BK Micro Car Collection BK GROUP - Helsinki
Fiat 500 of Austria

Steyr-Puch 650 - 1964

Puch 500 was a small car produced by Steyr-Daimler-Puch

in the city of Graz, Austria. It was manufactured under

licence from Fiat and was based on the Fiat 500.

The beginning

In   1954   it   was   decided   at   Steyr-Puch   to   resume   car   production   after   the   war.   Because   of   the   high costs   associated   with   the   development   of   a   completely   new   design,   an   agreement   was   made with   Fiat   to   acquire   and   adapt   the   body   in   white   of   their   Fiat   500-model.   Of   the   body,   only   the engine   cover   and   later   the   roof   was   produced   in-house.   On   the   other   hand   engine,   transmission and   carriage   were   all   manufactured   by   Steyr-Puch. The   engine   was   a   two-cylinder   (16   hp/12   kW) flat   engine   which   proved   to   be   far   more   smooth   running   than   the   in-line   engine   used   by   Fiat.   It brought   for   that   time   good   driving   behaviour,   especially   in   mountain   rides.   The   first   Steyr-Puch 500   was   launched   in   1957   and   it   was   a   hit. At   first   it   was   offered   only   with   a   folding   roof   and   it was   anticipated   as   a   draw   from   motorcyclists   as   a   buying   audience.   The   'Puchwagen'   as   it   was called, was the official car for the Austrian AA-service.


In 1959 came the first revision. The model Steyr-Puch 500 D was provided with a tin roof (D   for   Dach,   roof   in   German),   and   in   addition   to   that   the   model   500   DL   was   equipped   with   a stronger   motor   (20   hp/15   kW).   1961   saw   the   launch   of   two   estate   models,   700   C   (C   for   Combi) and   700   E   (E   for   Economy),   both   featuring   a   larger   motor   but   with   different   power   ratings.   In 1962 also the sedan was equipped with the larger motor, leading to the 650 T (T   for   Thondorf,   the   location   of   the   plant). A   few   years   later   the   motor   was   boosted   even   more, resulting   in   the   models   650   TR   and   650   TR   II   (R   for   Rallye)   –   models   at   first   intended   for   police use,   but   later   also   offered   as   standard.   Up   until   now   the   body   and   outfit   had   remained   more   or less   the   same,   but   in   1967   the   modified   body   that   Fiat   500   had   introduced   1965   was   assumed also   in   Graz.   The   most   essential   new   feature   was   the   front   hinged   doors   as   opposed   to   the former   suicide   doors.   As   of   then   also   the   roof   was   adopted   from   Fiat.   The   new   models   became the   additional   label   “Europa”.   In   1969,   due   to   decreasing   demand,   it   was   decided   to   adopt   not only   the   body   but   the   whole   drive   unit   from   Fiat.   The   motor   was   the   only   unit   to   remain   under own   manufacture   and   the   model   was   now   called   500   S   (Sport),   Eventually,   in   1974,   was   the successor   model   from   Fiat,   model   126,   adopted   in   Graz.   Also   here   one   restricted   oneself essentially   to   fitting   the   Puch   motor   in   the   otherwise   nearly   finished   car.   As   early   as   the following   year   production   was   stopped   due   to   diminishing   demand.   With   a   yellow   650   TR   Gerard van   Lennep   won   the   Production   Cars   Championship   (up   to   700   cc.)   of   the   Netherlands   in   1966 and 1967. He competed as well in Europacup races, winning in Belgrade. The   small   car   sold   well,   with   around   60,000   units   produced   between   1957   and   1975.   Despite restrictive   licensing   clauses   from   Fiat,   quite   a   few   cars   were   exported   outside   Austria,   most   of them to Germany, Finland and Hungary.


Engine 643 cc Power 20 hp
Photos mainly by Matti Kreivilä. Historical facts and technical details of the vehicles provided by Wikipedia. Movies YouTube.