Arizona

16 - 17 January 2014

Lot 4

1960 DKW Schnellaster Kastenwagen 3=6

To be auctioned on Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sold for $60,500

  • Chassis no. 22524620
  • Engine no. 66157370


42 bhp, 896 cc two-stroke, water-cooled inline three-cylinder single Solex 40ICB carburetor, four-speed ZF front transaxle, four-wheel independent suspension with a transverse front leaf spring and rear trailing arms and torsion bar, and hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 108.3 in.

  • Two-and-a-half-year nut-and-bolt restoration
  • Versatile, economical, and useable
  • One of two known restored examples in the U.S.A.
  • Class award at the 2013 Forest Grove Concours


After a downpour at the 1955 Pebble Beach road races, the staff at Road & Track decided that they needed a vehicle to serve as a combination mobile office, galley, and bunk for future West Coast races. They looked at a Wells Cargo trailer and a Ford wagon; a Fiat Multipla; a Volkswagen Kombi (bus); a Chrysler Town & Country wagon; and Alfa Romeo’s “Romeo” Camper. But what they actually bought for their new “Pressmobile,” as it said on the side, was a DKW 3=6.



DKW had been the largest European motorcycle manufacturer before World War II, and it was a two-stroke specialist, so it was little surprise that their 3=6 followed the trend. Even the name, “3 equals 6”, is a subtle boast about the powerplant, which has three cylinders that give the performance of a small six. Volkswagen’s Micro Bus, however, was probably the closest competitor. At the time, it would have been notably smaller and lighter and correspondingly less expensive. The DKW made up for its weight disadvantage with 42 horsepower and 57 foot-pounds of torque, yielding “enough ‘steam’ to pull a much heavier Karavan along at a better rate,” said Road & Track. They also noted that the torquey, high-revving two-stroke would burn rubber in first gear, while also being able to cruise comfortably at 60 mph. Its best quality, however, was its handling on the open road, “which can only be described as amazing.” Add tremendous reliability—one tune-up and a single loose wire in Road & Track’s first 9,000 miles were the only work required—and ahead-of-its-time features, like a curbside door with five feet eight inches of headroom, a flat floor, and front-wheel drive, and the DKW is a look forward at the minivans that were to come decades later.



This example was rescued from a storage shed at a mining operation in southern Oregon in 1996, and an unconfirmed story says that it had been used by a hosiery salesman in the 1960s to service his route along the Pacific Coast. Assorted 3=6 models were actively sold in the U.S.A., and while no records of importation numbers have been found, it’s likely that less than 1,000 of the Kastemwagen panel trucks were sold. Today, only six are known in the U.S.A.; two of them are restored, two are complete and unrestored, and two are parts vehicles, making restoration extremely challenging.



It might not even be possible to complete another Schnellaster to this level. The consignor’s search for parts stretched over at least eight countries and three continents, including the U.S., Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Netherlands, Greece, and Crete. Even the machine screws, which are used exclusively throughout the bodywork, are new old stock parts. Every mechanical component is original to the vehicle, right down to the rebuilt relays, wiper motors, turn signal switches, and voltage regulators. The factory color was duplicated from original paint that had been found on the firewall, under a panel that had not been exposed to weather, and the van was finished correctly, as per the factory, in a single color inside and out, with black fender trim, extruded aluminum brightwork, and a wood load floor. The original engine, often found seized in a 3=6 from lack of oil, was rebuilt with sealed bearings for longevity and with modern synthetic two-stroke oil, and it offers improved performance and less two-stroke smoke.



After a two-and-a-half-year restoration, this Schnellaster Kastenwagen appeared at the 2013 Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance, where it was awarded Second in Class; points were deducted for incorrect tires, which have since been replaced.



Other Schnellaster Kastenwagens can be found, but it is unlikely that any others have been or can be restored as correctly and sympathetically as this icon of the evolution of modern transportation.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

aclassick@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

aabaci@rmauctions.com

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmauctions.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmauctions.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmauctions.com

+1 212 894 1301
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Political Science. ... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmauctions.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Peter Giddings

pgiddings@rmauctions.com

+1 925 831 2048
California, United States

A life-long car enthusiast, Peter joined RM’s California office with over half a century of experience in the automotive and rac... read more

Peter Blond

pblond@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Blond joined the RM Europe team in 2013 after being immersed in the collector car industry for more than 60 years. An... read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more

Jeff Whiteside

jwhiteside@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jeff Whiteside joined RM Auctions as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer following almost three decades in a diverse r... read more