Steyr 55 "Baby" (1939) at the Louwman Museum in The Hague (Holland)
Steyr was an Austrian automotive brand, established in 1915 as a branch of the Austrian Weapon Manufacturing Company (ÖWG or Österreichische Waffenfabriks-Gesellschaft). Renamed Steyr-Werke in 1926 and merged in 1934 with Austro-Daimler and Puch into Steyr-Daimler-Puch, it continued manufacturing Steyr automobiles until 1959. 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 1934 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.
The Louwman Museum in The Hague, the Netherlands, features one of the most impressive private car collections in the world. Several hundred cars are on show to teach you all about car history. The Louwman Museum offers a wide collection that includes everything from antique and classic cars to Formula 1 racing cars and hybrids. Since 1934, two generations of the Louwman family have assembled a unique collection of cars. The present Louwman Museum was designed to display the collection to the public. It was festively opened in 2010. The collection leads you from horse and wagon to the first self-propelled vehicles. It also takes you past the luxury cars from the end of the 19th century, post-war "affordable cars" and the first racing cars. Some of the Louwman Museum's highlights include unique specimens such as the boat-car, the beach-car and the swan-car as well as famous cars such as James Bond's Aston Martin from the film Goldfinger and the customised Cadillac Fleetwood of Elvis Presley.