At the 1931 International Automobile Exhibition in Berlin, DKW revealed the world’s first production car with front-wheel drive: the F1. By the late ‘20s, DKW was a well-established motorcycle manufacturer and, in 1928, its Danish founder, Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen, acquired a majority share in Audi Automobilwerke. He planned to stimulate sales by installing eight-cylinder engines in the large Audi models, but US brands dominated that market and, when the world was plunged in an economic crisis in 1929, Audi faced severe hardship. A new product with greater mass appeal was required. Words by Damian Adams.