Friday, April 15, 2011

1936 Steyr "baby"

Looking rather like a mini version of the Chrysler Airflow of the time, the 1936 Steyr 50 Baby was a small car released in 1936 by the Austrian automobile manufacturer Steyr. The streamlined body was approved by Director Karl Jenschke to be constructed in 1935, but in that same year Jenschke relocated to the German Adlerwerke in Frankfurt am Main.

The car had a water-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine driving the rear wheels through a four-speed transmission. To save room and weight a dynastarter was used, which doubled as the axle of the radiator fan. It was regarded as the "Austrian Peoples' Car" and was affectionately referred to as the Steyr "Baby". Professor Porsche had, despite rumors, not been involved in the design or production of the 50. Moreover, the little Steyr offered better seating and luggage space than Porsche's Volkswagen with shorter overall length, a large sheet metal sliding roof and was available with hydraulic brakes (instead of the early Volkswagens' cable-operated ones).

In the spring of 1938 the car was revised. It got a more powerful engine and a longer wheelbase. The new model was called the Steyr 55 and went on sale in 1940. A total of 13,000 Steyr "Babies" were sold.

The Steyr (or Steyr-Puch) company operated from 1915 until 1990.

Photos and info from the Automobile brands of the past blog

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