Steyer 30E Cabriolet

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30E Cabriolet





The company, initially known as Josef und Franz Werndl and Company was founded in 1864 as a rifle manufacturer. It grew rapidly during the First World War, by the end of which it employed 14,000 people. The company began producing bicycles in 1894, and Steyr automobiles after 1918. In September 1917 Steyr recruited Hans Ledwinka, now remembered as one of the great automobile engineers of the twentieth century, but then relatively unknown, to the position of "Chefkonstrukteur", to lead the creation of their automobile manufacturing business. The first Steyr car, the six cylinder Type II "12/40" appeared in 1920. In August, the Österreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft finally presented its first production car, the Type II, at the Prague Motor Show. Similar to the tax classes, the Type II also had the designation 12/40 HP. The name of the hometown was chosen as the brand, and the Steyr was born. It was heavy and well-built, if a little cumbersome; soon, however, it spawned sports versions with an impressive list of international achievements. The small but luxurious 1.5 L six Type XII of the late twenties won international motor press acclaim. The chassis of the Type II with its ladder frame was still very conventionally designed, and for the time being there were only brakes on the rear axle, there instead two drums of impressive size. The centerpiece, however, was its ultra-modern engine, an in-line six-cylinder with an impressive volume of 3.317 liters, which resulted from a bore of 80 mm and a stroke of 110 mm. The output of 40 hp at 2,400 revolutions per minute was less of a sensation than the construction itself with an overhead, gear-driven camshaft that controlled the diagonally opposite valves via rocker arms. The valves themselves were screwed in as a unit with the valve seats from above. The cylinders with their integrated heads were cast in one piece from gray cast iron, while the crankcase. the dimensions of the Type II with its 3.75 meter long wheelbase made it clear that it was part of the luxury class. The Steyr wanted to be a sturdy, long-lasting automobile and already in the first year one tried to prove its qualities in racing. As early as October 1920, four works cars with a shortened chassis were at the start of the Schwabenberg race. Since the beginning, the ÖWG has not only sought salvation in the small Austrian market, but also carried its Steyr out into the wide world. Not only did you show your skills at races, you were also present at exhibitions all over the continent, and you built up an impressive, international network of dealers.

Hans Ledwinka also used the engine of the Type II for the construction of the Type III. It was the first truck from Steyr, but it did not come onto the market until 1922. In the previous year, however, there was already the smaller Steyr Type IV as a cheaper entry-level model, for which Ledwinka had designed a 1.8-liter in-line four-cylinder. However, with only 950 built, it fell far short of expectations, while various sources refer to 2,150 built units for the large Type II.

A cross between the types II and IV was the type VI Sport, for which the light chassis of the little one and the engine of the big one were taken, it was drilled up to 5 liters and with a compressor it was possible to get a multiple of the power.

The Type II was replaced by the Type V in 1924, which differed from its predecessor only in minor technical details, such as a reserve tank and an improved cooler. Ledwinka had already returned to Nesselsdorf by then. Otto Hieronimus succeeded him, but had a fatal accident in a race in Graz in May 1922. He was followed by Anton Honsig, who had worked as a designer for Steyr under Ledwinka from a young age and whose Type XII was to become by far the most successful model.

The company changed its name to Steyr-Werke AG in 1926.

With the Steyr XII one reached already five-digit production numbers, the yearly production scratched 1929 already at the 5.000er mark. In the same year they presented the Steyr XX as a new mid-size model. In order to serve the expected sales, you did not even wait for orders, but immediately built on stock. With a bank, the Allgemeine Bodencreditanstalt, as a 40% majority shareholder, you were at the same time a willing lender sure. In addition, they had secured the services of a brilliant designer, Prof. Ferdinand Porsche became the new technical director.

At first, the incoming orders were still right, but then everything should be different. In the middle of the year, dark clouds rose on the horizon. Sales fell, orders were canceled. The factory did not know where to go with the built Steyr XX. Then it went fast. On October 24, 1929, the New York Stock Exchange plunged the world into crisis. In Steyr there was already panic, because a good two weeks before the house bank had to ask the government for help. Under pressure from Chancellor Schober, the Soilcreditanstalt of Austria's largest bank, the Creditanstalt, owned by the competition of Austro Daimler, took over and tore it almost to ruin.

What followed was sheer misery. Hardly any other region in Austria has hit the economic crisis as hard as the industrial city of Steyr. The new owner initially dismissed more than half of the workers in vehicle production, introduced a joint production planning with Austro Daimler and ultimately imposed the total stop of production.

That was the environment in which Prof. Porsche was working on the Steyr 30, which was to replace the XII and also the XX. The engine was as in XX a 2.1-liter OHV six-cylinder, but much shorter-stroke, so spritziger designed. The crankshaft was mounted eight times and their housing made of light metal. Further sophistication was demonstrated by a heated suction tube, water cooling with pump and thermostat, and an automatic starter flap. At the front worked a rigid axle on longitudinal leaf springs, behind a pendulum axle on a transverse leaf spring. In addition to the modern mid-size car, the professor also worked on the type Austria, an 8-cylinder luxury model. The crisis put an end to this because the involuntary new Steyr principal shareholder did not want internal competition to Austro Daimler. Ferdinand Porsche experienced his déjà vu, years before that ended his time as General Manager at Austro Daimler in dispute with the Creditanstalt. He left Steyr after less than a year, before his type 30 was presented in October 1930 in Paris.

1930 was a disaster for Steyr at all. Twelve 12, in words twelve, vehicles were built in this black year. Four pieces of the new type 30 and eight of its taxis version, the type 45th Production only started in 1931, but the numbers remained far behind the years before the crisis. For the following year, they revised the Steyr 30. There was now the Steyr 30 S, whose output increased by 5 hp and it had a fourth overdrive gear, an extended version called the SL and, at the time, an economy version, the Steyr 30 E, almost exclusively as a limousine. Its smaller carburetor reduced the power by 2 horsepower to 38. Only 343 pieces were made in the one year in which it was built. Almost twice as many of the “normal” 30s that were still on the stockpile and of the new 30 S were sold. The standard versions remained the sedan and the four-door convertible. Various open creations by renowned coachbuilders ensured luxury, including the in-house competition from Austro Daimler. They were beautiful as a picture, but very expensive, and thus anything but a bestseller at the time. Only 620 pieces were created in 1932, the first and last year in which it was built. The standard versions were still the sedan and the four-door convertible. Various open-minded creations by renowned coachbuilders, including the in-house competition from Austro Daimler, provided luxury. They were pretty, but very expensive, and at that time anything but a bestseller. Today, these cars remind us of Austria's proud automobile tradition, as it was one of the world's spearheads in terms of technology. These days are long gone, but contemporary witnesses like this cabriolet make sure that the memory does not fade.

In 1934, Steyr merged with Austro-Daimler-Puch to form Steyr-Daimler-Puch. The range produced in these years mainly consisted of very modern designs, sporting partially or complete unit construction bodies in streamlined livery, from the one-litre Steyr 50 to the 2.3 L Steyr 220 "six".

After the war, Steyr-Daimler-Puch built Diesel engined trucks and buses, small and heavy tractors and also resumed passenger car production. First, Steyr assembled the FIAT 1100E, then put their own engine in a Fiat 1400, renaming the car the "Steyr 2000". From 1957 through to the early 1970s it produced the tiny Puch 500 under license from FIAT, again with an engine of Austrian design.

Most prominent, however, was its range of off-road cars, from the two-cylinder Haflinger and the 4 x 4 or 6 x 6 Pinzgauer, the Fiat Panda 4x4 (999 cc) to the Mercedes-Puch G. SDP was the initial designer and manufacturer of these utility vehicles. The Haflinger was produced from 1959–1974, the Pinzgauer from 1971–2000, and the Puch G (also known as Mercedes G-Class) from 1979.

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