The history of the Austrian automobile industry, first of all, is connected with the name of the Puch company. The founder of this firm, Johann Puch, began, as well as most of founders of automobile houses, with construction of bicycles, and in 1898 added to a production row also motorcycles. Only in 1906, having accumulated experience, having thoroughly studied the European automotive industry of that time and having invited the skilled engineer and the businessman Karl Slefogt, I ripened to assembly of the first car.
Describing technical characteristics of those cars presently, it is quite difficult to keep from smiling. The construction under the name 8/9PS with the two-cylinder engine of water cooling was the first child of Johann Puch. Next year the firm let out already 4-cylinder model 12/18PS, and in a year the model range of a car with engines on 4 cylinders was issued. Among them were even racing cars, and very successful, brought to the founders victories, glory and pleasure.
On it, in fact, the first stage in the history of firm ended. The begun World War I brought to Down the mass of orders, but after defeat Austro-Hungary collapsed on some parts and nearly buried firm under the fragments. After war the Down offered a couple of new four-cylinder cars – with the engine in 1,6 liters and 22 hp for ordinary consumers and the racing version with the engine in 45 h.p. But it were already absolutely other cars in absolutely other country. Victories, even they didn't bring to the founders joy.
In 1923 the Down finally returned to the first love - to motorcycles. They also returned to firm former greatness, having made glory of this brand. It seemed, it would be possible to put the end, telling Down about cars, but isn't present is there was not an end yet.
The matter is that in 1928 there was very successful association to the Austrian concern Daimler in this connection cars started descending from conveyors of firm again. And after financial injections from the partner of Daimler of Mercedes the reputation of plant which releases expensive and high-quality cars was consolidated to firm. In 1934 one more Austrian firm Steyr which became famous for release of small arms in due time joined Down, and after war was compelled to be engaged in something another. As a result it began to release cars and received the status of a smithy of shots for future Czech and German automobile industry. Since this period the firm began to be called as Steyr-Daimler-Puch.1 - 38
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