AWS Classic Cars for Sale

AWS (for "Automobilwerk Walter Schätzle") was a short-lived German car manufacture founded in Berlin-Rudow in 1973. Its only mass-produced model, the AWS Shopper city car, is still a cult classic today, more than 40 years after the company folded and it was discontinued.

AWS and the urban car dream

After learning his craft at the Bremen-based Borgward automobile factory, car engineer Walter Schätzle tried his hand at designing his own urban model for the 1970 Hannover Expo. He used the angular Goggomobil as a prototype for his creation which he originally named Piccolo (or alternatively Picollo). The mini sported a two-cylinder engine, a light metal frame, and plasticised sheet-metal panels. The resulting vehicle looked angular and futuristic, and the eye-catching combination of orange panels and black linings set it apart from the dominant colour palette on the automobile market. Still working out of his private garage in Ober-Bessingen, central Germany, Schätzle designed the car in such a way that assembly required no heavy machinery or long production processes. A pair of capable hands, a hammer, a drill, and a rivet gun was all that was needed to assemble the AWS Piccolo.

AWS moves to Berlin

In early 1973, Walter Schätzle opened the first and only proper AWS shop in West Berlin's Rudow quarter. The Piccolo, with 300 units already produced, was rebranded as the AWS Shopper and marketed as an ideal city dweller's car. With its two seats and ample trunk space, it was the perfect urban car for running errands around town, and with hindsight, it was the likely grandfather of today's Smart. Thanks to the state subsidy, to which Berlin-based businesses were entitled at the time, AWS was able to put the Shopper into serial production. 1,400 units were manufactured between 1973 and 1974, placing the total AWS vehicle output at 1,700. Unfortunately, the AWS Shopper was not a huge hit, and even the state's financial help could not keep the company afloat for long. AWS declared bankruptcy and closed down shop by the end of 1974. Although the Shopper was the only model in large-scale production, Walter Schätzle also developed several mini-truck and mini-van prototypes for both commercial and industrial use which never saw mass production.

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