Steyr 50

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1936 Steyr 50 Baby

The Steyr 50 is a small car released in 1936 by the Austrian automobile manufacturer Steyr. The streamlined body was approved by Director Karl Jenschke to be constructed in 1935, but in that same year Jenschke relocated to the German Adlerwerke in Frankfurt/Main.

The car had a water-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine driving the rear wheels through a four-speed transmission. To save room and weight a dynastarter was used, which doubled as the axle of the radiator fan. It was regarded as the "Austrian Peoples' Car" and was affectionately referred to as the Steyr "Baby". Professor Porsche had, despite rumors, not been involved in the design or production of the 50. Moreover, the little Steyr offered better seating and luggage space than Porsche's Volkswagen with shorter overall length, a large sheet metal sliding roof and was available with hydraulic brakes (instead of the early Volkswagens' cable-operated ones).

In early 1938, the car was revised. It got a more powerful engine and a longer wheelbase. The new model was called the Steyr 55 and went on sale in 1940.

A total of 13,000 Steyr "Babies" were sold.

Other Steyr models included the Steyr 100, Steyr 120, both equipped with straight-4 engines and the flagship Steyr 220 with a straight-6, a 2.2 litre engine producing 55 HP. All these models were produced as cabriolets as well. The production of Steyr cars was discontinued during World War II, after bombing of the factory. After the war, the factory was rebuilt and specialized in Austrian versions of the Fiat 500 and Fiat 1500 (1935). Today the Steyr factory produces the BMW X models for Europe.

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