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Austro Daimler in the Wachau 2010

Österreichischer Automobilbau zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts – Der Austro Daimler

Ein Blick in unser Archiv – und über den Tellerrand

"Bergmeister" with a beautiful body by Gläser
„Bergmeister“ with a beautiful body by Gläser

The early years of Lancia cars, with the first models being released in 1906, are well covered in literature. But rarely can one see early cars in a meeting, such as the model Trikappa with its V8 engine.

Lancia Trikappa
Lancia Trikappa

This is quite the same with other car marques as well. Especially if such a car marque ceased production early on in history. This is the case with AUSTRO DAIMLER, an Austrian car make of exceptional engineering and build quality. Austro Daimler is a marque with a powerful mystique. This is mainly due to the fact that Ferdinand Porsche was technical director from early on. Porsche joined Austro Daimler straight after his work for Lohner (see the “Lohner-Porsche” electric car which is exhibited in the Technical Museum Vienna).

"Der" Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen
„Der“ Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen

Porsche had strong racing ambitions for Austro Daimler. In 1910 Ferdinand Porsche himself won the famous “Prinz-Heinreich-Fahrt” [Trial] which took place in Germany. This was one of the most important rallies in its time. After the 1-2-3 win in this race, Austro Daimler offered this special sports model with nearly 100 hp engine output to private clients as well.

However, the Wiener-Neustadt in Lower Austria based company was very successful in the production of luxurious touring cars, a wide range of commercial vehicles as well as engines used in aeroplanes. It disappeared shortly after its merger with Steyr cars in 1930. Today only very few of the Austro Daimler cars survive.

Kein alltäglicher Anblick - auch nicht in Österreich
Kein alltäglicher Anblick – auch nicht in Österreich

So the author was lucky to join an anniversary meeting “100 years of Prinz Heinrich victory”. The meeting was organised by the marque’s only club “Sektion Austro Daimler” and took place in August in the Wachau region.  [].

Zwei sehenswerte Klassiker - Austro Daimler

There were 13 cars present, the biggest number of cars in one place since the 40’s for sure according to the club. Most impressive to me was the white “Prinz Heinrich” car owned by Ernst Piech. Piech had a copy of the racing body built onto an original chassis. This 1910 car featured an engine with 100 hp output.It is said that F. Porsche did 170 km/h on a test track in 1910!

In the middle: English body by Harrington
In the middle: English body by Harrington

J.E.W / Sept. 2010

More information about Austro Daimler (in German language)

  • Pfundner Martin, Austro Daimler und Steyr, Wien, 2007
  • Pinczolits Franz, Austro Daimer – Paul Daimler und Ferdinand Porsche, Weilburg, 1986
  • Seper Hans / Pfundner Martin / Lenz Hans Peter, Österreichische Automobilgeschichte, Wien 1999
  • Zumpf Peter / Geissl Gerhard / Weinzettl Gerhard, Austro Daimler, Wiener Neustadt, 2003


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