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Its development began in the 1930s, but the project had to be curtailed without producing a single prototype. The appearance of the Schnellsportwagen was restored using archival documents and drawings. The result was a five-meter car with a V16 6.0 compressor engine and a three-seater interior.

Audi Tradition has built a car that should have been built more than 90 years ago. It’s called the Auto Union Type 52 Schnellsportwagen and is a 1930s grand prix car with a utilitarian body and street legality. Ferdinand Porsche’s project was abandoned before the first prototype was built. All that remains are archive documents, drawings and design sketches. Having studied them, Crosthwaite & Gardner manufactured all the necessary parts and components, and Audi showed the result at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

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The original plan was for the Type 52 to be based on a ladder frame with transverse leaf springs and friction shock absorbers. The engine was to be taken from the racing Auto Union Type A. The V16 4.4 with a Roots-type supercharger was supposed to develop about 200 horsepower and 436 Nm of torque and accelerate the car to 200 kilometers per hour. Crosthwaite & Gardner deviated from this concept a little. For example, the real car has longitudinal leaf springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, a longer wheelbase and a different fuel tank. But the brakes are drum, like the Type A.


The engine is no less interesting – a supercharged V16 6.0 from Auto Union Type C. It produces 520 horsepower and 886 Nm of torque and runs on a special fuel mixture: 50 percent methanol, 40 gasoline and 10 toluene. The Type 52 has three seats in the cabin, and the layout is reminiscent of the McLaren F1. Behind the rear doors is a compartment for two spare wheels. There is even a trunk, because the car was conceived as a gran turismo. And since there was no data on what color the Type 52 was going to be painted, Audi again turned to historical racing models and chose the Cellulose Silver shade, reminiscent of the “silver arrows”.

Resuscitation: restored cars

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