Think of a cold war-era East German car that isn’t the Trabant. Not that easy, is it? But there were others, such as the Wartburg 353, and even sports cars like this 1976 Melkus RS 1000.
Built over a 10-year period from 1976 in Dresden, which was at the time in East Germany, the Melkus was the brainchild of Heinz Melkus. Heinz was, by all accounts, a handy racing driver and produced a series of competition cars, but only one road car: the RS 1000.
Consisting of a fiberglass body on top of a ladder-frame chassis, the low slung RS features gullwing doors and must have looked like it beamed down from outer space to the average East German back in the 1970s.
Not that many East Germans would have seen one. Melkus built just 101 examples, most of them powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder, two-stroke Wartburg engine fitted with triple carbs. But the car you see here, which is currently up for sale through the Collecting Cars auction website, is apparently the only RS 1000 fitted with a 1.3-liter ‘Müller-Andernach’ V6.
A V6 that small would be unusual enough, but the fact that it’s a two-stroke, makes it seem even wilder. From what we can glean on the internet this engine was originally designed for marine applications, but was then developed for Audi forerunner Auto Union’s DKW F 102 sedan. However, only a few V6-equipped prototypes were built. The seller claims the V6 is good for 110 hp and 133 lbs-ft of torque and can push the flyweight 1590-lbs (720 kg) RS to 125 mph (201 km/h).
Presented in Ferrari Giallo paint and trimmed in black and grey, the car is described as being in good overall condition but showing some age-related wear. The fact that it’s survived at all means it’s doing better than the company that made it. Melkus closed in 1986 and a reboot in the 2000s by the founder’s son who introduced a modern successor, the Opel-powered RS 2000, failed after only a handful of years.
This content was originally published here.