In 1904 Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen set up on his own as a manufacturer of boiler fittings. In 1906 he purchased a textile mill in Zschopau, Saxony. Production started there in 1907. During the First World War Rasmussen worked on a steam-driven vehicle (Dampfkraftwagen), from which the three letters DKW were derived. In 1922 the company Zschopauer Motorenwerke started manufacturing its own motorcycles. The sporting successes of the lightweight motorcycles with 2.25 hp two-stroke engine were remarkable. Victories in the Berlin Avus race in 1922 and the triple victory by the DKW team in the ADAC Reichsfahrt the same year made people sit up and take notice. The first DKW motorcycle was consequently called the Reichsfahrt. Over the next six years Zschopauer Motorenwerke/DKW established itself as the world's biggest motorcycle manufacturer. Rasmussen finally had access to a powerful engine for the DKW car (600 cc, 15 hp) in the form of the two-cylinder motorcycle unit (1927). The vehicle, which had a load-bearing body covered in imitation leather, had rear-wheel drive. It was produced in the Spandau district of Berlin from 1928.

Dictionary of automotive terms. 2015.

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