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Christopher Bruce2012-08-22 17:38:46

Melkus Dies a Second Death - Company Bankrupt

Melkus Dies a Second Death - Company Bankrupt

The history of auto racing behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War is mostly unknown in the West, but it certainly happened. The best-known builder of racecars during the area is the German company MelkusMelkusMelkusGermany, 1969 > present2 models
46 photos
. It built a two seat, gullwing racecar called the RS1000RS1000Melkus RS1000Germany, 1969 > 19791 photo
based heavily on the Wartburg 353353 WWartburg 353 WGermany, 1967 > present1 photo

The company was thought to be dead, but in 2006 it suddenly reappeared. The company began by offering new Melkus cars built from a few existing chassis, then it began developing a completely new car.

In 2009, it debuted the RS2000RS2000Melkus RS2000Germany, 2009 > present5 versions
42 photos
a completely new model. Now the company has declared bankruptcy again. 

Melkus was founded in 1959 to build sports cars in East Germany. It produced 101 RS1000s by commission of the Central Sport Commission in East Germany starting in 1969. It was engineered at the University of Dresden, Transportation School of Dresden and WartburgWartburgWartburgGermany, 1898 > 199111 models
2 photos
and designed by the Art School of Berlin-Weißensee. The body was made from fiberglass with aluminum doors and roof. 

Mechanically, it used all Wartburg components and was powered by a mid-mounted 1.0-liter, two cylinder two stroke engine producing 70ps, 20ps more than the standard Wartburg engine. The racing version had 100ps. 

Selected racing drivers who had East German citizenship were the only people allowed to buy the car, which cost 30,000 Marks.

The company also built Formula 3 and Formula Junior cars in the 70s.

In 2006, Melkus was reborn when 15 unfinished cars were found. Five more cars were built as the Melkus RS 1600 with a modern, four-cylinder engine. 

In 2009, Melkus introduced the RS 2000, it first new model in decades. It used a Lotus Elise chassis with either a Toyota or Volkswagen engine and started at €115.000. The company also built specific racing versions. 

Source: Focus and Welt





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