The Wartburg 311 has a most interesting history, given its origins from behind the iron curtain. Prior to the war, the company was part of BMW, and had been concerned with the manufacture of high class vehicles such as the 321’s,
326’s and 327’s.
After the war, the company continued to manufacture under the BMW
brand name, however eventually they were forced to rename themselves Eisenacher Motor Works (EMW). Worse still, the company started the manufacture of the small IFA F9 (based on a DKW design), a considerable backwards step.
Without official party permission, and under the strictest security, development of the 311 took place - EMW determined to at least manufacture a modest, modern middle class vehicle.
Rushed through the design phase, the prototype
EMW 311's were then driven striaght to Berlin for official sanction, which fortunately they received. And the official nod could not have come at a better time, with the Ministry unhappy with the similarity of the IFA F9 and DKW 3-6, and asking EMW to cease production.
All attention was then focused on the 311, which entered production in 1956.
It was even entered in an East German Rallye the same year, with company sponsored teams taking 6 of a possible 12 event "gold medals" on offer.
The Wartburg 311 was made up of no less than 8 different models, the better known beng the Kombiwagen, Cabriolet, Camping, Limousine, Coupe, Sportcoupe 313 and Pickup utility.