1953 FRITZ TARS SPEEDSTER
SUBMITTED BY THE EXHIBITORS
Model: Tarz Speedster
Engine: Automobilwerke Eisenach (AWE) 3cyl – 75hp
Hull #: 1
Concours Catagory: Race Boats
THE RARE HISTORY
This little Gentleman Racer named Smitty was built in 1953 on the East-German side of Berlin (former German Democratic Republic/GDR) at the small Tarz boatyard by Fritz Tars, who is believed to be a former associate of the famous Schneider boatyard. Just two Speedsters were built, this one being the last known survivor. The characteristic wings were likely added in 1964.
Smitty is powered by an AWE (Automobilwerke Eisenach) three-cylinder engine from 1964, AWE being the automobile plant of the East-German “Wartburg” car. Customers waited between 14-17 years(!) for a new car from AWE. Hence, owning Smitty was one of the most luxurious items to possess in the GDR.
The boat features a very seldom 3-fold carburetor, producing 75hp, achieving about 45knots, also known as the “Melkus”-version – matched with a rare racing gearbox from Lunze/Gräfenhainichen. Being a two-stroke engine, this is probably one of the smokiest engines in classic boating.
Further, an interesting boat building technique is adopted, with all stripes of wood running completely from bow to stern – pure craftsmanship.
Smitty was restored in Berlin from 2002 onwards – it took about 1800h to finish. The current owner saw this boat directly after its fresh restoration at a classic boat fair (still missing its characteristic Speedster screens) and could persuade the restorer to sell the boat after ten years of negotiation.
WHO TOWS IT?
Smitty is towed on sunny weekends plus on holidays in Germany and Northern Europe by a 1970 Mercedes-Benz Coupé or a 1950 Chrysler Town & Country Coupé.