The Grosser Werkmeister is a one-off racing car constructed and built by Georg Werkmeister of Dingelstädt in the German Democratic Republic. With assistance from ex Auto Union aerodynamic specialist Georg Hufnagel, a low 2-seater sports/racing car body was built and mounted on a tubular space frame, welded to the chassis with the help of Arno Dietzel. The chassis and space frame are the original items that the car has today. In common with contemporary rivals such as Veritas, AFM and EMW, Werkmeister used the proven and competitive BMW 328 engine along with many other 328 parts in his car. Until 1954 it successfully competed in many class E (up to 2,000cc) sports car races, as well as in Formula 2 events from 1953. East Germany may not have been a hotbed of international racing competition in the post-war years, but there were sufficient cars to fill grids in both class E and F2 events. The Werkmeister debuted in E- class competition at the Sachsenring on 7th September 1952, although driver Hans Althoff found it challenging to drive at speed and failed to deliver the expected win. The same held true for the car’s next competition outing at Berlin’s famous Avus circuit on 28th September, and the Grosser Werkmeister was reconfigured to run in Formula 2 for the 1953 season.
Althoff was replaced by Karl Weber, who took the car to a second-place finish in its first race of the new season, and on to third place in the 1953 East German championship. Weber also raced the car in three events in 1954 after Georg Werkmeister emigrated to West Germany in March 1953 and the state had duly seized the car. Weber then campaigned it under the guidance of the East German Trust Operations Foreman. All the car’s races are fully documented in a most detailed history file with much period documentation and a wealth of period race photos.
Later a 2-seater body in steel and an EMW engine were fitted, the latter because the original 328 engine suffered from a heavy bearing damage from its last race at the Avus circuit. In the following years car was used on the public road and changed hands several times.
In 2004, its then owner embarked on an extensive and painstakingly documented ground-up restoration that successfully returned the car to its former glory without regard to cost and complexity. A handmade aluminium body and a period BMW 328 engine finally enabled the historic Werkmeister to be reborn. Now returned to original specification with all work documented in a letter to the FIA authorities in detail, FIA and FIVA papers were supplied following a thorough technical inspection. The best German specialists were entrusted with the restoration work and the relevant correspondence they hold is available too.
Since being finished, the big Werkmeister has again taken part in the most prestigious historic motorsport events and it has recently been a common and much appreciated sight at the Nürburgring, Alpine rallies and many other oldtimer events.
Finally, it should be noted that in the last 25 years Coys has rarely if ever come across such a wealth of documentation accompanying one car, therefore please understand that this description details just a small fraction of information about this car’s life – a car which occupies a unique space in the history of post-war German motorsport.