License Build Puch's

That the Puch Werke in Graz build for other car manufacturers, was well known in the 1980's. But Puch also produced under it's own name many other models.

 

For starters, Steyr-Daimler-Puch was founded in 1934 by Steyr, Austro Daimler and Puch. In the late 1930's, Steyr also manufactured the -for Austria- very famous and popular Steyr 50, fondly known as 'Baby', because of it's small size. But after World War II, most of the production capacity and technical knowledge was gone, and rebuilding Europe was more important than building luxury cars.

Slowly, Puch began to take overhand in the conglomerate with the motorcycle and moped industry, but the fourwheel division reinvented itself with the Pinzgauer and Haflinger offroad vehicles among others. Nevertheless, Steyr still wanted to build a nice car in the 1960's. So they went to their neighbours in the south and contacted Fiat.

 

This was the start of a very longlasting and solid cooperation between the 2 brands and the first item Steyr-Daimler-Puch build, was the Steyr 650.

The base was the then very popular Fiat 500, but build in Graz and fitted with a much stronger Steyr-Puch engine. This was neccesary for the mountainous areas in Austria and it was a bestseller.

In the 70's, another model was license-build by Steyr-Daimler-Puch. Since Mercedes-Benz had their G-series wagon build in Graz, it was an obvious choice for Puch to simply rebadge the model and make it an official Puch product. The Puch Gelände-wagen was a fact. Exactly similar to the Mercedes version, but much cheaper with only different emblems.

Now they had a chassis to build on with the 650, Steyr-Puch created it's own bodywork and upgraded the engine from a former 500 -then 650- to a full 700 and called it the Steyr-Puch IMP 700 GT Coupé. Once again a great succes for the factory. It even got it's own stamp in 2015.

Yes that's right, Puch build a sports coupé! How awesome is that?

But the fun didn't stop there. The more the factory got knowledge about producing cars once again, the better they became in aquiring a license for a model and rename it Steyr-Puch or simply Puch.

Thus it was in the 1980's that the Puch Werke became hungry for more success and asked none other than Mercedes-Benz to license produce their G-series Geländewagen. And they got the license! The Puch G became a reality. And in Austria it was a huge succes as aluxury all-wheel drive vehicle.

Right until the end of the conglomerate, Puch produced their licensed build cars. Mostly for the internal Austrian market, but sometimes models were exported to other countries. And even 30 years after production, a whole lot of them still ride the roads on the planet. Just like the Puch Maxi mopeds.

But does the story ends there? No. It continues.

In 2014, 100 years after the death of founder Johann Puch (Janez Puh), the Grazer factory held a parade through town, honoring the prosperity the city has had since the factory opened. The parade consited of many vehicles, and in perticular a one-off model was specially produced in honor: a new Fiat 500 was handmade rebuild as a Puch 500. Unique. One of a kind.  To honor the legacy of Steyr-Daimler-Puch.

And since Magna became the owner of the Grazer factory in the l;ate 1980's, the new owner still continues to produce cars and carparts for many brands. They even bring out studymodels and prototypes, so the internal R&D division remains an international marketleader. Like this Magna-Steyr Mila.

Maybe it has a different name in the 21st century, and a new owner, but the technical know-how and the leading place in innovation still makes Graz a factory to recon with. They were ahead of they're time, they are ahead of they're time, and they always will be.

 

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