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DKW’s Schnellaster Kastenwagen, or “Rapid Transit Panel Van,” was conceived as a more versatile rival to Volkswagen’s rear-engined Transporter/Kombi. The van’s large capacity, flat floor, low-threshold loading deck, and torque-rich engine were major selling points.
After decades serving as a store’s stationary billboard, this fortunate DKW was purchased in 2011 by noted Southern California collector and restorer Eric Parsons, who set about to create something truly exceptional. A supremely challenging two-year, concours-level restoration followed, which included combing the far corners of the globe for long-forgotten parts and components. A copy of the van’s factory build sheet confirmed that the three-cylinder two-stroke engine was the original unit, and subsequently it was completely rebuilt utilizing many nearly extinct NOS parts. Each component of the DKW was painstakingly renewed, and the body shell was stripped to bare metal before being painted in proper DKW colors, Jade Green and Shell White. Included with the Kastenwagen are photos documenting each phase of the restoration and copies of DKW literature and factory production photos. Under its current caretaker since 2013, the Kastenwagen was honored with a Best in Class award at the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue. This rare and incredibly detailed DKW is a testament to the dedication of its restorer and is sure to be the center of attention at any automotive gathering; your close inspection is encouraged.