An especially rare piece of automotive history is to be seen from Saturday, 17 December 2011 in the Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, Museum: the Austro Daimler “Bergmeister” Sport Cabriolet dating from 1932. The “Bergmeister” is considered by automotive historians to be one of the pinnacles of Austrian automotive history. Featuring a body from the Armbruster K&K Hofwagenfabrik, the Sport Cabriolet exhibited in the Porsche Museum is considered to be one of the most beautiful cars of its era. But technically as well the “Bergmeister”, driven by a 120 hp six-cylinder engine with overhead camshaft, is very interesting. Many of its design details can be traced directly back to Ferdinand Porsche, under whose direction Austro Daimler became one of Europe’s most technically advanced automotive manufacturers. Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, will present his “Bergmeister” in person at the exhibition on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The exhibit is one of the gems of Dr. Wolfgang Porsche’s private car collection. He commissioned Austrian classic car specialist Egon Zweimüller to restore the rare vehicle, requiring more than 10,000 working hours since 2007, with the task being completed in March of this year. The premiere of the restored Austro Daimler “Bergmeister” took place in August 2011 at one of the world’s most prestigious classic car events: at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, California, the “Bergmeister” won a second place in the European Classic 1925 to 1931 category.
Ferdinand Porsche and Austro Daimler
From 1906 onwards, Ferdinand Porsche worked as chief designer at the Austrian Daimler Motor company (Austro Daimler for short) in Wiener Neustadt. His most important projects at this time included electric and petrol-driven passenger vehicles but also various commercial vehicles as well as machines for aircraft, ships and for stationary applications. During the First World War, Ferdinand Porsche was primarily occupied with hybrid drive tractors for heavy artillery as well as aero engines for naval aircraft and large flying boats. But racing cars as well were designed under his direction, including the so-called “Prinz-Heinrich Car”, in which the Austro-Daimler works team won the first three places in the 1910 running of the highly regarded Prinz-Heinrich Race. Another highlight of his work was the high-performance ADS “Sascha” compact car. 1922 saw the emergence of the racing version of the new model, which was also to be followed by a four-seater production variant.
Even after Ferdinand Porsche’s move to the German Daimler Motor Company in 1923, numerous design features of the Porsche developments remained in the Austro Daimler model range. His successor as Austro Daimler chief designer, Karl Rabe, created an entire model range on this basis until his move to competitor Steyr in 1927, where he encountered Ferdinand Porsche again in 1929. Henceforth, Karl Rabe maintained a close lifelong association with him, following Porsche to Stuttgart in 1930, where he worked as chief designer of the Porsche company until 1965.