhard Schmid
Melkus RS 2000 - visit to the factory
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The welding sparks fly here, the cordless screwdrivers rattle there. The smell of two-component adhesive wafts through the bright workshop hall like an aphrodisiac. Eight weeks of manual work pass before a Melkus RS 2000 can trace its ancestor. The spiritual successor is reminiscent of the GDR sports car RS 1000 built from 1969 to 1979. 'It's like before, we also assembled the Melkus from parts from different cars,' says Frank Nutschan, while he pulls out the tape measure and leaves a gap the patience of an angler checked.

101 models of the first Melkus were built

The 59-year-old has been screwing for Melkus since 1971. Until the early eighties, the mechanics of the Dresden sports car manufacturer, under the direction of Heinz Melkus, worked out a mid-engine sports car with a plastic body using parts from Wartburg, Skoda and Trabant. 101 copies of the RS 1000 were made. 'I would like to revive my grandfather's idea,' says grandson Sepp Melkus as he opens one of the bright orange wing doors of the RS 2000. Together with father Peter, the idea for the current Melkus sports car was born in 2006. A look at the specification sheet and the relationship to the historical model quickly becomes clear. 'At that time, wing doors were simply practical in the narrow GDR garages because they didn't take up as much space as conventional doors,' reveals Melkus Junior.

At 950 kilos, the Melkus is a lightweight

In addition to the extroverted door concept, the focus was on lightweight construction. Thanks to the plastic body and aluminum chassis, the new Melkus only weighs around 950 kilograms. Like the RS 1000, the RS 2000 is not a complete in-house development. The well-known technology of a curve-hungry man is hidden under the hand-laminated small series cover. Three-cylinder two-stroke engines with 70 hp and 1000 cc from Wartburg were yesterday, today Melkus uses the chassis and engine of the Lotus Elise. A compressor pushes the 1.8-liter four-cylinder to 270 hp. And how is the German-British co-production going? The orange flounder with the white racing stripe has undoubtedly inherited its driving dynamics talent from its technology donor.

225 liter trunk volume in the Melkus - after all

' We have taken over the steering and transmission unchanged, with the chassis and brakes the customer can choose between different versions, 'says Melkus. With the street-legal Öhlins sports suspension, the gullwing is reminiscent of the racing tradition of the former GDR racing team. It implements steering commands precisely and apparently sucks all the bumps in Dresden's streets through its air throat. Comfort is not its mission. 'A bit of pragmatism is part of it,' says company boss Melkus as he opens the small boot lid. During the Lotus Elise with a trunk in the handbag format is shyly silent here, the RS 2.000 offers after all, 225 liters for a hilarious trip to the Baltic Sea.

Fine leather, decorative stitching and an individual paint finish on the center console - the RS also exudes small-series charm in the interior with countless options. 'My role model are the vehicles from W iesmann ', says Sepp Melkus. Not only in terms of individuality, but also in terms of price, he emulates the Dülmen-based automobile manufacturer: his exotic sports car from Dresden costs around 100,000 euros.


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