Wartburg Tourist Reviews

1968 Wartburg Tourist 1.0 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1968
First year of ownership1980
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 1.0 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired23000 miles
Most recent distance289576 miles
Previous carWartburg Tourist

Faults:

Head gasket went at 110,000; that was easy to fix.

The crankshaft packed up at 123,000, but I had a spare in boot, so that was easy to fix; engine out in 20 minutes, and all you do is turn the engine upside down, and undo 8 bolts in the middle and 6 on the side, and lift the crank case bottom off, out with the crank and piston, and change the crank and put the piston back on, and lift the crank and piston back into the engine block, and bolt it up. All done and dusted in an hour and a half.

So what's your problem, it's easy to do? It's an easy car to repair. On some cars you have unbolt so many things before you can get to the spark plug, and some cars are dealer only to get a spark plug? You are all been ripped off by the big motor companies.

General Comments:

Yes my one handles well round corners. There's a good feel to the steering, a bit like a racing car.

The seats are very comfortable, like an arm chair. My mother likes it as it's high up, and she gets her legs in and has lots of room.

In the snow this will keep going where other cars will not. Even 4x4s cannot compare.

Yes, give me a Wartburg every time. It's a very good work horse.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th July, 2008

27th Apr 2009, 12:37

An excellent comment! I own a Wartburg Knight saloon and would endorse your remarks, although I have not had cause to remove any engine parts yet! Mine's done 60,000 miles perfectly!

The handling sometimes feels a bit strange, but I love the car's ability to freewheel over huge distances once rolling along; although this ought to save fuel, I still get only 32-33 mpg from the car, but I am advised this is about right for these cars anyway.

1975 Wartburg Tourist Estate 991cc two stroke from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1975
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership1998
Engine and transmission 991cc two stroke Semi-Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.0 / 10
Distance when acquired88000 miles
Most recent distance92000 miles
Previous carVauxhall Nova

Summary:

Eccentric but fun! The world became a poorer place when they ceased production

Faults:

The steering box failed (all of a sudden, I had 12" free play at the steering wheel and the directional stability of a three legged cow in a sandpit). Luckily (?) the car came with a load of spares and a replacement box took about two hours to fit without even the need for a jack (accessed from under the bonnet).

There was a chronic vibration from the nearside front wheel when I bought it. I found that the roller bearing spider joint on the driveshaft had collapsed. A new one cost £13 through the owners' club and took an hour to fit.

Water in the carburettor resulted in assistance from the AA, but this was fixed by the roadside.

It finally 'died' at MOT time when the clutch failed, one of the chassis (remember them?) outriggers rusted through, the exhaust cracked and several brake cylinders started leaking. Not major problems, but I didn't have the time or space to fix them.

General Comments:

You don't drive a bright yellow car that sounds like a lawnmower if you don't want to be stared at!

I had always wanted one since my childhood, so when I saw what I thought was the last one left on Planet Earth, I had to have it, even though it turned out to be not the most perfect specimen of the breed.

Despite the two stroke engine, it still returned over 30 mpg and could just about hit 80 mph (not bad for a 1000cc engine in a car almost the size of a Cortina estate).

Comments from other people were priceless, such as the garage attendant who said "I was about to warn you over the tannoy; are you supposed to put unleaded in something that old?", or concerned drivers who tell you "your car is smoking a bit". It was a shame I was never pulled over by one of the police roadside emission testing units - It would probably have wrecked their equipment (two stroke vehicles of any age are not subject to any emission regulations at all in the UK).

The single circuit non-servo drum brakes were a liability. They would always stop the car, but not always in a straight line.

Spares were never a problem. Over a million were made in East Germany between 1966 and 1991 and there is a fanatical owners club in the UK.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st July, 2001

31st Mar 2008, 21:04

Hello you car nuts. Yes I've owned a Wartburg Tourist 353 mk1 1968. It has been the best car I have ever had. It has been round the clock twice; 200,000, plus I carried just about everything from my disco equipment to my motorcycle. I once bought a bed, and the salesman said do you want it delivering? I said no? I will carry it in my car? What he said a car, there is not one big enough? I said well look outside; you see he was taken back to see me put a double bed in the back of Tourist no bother?

I have been though snow 18 inches deep, no problems And I lived in the car for 6 weeks, and have been round Holland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and back to the UK. Average miles to gallon 34 mpg, top speed 110 mph. Oh yes, a Real flying machine?? Called Bessie???

Average review marks: 6.4 / 10, based on 2 reviews