1936 Wanderer W25K Roadster

As demand for sporting, high-performance cars rose dramatically in Germany during the 1930s, BMW led the way with their 328, which proved formidable in club racing and remains one of the most successful German racing cars of the prewar era. Wanderer, part of the Auto Union group including Audi, DKW, and Horch, was one of BMW’s chief rivals and they too wanted a share of this increasingly popular market. Accordingly, Wanderer commissioned none other than Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche GmbH to develop its new sports car.

Using Wanderer’s robust alloy-block, 2-liter OHV inline-six as a basis, Dr. Porsche added a supercharger, boosting output to a healthy 85 horsepower. The rest of the new sporting model, dubbed W25 K (‘K’ for Kompressor or supercharger), was impressively designed with the latest sporting technology. The box-section chassis featured independent front suspension, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes, and a four-speed manual gearbox. For coachwork, Wanderer contracted with Wendler Karrosserie to create the beautifully flowing bodies, including a cabriolet and svelte two-seat roadster. The latter was about 150 pounds lighter, making it the natural choice for the serious sporting driver.

The W25 K nearly achieved its goal of going head-to-head with BMW’s 328, as it was very similar in size and power. While the slightly heavier Wanderer couldn’t quite match the performance of its Bavarian counterpart, it was still a marvelous sports car, with the cachet of a brilliant supercharged engine from the pen of the great Ferdinand Porsche. Post-war, Auto Union’s factories fell under Eastern control and while Audi and DKW survived, Horch and Wanderer were no more. Surviving examples are highly prized by preeminent collectors, including Peter Mullin, whose W25 K Roadster has the distinction of being the only German car within his world-class automobile museum.

Offering a significant opportunity to collectors seeking an extremely rare and compelling prewar German sports car, this 1936 Wanderer W25 K Roadster is one of only a handful of known survivors remaining from the limited 258-car run produced between 1936 and 1938. Previously under single-family ownership since 1962, the Wanderer was last road-registered in 1965 and placed into dry storage, with the Virginia registration plates and inspection sticker still affixed to the vehicle. While requiring restoration, this Wanderer is simply a fabulous example throughout, being solid, sound, and exceptionally complete. Importantly, while the engine is not running at present, it has been found to turn freely and develops oil pressure. The supercharger is not currently installed, but it and the original carburetor and intake manifold do accompany the sale of the vehicle.

Sure to be a welcome entrant to any concours d’Elegance and classic touring event you should ever care to participate in, this 1936 Wanderer W25 K offers an extremely compelling opportunity to restore and enjoy a great and truly rare prewar sports car. Renowned among knowledgeable collectors for its prodigious performance, this Wanderer will also be a true standout wherever it should travel with its unforgettable exhaust note from the uprated engine tuned by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.


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Stock number 7573

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