Audi has managed to buy one of the five original Auto Union racing cars still in existence from the pre-war era.
Along with two others, the car had been taken by the Soviet Union in 1945 and shipped to Russia. In the 1980s, Paul Karassik, an American collector of part-Russian extraction, managed to track down two of the now-dismantled cars and shipped them back to America – piece by piece.
The mechanicals were assembled by Crosthwaite & Gardiner, while new bodies had to be built by Rod Jolley Coachbuilding. It is a testament to the skills of British specialists that both jobs were done in the UK. Audi supported the project throughout, and in 1998 was able to buy the first of the two cars, a Type D single-supercharger racing car rebuilt to 1938 specification.
The second car, a twin-supercharger model was rebuilt to 1939 specification. Sadly Karassik sold the twin-supercharger car in 2000 to another collector after his original dream proved unachievable. He had been born in Belgrade and wanted to see the car return to Belgrade in 1999, the 60th anniversary of the Belgrade Grand Prix, which he has watched as a child. However, the war in Former Yugoslavia made that impossible.
Purchase of the Type D twin-supercharger car means that Audi now owns all three Auto Union racing cars recovered from what was formerly the USSR. Thomas Frank, Head of Audi Tradition is delighted: "20 years ago we would never have dreamed that such a thing would be possible!"
The twin-supercharger car will make its first appearance under Audi ownership at the Goodwood Revival, from September 14 to 16.