The DKW Schnellaster ("Rapid Transporter"), also known as the DKW F89 L, was a van produced by DKW from 1949 to 1962 in a one box or monospace configuration featuring front wheels set forward in the passenger cabin, a short sloping aerodynamic hood, front wheel drive, transverse engine, flat load floor throughout with flexible seating and cargo accommodations.
These same features make theSchnellaster a precursor of the modern minivan, a body configuration subsequently popularized in notable examples such as the Renault Espace, or the Chrysler Voyager/Dodge Caravan.
The van included a trailing-arm rear suspension system incorporating springs in the cross bar assembly. The modern layout featured a prewar two-cylinder 700 cc two-stroke engine of the DKW F8 rated at 20 hp (22 hp after 1952). In 1955 the van received the DKW F9's three cylinder unit with 900 cc, producing 32 hp (24 kW).
The van's layout enabled a floor 40 cm (16 in) off the ground. It was also fitted with a large single rear door fitted to hinges on the right-hand side.
The van was also produced in Vitoria, Spain, by Industrias del Motor S.A. (IMOSA) from 1954. In Spain, DKW became a common term for any van, and is still used today. The Spanish subsidiary also produced a modern successor, introduced in 1963 and called DKW F1000 L. This van started with the three cylinder 980 cc two-stroke DKW engine, but later received a Mercedes-Benz Diesel engine and finally was renamed a Mercedes-Benz in 1975.
From 1960 to 1969 the DKW van was manufactured under licence by Industrias Automotriz de Santa Fe (IASFe) in Argentina as the Auto Union Combi, Pickup, Furgón (van) and Ambulance after producing the Schnellaster for 10 years. The factory had closed its doors, but Industrias Mecánicas del Estado (IAME) continued production of the DKW F1000 L as the Rastrojero Frontalito from 1969 until 1979 in single and double cab pickup and flatbed, minibus and van versions.