Many car brands have died over the years. Today, none are as dead as Wartburg, the East German automaker that spent decades cranking out brutally simple cars while the capitalist West became ever more high-tech and luxurious.

Let’s face it: there is no way Wartburg is coming back today. No one’s asking for that, and even Europe’s remaining hardcore communists probably don’t miss it much.

Perhaps the closest Wartburg ever came to a real luxury car was this, the Wartburg 311. It came in several variants, and in the latest episode of Jason Drives, our man Jason Torchinsky samples a glorious convertible version powered by the people’s 37 horsepower, 900 cc two stroke engine.

And you know what? Jason finds out it’s surprisingly decent, all things considered. If nothing else, the Wartburg 311 was probably the nicest, most pleasant car you could use for a futile run from the Stasi.


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