After World War II, Germany was split into two; East Germany and West Germany. The former was occupied by the Soviet Union and employed communist ideologies, while the latter employed anti-communist ideologies. A split Germany would exist from 1945-1989, a time in which Soviet-controlled East Germany faced many economic hardships. During that time, though, the Soviets took control of factories and manufacturing plants in East German territory, even if they were previously owned by West Germany companies. For instance, a BMW factory in the East German town of Eisenach was taken over by the Soviets and rebranded EMW (Eisenach Moterenwerk).
Along with the rebrand, the Roundel logo was modified as well, swapping the Bavarian blue out for red, and was slapped onto the hoods of recommissioned pre-war BMWs. Cars like the BMW 327 from the 1930s were being rebuilt and sold as EMWs in the 1950s, long after they would be considered competitive in the market. Naturally, BMW wasn’t very happy about this. Thankfully for BMW, it didn’t last too long, as the Eisenach plant began producing more modern Wartburg’s instead, in the mid ‘1950s.
Now that the two Germanys are back together again, the Soviet Union no longer exists, and the Berlin Wall fell, EMW is just another Cold War relic. However, it will always be a weird, confusing, and troublesome part of BMW’s history. Because of that, the very few EMW models that still exist are worth quite a bit of money and are highly sought after by many BMW collectors.
Admittedly, the idea of owning what was essentially stolen property, built by the Soviets, during a time of great economic trouble might seem a bit problematic for some. Still, the idea of owning an odd part of automotive history that almost no enthusiasts are aware of is quite interesting.