Fafnir Automotive manufacturer
Fafnir was a German engine and vehicle manufacturer based in Aachen. They made a range of cars between 1908 and 1926.
The company was founded in 1894 producing needles. With the growth of the bicycle industry, they started to make wheel spokes. In 1898, the company was registered as "Carl Schwanemeyer, Aachener Stahlwarenfabrik AG".
From 1902 the name "Fafnir" started to be used on the company's products, including a range of motorcycle engines.
Omnimobil and early car production
In 1904, the company started to produce kits, consisting of an engine and associated components, to allow others, particularly bicycle makers, to enter into motor vehicle production. These were sold under the name "Omnimobil". The kit at first was based around a two-cylinder engine rated at 6 Horsepower(HP) with later a larger option with a four-cylinder, 16 HP unit.
Beginning in 1908, finished cars were manufactured with the type "274" with a 1520 cubic centimetre(cc) engine and a maximum speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) and the type "284" with 2012cc capable of 70 km/h (43 mph). The engines had overhead inlet and side exhaust valves.
By 1912 six different models were available at prices between 4,100 and 16,000 German Reichsmark(RM).
Post World War I cars
In 1919, the company changed its name to Aachener Stahlwarenfabrik Fafnir-AG. The pre war 1924 cc Typ 472 and 2496 cc Typ 384 were re-introduced and a new Typ 471 with 1950 cc engine announced which could be bought with a supercharger.
The Typ "471" proved to be the last car model made and survived in production until 1927.
Fafnir had its own racing team running up to seven cars with drivers including Rudolf Caracciola. A replica of one of the racing cars has been built in the United Kingdom and competed in number of VSCC events fitted with a WW1 Hall-Scott aero engine.
Fafnir production methods were very labour-intensive, and with the difficult trading conditions of the 1920s failed to compete with the large manufacturers. Prices were reduced, but losses mounted and with debts of 1.8 million RM the banks forced the company into bankruptcy in 1925 with a resulting closure in 1926.