Ajax 8/16 PS "Droschke" Landaulet
It was in 1906, that Dr. G. Aigner built his first car at Zurich. He named it Ajax. He soon went bust and a company bought the remains. The three directors were from New York, Java and Switzerland.
3 models were offered: the 16 PS (Pferdestärke, the German near-equivalent of bhp) 4-cylinder with cardan-shaft, the 24 PS with cardan or chain and the last with an engine moulded from three blocks, originally intended to reach 50 PS, but it was capable of only 24 PS.
There was a smart starting mechanism: when the driver stepped up to the siderail with his/her weight he pushed it and this power was transmitted to the rotating part which started the engine!
The Ajax was famous for its silence: contemporary reports suggested that it was as silent as an electromobile.
In 1907 two Ajaxes competed at the Targa Florio race. One car was crashed, the other failed.
Only a handful Ajaxes have been sold but in 1908 Ajax took part in the foundation of the "Zürichs Autodroschke Gesselschaft" (Zuricher Taxi Company) so their cars were used as taxis.
In 1910 the Ajax went into the hands of the receiver and the story was over.
The pictured car, a taxi, has been loaned to Geneva.
Styled by Count Albrecht Goerts, this car was the first sport model of BMW after the 2nd World War. The fours-seater car was based on the 3.2 liter 501 chassis. The pictured car is a cabrio, but there was a closed version as well. About 400 were made at all. DKW F8
This car was presented in 1939, and was made by the Holka-Werke at St. Margrethen. It's also loaned to Geneva.
Dufaux Racer from 1905
Charles and Fréderic Dufaux was only 24 and 22-year-old respectively, when they opened their own mechanic shop.
In 1904 they decided to compete in the Gordon Bennett Race. It was one of the most prestigious event of those years.
The engine was designed by Charles and made by Piccard&Pictet. According to the rules, all components of the racers have to be made in the same country, so they required special tyres with the sign: Michelin Genéve.
The car was vandalised before the race by some unknown hooligan, so the chance was gone.
But at other, not so famous races the car proved to be fast, extremely fast. As a result, the New York Herald featured an article about them in December, 1904. Pierpoint Morgan, a millionair immediately flied to Geneva to meet with them but, by mistake, they refused the meeting.
In 1905, the first Swiss Car Show was held. The Dufaux stand featured two models: a 35 PS Limousine and an 8-cylinder, 80 PS Gordon Bennett racer.
But difficulties with the Swiss Automobil Club caused that none of the 3 Dufaux racers were able to compete again, although the GB race even crossed Switzerland and contained a part in Auvergne.
Soon they met with C.S.Rolls who became their distributor in the UK. He also wanted to race with the "MOnstrum", the 4-cylinder, 26400 cc, 150 PS engined racer. But problems arose so the whole plan was dropped.
At a session Frederic, broke the land speed record: he reached 156.522 km/h max. speed, although it never became official.
The last Dufaux was born in 1907.
The pictured car temporary located at the Geneva museum. It's the 8-cylinder, Gordon Bennett racer from 1905. Other details: 12761 cc, bore/stroke: 125/130 mm, max. power: 80 PS at 1300/min, 2 Solex carburetor, 3-speed transmission. Max. speed: about 140 km/h.
Martini chassis from 1913
Martini is one of the most famous and longest living Swiss car maker. Their first car was made in 1897 and the last in 1934.
To tell the tale of the Martini, it'd require another page, so let's focus on the chassis. There were 4 types offered in 1913, all with 4-cylinder engines. I cannot decide which one should be this, so here's a list: Type 12 PS, Tip 15 PS Sport, Tip 18 PS and Tip 25 PS.
Mercedes Typ 170V 4-door Limousine from
The last pre-war family car of the Stuttgart "star".
Peter Monteverdi built various sports and racers between 1959 and 1984.
The car in picture is a Sierra modell, with a 5.2 or 5.9 liter Chrysler engine. The car lost the original Monteverdi spirit, it's rather boxy, than its predecessor, the 375/4.
Oldsmobile Curved Dash, 1904
It seems this car was very popular in Central and Eastern Europe: the car was made under licence in Germany and a few cars survived.
The car is now in Geneva.
Packard Clipper, 1947
Another famous carmaker, this time from Geneva. Paul PIccard was a profesor at the Lausanne University of Technology and then the director of the Paris representative office of the Staib&Cie company. The office was destroyed in 1871.
In 1881 he left Lausanne and went to Geneva. After various thing, he turned his attention to the cars and in 1906 the SA des Ateliers Piccard, Pictet (Lucien Pictet entered in 1895( took over the plans of the Zurich SAG company, where Marc Birkigt (later famous for Hispano-Suizas) worked.
First, the cars beared the name SAG, but in 1910 the Pic-Pic was born.
It lasted until 1922, when the results of the First World War took his toll.
Only 3 Pic-Pics have survived. The car is a Torpedo SS from 1919 with a 4- cylinder 2.9 liter engine. Max. speed: about 100 km/h. FYI: the car is deep red.
Renault AX 1908
This type later became famous, when it served as a taxi during the 1st World War and shipped troops at Marne.
This postal electro now stands in Geneva.
Steyr Typ 530 Cabriolet, 1935
This particular version of the car was made by Gläser, a German coachbuilder, for Steyr. It was made between 1935-1936 with a 6-culinder 2260 cc engine. The car was 4780 mm long, 1680 mm wide and 1650 tmm tall.
Martin Fischer's first "car", was actually a thing, which now should be dubbed as a kart. It was a 1-seater, without a body and a steering wheel or tiller. The driver just pushed some pedals to accelerate or brake.
The idea was great, but the public was not interested. So Fischer made conventional cars, named them Turicum until 1914.
The car in picture (naturally, now it's in Geneva) is a Typ F with a 4-cylinder engine and a body made by A. Chausende in Lyon.