Hans Ledwinka

Hans Ledwinka ( born February 14, 1878 in Klosterneuburg, † March 2, 1967 in Munich) was an Austrian automobile designer. Along with Siegfried Marcus and Ferdinand Porsche, he is one of the most important automotive pioneers Austria.

Life and work

Hans Ledwinka k.k. studied at the " Civil and Mechanical Trade School " in Vienna and worked from 1897, for the nettle Wagenbau - Fabriks Society ( 1923 Tatra renamed). In 1905 he was chief engineer of the company in Nesselsdorf / Moravia ( 1919: Kopřivnice ) and brought there, 1911-1914, among others, the four-wheel brake for series production.

In 1917, he joined the Oesterreichische Waffenfabriks Society, where he worked as chief engineer for the automotive production. In 1920 got Ledwinka, although he only lower Vienna "kk State Industrial School " had visited, awarded due to its activity at the Austrian Waffenfabriks Society the right to the professional title " lead engineer ".

In 1921 he accepted an offer of nettle Wagenbau - Fabriks Society and was until 1945 as technical director primarily responsible for the development. During this time Ledwinka built a four-cylinder engine with eight overhead camshafts for a production car, the end of 1921, he constructed the Tatra 11 with the then novel central tube frame, swing axle and air-cooled two-cylinder boxer engine. 1944 awarded him the Vienna University of Technology honorary doctorate.

He constructed after the Tatra 12 to 57, which in addition to the Tatra V 570 model for the already aerodynamic luxury car Tatra 77, later was the KdF-Wagen. The subsequent successful Nachkriegnachfolgerreihen VW Beetle and Porsche 356 are based on the designs Ledwinkas.

1945, located at the former Sudetenland Nesselsdorf was again part of Czechoslovakia. Ledwinka was expropriated because of the Beneš decrees, but gave up an escape and was convicted in a show trial to six years in prison. In 1992, the complete rehabilitation by the Supreme Court of the CSFR.

After serving the sentence Ledwinka moved to Munich in 1954. From 1955, he worked with 77 years for mechanical engineers Harald Friedrich in whose company Alzmetall to the small car " sparrow ".

Ledwinka married in 1901 in Neutitschein Mizzi Crasse; from the marriage the sons Fritz and Erich went ( also automotive designer) out. His wife died in 1926. 1953 he married also made Neutitschein derived Ludwiga Kopka.