Ernst Klodwig

Ernst Klodwig was not a very famous racing driver but he was one of a number of drivers from East and West Germany who raced BMW Specials in the early years of the Formula 1 World Championship in the early 1950s. Klodwig and his contemporaries were all amateurs and turned up to race in home-built machinery all based on the BMW 328 sports car, which first appeared from the factory at Eisenach in the late 1930s. The 328 was the car that put the company on the automotive map. These were known as "BMW Eigenbau" and the drivers included many unknowns including Rudolf Krause, Oswald Karch, Hans Klenk, Kurt Adolff, Toni Ulmen, Wolfgang Seidel, Erwin Bauer, Gunther Bechem, Theo Fitzau, Willi Heeks, Ernst Loof, Helmut Niedermayr, Josef Peters and Fritz Riess.

The odd thing was that some of the Eigenbau were not BMWs at all but rather EMWs because the original BMW factory in Eisenach ended up in East Germany at the end of World War II and a communist collective began producing and racing cars built to the design of the BMW 328. These cars were entered by Eisenacher Motoren Werke. They were raced in Formula 2 in both East and West Germany although as the Cold War intensified it became harder for the teams to cross the borders.

As the sport developed, small construction businesses sprang up with conversions and eventually new BMW designs such as Veritas, AFM, Jicey and even Frazer-Nash racing cars. Although the old Eigenbau machinery was out of date, the switch of the World Championship from Formula 1 to F2 regulations in 1952 gave the designs a new lease of life and they continued to appear until F2 was cancelled at the start of 1955.