Wartburg 353

The Wartburg 353, known in some export markets as the Wartburg Knight, is a medium-sized family car, produced by the East German car manufacturer Wartburg. It was the successor of the Wartburg 311, and was itself succeeded by the Wartburg 1.3.

The Wartburg 353 was produced from 1966 to 1988, becoming the model with the longest-ever production run. During its lifetime it saw several changes and improvements, the most recognizable of these coming in 1985 with a front facelift (as pictured here), slightly different layout around the engine block and a new carburetor.

The Wartburg 353 was the creation of the former German BMW production facilities (called EMW under Soviet occupation). It was based on a 1938 design, and powered by an engine with only seven major moving parts, crankshaft included. Popular saying among owners hence that one drives a car but only maintains a motorcycle.

Domestically, it was used for government transportation, sometimes as a police car. Delivery of consumer builds often could take ten to fifteen years.

Like other Eastern European cars, it was known for its low price and comparatively well-equipped design. Because of its forward centre of gravity and front-wheel drive, the car had specific road handling, sometimes displaying significant understeer, especially in wet conditions. Wartburgs were exported to most continental European markets and also to the UK, Cyprus, Malta, and South Africa.