Wartburg Limousine de Luxe 1000 "Falt-Schiebedach"

Manufacturer:Wartburg (Eisenach, East Germany)
Model:311-8 (or 1000 Limousine de Luxe mit Schiebedach)
Engine:1000 cc two-stroke, 45 bhp

August 30 1997 I bought the "wreck" after months of checking, negotiating. The car seems to be in a reasonable state for restauration; it is a worthwhile project car thanks to its relative rarity in Hungary; it is a two-colored "de Luxe" version with a ragtop.
The car was delivered to the mechanic first, and we assessed its state more thoroughly. We have found that basically none of those hard-to-find original chrom parts were missing, the body was in a medium shape. The doors and the bottom side of the body shell is the most critical, the rest, the frames, the body shell and the floor pan are in pretty good condition.
October 1 1997 I have found a contact in Germany who is also into restoring Wartburg 311s and 312s. He helped me with hints and actual parts.
Pictures are taken to record the original state of the car.
I have also found some material on the net about this car. Here is an HTML transcript of an original article from the GDR magazine "Deutsche Straßenverkehr" about this very model.
October 28 1997 The car was trailed to Victory Auto Design. They made an offer for the total body work of the car. They do an extremely nice job, but their prices are a bit steep for a car of this value. However, they are a great help for parts and tips.
November 20 1997 The car was trailed to a body shop where the real work began. We assessed the state of the body more by starting to take the car apart -- the fenders, doors, hood, trunk and glasses are off quickly. The inner body parts are in an astonishing good shape -- most work will include restoring the doors.

Meanwhile, I have managed to get the following parts so far:

  • 1300mm x 1500mm top rag
  • 2 original lockable door handles with keys
  • chrom headlight rings
  • original turn signal lights
  • new rubber seals for the door bottoms.
I need and couldn't yet find
  • rubber seals for around the doors.
  • 4 chrom frames for the door handles.
December 1997 The car is being taken apart piece by piece, all pieces packed up into boxes. Passanger compartment trim panels, original seat upholstery are restorable by cleaning and little bit of fixing. There are some samples of the pictures documenting this phase. The locksmith is totally recreating the bottom of the four doors, and the bottom side (is that the called the running board?). The car's original rust protection from 63 proved to be pretty good. Later, the car was given extra rust protection, although they did not reach everywhere -- for example the bottom inner side of the doors :-(.
January 1998 Lots of metal work, cutting and welding. All locksmith work done. Pictures of this state document how it looked after the body work
March 1998 The car is back to the mechanic. We fully rebuilt the enigine, the starter, the generator, the cooler, well, everything. New brakes, new clutch, etc. Harderst parts to find were the rubber sealings... In May we start the engine and the car is running like new.
July 1998 Painting! yes. The car starts to look like the real thing. Of course, new pictures of this process.
September 1998 Little break in the restauration process. We bought a new house, had some work in the US, so the car was sitting in the garage through the winter.
March 1999 Well, after failed attempts to clean up the upholstery, we decided to redo it too. The car is trailed to "Zsiga bácsi", an old-fashioned craftsman who is just the best. This is the result...
May 1999 Paperwork, burocracy. Got the licence plate. Need to get the "green card", the mechanical exam (=TÜV or smog check), fix some incorrect data in the cars papers. Hope to drive is soon :-)))
July 1999 The car is street legal; I drove it for the first time, with the top down.
2000 Here is the car in my garage today. Still minor things to do, an oldtimer is never finished. I drive the car about once or twice a week as weather permits. The car stays in the garage in rain, let alone snow... It has to stay in this shape for the next 37 years...
2001 A few pictures from an oldtimer show.