The Steyr-Werke in the town of Steyr in eastern Austria was a weapons and bicycle manufacturer employing some 14,000 people during the First World War. By the time the war was over, the company had produced a total of 3,000,325 rifles, 234,919 pistols, and 40,524 machine guns. But following the war, demand for weapons went into sharp decline and Steyr's managing board of directors decreed the company would try its luck at an automobile. In 1920, famed designer Hans Ledwinka (most famous for the Tatra automobile) designed and built the first Steyr, the Wafenauto. Later cars were built under the leadership of Ferdinand Porsche who joined the company in 1929 after working for Mercedes. The company was merged with Austro-Daimler-Puch in 1934. In total, Steyr manufactured 34,776 cars between 1920 and 1940. The 220 was the last pre-war model built by steyr. They were available in four body styles provided by Dresden, Germany based coachbuilder Glaser. All 220s were powered by a 260cc overhead valve six-cylinder inline engine producing 55 horsepower, coupled to a four-speed manual transmission.
Just six of these unique Glaser-bodied Steyr 220 Sport Roadster models were built before World War I. Three were destroyed in the war, one is displayed in an Austrian museum, and one has been lost to history. This example is the only one in the United States, only one in private ownership, and was built as a factory demonstrator bodied by Glaser of Dresden and shipped to Berlin, Germany in 1938. It features factory upgrades by Steyr which include dual carburetors, dual exhausts, a longer-duration cam and bigger valves.
The car was acquired by its current owner in 2011 and given a restoration which was completed in 2012.
The Austrian based Steyr-Puch Company produced the 120 Super, 125 Super and the 220 from 1935 through 1941. These were mid-sized vehicles that featured a streamlined body designed by Karl Jenschke and manufactured by Glaser in Dresden.
The 120 model featured a six-cylinder engine with a four-speed gearbox. Up front was a transverse leaf spring setup while the rear swing axle was suspended by quarter-elliptic leaf springs. Production continued to 1936, with a total of 1200 examples being produced.
In 1936, updates were made to the car included a wider track and a larger, more powerful 50 horsepower engine, resulting in the Steyr 125 Super. Production lasted until 1937, with just 200 examples produced.
Further updates, including a larger engine, resulted in the Steyr 220. The company increased the bore to 2.9 inches resulting in a 2.3-liter displacement size and 55 horsepower. Production of the 220 continued until 1941 with a total of 5,900 examples.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2012