Tag Archive: Benz


Josef Werndl (1831 – 1889) was an Austrian gunsmith and he took over his father’s business of making small arms and weapons. In 1864 he, along with his brother Franz Werndl , formed Josef Und Franz Werndl & Company to manufacture rifles and small arms for the Austrian Army. The Werndl rifle of 1867 was famous for its function and quality.

In 1894, they expanded in to manufacture of bicycles. The bicycles were sold under the “Steyr” brand name, named after the Austrian town where they were located.

In 1915 , Josef Und Franz Werndl & Co expanded in to development and manufacture of automobiles. They employed the famous automotive engineer  Hans Ledwinka, who quit Nesselsdorfer (Tatra) to join them in designing a new car. The first car , Type II 12/40 HP was launched in 1920. In 1924 , the company was renamed as Steyr-Werke AG.

 A 1925 Steyr Type V car –

Conflict with Steyr management on small car Vs luxury car debate made Hans Ledwinka to quit and rejoin Nesselsdorfer, now Tatra.

In 1929 , Steyr recruited Ferdinand Porsche from DaimlerBenz. However, recession made survival difficult and the company was in trouble. This made Porsche to leave and create his own company as we know today.

In 1934, Steyr merged with Austro-DaimlerPuchwerke to form Steyr-Daimler-Puch. Steyr-Daimler-Puch was one of the largest automobile groups and were present in many fields – trucks, tractors, automobiles, motorcycles and mopeds.

Some of the most famous cars were the 1936 Steyr 50 , commonly known as “Baby” Steyr and 1939 Steyr 220

During the war , Steyr was involved in military production and,  being under Third Reich, used slaves from concentration camps as labour.

In 1967 , they introduced a versatile 4×4 vehicle named Haflinger

Steyr was also manufacturing automobiles under license from Opel, FIAT and Mercedes Benz.

A Mercedes-Benz G Wagon named Puch G

Starting early 1990s , Steyr-Daimler-Puch started selling the individual business of Trucks, Buses, Mopeds , Tractors to various companies and was concentrating on automobile business only

In 1998 , Magna International took majority shares in Steyr-Daimler-Puch and by 2001 it was fully acquired by Magna , renamed as Magna Steyr. Magna Steyr , now deals with Vehicle Engineering and contract manufacturing.

Steyr Logo –


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HORCH – Listen

August Horch (1868 – 1951), a German Engineer, was employed in the Engine factory of Karl Benz. In 1899, he quit Benz and started his own company and named it A.Horch & Cie. The first automobile made in 1901 was a 2 cylinder , 4.5 HP car –

In this car , Horch had a “shock-free” engine design – it was claimed that a 5 cent coin, standing on its side, will not fall when the engine is idling. He was also the first to introduce Aluminum alloy for the engine crankcase and transmission housings.

In 1904 Horch introduced  4 cylinder cars and in 1908  6 cylinder cars –

Horch recognized the importance of racing and was actively involved in various racing event , winning many. A 1908 Horch racer –

In 1909 August Horch quit the company after a tussle with the board of directors. After quitting A. Horch & Cie, August Horch created another company  called Audi, the latin translation of Horch – meaning “Listen”

Horch continued to manufacture luxury cars with bigger engines. In 1923, Paul Daimler designed a 8 cylinder engine for Horch.

A 1938 Horch –

In 1928, Horch was acquired by another company called DKW. In 1932 , 4 companies got together and formed the Auto Union comprising of Horch, Audi, DKW & Wanderer.

After the war,  Horch manufacturing facilities in East Germany were controlled by Russians and manufactured Sachsenring P240 cars and later on the infamous Russian Trabant cars. A 1956 Sachsenring –

In 1964, Auto Union was acquired by Volkswagen group and later renamed as Audi.

Horch Logo –

Karl Friedrich Benz (1844 – 1929) is credited with developing the first gasoline powered automobile in the world. He founded the company Benz & Cie in the year 1883 and was awarded a patent for a motorwagen in 1885. In 1886, the first gasoline powered automobile , the Benz Patent Motorwagen was publicly demonstrated , thus becoming the world’s first gasoline powered automobile.

The motorwagen was made famous by Bertha Benz in 1888, who without the knowledge of Karl Benz , drove it to Pforzheim – a distance of 66 miles, recoding the first long distance automobile journey. Fuelling the vehicle by getting “gasoline” from pharmacies – the first filling stations,  she was also credited with inventing the brake lining when she asked a shoe maker to nail leather on to the brake blocks to make the vehicle to stop in shorter distance. She had also suggested to Karl Benz to add an extra gear to make hill climbing better – may be the first customer feedback mechanism.

One of the famous and large selling models of Benz & Cie was-

The logo of the original Benz & cie

The Benz & Cie merged with Daimler group in 1926 as Daimler-Benz, naming its cars as Mercedes-Benz, the Mercedes name coming from the Daimler group.