January 26, 2007

Christie’s to auction Auto Union Type D racing car

Ingolstadt, Germany – Christie’s will auction one of two original Type D racing cars from Auto Union dating from 1939 in Paris on February 17. At an estimate of 8.8 to 12 million Euros, it will be the most expensive car ever to be sold in the auction house’s history. Auto Union was an independent brand that later joined other companies to become Audi AG.

Both the auction car and its so-called “sister” car, which dates from 1938, were moved to the Soviet Union from Germany after World War II by the Soviet occupation forces. In the 1980s, they were brought to the West by American Paul Karassik, who found them stripped down to individual parts. He had the vehicles reassembled by specialists in Britain with technical support from Audi AG, which subsequently acquired the 1938 vehicle from him. The 1939 car passed into private ownership.

The 12-cylinder Type D racing car was developed for the 1938 racing season in which new international Grand Prix regulations limited engine capacity to three litres. The car was modified in 1939 with a twin compressor, which increased its power from 420 to 460 hp; it had a top speed of 330 km/h and was driven to victory at the Grand Prix in France and Yugoslavia.

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