Steyr Type 55 Baby
There is a definite resemblance between the Steyr 55 – affectionately known as ‘Baby’ – and the Volkswagen Beetle.
In fact, Ferdinand Porsche, who later designed the Beetle, worked at Steyr between 1929 and 1930, but whether he actually influenced the development of Steyr’s ‘people’s car’ is not certain. Its design was officially attributed to Karl Jenschke. The Steyr 50 was launched in 1936, the same year as the Beetle. It was followed two years later by the more powerful 55.
The Austrian Steyr factory originally produced armaments but started developing cars and tractors around World War I. It merged with Austro-Daimler-Puch in 1924 to create Steyr-Daimler-Puch, which produced a diverse range of vehicles after World War II, encompassing cars, lorries, buses and all-terrain vehicles.
The different divisions were split at the end of the 1980s and in 1998 the Canadian automotive supplier Magna took over the motorcar division. Magna-Steyr currently develops and assembles on behalf of many large motor manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler and Fiat.