Tag Archive: daimler


Frederick Lanchester (1868 – 1946), one of the most famous automotive engineers from England, started his career building engines for boats. In 1895, he developed a four-wheeled, 5 hp petrol engine vehicle equipped with an epicyclic gear box with 2 forward speeds and a reverse. Even though this was one of the most advanced motor cars of that time, it did not run successfully owing to transmission problems.

The 1895 car was modified and was operated successfully in 1897. The car was very robust with almost no vibration due the presence of harmonic mass balancer in the engine. Lanchester was the first British car to use its own engine and transmission on the car

In 1899, along with brothers George Lanchester (1874 – 1970) and Frank Lanchester, the Lanchester Engine Company was formed to manufacture engines and cars. The company was renamed as Lanchester Motor Company in 1904.

Some of the most famous models were the various models of Lanchester 10 between the 1900s and 1940s and the Lanchester 40 which rivaled Rolls-Royce

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1904 – Lanchester 10                       1946 – Lanchester 10

Lanchester 40

Frederick Lanchester was known for his new innovative technologies and was the first to invent a wick carburetor to run petrol engines as early as 1890s. The most famous invention of the Lanchester was the Lanchester Balancer , a harmonic mass balancer used to balance a straight 2-cyl or 4-cyl engines., using 2 balance shafts running at twice the crankshaft speed in opposite directions. These Lanchester Balancers are used in many modern straight 4-cylinder engines to balance the typical 2nd order vibrations. One of the modern example is the Mitsubishi “Silent Shaft” design.

The Lanchester logo –

Lanchester Motor company was taken over by BSA group in 1930 and integrated in to the Daimler division. BSA/Daimler/Lanchester was taken over by Jaguar in 1960 and later on passed on to FORD PAG. Currently the brand is with TATA Motors of India when they acquired the Jaguar – Landrover from FORD.

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Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) was founded 1861 by a group of 14 gunsmiths of the Birmingham Small Arms Trade Association. BSA was founded to meet the challenge of Royal Small Arms factory at Enfield who started using machines to manufacture arms more efficiently and cheaply.

With demand for small arms reducing , the small arms business was shut down in 1879. In order to utlise the manufacturing facilities , BSA expanded in to manufacture of bicycles. In 1880 the first Di-cycle was manufactured.

A 1880 BSA Di-cycle

BSA was one of the leading bicycle manufacturer till about 1887, when the demand for small arms peaked again. BSA reverted to manufacture of arms for the military.
BSA experimented with Motor cars in 1907 with a Itala design car which won the 1907 Peking – Paris race.

A 1907 BSA car

In 1908 BSA restarted bicycle production and continued till 1957 , when it was sold to Raleigh cycles. Motorcycles production was started in 1909 and continued till 1973 when it was sold to Norton-VilliersTriumph.
In 1910 , BSA acquired Daimler Motor Company which was in financial difficulty. BSA started using Daimler engines in their cars as well as re-badged the Daimler cars as BSA cars. In 1932, BSA/Daimler acquired Lanchester Motor Company.
BSA was the first company to introduce a mass produced Front wheel drive car in 1929. The car was a 3 wheeler with 2 front wheels and one rear wheel.

A 1930 BSA 3 Wheeled car

Later BSA carried on the Front wheel design to a 4 Wheeled car and can be considered as pioneers in front wheel drive cars.

A 1931 BSA front wheel drive car – TW 5

One of the most famous BSA cars was the BSA Scout.

A 1935 BSA Scout and a 1938 BSA Scout

After the WWII , BSA shifted back to Rear wheel drive cars.

Financial troubles at BSA led to Jaguar Cars acquiring BSA in 1960. In between 1966 and 1968 , they were part of BMC (British Motor Corporation) and BMH (British Motor Holdings). In 1968 BSA/Daimler/Lanchester/Jaguar became part of the reorganised and nationalised British Leyland (BL). In 1984, BSA/Daimler/Lanchester along with Jaguar cars became independent of British Leyland. Ford PAG acquired Jaguar cars in 1989 and later sold it off to Tata Motors in 2007.
In 2016, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd bought the BSA brand and plan to re-introduce the brand in India.

The BSA Logos –

Brothers John Francis Dodge (1864 – 1920) and Horace Elgin Dodge (1868 – 1920) were excellent machinists and had developed a name for their ability to mass produce precision parts. In 1900, they created Dodge Brothers Company and were supplying to Engine and chassis components to many automobile companies. They earned a reputation of being dependable.
In 1902 , they received an order to supply  3000 transmissions to Old Motor Works. Later they received and order for 650 Engines and transmission from Ford Motor Company. As time progressed , they were supplying most of the parts to Ford Motor Company and were fully dependent on the Ford Motor Company for survival.
Dodge brothers realised this dependence on Ford and wanted to move out and manufacture their own car. In 1914, they formed Dodge Brothers Inc to manufacture cars and introduced their first car – Dodge Model 30 in 1915.
A 1915  Dodge Model 30
The model 30 had many features which were not available in other cars as well as Ford’s car – All Steel body, 12V electrical system and 3-speed sliding gear transmission to name a few.
In 1917 , Dodge expanded in to manufacturing “commercial cars” – Ambulances, fire trucks, panel vans, delivery vans and later full size trucks. A fleet of 1920 Dodge delivery trucks –
The word RAM was first used in the early 1930s and later popularized in the 1970s to brand the Dodge trucks.
In 1920 , both the Dodge brothers died suddenly,  within a year of each other. The management of the company passed to their wives. In 1928 , the Dodge Brothers Inc was sold to a consortium who sold it to Chrysler Corporation.
Some of the well known Dodge cars are –
A 1939 Dodge Luxury Liner

Dodge Challenger

Dodge Durango

A 1989 Dodge Ram

High Performance car – the Dodge Viper

In 1998 , Chrysler Corporation merged with Daimler to form Daimler- Chrysler. In 2007, Daimler divested Chrysler to a consortium which was later bought by Fiat.

The Dodge Logos –

Nikolaus August Otto (1832 – 1891), German by nationality  ,  was a travelling salesman and got interested in the Lenoir engine. The Lenoir atmospheric engine ran at 4% efficiency and Otto was contemplating to improve the engine. He , along with Carl Eugen Langen formed the company, NA Otto & Cie to manufacture these engines. This was probably the first engine manufacturing factory in the world.

In 1867, they developed the Otto-Langen atmospheric engine which won many awards and contracts.
The 1867 Otto-Langen atmospheric engine –
This engine could produce power in the range of 0.25 HP to 3 HP. The exploding combustion of the gas lifted the piston, creating a partial vacuum  The piston is returned back to its position by gravity, in the process doing work. The limitation of this engine to go beyond 3 HP was due to the design which requires headroom for this engine. Watch a video of of the Otto-Langen engine working –  (Click Here)
In 1869, they moved the company to the town of Deutz and renamed their company as Gasmotoren – Fabrik Deutz.
In 1872, the management brought in Gottileb Daimler as the factory manager and Wilhelm Maybach as the design director.
Nikolaus Otto and Eugen Langen continued to work in trying to improve the efficiency of the atmospheric engine. In 1876 , they developed the first successful 4-cylinder , compression engine, running on illuminating gas (coal gas). The thermodynamic cycle came to be known as Otto cycle and the engine “Gas Engine”. Later on the engine was modified to run on Petrol (gasoline) but the name “Gas Engine” stuck on and even now Petrol engines are referred as Gas Engines.
The Otto Cycle – also referred to as the Constant Volume cycle
Nikolaus Otto wanted to concentrate on large stationary engines where as Gottileb Daimler wanted to concentrate on small automobile engines. This led to Gottileb Daimler quitting the company in 1882, taking Wilhelm Maybach along with him to form his own company – Daimler AG as we know today.
In 1886 , Nikolaus Otto lost his patent right of the Otto engine over recently discovered 1862 patent of Alphonse Beau de Rochas. This engine design was similar to Nikolaus Otto’s design but was only on paper. This led to many companies manufacturing Otto cycle engines.
During the war , the company was renamed as Klockner Humbolt Duetz AG (KHD) and later as Deutz AG.
Some the well known Automotive legends have worked in Deutz AG before moving out and starting their own companies – Gottileb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, Prosper L’Orange, Rudolf Diesel, Robert Bosch, Ettore Bugatti.
The Deutz AG logo

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 –


Thomas Humber (1841 – 1910) was a British Engineer interested in improving the bicycle designs of those times. Humber was credited with inventing the safety bicycle  with the pedal driving the rear wheel. Later on, he pioneered same size wheels and diamond-frame design in bicycles.

A Humber Bicycle –

In 1869,  Humber and Company was created to manufacture bicycles. In 1892, Thomas Humber sold off his rights to Henry Lawson of Daimler (England). As a logical step , Humber was experimenting with motorization. In 1896 , they introduced motorized bicycle fitted with Pennigton engine. A 1904 Humber motorcycle –

Humber continued to excel in the motorcycle and motorized tricycles. Parrallely they were experimenting with cars. In 1898 they introduced the first car and followed up with another in 1899 –

This was followed with a car in 1903 , called the Humbrette

During the war , Humber manufactured aircraft engines and continued to manufacture cars after the war.

In 1928 , Humber acquired Commer and in 1929 they acquired Hillman.  In 1932 , the Rootes group acquired Humber. Rootes group was taken over by Chrysler in 1964 and in 1978 Chrysler(Europe) sold off to Peugeot. After 1976, the Humber marque slowly disappeared.

Some of the famous and well know Humber cars – Humber Pullman and Humber Sceptre.

 


The Humber logos –

Heinrich Lohner (1786 – 1855) and his son Jakob Lohner (1821 – 1892) of Austria were in to the business of manufacturing wagons and luxury coaches. They were suppliers to many Royal courts as well as to the Austrian emperor. In 1863 , the company was named as Jacob Lohner Werke und Sohns.

In 1887 , Ludwig Lohner (1858 – 1928) – Jacob Lohner’s son, decided to investigate and expand in to self-propelled car which seemed to have a future. In 1897, Jacob Lohner & Co employed Ferdinand Porsche as their lead engineer to look in to the possibility of making a self-propelled car.

Porsche quickly made a design to use electric power to propel a car and made a car fitted with electric motors in the wheels , capable of providing 2 – 7 hp of power – the electricity being supplied a battery pack.

This electric car created a sensation and generated many orders and was in production till 1904. One customer wanted an upgraded design capable of seating up to 4 people as well as capable running on Petrol and electricity with drive to all 4 wheels. Challenged , Porsche created the world’s first serial Hybrid , named Mixtie. This vehicle was unveiled in 1901, was the world’s first Hybrid as well as 4WD vehicle.

See the video of a restored  Mixtie here.

This design was of a serial hybrid – the petrol engine charging the battery,  and is of similar design  as the current Chevrolet Volt and Diesel Locomotives. It was rumored that NASA looked in to the design while designing the Lunar Rover for the moon landing in the 60s.

Ferdinand Porsche left Jacob Lohner & co in 1905 and went to work with Daimler. He was instrumental in creating the Volkswagen Beetle along with the controversy involving Tatra. Ultimately , Ferdinand created the company Porsche AG as we know today.

LEON BOLLEE

Leon Bollee (1870 – 1913) was born in to a family of French entrepreneurs involved in the manufacture of church bells to steam cars. In 1889, Leon Bollee invented a mechanical calculating machine, probably the world’s first calculator. In 1895 , Leon Bollee constructed the first car , a 3-wheeler and called it a voiturette.
See the operation a Leon Bollee here with its hot tube ignition and starting procedures
Leon Bollee produced the first 4 wheel car in 1899 and by the time the demand for small cars were going down as the engine sizes increased. Leon Bollee manufactured the first big car in 1903 and by 1910, was manufacturing cars equipped with engine sizes ranging from 8 litres to 11 litres. Some of the Leon Bollee cars – a 1904 Leon Bollee and a 1911 Leon Bollee.
Leon Bollee automobiles was taken over by Morris Motor company in 1924 with the intention of selling Morris cars under the Leon Bollee brand in France. The partnership did not succeed as planned and finally Leon Bollee closed its operation by 1931-33.
The Logo of Leon Bollee and Morris Leon Bollee –

Daimler (England) has no technical connection with Daimler (Germany) except for the use of the Daimler name and purchase of a few engines for power boats in 1890s.

The creation of Daimler (England) can be credited to 2 people – Frederick Richard Simms (1863 – 1944) and Harry J Lawson (1852 – 1925). In 1891 , Frederick Simms formed the company Simms & co to manufacture power boats. In 1893, he renamed the company as Daimler Motor Syndicate, after purchasing the rights to use the Daimler name from Gottilleb Daimler and engines from DMG. In 1895, Harry Lawson formed the company British Motor Syndicate with aim of buying patents and controlling the motor industry in Britain. In 1896 , Harry Lawson merged British Motor Syndicate with  Daimler Motor Syndicate to form   Daimler Motor Company.

In 1896/97 , Daimler Motor Company used Daimler engines on Panhard & Levassor vehicles to create motor cars for sale in England. One of the first Daimler cars , a 4 HP , 2-Cyl , 4-speed gear box car

In 1900 , HM  King Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) bought the early  Daimler, a 2-cyl, 6 HP version,  and thus started the Royal relationship with Daimler . Daimlers were used by the Royal family in England and as state cars in many other countries across the world till Rolls-Royce & Bentley took over the Royal duty.

In 1910, Daimler was taken over by BSA group and was integrated in to their automotive business.

Daimler was known for introducing new technology & luxury in their cars. Daimler was considered to be the pioneer of car radio when they tried out this as early as 1922. One of the most famous, pre-war models was the 1926 Double Six.  The Double Six was fitted with a Knight Sleeve valve V12 engine – 2 straight 6 cylinder engines combined side by side to create a V12 engine. It was also equipped with a fluid flywheel (fore-runner to the current torque converter) and a Wilson Pre-selector gearbox (fore-runner to the current automatic transmission with paddle shift).  The car was constructed in variable wheel bases to meet customer needs.

One of the distinguishing features of Daimler cars and later Jaguar cars is the Fluted radiator grill. In 1907, Daimler cars were made with radiator cooling tubes arranged vertically in the front. This became the current radiator grill and is one of the most important styling elements in modern cars.

In 1932 , BSA/Daimler acquired Lanchester and Lanchester formed the mid brand between an expensive Daimler and a cheap BSA car. In 1960 , Jaguar cars acquired BSA/Daimler/Lanchester and in between 1966 & 1968 were a part of BMC (British Motor Corporation) and BMH (British Motor Holdings). In 1968, they became a part of the reorganized and nationalized British Leyland. In 1984, Jaguar cars along with Daimler/Lanchester became independent of British Leyalnd. Ford PAG acquired Jaguar cars in 1989 and in 2007 , was sold to Tata Motors of India.

Jaguar and Daimler were involved in “Badge Engineering” , where Daimler cars were sold as Jaguars and vice-versa. One of the famous re-badged Daimler cars was the Double Six which was re-badged as Jaguar XJ12.

The Daimler Logo –

Gottileb Daimler (1834-1900), Germany , was a pioneer in the development of internal combustion engine and automobiles. He , along with Wilhelm Maybach (later luxury car manufacturer), worked in Deutz,  the engine development company of Nicolaus Otto, the inventor of the Otto cycle and Petrol engine. Both Daimler and Maybach left Deutz in 1880 after differences with Otto.
In the year 1885 , Daimler fitted a small engine on to a wooden framed motorcycle called “Riding Car”  and Maybach drove the “automobile” for a few miles at a maximum speed of 7 mph. Later on they fitted bigger engines to stagecoaches and thus began the automotive era.
After the death of Daimler in 1900, businessman Emil Jellinek entered in to discussions with the company to design and develop new engines for racing purposes and called it by his 10-year-old daughter’s name , Mercedes and thus born the Mercedes brand.
The Daimler logo – three-point star – signifies dominance in Land, water & air. The word Mercedes added later on.
 A 1901 , 35 hp Mercedes car.
In the year 1926 , Daimler and Benz & Cie merged to form the company Daimler Benz – the three-point star of Daimler surrounded by the laurels of Benz.
In 1998 , Daimler Benz acquired Chrysler corporation and renamed itself as DaimlerChrysler and in 2007 , it divested Chrysler to become Daimler AG