The Rape and Destruction of The German Transportation Industry
- from plenty to plunder!
An Historical Assessment.
By Gerry Frederics
The year 1948 was a turning point for Germany. She had been mercilessly destroyed to a degree practically unfathomable to the normal human mind. Millions upon millions of people had been killed in air raids, in combat, during the ethnic cleansing of her eastern provinces of Silesia, Prussia, Pommerania and in the bastard-state Czechoslovakia, that artificially created dagger in the heart of the most creative, civilized and industrious country of Europe, all with the express approval and encouragement of the victorious allies.
The destruction visited upon Germany during WW2 has no equal in the annals of recorded history, because it not only meant the utter destruction of her industry, but her agriculture, her civilian population centers, her currency, her military, her reputation, her incredible cultural centers, her very soul. Just to have thought (or indeed to think in the year 2004) as a German, was defamed, demonized and spat upon and people were forced to recant their very convictions. Millions of Germans were worked to death, or had their health irrevocably ruined as slave laborers in the former Soviet Union, in France and the UK. The crimes committed by the allies against the entire German nation are so horrendous as to defy description. Every human right so loudly proclaimed by the western democracies was trampled (and is being trampled still) underfoot.
- Human rights do not apply to Germany, neither now, nor in the past. When in the early 1920’s over 90% of the population of upper Silesia voted to again become part of Germany, the WW-1 victors declared the vote null and void, trampling all human rights and rights of self-determination underfoot, without even making an attempt at justification! Remember, if voting would cause change, it would be prohibited! Democracy as practiced these days is a sham to keep the stupefied people believing they are ‘free’.
It has demonstrably been the English speaking world which has clamored for the destruction of Germany for over 100 years (Saturday Evening Post in the year 1895: ‘’Germany must be destroyed’’, a drum beat repeated over and over again and still being repeated, albeit these days behind closed doors). England with Jewish connivance and never ending baiting had skillfully maneuvered first the Kaiser and subsequently Hitler into a war. The famous Jewish historical novelist Emil Ludwig (real name: Emil Ludwig Cohen) cynically stated in 1934: ‘’Hitler will have his war, whether he wants it or not’’. The English-speaking world subsequently pursued their criminal fratricidal genocide with an unequalled brutality that made Atilla look like an amateur.
- England's Lord Shawcross, her most famous legal mind, stated in 1984. ‘’I have come to the realization that Hitler did not want war. It was us who declared war .’’, etc. ad nauseum. His admission of historical truth was subsequently swept under the rug, never to be repeated in public print again.
This war against Germany is continuing to this very day, with atrocity propaganda films being churned out by Hollywood, with incessant WW2 atrocity propaganda being repeated ad nauseum, until it has become part and parcel of the educational system of the entire western world. That is atrocious, that is nauseating! Even perfectly decent, highly educated people are convinced of the alleged perfidy of the Germans, all the while listening to Beethoven’s Ninth, admiring the paintings of Lucas Cranach, driving their BMW, VW, Audi, or ‘Chevrolet’ – most models of which in reality are German Opels, eating their Kuchen and admiring King Ludwig's incredible castles in Bavaria's singularly beautiful countryside.
It never enters their minds that alleged German perfidy and her culture, her very nature, are mutually exclusive.
Deductive reasoning isn’t possible after people have been religiously inoculated against Germany. And it is this insidious inoculation which not only continues but is being actually increased in intensity worldwide with the active co-operation of the German government in Berlin, an utterly corrupted puppet regime if ever there was one.
In 1948 it had become quite clear that the Russian behemoth was about to pounce on the west. They shut down all traffic to Berlin, leading to the Berlin Airlift and the myth that Americans were ‘the good guys’. The truth is, the only reason the Americans conducted the air lift was to prove to the Russians they were not going to back down. They gained a tremendous propaganda victory and the heartfelt thanks of the entire German nation as a bonus.
This was no mean trick, considering the US Army under General Eisenhower had been repsonsible for the murder by neglect, torture and starvation of about a million German POW’s and untold thousands of civilians due to starvation-level (less than 1200 calories per day) food rationing between 1945 and 1947.
The USA finally understood that without a strong Germany, Europe was going to be lost and that was the reason they finally permitted Germany to re-construct herself, under tight controls and supervision of course.
They found a man, who despite having been a cowardly defeatist in WW1 turned out to be a fine German chancellor – Konrad Adenauer. He grew under pressure and became a real Chancellor, at least as much as he could considering the political handcuffs the Allies had shackled him with.
A nation without transportation of every kind is a modern day impossibility, so it was transportation which was one of the things foremost on the minds of those responsible for the rebuilding process. ‘’Built things with which to move people, goods and supplies, do it now!’’ – was the slogan of the day.
The automobile industry was slowly coming back to life, albeit on a drastically reduced level occasioned by the massive allied theft of entire factories, plans, materials, the kidnapping of engineering teams etc. ad nauseum. Germany had boasted of one of the world leading automobile and truck industries in the 1920’s and 1930’s, industries which were reduced to a mere handful of small companies valiantly trying to rebuilt in 1948.
Entire once famous factories with the most modern equipment had disappeared, either because of bombings or because they had been dismantled and stolen by the allies, usually both! It can be stated as a fact, that whatever was left was stolen, including the light switches, even the very bricks of which the buildings had been constructed and yes, you read correctly. For example, the entire production line of the Opel Kadett was shipped to Russia to eventually form the basis for their auto industry, or the production line of the DKW - RT-125 motorcycle was dismantled, shipped to England and ended up being the arguably best BSA motorcycle ever built. It certainly was the most reliable one. Stöwer, Horch, Wanderer, Audi, Framo, Mannesmann, Maybach, Phaenomen, all gone.
Some, such as Adler or Borgward came back to life (even if only for a few years), resurrected from utter destruction by sheer will power. Paradoxically it was Hitler’s very own creation the VW which ended up conquering the world a few years later.
To discuss the automobile or truck industries requires an entire series of large books all their own. It requires an encyclopedia to discuss the electronics, aircraft, optical, chemical, and related industries Germany had. In all of these, they were essentially leading the world in terms of innovation, quality, reliability, even styling!
The sheer beauty of a Mercedes 540-K, a Horch 120-PS, an Audi-50 Cabriolet, the gorgeous Wanderer Sports Roadster, the small Tornax 500 Roadster, an Adler 2.5 Diplomat and a host of others attest to this.
Not only cars or motorcycles, but for example the timeless elegance (not to forget the technical excellence and originality) of a 1959 Saba Radio Set with built-in record changer is something today's Japanese and Korean manufacturers of plastic stereo trash can’t even begin to imagine.
The Automotive Museum at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Las Vegas has an Adler ‘’Autobahn’’ on display (amongst dozens of others from all nations), a car whose gorgeous, streamlined styling was not only breathtaking but also decades ahead of its time and looking at Albrecht Goertz’s creation, the BMW 507 Roadster makes ones heart stand still!
I will discuss mostly the motorized two-wheel industries and even that only in a very abbreviated manner. The micro-car industry, virtually a German creation of the early 1950s, will be touched on only insofar as a motorcycle manufacturer was involved. It would require a very large book to do justice to the Micro-Car by itself.
There is one Mirco-Car I’ll have to devote some attention to – the Kleinschnittger, because it was as unique as the Messerschmitt hybrid scooter-car-airplane-cockpit on wheels.
Motorscooters will be discussed in the second chapter, except Heinkel, who also built a Bubble Car and Messerschmitt, who built a hybrid scooter-Micro car of extraordinary character. These men simply don’t fit into any category.
The motorcycle had always been very popular with Germans of all ages. During the 1930s Germany boasted the largest motorcycle manufacturers world-wide.
There were far in excess of one million motorcycles registered for daily use in the year 1936. This was followed by France with a 540.000 and the British isles with about 533.000. It must be remembered here, that the French had only an insignificant motorcycle industry and largely rode German makes. American cycles (Harley and Indian) were not exported to the European continent. Harleys were built in license in insignificant numbers in Japan. In addition, in the US cycles were almost exclusively used by police forces and only a few were found in the hands of the average motorist in the USA.
So it was no surprise when German motorcycle production took off like a space rocket in the years 1948 – 49. The total plunder of all German factories, including all engineering plans, experimental designs, even the kidnapping of entire engineering teams forced the Germans to start anew. Consequently a slew of new models appeared, models which incorporated fresh thinking and new designs.
Raw materials were always at a premium, since all industries vied for the same steel, oil, plastics, electric wiring, wood etc. As a consequence, German designers started using new materials and particularly learned how to use less steel and the like to built a superior product. The result was the creation of a thoroughly modern industry at the very edge of technological evolution.
The Germans were not permitted to participate in international racing until 1951. Predictably an additional set of handcuffs was applied – namely the prohibition of the supercharger. This had been decided upon by FIM the international body of motorcycle racing. This organization was wholly dominated by the British, despite its French origins. German machines had dominated the world’s racing circuits during the 1930s with engines equipped with superchargers, hence the prohibition.
1) the British and the Italians had a 6 year headway in engineering and technology, an intact infrastructure,
2) perfectly working factories with nary a nut or bolt out of place, and
3) unlimited supplies of raw materials.
[ The British at least. The Italians had had to suffer neither rape, nor plunder nor any restrictions, unless of course one would like to mention the ‘liberation’ of their cities by Moroccan troops in French uniforms, a liberation which expressed itself in the mass rape of Italian women who had heretofore been absolutely unmolested by the Germans. Aside from that, Feldmarschall Kesselring had declared all Italian cities ‘open’ and had removed all German troops prior to the arrival of the ‘liberators’. For this act of kindness he was accused of war crimes and put on trial.]
Despite these massive advantages, the winning season of the British was short-lived, namely the year 1951.
Thereafter a few victories on the continent, victories which were usually attained in races and in classes in which the Germans neither did, nor ever had participated. Starting in 1952, it was NSU, BMW and DKW who dominated international racing, just as they had before the war. German drivers and machines collected no less than 14 world championships between the years 1950 and 1960 – and this after the most unbelievable never-ending rape, plunder and destruction any nation had suffered in recorded history!
Racing aside, the motorcycle industry was churning out excellent, even some fabulous machines which became the envy of the world and subsequently formed the basis for virtually the entire Japanese motorcycle industry, an odious subject addressed throughout this article.
Within a short period of time there existed 39 different manufacturers who produced 163 different models! This is no misprint. Additionally there were manufacturers who produced so-called Mopeds, a moped being a motorcycle with very small 50-cc engines.
Even the moped came in a dizzying variety of models, types and shapes, some were regular motorcycles, some were scooter-like, some were a cross between a scooter and a motorcycle. Of this there were 42 different models produced by 26 different companies. Again, this is no misprint. Let us not forget the charming Italian idea, the motor scooter.
Of this there were 26 manufacturers which produced 41 varieties, including the ‘’Bubble Car’’, an idea originated by the Italian Iso Rivolta company and perfected by BMW and Heinkel. The Messerschmidt is usually lumped together with the ‘’Bubble-Cars’’, but has no relation to any of them and was an entirely separate development, nay a different form of transportation altogether.
All told the Germans produced a total of 246 different motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, all between the years 1950 and 1960! (Give or take a few, I can’t guarantee there weren’t some more) Additionally those 246 different two-wheeled machines displayed a bewildering kind of individuality. There was every type of internal combustion engine ever devised by man, including a Wankel (rotary) engine model, one cylinder, two cylinder, three cylinders, 4-stroke, two-stroke, in-line, V-shaped, boxer-types. Most of them sought their own individual solution to whatever mechanical or design problems arose.
The awesome creativity shown within the framework of this one industry alone is surely unique. It is here where the strength of the German spirit, indeed of the spirit of western man shows itself most clearly – creativity. Whereas the Asians slavishly and shamelessly copy everything imaginable without ever developing anything whatsoever under their own power, Western Man creates.
I have not even mentioned the great variety of bicycles with or without either chain-type or in-hub transmissions, all completely equipped (by law) with electric generator lighting front and back, luggage carrier, mud guards, chain guards and in the case of ladies bicycles, a net covering the rear wheel in order to avoid the skirt being caught in the spinning spokes. Interestingly, German designer Fritz Fend, the father of the Messerschmidt Kabinenroller, developed a bicycle with shaft-drive in the 1970s. It was never mass produced due to technological problems – problems the Adler company of Frankfurt had solved 40 years earlier, when they produced a bike with shaft-drive between 1934 and 1940.
I have not mentioned the motorcycles produced in the communist-controlled part of divided Germany either, even though IFA built an extraordinary two-stroke Boxer-engine model. This machine, designed by x-DKW engineers failed in the marketplace due to lack of a proper sales organization, shortage of materials and other priorities, such as to design and produce military vehicles which were then essentially ‘given’ to the Soviet Union in the mad, never-ending exercise of the extortion of German products and ideas.
To be sure, of this bewildering variety not all qualified to be called world-leading, but large numbers did in fact lead. Additionally it can be said that of all the various makes and models which existed, none could be called mediocre, much less bad. All exhibited the German characteristics of fine workmanship, quality materials and innovative thinking.
No one wanted to be left behind and the numerous motorcycle trade shows were brimming with engineers from the various companies examining very closely what the competition had to offer. Those which in my considered opinion led the world in innovation, technology and overall development were:
1) Adler (motorcycles and office machines),
2) BMW (motorcycles, cars and the famous ‘’Bubble Car’’, the Isetta),
3) DKW (motorcycles, cars, vans, scooters),
4) Horex (macho motorcycles),
5) Riedel-Imme (revolutionary motorcycles),
6) Maico (futuristic motorcycles, a scooter and a line of superior micro-cars),
7) NSU (innovative motorcycles, cars, outstanding micro-cars and the Wankel engine),
8) Victoria (motorcycles, scooters, bicycles and a lovely micro-car),
9) Zündapp (macho motorcycles, outboard engines and an unusual micro-car),
10) Messerschmidt (highly individualistic tandem-seater micro-car),
11) Heinkel (scooters, outstanding moped, a ‘’Bubble Car’’ and proprietary engines)
12) Triumph, aka TWN (Triumph Werke Nürnberg, builders of unique motorcycles)
13) Part 2 covering some scooters and one tiny, incredible Minimal-Micro-Car!
This factory had been in existence since the 1870’s, starting with a three-wheeled bicycle whose design parameters already showed extreme forward thinking. Compared to any other bicycle built by anyone else at the time, it was futuristic. Between 1900 and 1940 they had built some of the most advanced automobiles and trucks of the times, commanding a large share of the inter-German market. They never forgot their humble beginnings, building excellent shaft-drive bicycles and typewriters throughout their existence.
In the 1930s, Adler came out with some very futuristic and even elegant designs. For example, the Adler Autobahn, a futuristic car indeed and even today it seems other-worldly in its beauty and clarity of design. Arguably one of the most gorgeous cars of its times was the Adler 2.5 liter Diplomat with a body designed by Glaeser. This car sported a 6 cylinder 2.5 liter engine with three carburetors, a 4 speed transmission, and had a top and (!) cruising speed of over 150 km per hour. It must be remembered here, that in those days multi-carbureted engines were a rarity and 3 speed transmissions were the norm, not only in Germany but anyplace else in the world as well. The Diplomat was a highly sophisticated, extraordinarily elegant touring car for well to do people. It sported tremendous luggage capacity and streamlined styling which frankly was (and still is) absolutely breathtaking. The Adler Diplomat Streamliner Cabriolet with factory body work was no less exciting.
One of the most important cars Adler came out with at the time, was the Hans Gustav Roehr designed Trumpf Junior. This machine was as modern as could be, with front wheel drive, transmission shift lever on the steering wheel ( many years later adopted throughout the industry worldwide), rear-opening doors when ALL cars had front opening ones and a host of other features. This car was snapped up by the Wehrmacht in the war because it was as reliable as they came and performed admirably well even under extremely adverse front-line conditions. This car, like practically all other German cars, was used by the military with nary a modification being necessary.
During the war Adler was an important part of the defense industry. In the summer of 1944 when Frankfurt was destroyed by allied air attacks, Adler was wiped out, over 85% of its buildings going up in flames.
Three years after the war, they started from scratch, at first with a new car-proposal which was scrapped because management thought it too expensive to built. They concentrated on motorcycles instead, building three single cylinder models of 100-, 125- and 150-cc’s. A 200-cc and a 250-cc 2-stroke twin rounded up the model line up. All Adler engines were of the two-stroke type, something exceedingly popular in Germany.
Since the Adler engineers literally designed everything from scratch, their bikes ended up being far different from the norm, being extremely low-slung, their low center of gravity giving them extraordinary handling characteristics and a modern look which has stood the test of time well. The Adler machines were all very sporty, particularly the 250-cc model which was a hit on the road racing, rally and reliability trial circuits of the 1950s.
During the middle 1950s Adler started having serious financial difficulties due to the advent of the automobile on German roads. Large numbers of shares belonged to the Dresdner Bank, which talked motorcycle-hater Max Grundig of electronics fame into buying the company. Grundig continued manufacturing office machines marketing them world-wide for many more years. He, however, unceremoniously scrapped the motorcycle arm of the manufacturing concern and did absolutely nothing to stop the massive Japanese and English theft of Adler technology during the mid 1950s. These days there are many Adler Clubs and events surrounding the make. Inveterate fans are forever restoring the machines and there’s even an incredible home built 750-cc 6-cylinder and a 375-cc 3-cylinder Adler being proudly driven by their private builder-engineers.
· The English company Ariel stole the plans for the 250-cc twin as early as 1954. They built this model well into the 1960s, making it one of the most successful as well as technically advanced ‘English’ bikes of all times. The Ariel was used for every type of work, from transportation, to delivery services, to hauling things (in a side car & on a trailer). This marvelously elegant, sophisticated machine did everything well, unlike its oil-dripping, forever not starting British counterparts, largely miserable machines which require the owner to be partially masochistic.
· In addition, it was this Adler motorcycle, which formed the technical basis for practically all two-stroke multi-cylinder Japanese bikes, such as the Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki during the 1960’s, ‘70’s and even 1980’s. Without them and other German companies such as DKW or NSU (which was robbed blind by Honda), the Japanese would still be building second-rate bicycles.
The city of Frankfurt, never out of money when it comes to supporting utterly useless third-world (unkind people call them ‘turdworlders’, not that I would ever think of such an awful thing to say!) immigrants and paying obscene amounts of blackmail to alleged Holocaust survivors (how can you survive a non-event?), stood idly by while a great, truly creative industrial enterprise disappeared from the scene.
The fact that the German government (and the city of Frankfurt, as well as apparently Max Grundig, an industrial giant in those times) permitted this plunder of ideas, that they did nothing to stop the demise of this genuine industrial gem can only be explained by the probability they were told by the occupying powers not to interfere with ‘Free Market’ forces.
· Of course, national masochism, self-hate and utter moral corruption caused by Jewish re-education have laid the foundation for these disasters and are continuing to do so on an ever increasing scale! The death of the German spirit is evidenced (as if anymore evidence were necessary) by the behaviour of ‘’German’’ employees at Hercules when that venerable company was killed off in the early 1990’s and they visciously destroyed any and all stock remaining, rather then donating it to a museum, or simply giving the engines to long-term employees as a parting gift.
This company is one of the oldest in Germany. The letters stand for Bayrische Motoren Werke, not because the company is in Munich (capital of Bayern, or Bavaria), but because the founder of the company was named Bayer. The original BMW factory was in the Saxon city of Eisenach with the Munich plant merely supplying parts. During WWI they developed aircraft engines. During WWII they did massive development work on airplane jet engines. In the early 1920s they designed the first boxer-configured motorcycle with drive-shaft, an instant hit with those who could afford it. This design has been kept until this very day.
In the late 1920s they struck a deal with Austin of England and built the Austin-7 in license, calling it ‘’Dixie’’. It was this model which was the first BMW car. Soon thereafter they came out with their own design, a pretty little sports roadster, the BMW 315.
All subsequent cars were extremely sporty, yet elegant, particularly the cabriolet models whose beauty was truly breathtaking. In 1938 they came out with the ‘328’-Roadster, a two-seater which became the standard of the industry. It is the most successful road-racing sports car of all time, winning every race it ever entered, including the Mille Milia of Italy in 1940. It’s engine, transmission and drive-line formed the basis for a large array of cars after WWII, including the arguably best English car of the post-war period, the Bristol-504. The Bristol was designed by Herr Fiedler, chief engineer for pre-war BMW. As an aside, The English (in this case) did not steal the designs, nor did they kidnap Herr Fiedler. It was a (in this case) legitimate, maybe even fair transaction based on pre-war co-operation between BMW and the British company Frazer-Nash which had successfully built the Frazer-Nash-BMW automobile in Britain during the 1930s.
· This brings to mind a question – Since Hitler Germany allegedly prohibited co-operation with foreign firms, how did all this happen?
BMW’s motorcycle production was limited to three models, the single-cylinder 250-cc, the boxer-twin of 500-cc’s and the one of 750-cc’s.
The latter two were more often than not, driven with heavy side-cars (Steib) and were ideally suited to transport a small family plus luggage since they could even be ordered with side-car drive and reverse gear. The 250-cc single cylinder model was suited for side-car usage as well and was seen oftentimes thusly equipped. All models used shaft-drive rather then chain-drive and all engines were of the four stroke variety. Their frames were of press-steel design, a huge step forward in stability and weigh-saving.
These large BMW’s not only dominated pre-war racing in their class, but in the 1950s as well, particularly the very popular Formula One side-car races. There simply existed no match for these machines.
· The British tried their level best to steal the engineering plans of the pre-war racing bikes after the war. It is said Norton of England succeeded. This they hotly denied.
The reliability of these motorcycles is legendary. When Fieldmarshall Guderian decided to form a motorcycle-scout unit in 1936, inspired to do so by the Belgian Army which had had such units in the 1920s, he choose BMW and Zündapp (more on that make later) side-car machines, even though the big NSU’s, Victorias, or the monster 800-cc Horex would have served just as well. The only major modifications for military use were the addition of a reverse gear and side-car shaft drive. Those mods were designed and engineered by Zündapp. Steib, side-car manufacturers non-pareil co-designed a new side car for military usage, a design later copied by the Soviets for use in their armed forces.
In the year 1943 they received electrically heated handlebars, finally offering their riders some degree of protection from frost bite. These heated handlebars were designed and built by Triumph-Nürnberg. These bikes subsequently served literally as war-heroes, particular on the Russian front under the most incredibly difficult circumstances. The side car was used as a heavy, anti-aircraft machine gun mount. A trailer hitch was placed between the bike and its side car and the machines were often used as tractors to tow small artillery pieces, including four fully equipped soldiers, all on quasi impassable Russian mud-roads! This with machines of 750-ccs, strictly designed for the civilian market! If I hadn’t seen pictures of these things in old German newsreels, I wouldn’t believe it either!
BMW started to rebuilt as soon as feasible, after 1948 in Munich. They began building fabulous cars based on pre-war designs as well as two models of cycles, the 250-cc and the 500-cc varieties as early as 1949. Later they enlarged the engines to 600-ccs and later still 750-ccs. Today in the year 2004 they produce amongst many models, a one-liter water-cooled 4 cylinder machine and a gorgeous air cooled 900-cc boxer, continuing the tradition started in 1923. Today’s BMW motorcycles (vintage 2004) are indisputably the standard of the world.
During the early 1950s BMW executives saw an Italian Micro-Car designed by Iso Rivolta and obtained the rights to modify and built the ‘car’ at once. They re-designed the machine totally adding their own 250-cc engine (later enlarged to 300-cc) and a host of technical and stylistic innovations.
When it was finished, it was introduced to the world markets and became a tremendous hit. This was the famed BMW Isetta, which formed the basis for the latter BMW Isetta-600, equally revolutionary on all levels, albeit less successful. Both of these ‘Bubble Cars’ had a front-opening door, air-cooled BMW engines and earned fame due to the well known BMW characteristics of quality, originality, performance and reliability. These two Micro-cars saved BMW financially during the difficult times of the late 1950s. They were the most successful of all micro-cars ever produced.
These days one can buy a new (!), albeit lacking in quality, 1958 BMW manufactured in Russia. It's called the URAL and then there is a Chinese bike, the Chan Tian which is a carbon copy of the 1941 (!) BMW RS-600 – built today in 2004! The difference is that the Chinese openly admit their debt to BMW and have even produced a truly gorgeous two-seater side car for an up-graded, modernized version of the bike. The Chan Tian is a gas!
When mentioning ‘DKW’ these days, one is met with a blank stare. Well, once upon a time in the 1930s and again in the 1950s it was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, not to forget its extraordinary cars. It was the primary driving force behind the development of front-wheel drive (today over 90% of all cars have it), the development of plastics usage within the framework of automotive designs (imagine a car today without plastics!), the foremost developers of the two-stroke engine (and one of the very few to use this principal exclusively)
They also pioneered motorcycle electric starting ( a feature of great technical difficulties in the 1930’s) and its products were exported all over the world. The large ‘Ladepumpe’-(the Ladepumpe was the German version of the supercharger) DKW racing bike was always a contender and one of the few to successfully challenge large BMW’s on the world’s racing circuits.
Ewald Kluge, riding a DKW during the English Tourist Trophy race in 1938 (The Pride of Britain, never before having been won by a non-English machine or non-English driver) achieved the most spectacular victory ever recorded in motor racing history, a win by eleven minutes. In comparison - today's winners do so by a few seconds!
The DKW RT-125 is the most copied motorcycle in history. The design was stolen by BSA of England, Harley Davidson of the USA, a dozen or so companies in the former Soviet Block and by Yamaha, which didn’t even bother to hide its theft, but merely replaced the DKW logo with its own.
When the German military was revived by the USA in order to serve its masters in Washington D.C., DKW furnished all courier machines (175-ccs and 250-ccs single cylinder 2-strokes) and designed the Kübelwagen of the 1950s, the Munga, using its 3-cylinder front-wheel drive power plant as a basis. The beauty of the 1955 DKW RT-350 twin is practically unmatched to this day. And all of that is only the tip of the iceberg!
In the very early 1920’s a Danish designer and entrepreneur my the name of J.S. Rasmussen set up shop in Zschopau, Germany. He hired some engineers and went to work building a small steam engine and subsequently a tiny motor. This motor was initially designed as a teaching tool, a toy so to speak, had 18-cc, ¼ hp and featured a host of technical innovations.
It was marketed as ‘Das Kleine Wunder’ (the small miracle) and was so successful that Rasmussen decided to enlarge it and offer it as a bicycle motor. As such it was sold by the untold thousands and formed the financial as well as the technical basis for the factory which was rapidly expanding. By the end of the 1920’s, DKW was mass producing motorcycles and outpacing its competition in sales success. Rasmussen understood the importance of competition success and entered his machines in every reliability or rally event , usually with great success.
He started another company in the middle 1920s called Framo. Initially Framo’s purpose was to built parts, especially electric parts for the mother-company. Thusly, by the end of the 1920s, DKW was largely independent of outside contractors for its parts supply.
· Years later GM, Ford and Chrysler of the US followed their example. (GM=Delco, Ford=Philco and Chrysler=Mopar).
Framo also built one of the first Micro-Cars in the world, the Framo 300, a three-wheeler, using a 300-cc DKW 2-stroke motorcycle engine. This little car was highly successful and was sold mostly as a vehicle for tradesmen and deliveries, representing stiff competition for Goliath and Tempo, the latter company which as ‘Tempo-Bajaj’ put India on wheels in the late 1960s. It was during this time frame that the Auto Union was formed – Horch (luxury cars), Audi (high class cars), Wanderer (middle class cars, bicycles and insignificant small motorcycles) and DKW (smaller cars and motorcycles), hence the four rings one sees on the Audi of today.
In 1932, they showed their first car, the DKW Fwd, a car considered by experts to be one of the more significant developments in motor car history. With the advent of the Hitler era, German motor sport and development took a tremendous leap forward, Hitler being an enthusiastic supporter of all motorized things.
The Hitler era saw DKW blossom into the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, one of the major automobile manufacturers in Europe, a real force in international motor sports events and on the export market - in short, a company at the forefront of the industry.
· As an aside, during the 1936 season, the rally team of DKW featured a lady-rider – Ilse Thouret – and no one gave her special consideration. She, unlike the frothing-at the-mouth hysterical utterly unfeminine ‘feminist’ of today didn’t need it and would have refused it had it been offered. Not only was Mrs. Thouret a motorcycle racer of the first rank, she was also the coach of the national women’s fencing team, an Olympic class runner and swimmer as well as a multi-lingual, sophisticated lady from the upper classes of society in Hamburg, equally at home in the ball room or on the race track. After the war she and her two daughters formed a motor-scooter racing team which registered considerable success during the early 1950s. She won over 100 First Class prizes in her career, in all the various different disciplines in which she excelled. Compare her with today's militant, uncivilized, howling lesbo-feminists, not to forget those ‘women of color’! How pitiful that bunch is. How pitiful!
During the war DKW produced mostly the NZ-350 single cylinder 2-stroke used as messenger bikes by the Wehrmacht and other, diverse means of transport for the military. After Germany’s military collapse in May 1945, almost the entire factory in Zschopau was disassembled and shipped to the Soviet Union, only to be left to rot somewhere. Before this plunder, the English stole the production line of the RT 125 and gave it to BSA (British Small Arms). They built the bike for about 20 years, later enlarging the engine to 200-cc capacity! The Soviets copied the NZ-350 and the RT 125 for a few years.
Meanwhile in the city of Düsseldorf Auto Union men who had survived the war as well as allied ‘’thumb screw justice’’ went to work re-starting the company. The once magnificent Auto Union had been totally smashed and confiscated, but some pre-war plans of DKW cycles and cars had survived. Within a short time, DKW was again producing extraordinary front-wheel drive automobiles with three-cylinder two stroke engines (originally designed in 1941) as well as motorbikes. The rate of development was breathtaking and by the year 1954, DKW was well on its way to recapture pre-war glory.
· While the Germans were busily rebuilding, redesigning and struggling to again attain a place in the sun, foreigners of all nationalities were engaged in a feeding frenzy of stolen German technology.
- The Swedish company Saab (Scania), produced its first car whose engine was a carbon copy of the DKW three-cylinder design of 1941. They built this car well into the 1960s.
They managed to avoid the appearance of impropriety by having hired a pre-war DKW engineer who ‘designed’ the engine for them. One can state without fear of contradiction, that it was the DKW engine which formed the basis for Saab’s subsequent success.
The Swedish thieves weren’t alone - BSA of England has been mentioned already as having been one of the plunderers. Harley Davidson in the USA didn’t want to be left out of the feeding frenzy and built the RT-125 as well, albeit unsuccessfully. The Czechs carbon-copied the RT-250 and called it the Jawa, even though the Jawas quality was lacking (some people can’t even copy something correctly), the Poles built a version of the RT-125, predictably of very poor quality and lacking all reliability. Not only that, they built this copy in the former Stoewer Automobile and Truck Works, a once modern and highly productive company which they had ‘inherited’ including the most up-to-date industrial equipment and plans. Stoewer was one of Europe's premier automobile and truck manufacturers before the war and has since, under Polish ‘’ownership’’ predictably disappeared.
The Japanese had a field day copying everything shamelessly down to the last nut and bolt, one of the first Yamahas being a single cylinder DKW RT-125. They didn’t even bother to hide their industrial theft, copying the machine down to the minutest detail. British Ariel did exactly that with the Adler Twin in 1954, calling the result of their theft ‘Leader’. The Russians didn’t want to be left out in the cold and built the pre-war NZ-350 as well as the RT-125 in various versions. And there’s probably a lot more! Surely this shameless, unchallenged theft of just one company’s technology is unique in the annals of industrial history.
The DKW NZ-350 ended up the most successful 'Russian' motorcycle of all time. They built the machine well into the 1990s, albeit with modern modifications, but never altering the basic design. This information comes from a Russian motorcycle fan by the name of Juri Szadsky from the city of Krasnodor. Juri seems to know of what he speaks. He was a bit upset, that the largest German DKW web site never mentioned any of this.
It is common among the present day masochistic Germans not to mention other nations' debt to German technology - mustn't upset anyone now, must we? They might accuse us of being Nazis! The Germans are the only people in history, who consciously bury their own past, who consciously accuse themselves of things they demonstrably haven't done and who consciously prostrate themselves before those who have murdered and robbed them on a hitherto unknown scale. It is really quite sickening, this disgusting spectacle of revolting German servility. The Russians openly acknowledge their debt to DKW, whereas neither the Japanese nor the British do. They don't even answer any inquiries.
While this massive theft of ideas and patents was taking place, the German government sat idly by, looking the other way. One doesn’t have to wonder who put the handcuffs on them and blackmailed them into not interfering with the ‘Free Market’.
The international community interpreted the word ‘’free’ rather loosely, namely anything German was ‘’free’’. The Soviets went so far as to disassemble entire factories, including light switches, water pipes, anything useful, using German slave laborers at starvation rations.
And of course the Americans kidnapped the entire team of rocket scientists who ended up designing ‘’America’s’’ moon rocket.
In the early 1950s it looked as if DKW would dominate the 350-cc class in international racing with the quickest bike of its class, their three-cylinder machine, nick-named ‘The Singing Saw’, due to its high pitched scream at full throttle.
They were already either winning every race or coming in second in the 250-cc and 125-cc classes and that to another German make, NSU! The 350-cc three-cylinder bike, as advanced as it was, lacked reliability and therefore fell short of its promise. Today, it would be unbeatable. In those days, the quality of the oil was such, that at high temperatures and extremely high revolutions, it would tend to loose its lubricating qualities, certain disaster for any engine. While this machine ran, it outdistanced everyone on the track, no matter which size, alas – that pesky oil problem. In all other endeavors however, they built products superior in quality, reliability and styling including an excellent 8-seater bus, hot competition for the internationally successful VW Kleinbus.
The DKW Hobby – an elegant small scooter featuring a fully automatic transmission (a first), the 4-wheel drive 1950s Kübelwagen, called Munga and arguably the most gorgeous sports roadster of its time, the Auto Union 1000 Sp (Sp meaning ‘Special’, not Sports) were also built. This lovely car was elegance personified and easily on par with the Mercedes Benz 190-SL Roadster, albeit a bit slower.
The government contract for the military ‘Munga’ was unexpectedly cancelled, putting undue strain on the company. Why this contract was cancelled is a mystery, since the Munga had proved its mettle under trying, military circumstances. This plus market forces, caused them financial difficulties and rather then the government stepping in to save the company (as it would have been done in Japan) Mercedes Benz bought the company toward the end of the 1950s.
Mercedes apparently had no interest in the company, which begs the question, if they had no interest why did they buy it? They scrapped the entire enterprise without a thought and one must wonder why? Who was behind this? Not even a feeble attempt was made to keep this once magnificent, time honored, creative and prestigious industrial enterprise alive.
- Mercedes has been involved in a number of ‘disappearances’ of diverse German companies, including but not limited to the Borgward Group – makers of numerous types of automobiles and trucks, including many outstanding models, AEG - once the powerhouse of the European electronics industry, time honored motorcycle manufacturer Horex, Hanomag makers of locomotives, tracked vehicles, earth moving machinery par excellence, heavy duty trucks and rock solid middle class automobiles as well as diverse other companies such as Dornier aircraft, the company which designed and built the world's largest airliner, the DO-X so many years ago. What Mercedes touches turns to gold only as long as it is ‘Mercedes’, otherwise it is mysteriously bankrupted.
Today Mercedes invests untold millions in ‘The Sick Man of American Automobile producers’ – Chrysler and its Japanese counterpart Mitsubishi. The financial drain and blood-letting of the German economy that this represents staggers the imagination.
· Who is blackmailing Mercedes into doing this? How is it possible that a premier German company is apparently being used to destroy the German economy? How does one explain it? Coincidence? That’s clearly impossible!
Happily, there are DKW fan clubs worldwide these days, even a very active one in South Africa and one in Russia. They literally venerate the make!
This was an honored motorcycle manufacturer going back to the year 1923. It was then, that a Herr Kleemann founded the firm in the picturesque city of Bad Homburg. The name Horex is derived from Ho (Homburg) and Rex (meaning King in Latin).
This town is nestled in the Taunus mountains outside Frankfurt and represents one of the most elegant gambling meccas in Europe. When not in Baden-Baden, Dostojewski came here to gamble away his fortune. His heart-wrenching semi-autobiographical novel The Gambler has its setting here. Anyone who visits Europe without seeing Bad Homburg is missing something!
Herr Kleemann joined forces with venerable engine manufacturer Columbus and started building motorbikes which distinguished themselves by their rock-solid quality and reliability. The model line-up ranged from a simple 250-cc single cylinder four-stroke model to a monster 800-cc twin side-car machine which participated in truly hair raising side-car races in Germany. The firm was almost totally wiped out in the war, but it took them a mere 2 years to introduce a new bike to the market, the 1950 Horex Regina.
What set this machine apart from the rest was its traditional English influenced design. There was nothing revolutionary about it, rather it was evolutionary coupled with high quality and the look and feel of a traditional motorcycle.
The new things Horex incorporated were all improvements, such as tremendously efficient air-cooled brakes and a fully enclosed chain which reduced noise and wear-and-tear to a minimum, not to forget a highly modern front suspension system which gave the Regina an air and feel of luxury. This understandably appealed to folks who wanted something familiar, something they could identify with. Horex built this machine in 250-cc, 350-cc and 400-cc configuration, one model being more successful than the next.
The 350-cc and the 400-cc Regina ended up being the best selling machines in their class worldwide – and this at a time when English BSA’s, AJS’s, Ariels and the like controlled the world markets and German industry lacked any export strategy and was just recovering from the most devastating war in recorded history!
The Horex Regina 400 has been claimed to have been one of the best side-car machine ever. This was an important consideration in those days, since motorcycles were used as amongst other things, family transportation – dad in the driver’s seat, young son behind him, mommy and little daughter in the side car.
Horex came out with a thoroughly modern model, the Imperator but experienced technical difficulties with it. This was a macho two-cylinder 500-cc machine, alas it suffered from teething problems which cost Horex tremendous amounts of money.
This bike never gained the love and affection the Regina universally enjoyed, even after the initial teething problems had been resolved. This machine was sold to American police departments as a ‘’Zündapp’’, when Zündapp ran into delivery difficulties.
· It remains a mystery to this day, how Zündapp (and Horex) let the lucrative contract with American police departments slip out of their hands, into those of the Japanese --- Was this another ‘Free Market coincidence’?
· In 1959 Horex, like so many German motorcycle manufacturers, ran into severe financial troubles and was bought by Mercedes, which unceremoniously threw this time-honored old German industrial company onto the scrap heap of history.
· Obviously Mercedes had no interest in the company and had bought it only to fulfill its apparent role to destroy German industrial capacity, a terrible, traitorous price to pay in order to be allowed to stay in business internationally.
A Horex cult has in the meantime sprung up, with Horex clubs, Horex Rallies, even Horex Choppers and all sorts of unbelievable variations, such as a Horex with 4 Regina engines coupled in line (!), creating a massive-macho Horex-monster of 1600 air cooled ccs.
- A Japanese (of all people!) company is building a macho bike these days, which they call ‘’Horex’’. They could have called it AJS, or Matchless, or Indian , but no – they call it ‘’Horex’’ and are waxing enthusiastically about how the name Horex represents German technology and love of motorcycles! It shows the love people have for this make, so shamelessly abandoned when a little help and re-organization was all that was needed to save it from oblivion.
And His Incredible ‘’Imme’’
Herr Norbert Riedel was a forward looking engineer, of great individuality raring to go after the restrictions the allied had imposed on Germany had been eased somewhat. Riedel had garnered a lot of experience as an engineer for the firm ‘’Ardie’’ before the war.
While at Ardie, he had designed a highly unusual machine, a 2-stroke V-twin of 500-cc with automatic transmission and shaft drive. This in 1937 when literally no one had ever heard of an automatic transmission, much less a 2-stroke V-twin of 500-cc. In short, this guy was sort of a motorcycle visionary.
He had already in 1947, a time of mass starvation and lack of even the basic necessities of life in Germany, managed to gather around him a small group of dedicated mechanics and engineers who worked for a bowl of hot soup a day, no exaggeration!
They put together Riedel’s version of a modern motorcycle. How he managed to obtain the raw materials to built a working prototype remains a mystery. Suffice it to say, his ideas were decades ahead of their time. This machine lacked a proper frame, it being made up of the gas tank, the engine-transmission unit itself and the rear-wheel chain drive held together by a sort of backbone. The front fork consisted of only one side, as did the rear fork, which was made up of the case within which the chain was running. The rear suspension consisted of a single, centrally mounted spring. The engine-transmission was one, clean unit, looking like a smooth egg. When the rear-wheel went up, the engine went down – the whole unit forming a swing, which meant that the chain was never under any undue strain and unsprung weight was quasi non-existent, resulting in outstanding handling characteristics.
· The ‘frame’-characteristics of this machine were to form the technical basis for the entire (no exceptions) Japanese motorcycle industry 50 years later.
- In short, the Japanese stole a massive amount of German engine technology, stole Riedel’s frame-less building technic and – VOILA we have Japanese motorcycle technology!
The Imme’s engine was a tiny, high efficiency 100-cc two-stroke design. Unfortunately it lacked proper lubrication if not driven hard. Nevertheless, over 10,000 of the little futuristic machines were sold to mostly very happy owners. The engine wanted to be revved at maximum power – only then did it ‘’feel happy’’. Riedel also designed and produced a beautiful two-cylinder engine of only 150-cc which, like the prototype scooter never saw mass production, since his bank denied him the necessary financing at the very time it was needed most.
Riedel’s company was founded on the ashes of Germany under the most trying circumstances. Sheer will power and the creativity of a true mechanical genius created an up-to-date, totally independent industrial enterprise! This absolutely marvelous company disappeared when a little financial help was all that was needed to save it. I wonder which government agency called his bank and told them to cease and desist. He later on designed some fabulous bikes for Victoria – more on that make later. Riedel died in a skiing accident some years after his company had ceased to exist.
This was the best known German make in the USA, building MotoCross machines which played a major role in American MotoCross racing well into the 1980s, even though the passenger bikes disappeared in the beginning 1960s. I believe it is still possible to purchase Maico MotoCross machines, even though I am not certain. The glory days of the company are certainly long gone. During the very early 1930s the company was formed in Swabia by a Herr Maisch, hence the name Mai – Co.
The company did not gain any prominence until after the war, when they re-started production, building a motorscooter of unusual individuality. This scooter featured a fully enclosed body, even a luggage compartment.
It’s design served as the inspiration of the large Japanese scooters which made their appearance 45 years later. It was highly efficient in terms of protecting the rider from inclement weather, reliability and roadholding. Swabian quality was legendary. This scooter was essentially a two-wheeled car.
Aside from the scooter they built thoroughly modern 175-cc and 250-cc two-stroke machines which gained world-wide acceptance due to their attractiveness, reliability and quality. It wasn’t until the middle 1950s however that they really hit their stride, designing and producing the possibly most gorgeous and futuristic bike of all time, the Maico Taifun and the Maico 500 micro-car. The Taifun employed an aircooled 400-cc two-stroke twin. This engine was characterized by a high power output coupled with rock-solid reliability. All of this was nestled in a completely enclosed elegant body. The chain was running in a hermetically sealed box and an oil-bath making it impervious to wear and tear and reducing the noise of the bike to a pleasant, civilized level. The only criticism ever levelled at this machine was that the seating position was apparently uncomfortable for some riders.
This machine represented the ultimate in modern technology, coupled with an uncommon elegance usually reserved for expensive automobiles of the upper stratosphere. That a small company like Maico was able to develop such a gem and produce it successfully is amazing. What is even more amazing is that at the same time they developed up-to-date 175- and 250-cc machines which were sold successfully as far away as South America.
Simultaneously they, developed, built and marketed a micro-car which, if built today 50 years later, would still be competitive on the international markets. This little car was attractively styled, featured comfortable seats and lugagge space for 4 adults and was built to a very high standard of quality and performance. It sported a two-cylinder 450-cc water-cooled two-stroke engine designed by the former aircraft manufacturer Heinkel and performed quasi on the level of the VW ''Bug''. Maico rightfully had big plans for this little car and even had a beautiful two-seater roadster designed in Switzerland, the Maico 500 Sport. In my view this little car belongs to the aesthetically most pleasing designs of the past 50 years and somebody ought to built it today!
The problem with these little transportation gems was the cost of production. Just as a heavy side-car motorcycle is as costly (or even more so) to produce than a smaller middle size car, so it was with these micro-cars. They cost as much to built as a full-fledged VW. Coupled with that disavantage was the financial power VW had attained by 1954. VW simply out-advertised and out-marketed the Micro Car competition. With todays computer and robot technology, a car such as the Maico 500 could be built at the cost level of a Suzuki Maruti or such and therefore would be very competitive on the market place.
Maico began building 400-cc single cylinder Moto Cross racing bikes with which they achieved considerable success in that sporting activity in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, but disappeared as a force on the market, their revolutionary and beautiful motorcycles having ceased to exist by 1960 after the company filed for bankruptcy. This is the more strange when considering that Maico had an iron clad contract with the Bundeswehr to produce 250-cc courier machines.
The bankruptcy is somewhat of a mystery and it has been suggested that the owners of the company were guilty of fraud, something I personally doubt since it is totally out of character. Someone who builds an advanced, successful technological enterprise out of the ashes of a devastating war, doesn’t end up embezzling funds. The two activities appear to me to be mutually exclusive.
This is one of the oldest German industrial enterprises, going back some 100 years. Initially NSU built bicycles and industrial machinery. During WW-1 they developed a 750-cc machine with an air-cooled V-twin engine and rear-wheel suspension!
This feature I’ve never seen on any other cycle of those times and NSU might very well be the first one to have designed such a thing. The machine was used by the military as a messenger-machine and even occasionally as a fighting vehicle with a side car.
NSU was also active and successful building automobiles until 1933. After WW-1 NSU built traditional motorcycles according to the 4-stroke principal never deviating from this.
They excelled at medium heavy machines with their Consul, a single cylinder 500-cc machine which had as much torque as a tractor (so they say) and was as reliable as the proverbial German Hausfrau. Aside from that, they built an entire array of machines from 125-cc upward.
In the early 1930s, they concluded an agreement under which they produced Italian Fiat automobiles with the trade name ‘NSU-Fiat’. This agreement also gave them the right to design some of their own cars, using the Fiat chassis as the basis. The result was a lovely two-seat roadster called ‘’Weinsberg’’. This tradition they continued after WW2 for some time. During WW2 NSU built diverse items for the German defense industry, including the incredible ‘’Kettenkrad’’, a motorcycle front steering a lighly armored track-equipped open body. This was a hybrid between a motorcycle and a miniture tank. It was used particularly on the Russian front as a small personell carrier, a tractor to pull artillery pieces or as a rapid evacuation vehicle for casualties. This machine, of which thousands were built, used the 4-cylinder 37 hp 1.5 liter displacement Opel Olympia engine and was also built in license by Stoewer starting in 1944. It proved its mettle under the most trying conditions. The factory, like all German factories, was almost totally destroyed during the war, which did not deter them from rebuilding as soon as they were permitted to do so.
In the very early 1950s they designed an entirely new line of motorcycles, ranging from 125-cc to 250-cc. With these machines in racing trim they managed to dominate international Formula One racing in these classes. The civilian 250-cc machine was called the Max and its engine-transmission unit represented the ultimate in technical (4-stroke) progress at the time.
· The Honda ‘’Dream’’ (the first Honda) was a carbon copy of the Max. The Japanese tried to hide the theft with clumsy attempts at ‘’body-styling’’.
In addition, NSU built a large variety of different motorcycles, a cute little moped and a scooter, all top notch in terms of design and quality. The scooter was actually the Italian Lambretta, built in license but using a NSU two-stroke single cylinder engine of various displacements. This is the only instance in which NSU deviated from the 4-stroke principal.
NSU owned the patents to the Wankel (Rotary) engine and conducted intensive development work on it. They also sold the rights to the engine to such diverse companies as Mercedes, Mazda of Japan and Fichtel & Sachs, the venerable old German engine manufacturer. As the 1950s drew to a close, NSU sadly abandoned the motorcycle business and concentrated on the Wankel engine and on small cars.
They developed a line of cars called ‘’Prinz’’ with a rear-mounted air cooled engine of 500 -cc. This engine was made up of two Max engines coupled together. This was a micro-car designed in such a way as to be easily enlarged, which is what NSU did as time progressed. The final Prinz had an engine of 1-liter, still based on the Max design.
With these cars NSU garnered many rally and sporting successes, particularly in Italy where the cars enjoyed astounding popularity. The Italians being sports car drivers par excellence knew a good thing when they saw (drove) it. This car excelled on all levels and out-performed such outstanding Italian machines as the Abarth 750 or the lovely Innocenti.
During the very late 1950s one of the prettiest small sports cars ever made its appearance, the NSU Sport Prinz. The body was designed by Bertone of Italy and was being built with a rotary engine as well as with the twin cylinder Max engine of 500-cc. Today, there are enthusiasts clubs all over the world enjoying their Sport Prinz automobiles as coupes or convertibles.
In the middle 1960s NSU came out with a revolutionary mid-size car, the RO 80. This may sound like a cliché, but it isn’t – the RO 80 was decades ahead of its time in all areas using front-wheel drive, a rotary engine and a semi-automatic transmission by Fichtel & Sachs. It had a great looking, stylish wind-cheating shape which was to influence body designers for several decades to come.
Alas, this car suffered from rotary engine problems, which not only doomed it, but the company as well, since the warranty expenses were astronomical. NSU was finally swallowed by VW and made to disappear unceremoniously down the historical memory hole. No effort was made by VW to keep this time-honored, innovative company alive.
· As an aside, VW’s role in the apparently planned destruction of German heavy industry is almost as murky as that of Mercedes, even if less obvious.
· They have poured untold millions into England by buying ancient, out-dated, nearly bankrupt Rolls-Royce, giving this company a new lease on life by introducing German quality controls and installing a 12 cylinder BMW engine. They have bought bankrupt, ancient-age Skoda in the Czech republic, designing for them an entirely new hyper-modern line of automobiles as well as building a new factory and training their workers!
· This despite the ugly fact that the Czechs delight in pissing on Germany and are hate filled enemies of the German nation of the absolute worst sort. Next to the Poles, there’s never been a ‘nation’ (euphemistically called such), which has made it a national obsession to hate Germany as much as the Czech Republic. Their unbounded hatred is possibly only equalled by the Jews.
· VW produces cars in Brazil, while there are millions of German unemployed and there are dozens of old German companies which deserve to be revived. And that’s only what I know. Who knows what else there might be. There’s something very wrong with this picture.
This like the others, is a venerable old German industrial enterprise which was started in the year 1886 as a bicycle manufacturer, something Victoria did successfully throughout its long history. Around the turn of the 20th. century they began to produce motorcycles.
At first they used a variety of engines, including those of FN (Belgium) and Columbus (later to join with Horex) as well as a host of others. During the very early part of the 20th. century they even produced automobiles, even though without success. During WW-1 they produced mostly small bikes and bicycles, to develop into a real force in the 1920s. In 1925 a Victoria twin cylinder 500-cc machine achieved the world speed record in its class at 165 km per hour. Victorias were well presented in MotoCross, Rally and Reliability Trials earning a reputation for ruggedness and reliability.
In the early 1930s they presented a unique heavy bike which was one the most advanced motorbikes anywhere at the time, featuring a totally enclosed body which afforded unheard of protection to the rider in inclement weather and protected the mechanicals of the bike from damage from road debris, a common problem in those days. It may seem almost absurd, but it appears to me this bike was the forerunner for the 1950 Achilles motorscooter. It was powered by a 500-cc 4-stroke twin. The chain was totally enclosed – in short, the machine was uncommonly advanced.
This motorcycle was entered in a competition for a military contract. The main reason it lost to the competition (BMW and Zündapp were co-winners) was its small gas tank which caused it to have a very limited range.
· It appears, this bike took its inspiration from another old German motorcycle manufacturer – Mars (founded in 1873), which had introduced a futuristic motorbike ‘’The White Mars’’, a monster with a 1000-cc Maybach engine using boxer configuration and a highly advanced frame design built of pressed steel, all of that in 1921! Mars built bikes and scooters in the 1950’s of uncommon grace using Fichtel & Sachs engines. The highly comfortable Mars Stella ‘150’ was deservedly one of the most successful bikes sold in Germany at that time and the Stella ‘175’ was undoubtedly one of the aesthetically most pleasing bikes of the times anyplace as well as being an extraordinarily comfortable touring machine. Today in 2004, Honda builds a machine which appears to be a carbon copy of the Mars Stella 175!
In April 1945 the Victoria works were almost totally destroyed. In 1947 work was started by rebuilding the bombed out factory and soon the production lines were again humming. The initial production consisted of up-graded pre-war models.
In 1953 they introduced the ‘’Bergmeister’’ (Hill Climb Champion), a bike with a 350-cc V-twin and shaft drive. This machine was exceptionally massive and macho, despite its comparatively small engine (by macho-bike standards) and registered huge successes in hill-climb trials (hence its name) as well as a side-car machine.
The Bergmeister in many ways represents the pinnacle of after-war Victoria success, even though they had a lot more up their sleeve. They produced the futuristic Riedel designed 200-cc Swing as well as the lovely scooter ‘’Peggy’’, with electric start and an electric push button transmission, both firsts in those days.
Their bread & butter model, the KR 250, a single cylinder 2-stroke bike of traditional design was very successful on the marketplace due to its ruggedness and zero-defects construction, guaranteeing its rock-solid reliability even during the most inclement weather.
Back then, those were very important considerations, since these bikes were used for daily transportation throughout the year. Furthermore, Germany in those years was truly cold in winter with icy streets and heavy snow fall the norm across the entire country.
Looking at these technical and stylistic marvels today, one wonders how it is possible, that such genius very literally disappeared. These machines could easily be built today and they would outshine everything from the far east, 50 years after their inception! All of these products sold well, even though some of them were more costly than many of their competitors. In 1955 they came out with a lovely line of Mopeds, the ‘’Vicky’’, whose elegance (beautiful styling) and advanced engineering - enclosed chain drive, weather protection extraordinaire, superb suspension systems front and rear, Mercedes-quality throughout etc.- astound to this day.
Being equally at home using 2-or 4-stroke technology, they even designed an advanced 50-cc 4-stroke engine for the Vicky moped, an engine which however was mysteriously never used. An engineer found one intact in an old Victoria warehouse in Nürnberg recently, disassembled and cleaned it and VOILA, it ran like new.
· A motorized bike was produced by Victoria consisting of a bicycle (Victoria had been building first rate bicycles for decades) with a 38-cc 2-stroke engine affixed at the right side of the rear wheel. This little machine was actually elegant (no exaggeration!), lovely to look at, reliable and cheap to operate. Its gas tank was situated underneath the luggage carrier, all of it perfectly, beautifully coordinated. Motorcycle racer Georg Dotterweich achieved a world speed record of almost 50 miles per hour on a streamlined version of this little beauty.
Victoria saw the motorcycle market shrink and acquired the rights to designer Egon Brütsch’s ‘’Spatz’’ micro car, an uncommonly attractive tiny 3-seat roadster. This design, initially flawed, had been successfully re-designed by former Tatra chief engineer Ledwinka.
Financial problems which apparently had no solution (a sad, seemingly never-ending story in the German two-wheel industry after WW2) stopped production of this promising lovely little roadster before it really got started. Victoria even developed a proto-type with a removable hard top and gull-wing doors!
· Victoria ceased to exist in 1958, the city of Nürnberg not lifting a finger to help and the german government looking the other way, as another one of Germany’s premier manufacturers, an important employer of a highly trained, motivated and well paid work force disappeared down history’s memory hole. Thankfully, today there are several Victoria clubs in existence which keep the memory of this great German company alive.
This firm was established in 1917 as a producer of electric ignition systems. (Zündung = Ignition, Apparat = machine) hence the strange name.
A visit to a British motor show by Zündapps chief Fritz Neumeyer in the very early 1920s, awoke in him a love for motorcycles and convinced him to try his luck building one. He bought a small 200-cc British bike, which inspired Zündapp designs for the next 6 years. By the middle 1920s, Zündapp had produced some 25.000 motorbikes. At this time Zündapp, thanks to its insistence on quality and reliability, had developed into one of the powerhouses in German motorcycle production, the other really big ones being DKW and Triumph-Nürnberg.
Toward the end of the 1920s, Zündapp commissioned designer Ferdinand Porsche to develop a car cheap to built and easy to maintain and drive. The result was the original VW (even if not named thusly at the time).
This project however collided with Zündapp desire to built ultra-modern factory facilities and was therefore cancelled.
The new factory was the finest motorcycle production facility in Germany (possibly in the world at that time), capable of producing upward of 60.000 units per year. In typically socially conscious German manner it included, amongst other things, sports facilities for its employees!
In 1932 they started building a new, large 4-stroke engine, the famed 600-cc Boxer, an advanced design by Kuechen, which included shaft drive and a pressed-steel frame. It was this design which formed the basis of Zündapp fame henceforth. There were only a few manufacturers in Germany which built large, heavy bikes, NSU, BMW and Horex with their macho 800-cc side-car machine come to mind. Throughout the 1930’s heavy Zündapp machines competed successfully in local races, Rallies and Reliability Trials, either winning outright or being amongst the top three.
When the Wehrmacht decided to follow Fieldmarshall Guderians advice and to establish a motorcycle corps, it was Zündapp along with BMW who delivered the machines for the task. This was a wise choice, since they proved themselves to be veritable war heroes on all fronts, from the searing Sahara to the arctic Russian winters, loaded down with an incredible amount of equipment, men, ammunition and oftentimes serving as tractors to pull artillery pieces as well. It is claimed the heavy Zündapp machines were superior to those by BMW (hard to believe). Knowing BMW's, I'd say, it as a toss-up. It was indeed Zündapp who modified the military versions.
One of the benefits Zündapp enjoyed was the Reichs government policy of ‘’Money Is No Object’’ which resulted in truly superior designs and quality control non pareil. Zündapp, like Victoria survived the war years relatively unscathed until that fateful April 1945 in Nürnberg.
The city which personified western civilizations middle ages, was bombed into the stone age by allied ‘’heroic’’ airmen who not only enjoyed absolute air superiority but also an undefended city in a country bleeding to death out of a million wounds.
· In 1936 Zündapp designed a huge 1-liter 4-cylinder boxer with supercharger which however never saw production. After the war, the British forever on the lookout for something German to steal, showed uncommon interest in this design, arresting Zündapp's chief engineer and grilling him on the project.
Throughout the 1930s they also maintained their presence in the smaller classes, building 125-cc and 200-cc 2-stroke machines successfully. During the war years Zündapp designed the rarely used micro-tank ‘’Goliath’’ amongst other things.
The total destruction suffered during the last month of the war did not discourage Zündapp from re-starting after 1948 with determination, by building pre-war models until 1950, at which time they introduced up-dated models, including a 200-cc two-stroke bike, based on the reliable pre-war model. It was essentially that bike which formed the financial basis for further development, such as the hyper-modern 250-cc 4-stroke boxer introduced in 1953. This marvelous bike never saw production due to financial constraints.
It was at this time that Zündapp developed a KS 601 especially for North America. They established a distribution network with an American company and sold machines to several police departments which had grown tired of the unreliable, overheating, vibrating Harley Davidson disasters of those years.
· It has never been satisfactorily explained as to why that business ended up in the hands of the Japanese, because Zuendapp enjoyed a tremendous reputation in those police departments which had been equipped with their machines. On the one hand it is claimed the German manufacturers disappeared because of a shrinking market, on the other hand the market which was opening up, the one in North America, was handed over to the Japanese.
· This despite German companies (and the British even more so) having a decided head start there. British machines disappeared, because of poor quality, unreliability, incurable oil leaks and serious electrical problems.
· These reasons however do in no way whatsoever apply to any of the German makes. Consequently, this development simply doesn’t make any sense, particularly in view of the fact, that Zündapp had a very clever marketing department.
On the home market they didn’t stand still either, designing a myriad of different bikes, many of them sports models, such as the ‘’Elastic DB 205’’ which enjoyed success as a Moto Cross machine in the early 1960’s. The Bella motor scooter was another success story. It was powered by a thoroughly modern 200-cc 2-stroke engine centrally located and had the handling of a motorcycle, to some degree due to its large wheels and excellent suspension. Protection from inclement weather was superb. Aesthetically it was very pleasing as well. All this coupled with Zündapp quality and reputation made for a best seller for many years. Strangely today there are almost no Bellas in existence.
In 1958 Zündapp decided to abandon its time honored place of production and moved to Munich into much smaller production facilities, leaving behind a bewildered, abandoned work force.
One of the reasons for this was the financially disastrous micro-car experiment, the ‘’Janus’’. This car was one of the most individualistic designs in automotive history. Originally it was designed by Claude Dornier of aircraft fame. However Dornier lacked the wherewithal to built it. Zündapp, re-designed it, improved it, cleaned up the rough edges and made the machine into a perfectly viable micro-car. It had one front opening door and one rear opening door (hence the name Janus). The engine, a 250-cc Zuendapp single cylinder two-stroke was situated exactly between the seats – making this machine the first truly mid-engined car in the world. It offered comfortable seating for 4 adults plus luggage. The only drawback was the howling sound of its force-air cooled engine. All in all, it was truly revolutionary, good looking, efficient and of typical Zündapp quality. Alas it was a strange design, entirely too weird for most people to buy. After one year of production and tremendous development expenses, production was stopped. Even though about 7000 were built and delivered, I am not aware of a single example remaining, a real shame.
From this moment on, Zündapp was merely a shadow of its former self, specializing in small Moped-type machines, lawnmowers, outboard engines and the like.
· Whatever happened for the next 20 years was a microcosm of what’s happening to the German nation as a whole – a seemingly unstoppable deterioration and an ever increasing level of mediocrity on all levels.
Zündapp's last design was an 80-cc two-stroke sports bike of uncommon beauty and incredible performance, but that was the last ‘’hurrah’’ of the once mighty company. The entire factory, including all plans for future development were sold to a Chinese conglomerate without the German government or the city of München, forever gripped in Holocaust hysteria and writing obscene, totally unjustified checks to German-haters, lifting a finger to help.
The Messerschmitt Kabinenroller (meaning: motorscooter within a cabin) KR 200 (the 200 referred to the piston displacement of the engine and the KR referred to the aforementioned KabinenRoller) was one of the weirdest, wildest and most outrageous designs ever.
It captured the imagination of thousands. This strange cockpit on three wheels was produced from around 1950 to 1962 and started as a bicycle with a cabin in 1947! The designer of the machine was Herr Fritz Fend who, during the war had been an engineer working for the Messerschmitt aircraft factory. That was the company which designed the legendary Me-109 fighter and subsequently led the world in jet aircraft research, producing the first fully operational jet fighter, the Me-262.
· It was this jet-engine technology which was stolen by the US and Britain after the war (50 - that’s FIFTY - tons of documentation) and formed the basis for all development in that area henceforward. The British built a jet-liner based on these stolen German patents but made grave errors in the design of the windows, causing them to implode at 20000 feet which resulted in the airliner disintegrating, to the understandable chagrin of the British passengers aboard. Unfortunately neither Winston ‘The Blood-Soaked’ Churchill nor his cabinet was aboard when the last airliner imploded, spreading British debris over a large area. However, the disastrous result of their shameless theft of German technology resulted in the eventual ‘’disintegration’’ of their aircraft industry – poetic justice indeed!
After the military collapse of Germany, her great aircraft designers were prohibited from building aircraft (a convenient way to eliminate superior competition) and world famous men like Messerschmitt, Heinkel, Dornier and many more were reduced to repairing stationary motors, pumps, lawnmowers, bicycles, sewing machines and the like.
Herr Fend had been released from prison (his crime had been having been German), but was out of work and decided to design a simple manner of weather-proof transport, something which anyone could afford. For starters he took an old bicycle. He redesigned it with three wheels and a weather-proof canopy and voila – a new means of getting about while staying dry in rainy weather had been borne. After a few had been sold, he added a tiny engine to help the peddler along.
He continued his design efforts until he had a weird, strange, heretofore never seen before machine powered by a small 175-cc Fichtel and Sachs single cylinder two stroke motorcycle engine. Despite the diminutive size of the power plant his little car (for lack of a better word) carried two adults and one child or a large suitcase in tandem at the respectable speed of 75 kmh, all in completely weather-proof, heatable comfort. This little scooter-with-a-roof represented a giant leap forward in all areas of engineering.
· We must not forget that these design efforts took place under the most trying conditions – no materials (everything had to be, as the German soldier used to call it, ‘’organized’’), no gasoline to speak of, tiny, cramped, leaking unheated garages as work rooms, raw material shortages of every imaginable sort, lack of food and total lack of freedom of movement since German cities, or what was left of them, served as giant prison camps. Availability of electric power or cooking gas was restricted to two or three hours per day at between 4 and 6 o’clock in the mornings. I frankly do not believe anyone can actually imagine the difficulties under which men like Fend labored. It’s truly beyond comprehension – and it was under those conditions that German industry re-developed, relentlessly driven forward by the indomitable spirit of men and women like Fritz Fend.
Fend labored mightily and in 1953 along came his old employer, Willie Messerschmitt. He liked what he saw and before long the little machine really took off. It began to be marketed as the Messerschmitt Kabinenroller.
The initial vehicle was a bit underpowered and had several design features which were quite frankly primitive. This didn’t last long and soon (1955) a vastly improved version was introduced. This vehicle was equipped with a 200-cc single cylinder air cooled two-stroke Fichtel & Sachs 10 hp engine, electric starting, a reverse gear and the front track had been considerably increased giving the machine rock-solid stability. This version achieved, fully loaded an easy 90 kmph (57 mph) which was more than sufficient for the times and road conditions prevailing. It can be said, that this model was the quintessential Kabinenroller.
It was soon offered as a convertible as well and sold very well. Aside from a plethora of technical improvements, this scooter came in a large variety of highly attractive colors and color combinations, with some rather exotic interior designs to round out the picture.
Accessories included chromed little hoods over the headlights, chromed fenders, a large chromed lugagge carrier and attractive chromed finishing touches all over. When fully equipped this machine was highly attractive, in a macho way, what with its aircraft-style cockpit look, its fine dimensions, a real gem. To obtain access to the engine compartment, one merely lifted the rear body panel upward.
People however wanted something faster, more spacious, a ‘real’ car and the motor scooter boom which had spawned so many memorable vehicles began to stagnate. It was at this time that Prof. Willie Messerschmitt received a contract from the Federal Government in Bonn to again built aircraft. He used the combination of these events (sales stagnation and other interests) to sell his part in the venture in 1957. Fritz Fend managed to take over Messerschmitts interests and formed his own company in Regensburg called the FMR Corporation.
Since he and Messerschmitt were good friends, he was permitted to keep on using the trade name for his Kabinenroller, except the logo had to go, since a court had decided it resembled the Mercedes star. This was patent nonsense, but-----.
· As far as the contract Messerschmitt had been offered was concerned, it appears (I don’t know this for a fact), that he was fooled. None of the questions I have asked different people who ought to know have been answered. The fact is, he never again built aircraft of any kind, but rather was reduced to altering, improving if you will, the American fighter jet F-16 which Germany had bought at astronomical prices from the US. That seems to be part of the New World Order – to secure the international military aircraft market for the United States at the expense of everyone else. In addition, his company ended up no more than a maintenance center for those F-16’s, a far cry from the times that he stood in front of a drawing board designing some of the most revolutionary flying machines of his times. This demotion from ‘Chairman of the Board’ to ‘Maintenance Chief’, was made a bit sweeter by high-flying titles and a princely salary. He died in the early 1980’s. Too bad I never got to speak with him to find out what he really thought.
Fritz Fend went to work without Messerschmitt building and selling Karo-200’s at a decent clip. It was at this time, that he decided to bring out a new, more powerful model. Research had proven, that to make the Karo-200 more powerful would result in an unstable vehicle. In order not to lose the original character of his machine, Fend decided to leave his machine as was, but to add a fourth wheel. This created engineering problems with the result, that the entire chassis was reworked from the ground up.
Larger wheels were fitted, the suspension system was up-graded, steering geometry was changed, brake surface was increased and all sorts of nifty design changes took place which made the machine a real ‘tiger’ in terms of speed and looks. The engine was a Fichtel & Sachs two stroke 500-cc twin which had been gracing the shelves at F&S unused.
Fend re-worked and re-engineered it extensively, making it a really civilized powerplant. This machine could be driven at top speed (125 kph, or 75-plus mph) fully loaded uphill during the hottest summer months for hours without the air-cooled powerplant ever breaking a sweat. This new ‘large’ Messerschmitt was stunning and ranks amongst the most exciting, original means of personal transport ever put on the road anyplace, by anyone and must assure Fend a place in the Hall of Fame of technical designers.
Fend decided to call it what it was – Tiger. The industrial giant Krupp was lurking around and decided that wouldn’t do, since they had registered all exotic animal names for their products. In addition, they didn’t like Fends new logo, since they claimed it infringed on theirs. They went to court and Fend settled of course knowing fully well he didn’t stand a chance against a giant like Krupp. So he changed his logo a bit and changed the name of his magnificent (and I mean Magnificent) creation to ‘FMR Tg. 500’ . The public had seen his car already, the name ‘Tiger’ had stuck and henceforth no one ever referred to it by any other name – court order or not.
· It’s really depressing how German industry attacked each other over trivialities like names or logos.
· At the same time they stood idly by watching Japan and other countries plundering every patent, every idea, every product from Germany and subsequently totally destroying the world-leading motorcycle, optical, electronic and many other industries using unfair labor and trade practices.
· It’s something unbelievable, surreally Kafkaesque, explainable only by believing in a conspiracy to destroy Germany and as they say; ‘’He who doesn’t believe in conspiracies, isn’t paying any attention.’’
The problem with the Tiger was that the people who fell in love with it were all young and couldn’t afford to buy one. The result was a sales-flop, which spelled the stop of construction after only about 300 had been built. Some of the Tigers were entered in sports car races and rallies by private owners in the class under one litre (MG Midget, Austin Healy Sprite, Fiat 750, Fiat 850 Sports, Fiat-Abarth, Panhard etc.) with respectable results. A record car was built, but strangely achieved nothing and no data exist on it. The original Karo-200 continued to be built for another 3 years, when Fend decided to pull the plug and to devote himself to other interests and projects.
Today in 2004, there are enthusiastic Messerschmitt Clubs on almost every continent, the one in Bavaria apparently having the finest examples of Tigers, including a ‘modern’ version which looks like it came straight off the set of Star Wars. There’s also a fabulous Micro-Car museum in the USA with a fine collection of Messerschmitts.
Heinkel was another Messerschmitt. World famous aircraft designer, inventor of the ejection seat, builder of some of the most formidable fighter aircraft in WW2 and instrumental in the development of the jet engine. Also, banned from ever building aircraft again, a convenient, if rotten way ro eliminate competition. After the war he kept his head above water doing what other great German engineers had to do, repairing water pumps, old engines, making do with whatever was at hand.
· There were some who were more lucky, such as Anton Flettner, the designer of the first fully operative helicopter the ‘Kolibri’, or Wernher von Braun and his entire team of rocket scientists. Those guys were kidnapped (Ooops! excuse me, they were ‘escorted’) to the United States and put American aeronautics on the map, Flettner working for the Navy and von Braun forming the nucleus of NASA and American rocket science.
· As an aside, it was Wernher von Braun and his team who were invited to a gala state dinner by President and Mrs. Kennedy to the White House. Thank you President and Mrs. Kennedy for the honor you showed my nation.
· President Kennedy was one of the very few American Presidents who can be said to have been pro-German, at least not anti German. Was that part of his downfall? Considering it is the Jew who controls America, this is a legitimate question!
Heinkel started designing a new scooter as early as 1949 but took his time, determined to get it right the first time around. He had designed a small 150-cc 4-stroke power plant, a rarity for the times when such small machines usually used the 2-stroke principal. His first scooter left his little factory in 1954, even though two years earlier road testers had already approved of his concept.
In order to start production Heinkel had to raise enough money to built a manufacturing facility. Since he was a former ‘Nazi’-aircraft designer, this was no easy task but he succeeded. Soon an improved version of the original followed with electric start, 4-speed transmission and a 12 Volt system. There again it must be remembered that in the pre-war years 6 Volt systems had been de rigeur not only for motorcycles but for cars as well.
The improved version was a hit on the market. It was not only extraordinarily smooth, quiet and fast, but also an attractive, manly example of a thoroughly modern scooter. Heinkel called it ‘The Tourist’. It was strong enough for the addition of a side car, absolutely reliable, handsome as can be and qualitatively hard to beat. Another thing that set it apart was its macho character. This scooter appealed more to men than to women, because it was manly without that characteristic being overpowering in the least. Riding it was no different from riding a motorcycle.
The changes made throughout the production run consisted of a plethora of detail, technical and styling improvements. Looking at the latest models of the Tourist, I can’t imagine a finer looking machine than it, especially when it came in black with a red bench seat.
Even though the Tourist was a definite sales hit and a milestone in scooter design, Heinkel was not one to rest on his laurels. Beginning in 1960 when most other scooter and motorcycle manufacturers in Germany had ceased to exist, he came out with a lovely, feminine version, the Heinkel Typ 150. What the Tourist did to the heart of a man, the Typ 150 did to that of the ladies.
It was smooth, ultra-feminine, came in designer colors and was powered by a 150-cc two-stroke engine putting out a respectable 9 hp, powering the machine to 85 kmph. The only feature it shared with the Tourist was the standard equipment spare wheel and the high quality. Alas, even though this model was built until 1965 when Heinkel ceased operations, it never achieved the success of the Tourist. Before than in 1957, Heinkel had designed another model, the ‘112’, yet another scooter unrelated to the original Tourist. That one however was built only as a prototype and was never marketed even though it appears to have been quite excellent, according to the specifications and the photographs extant.
It was in 1956 that Heinkel, inspired by the ISO Bubble Car, the Italian failure transformed into a smashing success by BMW (Isetta), decided to built his own Bubble Car. Heinkel thought the original ISO design to be a great idea, but entirely too massive and heavy and embarked on an completely new design strategy.
He took the mechanicals of the Tourist scooter, added a second wheel in front and covered the whole creation in a weird looking cabin. Of course, this is a simplification, but it is essentially what he did and demonstrates how this vehicle was designed. Due to the usage of the original Tourist mechanical components and his expertise as an aircraft designer, the weight of this Bubble Car was a modest 243 kg, making this little car rather speedy, despite its diminutive engine size. It seated two adults and was essentially the ideal, thrifty city car.
The only draw back was the interior noise at full throttle, since the interior unfortunately functioned as a sound chamber. Maybe it was that which doomed the marketing success of this otherwise exceptional machine.
· An interesting aside here is, that the body of the Kabine was built by Vidal & Sons in Hamburg, the company that had produced the 3-wheel Tempo delivery vehicles since the late 1920’s. This company was sold to the Indian company Bajaj in the late 1960s. Thusly it came to be that the German ‘Tempo’ 3-wheeler delivery vehicle put India on wheels at that time – hence the many 3-wheeled vehicles in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh today.
· The Indian company honors Tempo to this day by having incorporated the name into its own, even using the original script. Thank you gentlemen at Bajaj for being honorable – but that is another story.
The English firm Trojan obtained the patent rights to the Heinkel Kabine and built it successfully in Britain for many years. I think Trojan even developed a 4-wheeled version. An Argentine company produced about 2000 Heinkel Bubble Cars as well.
Unfortunately, only very few of Heinkel’s creations, Bubble Car or scooters, have survived. Heinkel died in 1958 and was therefore thankfully spared the pain of witnessing the demise of his company in 1965. Today, there is a small number of Heinkel Clubs in different parts of the world honoring this make.
Triumph Werke Nuernberg
The German immigrant to England Siegfried Bettmann, started a company in Coventry manufacturing sewing machines, bicycles and other small machinery. That was 1889, a time when Germany and England (not yet Jew-corrupted) were good friends. Had they remained this, Western Civilisation would be alive and well today. Alas.... Herr Bettmann named his company ‘Triumph’. During the very early part of the 20th century, he decided to built a sister-company in his country of origin, travelled to Germany and formed a manufacturing company in the city of Nuernberg, calling it TWN (Triumph Werke Nürnberg). This company maintained its relationship with its English parent until 1929 when it split from Triumph Coventry and became fully independent. The reason for this ‘divorce’ was that Triumph Nürnberg started to use a more reliable Swiss engine rather than the English ones. This didn’t sit well with Coventry.
Henceforth the company was known in Germany as either Triumph or TWN. English Triumphs were not imported, so there was no problem in confusing the two. For export purposes however the company used only the trade name TWN.
They were successfully exported to all parts of the globe, particularly to South America, where TWN’s were a fairly common sight during the 1930’s and even later on in the 1950’s. In Germany however, they were for all intents and purposes simply known as ‘Triumph’ and that was that.
During the 1920’s they built decent bikes, assuring them a good position in the emerging German motorcycle market, even during the economically impossible climate of the Weimar Republic. Triumphs were head-on competition with DKW, Zündapp, NSU, Mars and other German makes. Initially, Triumphs bore purely English characteristics and even fielded a successful (British Triumph powered) 500-cc 4-stroke racing machine during the 1920’s.
· English motorcycle engines however even then were not as reliable as the German ones (with the apparent exception of the various JAP twins), causing Triumph some problems with customer complaints. Starting in the 1930s, now independent of Coventry, Triumph started developing its own engines, particularly two-stroke models of 200-ccs and more.
Otto Reitz was an adventurous engineer from NSU who switched to Triumph and developed a single-cylinder multi-piston two-stroke engine which became Triumphs trade-mark. The design incorporated all sorts of nifty changes to the normal two-stroke system such as enclosing the carburator in the engine housing. While this was going on, they built bicycles and typewriters in huge quantities, the motorcycle production being only a part of the whole. During the 1930’s Triumph succeeded in becoming one of Germany’s premier manufacturers competing with giants like DKW or NSU. The first ‘Reitz’- model put on the market was a 250-cc machine which was an immediate sales hit. Alas, the war broke out and henceforth Triumphs were built for the Wehrmacht, which obtained over 12.000 such bikes. They proved their mettle under the most trying circumstances on all fronts.
· Triumph Nürnberg sustained heavy damage during the war and a rebuilding process was started early in 1945 under the auspices of the American occupying forces. The idea was the same as with all German industry – let them rebuilt on a minor scale and use their talent and work force to repair and maintain American military vehicles while paying the work force in the form of left-over combat rations from the US Army. This is what essentially happened until about 1948 when Germany became ‘independent’ (well, so they claim). Never heard of these horrendous abuses in your history books? Well, believe me, that’s how it was!
Starting in 1948, Triumph began building up-dated pre-war models as much as the availability of raw materials permitted. Models built were a 125-cc, a 200-cc and a 250-cc machine. Starting in the early 1950s, Triumph came out with a revolutionary noise-reduction system – a dual muffler in a dual exhaust. This is to say, there was a muffler immediately at the cyclinder head and another one toward the rear of the exhaust pipe. The result was a massive looking machine which was a quiet as a church mouse. One could literally put one into ones living room and barely hear it run. I don’t believe a more civilized motorcycle ever existed.
In addition, this machine had the latest refinements in terms of suspension putting it amongst those in the forefront of all motorcycle development at the time. This bike came in single cylinder twin-piston 200-cc, 250-cc and 350-cc form. As the latter, it was called ‘Boss’ and a boss it was! Absolutely magnificent to look at, to ride and to enjoy.
Another feature was the fully enclosed chain drive, reducing noise and wear and tear to a minimum. This was de rigeur with many German motorcycles of the time. An incredibly complex twin cylinder version was abandoned due to technical and financial problems in 1954. The ‘big’ Boss was driven in numerous Rallies and Moto Cross events and proved its mettle particularly as a side-car machine. The engine wasn’t particularly powerful, but it achieved its power at a very low RPM, making it (unlike other two-strokes) an ideal side car machine. This two-stroke had the torque of a four-stroke, making it the side-car equal to even the Horex Regina or the Victoria Bergmeister. Sadly, Triumph never achieved its stride after the war. They were never again competitive with the likes of DKW or NSU and when the crisis in Germany’s motorcycle industry hit, they were unable to survive. Toward the end, in ’57 or so, they came out with a great motorscooter (a joint venture with competitor Hercules) which however came too late to market.
· The end of Triumph Nürnberg is a dramatic, maddening example of Germans ‘killing’ Germans, something endemic in our history and as things stand today in 2004, it is this awful fratricidal attitude which might spell the end of our once great nation. While Mercedes (as a corporation) bought up financially weak companies and liquidated them without a thought, so did the stereo giant Grundig (as an individual). Max Grundig was a man of many facets, some outstanding, some less so (to be charitable). It appears he actually was the kind of man who is forever portrayed in Jew-movies as the unbearably arrogant German, an ugly characteristic wholly un-German, but there are the exceptions and he apparently was one of those!
He had built, within a short period of time, a massive electronics empire with stereo, tape recorder, turntable and loud-speaker products which were essentially the envy of the entire world. It is true – Grundig radios etc. were absolutely fabulous. I happen to own a Grundig table-top-radio, 42 years old in outstanding condition and playing like a champion. The quality, technical refinement and styling of Grundig products was practically unbeatable. In my study where I am writing this, sits a 30-some years old Grundig Stereo (Compact Center 430) which has unrivalled radio reception, a fine turntable (needle weight = a miniscule 0.75 grams) and a cassette tape deck with a frequency response of 50 to 15000 Herz (practically the very outside of the human ear’s capacity to hear), recording marvelously with its Grundig microphone. This Grundig set is practically the equal of my modern Bang & Olufsen Stereo with its superb Yamo speakers. However, Grundig was so arrogantly sure of himself that he disdainfully dismissed well meant advice from knowledgeable people (the American distributor e.g.) as a general rule. His once magnificent empire is today but a memory since he simply refused to even consider that Japanese competition could be serious. In the 1950s however he was a big man, a real Captain of Industry and the banks loved him.
Dresdner Bank, which owned many shares of Triumph (and other motorcycle manufacturers as well) talked Max Grundig who hated and disdained motorcycles, into buying the company with the argument he could thereby break into the office machine market since Triumph type writers were well known and successful on the market. He bought the company, and stopped all production at once. Whatever happened afterward I don’t know and don’t care.
All I know is, the wrong person bought the company for the wrong reasons, advised by bankers whose only interest it was to unload unwanted shares and to recoup their losses. As an aside, Max Grundig also bought the Adler company in Frankfurt, merely to throw it onto the scrap heap of history at about the same time.
Some of the other outstanding German 2-wheel producers where those who built motorscooters exclusively and certainly should never be forgotten. We Germans developed our very own version of the scooter and pointed the way for later developments in Asia by crossing the Italian concept of the motor scooter with that of the motorcycle creating a wholly new form of two-wheeled transport.
Some of these were manufactured in only small quantities, but all of them were important representatives of the incredible diversity German industry is capable of when left alone to create.
The following long forgotten makes will be treated:
8. Schweppe-Pirol, and last but not least,
9. Kleinschnittger City Scooter and – the incredible Porsche-For-The-Poor-Man, the Kleinschnittger F-125 Micro-Minicar.
No one should call his creation Achilles, or Titan. Every company or thing named thusly has had bad luck, just like their antique namesakes. And so it happened to Weikert & Company in Wilhelmshaven with their astounding motorscooter. The Achilles was possibly the first totally individualistic motor scooter which borrowed nothing from any other design, unless one would like to consider the possibility of the military version of the 1931 Victoria 500-cc Twin having influenced the designers.
The Achilles was, to put it simply, a motor cycle with a body and 8-inch wheels. The wheels were the only thing which connected the machine to the world of the scooter. Since the Achilles was threoretically a motorcycle with small wheels, it attracted the male public more so than the ladies. The tank was situated between the knees of the rider, the chassis had an uncommonly low center of gravity and the machine was very well suspended, long travelling telescopic shocks in front and a swing-arm suspension in the rear well balanced and attuned to each other. Driving this machine hard was a given, the Achilles ‘asked’ for it and we Germans race everything that has wheels! Therefore, the Achilles was extraordinarily successful in local races, usually coming out on top, even if pitted against more powerful machines.
It came so fully equipped, that a lugagge carrier was the only option. Accessability to the engine was a snap, what with large body panels being easily removable. The axles were removable by a one-step process enabling one to change a tire quasi instantly. The machine was powered by the well-proven Fichtel & Sachs 175-cc single cylinder 2-stroke engine.
This was the same engine which powered a myriad of German bikes, including such gorgeous and highly advanced ones as the Mars Stella motorcycle. Power was transmitted via a four-speed box, operated by a motorcycle-type foot operated lever augmented by a hand-shifted ‘neutral’ switch at the handlebars for emergencies.
In short, it was a fine machine, being built between 1953 and 1957, when the company sadly went out of business. Despite its popularity with the sporting driver, almost none of these unique machines exist and represent a considerable financial value these days for collectors. What is even more incredible is, that no photographs or copies of brochures seem to exist, showing the Achilles in its beautiful gold-metallic paint job, the only color available. I remember how gorgeous-macho this thing was, being a mere boy, staring with longing eyes at the only Achilles registered in my home town, dreaming of one day owning one. Alas...
Never mind the (in English) unfortunate name. It wasn’t pronounced anywhere near as in English and has no relation to the English meaning. Having said that, only 1200 were built, so it couldn’t have been such a big deal, right? Wrong! I hate using clichés, but in this case I must, not having been given an alternative...
· This motorscooter was the ‘Rolls Royce’ of all scooters. It may appear strange, but under examination, one finds the Bastert ''Einspurauto'' to have been one of the highlights of the international 2-wheeled industry – Period.
The Bastert Company was an old, well established (but small) bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer in the lovely city of Bielefeld. Its products were rarely sold outside the Bielefeld area. Therefore, fame had eluded this company. Helmut Bastert had high hopes for his creation since he righfu lly thought if he builds the best of the best, it must become a sales success. Alas, fortune did not smile on his venture. He was going head-to-head with some stiff, usually better financed competition and he insisted that no cost cutting measures be taken.
Only the best of the best and all of it put together by highly trained workmen, who took the expression ‘German workmanship’ very seriously indeed. The result was a remarkably stunning machine manufactured mostly by hand of the finest materials available.
Bastert was the only motor scooter manufacturer who used only light metal aluminium construction laid up over an aircraft-style frame. This type of construction was pioneered by BMW and made famous by Maserati with their ‘Birdcage’ Maserati racing car. It made the machine not only very light (despite its size) but also impervious to rust. This latter characteristic alone was a real boon in Germany at the time, since salt on the roads during wintertime regularly destroyed things made of lesser metals.
From the first in 1951 it was realized that they had a truly unique, extraordinarily handsome and qualitatively unsurpassed machine on their hands. Consequently the Bastert company decided to call it ‘Das Einspurauto’ and had this name registered as a TradeMark. Henceforth, advertising spoke of ‘Einspurauto’, rather than motor scooter, setting it further apart from the crowd. Einspurauto means approximately the same as ‘Single-track car’.
From the start, some degree of bad luck followed the development of this machine, the fully functioning protoype being stolen in 1951, this despite elaborate security measures. That the machine was never recovered, despite intensive efforts of the police and a prize of DM 500 for information (a considerable sum in those days) seems to suggest foul play, an inside job as it were. This is given further credence by the vehemence of the competition in those days, when so many manufacturers were fighting for market shares. Furthermore, in those days to clandestinely remove a vehicle from Germany was a virtual impossibility. Helmut Bastert was not one to give up and despite the tremendous costs and effort required, started from scratch, finally bringing his vehicle to market.
Aside from being constructed of mostly aluminum, everything was harmoniously integrated into a wind tunnel tested slippery body shape, that could only be called gorgeous.
The machine had extremely comfortable, almost flat handlebars over a regular dashboard containing a plethora of instruments, including an electronic gear indicator. Each different gear had its own little lamp in varying colors, making it easy for the rider to determine which gear the machine was in, a real boon when riding in noisy city traffic. The seat was an automotive type covered in leather, which when folded forward gave access to a second seat which could be folded backward, giving the drivers partner a comfy way to go in tandem with the pilot.
Very broad access doors on the side of the body enabled the driver to view the electrically well lit engine compartment. These doors could be opened with a one handed simple movement making the whole thing extremely user friendly. The Einspurauto was powered by a single cylinder 200-cc Ilo two-stroke engine, transmitting its energy through a four-speed transmission. Even the wheels were solid aluminum, the axles of the wheels were removable a la Achilles with one movement, making the changing of a flat tire a snap. To round up this pleasant picture, the machine had a regular, lockable trunk. It was available in two colors, black or a metallic silver-gold with a bright red seat, making it truly a stunning looking machine. When viewing the ‘Einspurauto’ from the birds-eye perspective, one sees how massive and broad this machine was. Needless to say, it was strong and solid enough for a regular size side car. The windscreen was so perfectly well integrated, that it in no manner disturbed the aesthetics of this outstanding two-wheeled transportation system.
Helmut Bastert realized in early 1956 that the costs of having developed and marketed this machine had drained his little companies coffers and sales were not making up the losses. This was in part due to the understandably very high retail prize of the Einspurauto, a consideration which kept many customers away. Everyone who had seen one or had read the rave reviews of the road testers wanted one, but only a few could actually afford it.
Helmuth Bastert explored other possibilities, settling on the new wonder material – plastics, a field in which he achieved considerable success, keeping his company alive and his workforce working, even after he regretfully ceased producing his two-wheeled luxury vehicle.
Another ‘unknown’ make, but still in my view important for one reason, namely Binz designed the quintessential city-scooter, so all pervasive these days in South American and Asian cities.
Binz was a well known designer and producer of truck bodies, particularly for the drivers cabins of long-distance haulers. As such they were well established in Germany and the European markets at large. When the motor scooter boom was in full swing, management decided that what was needed was a city-scooter, since long distance-, motorsport-, side-car capable- and even luxury motorscooters were all being built already.
They decided on a small, maneuverable machine with a 50-cc Fichtel & Sacks single cylinder two-stroke engine coupled to a simple two-speed transmission. The Fichtel & Sachs power plant was well known for its reliability but just in case, every mechanic everywhere was able to work on it quasi blind folded. The little machine achieved a top-end of 30 mph, just right for city traffic and was so easy to operate, that even grandma could do it with ease.
The body design was simple and uncommonly graceful. One could even refer to it as beautiful without fear of contradiction. Not only was it lovely to look at, but the entire driveline, including the chain drive to the rear wheel, could be easily accessed by merely tilting the whole rear end of the scooter upward without the bother of having to loosen screws, or such. The design afforded the rider maximum protection from the elements and looking at this machine today and comparing it with today’s crop of city scooters from Asia reveals that it would be a hands-down winner on today's market. There isn’t a machine built anywhere today that could compare in terms of styling, weather protection or ease of handling and maintenance. As far as styling goes, a prettier small scooter is hard to fathom.
Binz produced their little scooter for only two years when it became apparent that people were essentially more interested in motor scooters which could be used for longer, or long distance riding than in something useful only for short commutes. Little did they know, that 40-50 years later they could have sold a trillion of their machines far from home. Today Binz is a highly regarded designer and builder of ambulances for the Paramedics or other such life-saving services.
Another forgotten German industrial gem, this company dated back many years and was a presence on the German industrial scene since 1867! Dürkopp built, amongst other things, automobiles before and after WW1.
During the 1920's hill-climb race cars were successfully fielded by men like Formula One Racing giant Hans Stuck behind the wheel. To give an idea as to the importance of Dürkopp in those times, consider they had upward of 6000 employees engaged in their auto production alone! Their automobiles ranged from the smallish 1500-cc models to the large over 6-litre variety. The money maker for them, however, was the production of bicycles and industrial sewing machines, the latter of which they built to this day!
These were the fields in which they specialized from the late 1920’s until after WW2, when they developed their own ultra-modern 200-cc 2 stroke powerplant. It was this powerplant they installed in their motorscooter, a machine which debuted in 1954. Fittingly it was called ‘Diana’, an extraordinarily lovely machine, which attained a cruising speed fully loaded with two people and luggage for a long-term vacation of 55 mph.
This may not appear to be much these days, but 50 years ago it was a different story, what with the road system being far from perfect. Also this was a speed the machine could hold for undetermined distances, up and down hills, no matter how hot the weather. In German we have a word for this characteristic: ‘Autobahnfest’.
The Diana had one of the most modern engines of the times, incorporating the absolute latest two-stroke technology. This powerplant was coupled to a smooth four-speed gear box. One started the machine either with the kick starter or electrically – both systems being part and parcel of the basic package. It was claimed by the road testers of the time, that the suspension system was flawless and unequalled by any other motor scooter manufacturer. The standard equipment list, like that of the Bastert Einspurauto or the Achilles Sport scooter, was extensive. The only options available consisted of a spare wheel, lugagge carrier and a glove box. The Diana’s customer base was divided between ladies and men, even though the ladies were more frequently seen on it, the men preferring more macho machines like the Achilles or the Heinkel. Dürkopp advertising abounded in lovely, healthy looking young ladies, some dressed in traditional German dress (Dirndl), always classy, never anything else. In 1954 Miss Germany served as an advertising model. Her remuneration? Why, a brand new Diana of course! Dürkopp built the Diana until 1961 successfully and stopped production, even though they had not experienced any decline in sales. On the contrary, if you wanted a Diana in 1961, you had to put down a nonrefundable deposit and wait for two months! That’s how popular this machine was.
· This leads to the inevitable question –Why?? If you have a product that is wildly successful, that is rugged, reliable, beautiful, ultra-modern and so desirable a waiting list existed for customers, why on earth would a company in their right mind stop producing such a machine?
The company was later sold to the Kugelfischer Group. They exist to this day, having in the meantime apparently merged with the remnants of the Adler company of Frankfurt. They are, I found out, a highly respected company in the international industrial sewing machine-market. However, any queries as to the ‘whys’ and ‘wherefores’ of stopping production of their highly successful Diana back in 1961 have been met with silence.
Hans Glas – a rock-solid Bavarian type, a guy with a vision and unbounded energy, an enterpreneur of the first order. Glas had a small farm machinery manufacturing concern in the Bavarian town of Dingolfing. He ended up building some of the most successful Micro-Cars, Motorscooters, passenger cars and Sports Cars of between 1950 and 1967.
The range of his products started with the motorscooters and ended with a large 3 litre V-8 Sports Cpe., dubbed the ‘Glaserati’, since its body shape was reminiscent of the Maserati 3500 GT, having been designed by the same Italian coach builder. The most popular sports car was the 1700 GT, of which the Americans said; ‘If you like the Porsche, you’ll love the Glas’, giving one the idea of what the Glas really represented!
· There are very few sports cars in the world that could stand a comparison with Porsche and the Glas 1700 GT was one of those rarities – a real acknowledgment of this man’s genius. I know for a fact, having owned and driven a 1700 GT for over 6 years. It was one of the finest cars I have ever owned, bar none.
The big V-8 got Glas into so much financial trouble, that BMW was able to swallow the company whole, taking over some of the products and incorporating them into their own line-up. For several years, BMW-South Africa produced Glas passenger cars under the name of BMW. Here we want to look only at the great scooter they built and the Goggomobil, one of the most successful Micro-Car of all time.
Always interested in the progress of his industrial branch, he travelled to all the various trade shows of farming machinery, including the one in Verona Italy in 1949. He saw a Vespa there and fell in love. That’s what he wanted to built at home, but according to his personal ideas and taste. No sooner had he returned to Dingolfing, when he went to work with a vengeance on his new project. He designed numerous prototypes, forming the body panels this way and that way until finally he had achieved his idea of a motorscooter. This machine looks great to this day, excepting in direct profile due to its short nose.
At first he thought of a 125-cc Ilo powerplant but very soon ended up using a 200-cc Ilo instead, the same powerplant that was used in the Bastert Einspurauto. In addition, the machine was designed to easily accommodate a side car, had electric starting, was available as a luxury scooter ( in the truest sense), it came as a three-wheeled delivery vehicle with an open bed or with a closed box, Glas covered all the bases! He had called his creation, which incidentally had no resemblance whatsoever to the Vespa he had fallen in love with, ‘Goggo’. This 'Goggo' and the Maicomobil were as close as anyone ever came to being a true competitor for the magnificent Bastert Einspurauto.
As a clever marketing man, he sold his motorscooters very successfully all over the globe, only about half of the production ending up in Germany. He insisted on the highest quality/price ratio and got it from his work force.
· In those days ‘Made In Germany’ had a meaning internationally today's Germans sadly can’t even fathom. It frankly meant the Best of the Best and was unashamedly advertised as such and that was the very definition of Truth In Advertising. Today, in the year 2004, the European Union has prohibited Germany from using advertising slogans such as ‘German Quality’, and the Jew-corrupted bought-and- paid-for puppets in Berlin caved in to the demands of the lesser nations who couldn’t in a million years equal our creative work spirit.
Glas was always keeping a close eye on the market and recognized as early as 1956, that the motorscooter boom was coming to an end, that people wanted cars, even if they had to be small initially. Consequently he stopped production of his scooters and started producing Micro Cars instead, calling these little miracles ‘Goggomobil’.
· It was this Goggomobil which inspired the Japanese Subaru to built their uncommonly ugly but efficient Subaru ‘360’ ten years later. I know that car and when I say ugly, I mean ugly, like in heinous.
The Goggomobil came with three different engines, all variations of the same theme; twin cylinder, air cooled two-strokes, coupled to preselective four-speed electronically controlled transmissions. The engine sizes varied from 250-cc to 400-cc, the latter becoming by far the most popular choice of powerplants. They were cute little cars, seating four people with ease. They performed well enough to be driven on the Autobahn, fully loaded and one saw them all over the place. The success of these Hans Glas creations was stupendous. He even came out with a ‘Sports Coupe’, a two seater with two children’s seats in the back and a lovely body, complete with a fake grill which had taken its inspiration from Alfa Romeo. This model became wildly successful on the market.
· The most famous Goggomobil driver was no less than Lord Snowden, husband of Princess Margaret of great Britain. Here was a man expected to show up in a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, but showed up in a Goggomobil Sports Coupe from Dingolfing Bavaria instead! Good for you Lord Snowden, you were ok!
It wasn’t only the large V-8 Sports Coupe which brought untold financial difficulties, also it was Hans Glas’s tendency to design and built too many different cars, scooters, Micro-Cars et al. His little company not only covered the entire transportation spectrum but he insisted on using the most divergent engine configurations imaginable, such as the aforementioned large V-8, various two-stroke twins, watercooled boxer-configurated four-strokes, four cylinder in line engines of varying sizes – in short he was entirely too ‘diverse’ considering the size of his enterprise. Additionally he used front engine front wheel drive, front engine rear wheel drive, rear engine rear wheel drive configurations - in short every feasible variation which was possible, he designed, developed and used it. Another designer whose mind this fertile was Carl F. Borgward. Neither VW, nor GM nor Ford, nor Mercedes ever had that many different types of engines, transmissions and drive lines.
What is really amazing about all of this is, there isn’t a single engine or transmission or car which he ever built, that wasn’t excellent – and all of them designed in house!, with the exception of the first engine (an Ilo) he used in his motorscooter. The demise of his company in 1967 was a sad event, but at least in his case we know why and we have a plausible explanation.
Another ancient German manufacturer which started way back in the 19th. century (1886), building at first sewing machines and subsequently bicycles. Hercules is one of the very few German manufacturers which never in their long existence attempted to built an automobile, but almost always built rather bland, day-to-day machines without any particularly exciting characteristics. The only thing which could be said about their motorcycles of the 1920’s, ‘30’s and after the war was that they fulfilled their functions admirably well, never giving their owners the slightest reason to complain. Bicycle and typewriter production was the mainstay of their manufactured output. The blandness of their products disappeared with the --
· Hercules '175' of 1954, powered by a 175-cc Ilo two-stroke. The machine featured an excellent chassis and even electric starting, a real rarity in those days. In addition it was a real pocket-rocket, handsomely proportioned and well styled.
Many years later they built the fabulous Hercules Wankel, a motorbike which fathered the English Wankel powered Norton and BSA as well as the Japanese Wankel powered Suzuki. Aside from that, they built a marvelous motorscooter starting in 1955.
This scooter was actually a joint venture between them and Triumph-Nürnberg, using the 175-cc Ilo engine of their little ‘road-rocket’ of those years. Eventually, the scooter evolved into the Hercules R200, using a 200-cc Fichtel & Sachs powerplant. It was designed according to the forward-looking design parameters of the day, fully enclosed chain drive, four speed transmission, rather handsome body work, with the gasoline tank and the battery finding their place in the housing over the front wheel, giving the machine ideal 50/50 weight distribution, which coupled with the excellent suspension system gave this scooter outstanding ‘sports’-handling.
The factory did something no one else was doing – they were testing their machines incessantly. The road testing wasn’t done only by factory drivers on a factory proving ground, but rather by a cross section of the population under day-to-day driving conditions. Housewives, workers, sales-reps who had to travel long distances and professional road testers, they all rode the R200 day and night under any and all conditions any vehicle was likely to ever encounter. The result was a scooter which was as close to perfection in terms of performance and reliability as one could get since the input of all testers was continually evaluated. This machine gained the reputation of being nay impossible to destroy, hence it became a sales success.
In 1964, Hercules came out with another motorscooter, the ‘50’. This one was very much smaller with a 50-cc engine, swing arm suspension front and rear, enclosed chain drive, four-speeds, in short – the works. Frankly, it was this motorscooter which was the last of the memorable Hercules models. It was modern, built to high standards of quality, had an outstanding chassis, great looks and would put anything from Asia to shame today 40 years later, if there’d be somebody to built it! They kept on building small sporty 50-cc motorcycles, but even though attractive and highly efficient, they lacked distinction.
· The factory was sold to Fichtel & Sachs ---- which was sold to Mannesmann ---- which was ‘sold’ under the most dubious circumstances to Vodaphone and that was the end. The corruption of today's German management teams spelled the end of three once proud industrial enterprises.
· Tens of thousands of highly skilled, trained and well paid technicians lost their jobs as did thousands of creative product engineers, a handful of Jew-corrupted Germans and Brits became filthy rich and my country was once again raped, robbed and plundered. All that in the 1990s – a continuation of WW-2 by other means, no more, no less and all with the obvious connivance of the traitorous, bought-and-paid-for puppet government in Berlin. It’ truly sick, it's revolting.
Now that’s a name I like and it even fit the product, because progressive the Progress was indeed. Whereas most motorscooters had their engine located in the rear, many German designers attempted to locate the engine as closely to the center and as low as possible. The reasons for this are the superior road holding and handling thusly achieved.
This gave the German scooters a definite advantage over most of their foreign competition and makes them still, after all these years, superior to any I can think of. The Progress had its engine located centrally in the chassis, much like the Achilles did, with the difference that the tank was positioned over the engine and not between the legs of the driver. The vehicle had large 16 inch wheels, practically the same size as those of a motorcycle. Suspension front and rear consisted of long-travelling swing arms, with integrated shock absorbers. The machine was built of heavy gauge steel, had an oversized frame and was therefore almost as heavy as the larger Bastert Einspurauto which unlike any other motorscooter of the times was built using the latest weight savings techniques and employing only light weight metals.
Access to the drive line was easily accomplished by loosening two levers. The headlight was directly attached to the steering column, affording the rider a clear view while negotiating curves at night.
· The whole design was clean, attractive and rather macho, attracting the man of the family, before the male & family destroying disaster of lesbo-feminization.
The strength of the chassis allowed the installation of a full-size Steib side-car, not a specially designed light weight variety.
This made the vehicle an ideal family affair, comfortable, safe and powerful enough to travel fully loaded with three persons and luggage all day in extreme heat uphill at 55 mph or better. The name of the designer was Gottlieb Gassman and a progressive man he was indeed!
The Progress-200 sold well, but when motorscooter business tapered off, the company decided to stop production in order to return to making heavy duty steel parts for industry, assuring the economic survival of about 500 employees.
Schweppe – Pirol
This was an important design and a mile stone in the German two-wheeled industrial development, still competitive today, after all these many years, in the case of the Schweppe-Pirol, 50 years! It was the very first motorscooter of German design and construction, being introduced in 1949, a time when the Italian concept of the motorscooter was as yet an unknown factor generally speaking.
In 1951 they came out with their definite design, a scooter of exceptional characteristics. It owed very little to any other design, much like the Achilles, or the Heinkel – this was an original. The motor was a Küchen designed machine of 200-cc according to the two-stroke principal, not normally a Küchen specialty. The transmission had four speeds, front suspension was by telescopic means whereas a swing-arm suspension handled the rear wheel.
The body design was absolutely original, ruggedly good looking, neither feminine like the Italian Vespa, nor macho like the Heinkel, just right according to my aesthetic conception.
The front fender had a regular, heavy, chromed bumper built in (besides it being a good idea, it represented great styling) and the headlight was integrated smoothly into the top of the front fender, a spare wheel was standard equipment. The stylistically highly successful headlight-fender combination enabled the rider to view the curves ahead extraordinarily well at night, a serious safety consideration, particularly for a machine designed with the ‘family’ in mind. The machine was also fully side-car capable and could be driven at top speed, fully loaded, no matter the temperature or the mountainous landscape.
· It wasn’t only the very first German motorscooter design, but the Schweppe-Pirol inspired many other German designs to come later with its individuality and its purely Germanic character.
The company was small and it appears, it was unable to withstand the better financed, larger competition. As a consequence, they had to stop production of this fine machine in 1954. Whatever happened to the factory I have been unable to find out.
An entire book has been written about this make. Unfortunately I have been unable to locate a copy of it, even though it was published until about 3 years ago.
Kleinschnittger was an amateur engineer, a tinkerer in the time honored tradition of the great American designer Buick for example. Starting in 1939, at home in his garage, he collected every conceivable piece of material, wheels, bearings, metal pieces, glass, you name it, in order to built that which he considered to be a viable small car.
In those days, very small cars were a rarity in Germany, even though one could still get the Goliath Pionier 3-wheeler, the Framo 3-wheeler and the Tempo 3-wheeler as a ‘car’, but unlike in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, rarely did anyone ever buy these. To Kleinschnittger, this was a shame and he thought (maybe rightfully so) that one of the reasons for this was the delivery-truck like ride of the vehicles mentioned. He wanted to design and built a ‘real’ four-wheeled Micro Car. This dream became reality after the war.
He began tinkering with his basic design as early as 1947 and by 1949 had built a functioning, even if somewhat rough, Mirco Car with a dimunitive air cooled Ilo engine of 98-cc coupled to a three-speed transmission mounted above the rear axle being inspired by the 1931 Borgward-designed Goliath Pioneer.
This ‘car’ (actually the Spanish ‘carito’ would have been more fitting!), had fenders which came from a wrecked Wehrmacht motorcycle, the windshield was from a downed fighter plane of undetermined nationality, and the various other components came from an equally large variety of sources! This little car travelled a maximum speed of 30 mph, fully loaded with two people on board. There was no space for lugagge. It looked suspiciously like one of those electric toy-cars one encounters at county fairs – but it ran very well and was legal transportation, incomparably better than many a small motorcycle on the roads back in those terribly, terribly hard times when Germany at large was starving.
· It was reliable and most of all - it was feasible in a country which the victors of WWII had transformed into a giant concentration camp, with some vegetating on starvation rations while millions were left to starve. These indisputable historical facts, swept under the rug by todays corrupt politicians must be considered when discussing the creations of men like Kleinschnittger, or Fend, or any of the other intrepid spirits who refused to cave in to the human-rights abusing, murdering and plundering hordes from east as well as west.
Of course Kleinschnittger was constantly improving and changing his little car until, at the beginning of 1950 it was ready for production. His new creation was entirely different. Despite its tiny size, it looked like a real car, not a toy. It was an extraordinarily well designed sports roadster in the traditional sense, with a front mounted single cylinder two-stroke air cooled 125-cc Ilo engine coupled to a four-speed transmission. Its low belt line made doors superfluous, one merely stepped into the car. All unnecessary things had been eliminated, the body was built of aluminium, eliminating the ever-present rust problem and giving the car an unbelievable low eight of 150 kgs, practically the same as a regular motorscooter. The frame too was built of light metal, simple but sturdy, the weight distribution was a perfect 50/50 and power was transmitted to the front wheels. The suspension was simplicity in itself, and all wheels were independently sprung.
In short, small it was, light it was, but it incorporated modern engineering ideas usually reserved for designs of large, well financed design studios.
Kleinschnittger was helped a great deal by Walter Lembke, a salesman from Hamburg, whose encouragement and assistance was instrumental in forming the Kleinschnittger Automobil Company. Lembke, like all good salesman was an optimist who saw in Kleinschnittger’s creation the future. Ilo, the source of the engines, was less than enthusiastic, until they saw and drove the little car.
The good performance and roadholding, great looks, light weight and astounding quality of the proto type was such, that Ilo was convinced of its future success and agreed to deliver as many engines as Kleinschnittger needed. The little car was dubbed; ‘Kleinschnittger 125-F’ the ‘125’ referring to the engine displacement in cc’s and the ‘F’ to the front-wheel drive. The little car achieved remarkable succes on the market place due to a variety of reasons, to whit - good looks, relatively good performance (50 mph, fully loaded, up and down any road, all day long without missing a beat), low fuel consumption ( 2.5 litres of gas over a distance of 100 km, this amouted to about 65 mpg!) and utter reliability. The design was foolproof, the quality was impeccable and the Ilo motor was one of the very best available anywhere. It was what in America one refers to as a ‘bullet-proof’ engine.
· One of the design features was the simplicity with which the windshield was attached to the body, an idea copied 10 years later by the British with their Austin-Healey Sprite and MG Midgets.
The Kleinschnittger came in a variety of highly attractive colors, ranging from plain white to turquoise, to Chinese Blue, Prussian Blue, light green and bright red. The convertible top (an extra cost option) was permanently installed when ordered (other then with the British roadsters of the time) and easily put in place (other then with the British counterparts, whose tops were no more than very poor jokes played on the customers). I know, having owned an MG Midget (nightmare) and two different Triumph TR3’s (fun cars, real rockets, but primitive to an extreme.)
· The road holding of the Kleinschnittger was exemplary. Fritz Fend once challenged Kleinschnittger to a duel, he driving a Messerschmitt Kabinenroller KR200, and Kleinschnittger, the diminutive ‘F-125’. Well, the Kleinschnittger won! Out- slaloming the Messerschmitt and taking curves with breathtaking aplomb. Kleinschnittger knew the value of competition and modified one model with a specially designed Ilo 150-cc engine for such events.
Kleinschnittger entered his cars in international Rallyes in the ‘Below 1 liter Class’ with more success then one would imagine. In one such Rallye (Barcelona to Lisbon and back) the Kleinschnittger, incredible as it may seem, finished second to a Porsche 356-C outperforming a plethora of cars (Fiats, Fiat Abarth Specials, Hillmans, Panhards, MG's and a slew of others) some with five to six times the engine displacement!
It was around the middle 1950s that Kleinschnittger developed and marketed one of the cutest, most efficient city scooters ever put on any road. This little miracle was the only one, which was truly competitive with the aforementioned ‘Binz’.
It was powered by a 50-cc Ilo two-stroke engine, was simplicity in itself, easy to maintain, ride and lovely to look at. Marketing considerations however precluded the scooter going into full production. What a shame!
The increasing prosperity in Germany called for a larger, more powerful car, so he went to work designing the Kleinschnittger F-250 and the F-250-S. Both cars, especially the latter were great looking coupes with fibreglass bodies, three seats and air cooled 250-cc Ilo twins. These cars employed the Egon Bruetsch originated manner of building a car made up of two fibre-glass shells, a fabulous, fool proof system. The F-250-S came out absolutely great looking and being powered by the excellent Ilo 250-cc twin (another great, bullet-proof Ilo design), coupled to Kleinschnittger quality, what could have been finer? However...
Strange things began happening around Kleinschnittger. He began having serious problems with his dealer network, what with the dealers clamoring for more powerful cars, demanding them quicker and all sorts of other seemingly non-sensical problems. Even though his larger cars were being readied for delivery, it appears a conspiracy of dealers and his bank worked against him in ways he was unable to even comprehend.
One of the reasons for the dealers animosity had been his treatment of their councils. They considered him to be impervious to their wishes and thought him to be arrogant and dismissive. Whether this was so, I have no way of knowing. All I do know is, that he was forced into bankruptcy by his bank, which demanded payment in full for all outstanding debts. Anyone familiar with business knows, that such a tactic will bankrupt anyone.
· In reality, applying normal business standards and practices, Kleinschnittger was as financially healthy as could be! His networth, conservatively assessed, was over one million Marks, whereas his debts amounted to a mere DM 300.000. To declare such a company bankrupt is a judicial crime, pure and simple and that is precisely what they did; they committed a judicial crime by forcing a perfectly well-going, well-run concern out of business. Exactly who was behind this and why it was done is a mystery to me and also – what kind of system permits such a judicial perversion, such injustice? A jew-designed system, that's what!
Throughout this essay runs the same refrain like a Leitmotiv – the plunder of German technology, the disappearances of time-honored German companies, the failure of the government to stop these acts of international thievery and the apparent complicity in those acts by the very people who were elected to represent German interests. The refain is so often repeated, that some people will disbelieve its veracity.
· Many people will find my terminology, my directness, my calling 'a spade a spade' offensive, but so be it. A thief and a liar is always offended by being called a thief and a liar, and the reader who is offended by the veracity of this is ... well, 'birds of a feather' ... .
· I have thought about this in depth and have come to the irrevocable conclusion that I am right – we Germans are being destroyed from without and from within by truly evil forces, so evil, so foul that for the average gullible German, these things represent an impossibility -- That can’t be! I wish it weren't so, but sorry, not only can it be, it is.
There is simply no other plausible explanation. Had German industry built inferior products, had they had a poor reputation internationally, had they been cursed with a ‘work-force' like the one in present day Detroit or South Chicago, they would have deserved to disappear.
But none of these things hold true. Simultaneous with the disappearance of German motorcycle, motor scooter, optical and numerous other manufacturers, Japan appeared on the same market place and had no trouble selling their products.
· This despite the indubitable fact, that until 1955 Japan didn’t have a motorcycle industry, didn’t have an electronics industry, didn’t have an optical industry.
· The only industry they had was building third-rate bicycles, using 1920’s British technology. The (justifiably) highly touted Mitsubishe Zero Fighter was designed by engineers who had studied in England and used an American engine! In 1964 fresh out of the US Army, I walked unto a Used Car Lot in Redwood City, Ca., looking for a replacement for my disastrous 1962 MG Midget. I saw an awful looking contraption, a four-door sedan with a solid (!) front axle and an engine which appeared to be 1925 vintage. It was so ugly and primitive, it was fascinating, sort of like a circus freak one can't take ones eyes off. I asked the salesman what on earth this was and he informed me of it being a 1958 Toyopet from Japan. Had I not seen this mechanical throwback, I wouldn’t believe it. Toyopet changed their name to Toyota around 1965. When I state Japan’s industry was mired in the 1920’s until about 40 years ago, I am not joking. Not only was it mired in the 1920’s, but it wasn’t theirs in the first place! That much for ‘Japanese technology’.
But it seems to me, they were given the green light to plunder German technology, Germany was told not to interfere, ‘or else’ and subsequently they were permitted to enter the European markets, using patently unfair labor and trade practices, giving them an incredible advantage.
Concurrently, German manufacturers received no protection whatsoever from their government from predatory incursions into their market, were starved of funds and were simply put, strangled by forces totally beyond their control.
I think the Kleinschnittger debacle is a prime example – a financially healthy company, directed by a head-strong individualist, producing original and high quality machines, forced into bankruptcy despite having a net worth of 220% of their outstanding debts.
· If I sometimes use an offensive tone and call thieves thieves, I do so in the full and certain knowledge, that predatory thieves they were and nothing better, whether British or Japanese or American. A thief is a dishonest predator living of the labors off someone else, no matter what he looks like or whatever language he might speak.
No one who knows German products from that time doubts their superiority and originality on every level. This even applies to heavy duty trucks, another German industry which has for all intents and purposes disappeared. Ask any fireman, anyplace which fire engine he prefers, a 1984 Magirus-Deutz or a 2004 Iveco (for example) and he’ll opt for the Magirus Deutz every time. I know, I’ve tried this. What happened to giants like Buessing, Magirus, Hanomag, Faun, Südwerke et al? How can it be, that an entire industry producing superior products disappears with nary a trace? These makes were represented on all continents and had earned an impeccable reputation as being virtually indestructible. Buessing for example was Europe's leading truck and bus manufacturer in 1961 and went bankrupt in 1965. Excuse me? No one can point to a logical explanation. No One!
· Market forces? No, I rather think Evil forces.
To add salt to the wound, the Japanese have put such restrictions and such monstrously high taxes on German products, that it is virtually impossible to sell anything there, unless it’s a Mercedes or an Audi to a Japanese multi-millionaire. If they are permitted to charge such import duties, why can’t Germany do the same? Where is the German government?
Is it true the last German government is the one which was torture-murdered in Nürnberg in 1946? It certainly appears so!
During the 1990s Mannesmann, one of Germany’s industrial giants, builder and designer of turbines, engines, transmissions, every type industrial machinery known to man and all of it world-leading, was ‘sold’ to Vodafone of England.
· Who is behind Vodafone?--where did ‘Vodafone’ come from?--what do they manufacture?
· From where did they get the money to buy a gigantic industrial enterprise?--why did they buy a company which had precious little to do with their market (telephones)?
· What is this perversion called ‘Hostile Take-Over’? Who invented that? Who is benefitting from such a monstrous act? Well, it isn’t the workers or the shareholders, I guarantee that!
· And THAT abortion isn’t a GERMAN invention, I guarantee that as well. We, even though forever maligned and defamed, invent things that benefit mankind.
· Who invents things which benefit a small group of manipulators at the expense of the host nation?
· Well folks, it’s called ‘Der Ewige Jude’.
Mannesmann had shown a positive balance sheet for years. It was a money maker. It was a prestige maker. It was the employer of 45.000 (that’s forty five thousand!) highly trained, well paid employees and it was ‘sold’ for no apparent reason, other than to destroy Germany. One year after this outrage the name Mannesmann disappeared forever.
· It would behoove Mercedes, et al, to pay close attention!
If it can happen to:
1) Mannesmann (turbines, various machinery),
2) AEG (electronics of every kind),
3) Grundig (at the forefront of stereo-, radio technology and styling),
4) Dornier (one of the premier airplane manufacturers since the 1920s),
5) the entire German motorcycle-motorscooter industry (great stuff on every level)
6) almost the entire German heavy duty truck and earth moving machinery industries,
7) the entire German electronics industry (Germany was world leading),
8) the entire German optical industry (Germany was world leading),
9) almost the entire German fibre industry (Germany invented synthetic materials),
10) Telefunken (THE premier manufacturer of microphones, unquestioned world- leaders in recording technology)
11) And NOW in 2004 maybe even Opel (one of the oldest automobile and truck manufacturers in Europe)
12) And the list is literally endless ...
It surely can happen to Mercedes (inventors of the automobile), because never forget, traitors are only smiled upon as long as they are useful idiots – then they are discarded like the trash that they are. Mercedes has already started disappearing – they changed their name to Daimler-Chrysler with repulsive servility toward their bankrupt American ‘acquisition’.
Today, October 14th. 2004, the BBC London aired the news, that Opel of Germany is going to lay off thousands upon thousands of workers within the next year. GM has allegedly ‘lost patience’ (the words of BBC) with Opel management and demands profits.
The BBC, in typically dishonest Jew-corrupted British fashion, didn’t report that Opel has been ruined by GM laying handcuffs on the German management team and saddling them with a certain Sr. Lopez as their ’leader’. Imagine, a German company being led by some turd-world Affirmative Action clown! This certified cretin destroyed not only Opel, but all the various vendors as well by his irrational demands for lower prices.
The result was that the vendors sold inferior products to Opel, who in turn suffered a terrible backlash in terms of prestige and reputation. Lopez was send packing and Opel hired a manger from BMW who has done his best to repair the damage, but he can do only so much in a year. Now GM, the morons who caused the catastrophe, ‘are losing patience’.
Quasi every Chevrolet sold on the South American continent is an Opel design, Corsa, Vectra and Astra. Hugely successful on the market, but the money goes to the USA of course (under the name of Chevrolet), not to Opel which designed these cars.
A few short years ago, Opel built a huge new factory with the latest computer technology, now all of a sudden, we are told, they are inefficient (inefficient Germans?) and have gained a bad reputation. Excuse me, but Opel had the nickname in Germany of ‘Der Zuverlässige’ – The Reliable One’, they had a stellar reputation worldwide, until GM decided to hire a turd-world Affirmative Action clown as the head of this once magnificent company.
The German highway patrol drove Opels for years, because they were fast and reliable. The Chilean government imported 3-litre Opel Omega V6 models especially to give to the police generals. They could have imported Citroens, Buicks or anything else. The Opel Omega was sold for years in the US as a Cadillac. Years ago every Korean Daewoo was based on Opel technology, as was the American Saturn, the English Vauxhall and who knows what else! Opel reputation and reliability go back all the way to the 1920s, when they were the first ones to make and fly a rocket powered air plane! What is happening here? Another ‘Mannesmann’, by different means? I smell a rat, particularly since the German government has been suspiciously quiet about this whole affair. Imagine, a country which has been hemorrhaging jobs and entire world-leading industries for decades and the government sits still and has the nerve to talk about job-creation and when a disaster such as the Opel-disaster starts to happen, they say and do nothing. That is criminal and there’s no other way to describe it.
What will happen in the future? The New World Order (Jew-Tyranny) as we know it today will disintegrate all by itself, much like the former Soviet Union did. No system built on lies can survive.
No system built on the ruthless repression and exploitation of the most creative country in Europe, can survive. It’s simply too unhealthy. One cannot take a superior boxer, put handcuffs on him and let him get beat up by mediocrities. Eventually the boxer will find a way to remove the shackles. The genetic stock of us Germans is still intact to a large degree and is merely slumbering. One day, someplace, possibly in the former East Prussia, it will re-awaken and start anew, building, creating and living proudly. Much of German stock, maybe 70% is useless, has been made useless, has been corrupted. Their soul has been amputated, but there still are some of us left, a few millions at least and that’s all we need to survive. If we have a strong ally in Russia, if we think, ‘the color of our skin is our uniform’, this scenario is a distinct possibility.
I pray to live to see it.
Top of Page | Home Page
©-free 2005 Adelaide Institute