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1952 Auto Union Typ 650 ‘Sokol’

1952 Auto Union Typ 650 ‘Sokol’

1952 Auto Union Typ 650 ‘Sokol’

In the post-war era, Josef Stalin’s communist party had taken contol of Auto Union and they constructed the Typ 650 or ‘Sokol’. These were built at the request of Stalin’s son Vasiliy who dreamt of a successful Soviet team in Grand Prix racing. Unfortunately the cars were never raced and have remained as somewhat of a mystery.

Jeroen Bruintjes describes research on the story as “remarkably difficult” and “so breathtakingly exciting and complex, that a quick & dirty analysis is impossible.” His comprehensive study of these machines is the definite source for the curious 1.5-liter Soviet “Auto Union Typ E”.

The Auto Union R&D department in Chemnitz was taken over by the communists as it was par of the German Democratic Republic. They renamed the facilities Entwicklungswerk Chemnitz and kept the engineers busy with a steady supply of resources under the direction of V.G. Myshkin. Motivated by Vasiliy Stalin, half the workforce worked on a new design for the 1948 Formula One season. They had the task of converting the existing 2-liter cars for the small F2 regulations and an engine displacement limit of 1.5-liters.

Walter Träger worked on a new engine which was likely made from Auto Union Typ E plans. The chassis was similar in layout to the Auto Union Typ D but used a de Dion-Tube axle in the rear.

Two cars were made and tested on the local autobahns aswell as near Moscow. In both cases the cars performed poorly with carburetor problems. Not much was done with the cars, and when the Stalins were ousted from power the cars were practically forgotten.

One surviving car was shipped to UK and studied by Doug Nye. At that time a new body had to be fabricated using photo references. The completed car was shown at the Goodwood Festival of Speed as the 1948 Awtowelo 650 ‘Auto Union’. And later at the 2010 Techno Classica by Hall & Hall.

In Detail

submitted by Richard Owen
type Racing Car
built at Germany
body stylist Kordewahn
engineers Lange, Pietzsch, Otto Seidan
production 2
engine 65 Degree V12
position Mid, Longitufdinal
aspiration Natural
valvetrain 3OHC
fuel feed 4 Solex Downdraft Carburetors
displacement 1481 cc / 90.38 in³
bore 53 mm / 2.1 in
stroke 56 mm / 2.2 in
engine designer Walter Träger
power 223.7 kw / 300 bhp
specific output 202.57 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 474.68 bhp per tonne
f suspension Torsion Bars
r suspension de Dion Type Tube Axle
curb weight 632 kg / 1394 lbs
wheelbase 2500 mm / 98.4 in
front track 1240 mm / 48.8 in
rear track 1240 mm / 48.8 in
length 3800 mm / 149.6 in
width 1500 mm / 59.1 in
height 1250 mm / 49.2 in
top speed ~180 kph / 111.78 mph