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English   75 years Neoplan
16.04.2010 von admin

The first Neoplan is born

By the early nineteen-fifties, Gottlob Auwärter jr. has advanced bus manufacture to series production. He mounts his bodies on frames built by virtually all domestic manufacturers of chassis and engines – the list extends from Borgward and Hanomag through Henschel, Magirus-Deutz and Mercedes-Benz up to Krupp and MAN for large, heavy-duty buses. This breadth of diversity calls for tremendous craftsmanship and flexibility on the part of the coachbuilder, but it also fosters the precision necessary for adapting a vehicle to any set of customer requirements and preferences.

Bus production figures are rising steadily, the old works are soon too cramped and larger premises are urgently needed. In 1953 a new hall is erected; it offers 1,000 square metres of floor space and the workforce is now able to turn out buses at the rate of one a week. Gottlob Auwärter jr. is well aware of the necessity of shearing bus technology away from truck design and ramps his company up from coachbuilder to bus manufacturer by developing a new monocoque bus. This design dispenses with the separate chassis: frame and body form a single unit, the self-supporting unibody. The side panels welded to the ribbing – itself made of rectangular steel sections – contribute much to the strength and rigidity of the structure. The introduction of the monocoque body means a significant reduction in unladen weight and goes hand-in-hand with relocation of the engine to the rear of the vehicle, a configuration retained to this day in the vast majority of bus designs.

Mercedes-Benz L 3500 of 1953 with bodywork of Auwärter

Only a short time later, this first complete bus manufactured by the Auwärter jr. company is dubbed the Neoplan by its maker. "Hard to understand" murmurs trade journal Die Wagen- und Karosseriebau-Technik about this name in 1954, possibly unaware that the impromptu suggestion stemmed from the agent responsible for importing Auwärter buses into Greece. But the brand name Neoplan is soon accepted. Summer 1954, and series production of the first Neoplan commences with other versions in various lengths.

Demand for high-quality Neoplan buses increases in Germany and abroad, and by early 1957 Gottlob Auwärter jr. and his workers are ready to deliver the 100th Neoplan bus. In the same year, Neoplan debuts the world's first bus with air suspension as standard at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the International Automobilausstellung IAA. At a time when many competitors are still producing their buses by bodying slightly modified truck chassis, Gottlob Auwärter jr. sets a milestone in coach development with this design, which is patented in 1958. In combination with front independent suspension and the rear delta suspension sub-frame developed by Neoplan, these buses achieve a level of passenger comfort wholly unparalleled by any preceding design.

Neoplan SK 9 of 1954

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