Automobile Welt Eisenach

The city of Eisenach in Thuringia has connections with the manufacture of motor cars that extend from the late 1890s to the present day. The Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach AG was established in 1896 by Heinrich Ehrhardt (1840-1928), who two years later produced the first car to be branded a ‘Wartburg’ taking its name from the historic castle that overlooks Eisenach. The factory’s cars achieved some successes, but the shareholders were dissatisfied with their returns, and forced Ehrhardt to leave in 1903. Subsequently the plant produced Dixi cars. In 1927 there were plans to produce on licence a German version of the successful British small car, the Austin Seven, but the following year the company was taken over by BMW and produced the company’s successful high performance cars until 1941, when it turned to manufacturing military vehicles. In 1942 BMW transferred its whole production of motor cycles from Munich to the plant at Eisenach, which made many thousands of the R77 model for the Wehrmacht. The factory was revived under the DDR as VEB Automobilwerk Eisenach, and from 1956 again produced cars branded ‘Wartburg’. The Wartburg 311 which appeared in that year went through many versions, and production continued, alongside other models, until 1991. After reunification the factory was closed but the connection of Eisenach with car making was continued when Opel set up an up-to-date manufacturing plant on the outskirts of the city.

The collection which forms the nucleus of Automobile Welt was begun in 1967. The long-term consequence of plans to commemorate the centenary of car manufacturing in Eisenach and of the Wartburg brand was the re-display of the collection in the O2 factory, built under BMW ownership in 1935 where the new museum called Automobile Welt opened in 2005. The collection includes examples of the many and widely-differing motor cars and motor cycles that have been made in Eisenach by various companies since 1898.

Automobile Welt Eisenach
Friedrich-Naumann Strasse 10
99817 Eisenach
+49 (0) 3691 - 77212