Wednesday, March 27, 2013

GRAF & STIFT - and the First World War


In 1892, brothers Franz Graf , Heinrich Graf and Karl Graf opened a bicycle repair shop in Vienna. Soon they expanded in to manufacture of bicycles.

Sometime between 1895 & 1898 , they developed a car  with a single cylinder De-Dion Bouton engine fitted in the front of the car , driving the front axle. Probably this was the worlds first front-wheel drive car.

The first Graf car -



Only one car was made of this design.

The Graf brothers continued to experiment with cars and in 1904 formed the company Graf & Stift along with an automobile dealer , Wilhelm Stift. They made cars under the Spitz brand name.

In 1907 , they terminated the Spitz brand name and started manufacturing cars under the Graf & Stift brand name.

A 1907 Graf & Stift car -



One of most famous car was the 1911 Graf & Stift in which  Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914. He was the heir to the Austrian throne and this incidence started the first world war.

The 1911 car of Archduke Franz Ferdinand  -




Graf & Stift manufactured Luxury cars apart from expanding in to buses and tram bodies. A 1936 Graf & Stift SP8 model, called the "Rolls-Royce of Austria" -



In 1971 , Graf & Stift was taken over by Osterreichische Automobil Fabriks AG to become OAF-Graf & Stift AG. In the same year OAF-Graf & Stift became the subsidary of MAN AG.

In 2001 , the Graf & Stift name was dropped when MAN AG re-oragnised , to become MAN Sonderfahzeuge AG. In a fuhrer re-organisation in 2004 , the company is known as MAN Osterreich AG.

A Graf & Stift bus -



The Graf & Stift Logo -