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1928 Dixi 3/15 PS - The Dixi was the first car made by BMW


Dixi was the brand name of cars made by Automobilwerk Eisenach starting in 1904. In the 1920s with sluggish sales of the big 6/24 and 9/40 models, the manufacturer decided to add a small car model to its line-up, in 1927 Automobilwerk Eisenach agreed to a licensing agreement with the Austin Motor Company to build a variant of the Austin 7. The first 100 cars were supplied as kits.

In December 1927, the DA-1 3/15 PS was the first of the official Dixi-manufactured vehicles. The DA designation stood for Deutsche Ausführung, meaning German Version; 3/15 indicated the taxation and actual horsepower ratings. Apart from being left-hand drive the car were nearly identical to the Austin. Body styles available were coupé, roadster, tourer. Most cars left the factory as tourers.

BMW looking to move into automobile manufacturing, had an opportunity in 1928 to acquire Automobilwerk Eisenach and, with it, the rights to build the Dixi car. At first the cars were badged as BMW Dixi but the Dixi name was dropped in 1929 when the DA-1 was replaced by a slightly updated version, the BMW 3/15 DA-2.

Automobilwerk Eisenach

The Automobilwerk Eisenach was an automobile manufacturer in Eisenach, Germany. Heinrich Ehrhardt founded the Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach in Eisenach on 3 December 1896. He produced bicycles and guns, but after two years he started to produce a motor car which he called the Wartburg, a licensed model of the French Decauville. In 1903, the Ehrhardt family withdrew from management due to financial losses and also because the license to build Decauvilles was revoked. The factory began building under the new name, Dixi in 1904 with Willi Seck as chief engineer. The top model, the type U35, was introduced in 1907 and was soon recognized for its reliability and performance with 65 hp (48 kW) and a top speed of 85 km/h (53 mph). During World War I the company produced trucks and guns In 1919, car production resumed; but soon economic hardship forced a merger with Gothaer Waggonfabrik AG. In 1927 Dixi produced the DA-1 3/15, a version of the British Austin 7 built under licence.

In November 1928 BMW acquired the Fahrzeugfabrik Eisenach A.G. and the Eisenach factory became the birthplace of car manufacturing by BMW. The Dixi continued briefly as the BMW Dixi but the renamed BMW-Factory Eisenach soon started making an updated version of the car called the BMW 3/15PS dropping the Dixi name. By 1931, 25000 cars had been produced in a series going from DA 1 to DA 4. The DA-3, a sporting version, saw a re-appearance of the Wartburg name. In 1932 a new small car, the 3/20 AM-1, was announced with independent suspension all round and an enlarged 788cc (48ci) engine.

DIXI 315 PS (DA 1) Two Seater

1927 Dixi 9/40

Dixi DA-3

Dixi 3/15 PS DA1 Tourer

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