Ahh, the Wartburg 353. So many fond memories. Both my grandfathers used to have those, back when I was a kid. I always liked them for some reason, even though back then I didn't know anything about 2/4-stroke engines (or any of the related technical crap). And yet, I still felt that those cars were somehow different.

Now that I'm grown up and pretty determined to find myself some unusual car to fiddle with on weekends, I find that the good old 353 appeals to me once more, this time as an inexpensive "classic".

So, here are the basic specifications:
It's a front wheel drive body-on-frame saloon, estate or pickup, powered by a 993ccm 2-stroke inline 3 that produces 50 hp and 98 NM of torque. Officially, 0-100 kmh takes somewhere around 25 seconds and the top speed is 130 kmh (although I know first hand that the car is capable of 150). Economy hovers between 20 and 30 US MPG (24-35 imperial).
It weighs between 920 and 960 kg, depending on the exact version.

There don't seem to be any particulary good ones posted for sale at the moment so excuse the relative crappiness of given examples.


Number 1
This one seems to be complete and in relatively good nick, however I've noticed that it seems to have the wrong grille and front bumper, as 1983 models should come with those parts in matte black (just like headlight frames). This probably indicates that the car has been into some sort of front end collision, despite the seller's claims that the paint on the car is all original. I'm also not sure if I could stomach its brownness, even if that colour is quite fitting in relation to the car's age

Number 2
This one seems to be a collection of Wartburg 353-related bodyparts (the panels on that car simply bolt on to the frame). Panal colours are obviously and horribly mismatched, so the car would probably need a full respray. The reason for mismatched panels could possibly be the current owner's fight against rust, as Wartburgs rust incredibly quickly. Other than that, it's missing the wood veneer on its dash for some reason (maybe that's how it came out of the factory?).


There are a few more listed for sale, but they're mostly slightly later models, ones with a revised front end, that doesn't have that classic feel. I also have a set of pretty peculiar requirements for the car to meet before I could possibly be interested in purchasing it. First, it must have the LED gauge cluster, and secondly - the column shifter is the only way to go. It's small details, but ones that create that perfect nostalgic picture for me.

So, Oppo. I know that those cars are incredibly ugly, badly made, uninspiring to drive and horrible in virtually every aspect. I still want one though. Is that wrong?


This is still one of the coolest videos posted on YouTube:

Sorry, I accidentally deleted my previous post during an edit attempt...