Posted on 23/09/2006 at 01:08

History and original condition

My IFA's origins :

I bought this beast on March 2001 to my neighbour (!).
This is an IFA, which is the East-German name of DKW : the iron curtain creation had splitted the production factory in two, and a trial took place to decide which part, East or West, would keep the DKW name. DKW, which was, with Horch, Audi and Wanderer, part of the Auto-Union group (Guess why the Audi's have a 4 rings logo today?).

So, in Eastern Germany, the brand name became "IFA". Not without a lot of difficulties, the factory's production continued, as the Russians left the country taking with them a part of the production line! They'll then reassemble it in Moscow, and will produce a rusian copy of the RT125 under the name "Moskva". So, my ride is Est-German, which makes it one of the rarest models of the RT125 production history!

This motorbike model is the most produced one ever, as its design became the Allies property after the war. So, you can find copies produced by Russia, France, and even USA with Harley-Davidson!
On the fuel tank and the rear mud-guard of my bike, you can read "DKW" : it has obviously been manually added, hand brushed. Most probably by the french importer ; in1954, right after the War, vehicles from East-Germany do not sell very well in France, so he prefered to see DKW appearring instead of IFA, for obvious marketing reasons! Plus, it appears that my bike was first sold, brand new, in 1954 in Nice (close from where I live), and its ID plate number is still its original one!

If you want to know more about DKW, the following site is very complete, proposing for download several technical documentations in PDF format :

Moreover, I would like to thank Kalevi Sundqvist, Finnish specialist of this model, for all his kind help!

Original condition :

So, here is the little bugger, as I found it in my building's basement.

First glance : battery and transmission chain are missing. Tires are pretty tired...

The chrome plating were redone recently (some parts have even been chrome plated but they originally weren't!) ; the paint is the original one, and looks nice, there's only the white pinstriping around the fuel tank and the mud guards which is faded out by time...

The electric wiring needs to be totally redone...
Anyway, 30 minutes later, I'm its new owner, for 2500 Francs (around 380 Euros)! :)

I definitely love it, its egoist's single saddle, its vintage Harley look...

Plus all those details, like the large chromed fuel cap, the fuel filter right below this same cap, the little tap with its glass filter, the strange contact key, the little chromed needle on the gearbox that indicates which gear is engaged, the fish tail chromed tip exhaust (looks pretty HD as well, uh?), the ID plate on the front mud guard, etc, etc...
I don't plan on making a full restoration on this beast, like I did on the Lambretta, I just want to put it back on wheels : 2 tires by security, a battery, a chain, an electric wiring ("wiring" is a too big word for those 10 cables anyway), overall cleaning, oil changing, and go!!
Posted in : 1954 IFA
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