The first factory-made automobile in the monarchy
Construction of cars began in Kopřivnice in the momentous year 1897. However, it took almost half a century to achieve this historic success. Ignatz Schustala, the youngest son of a family belonging to Kopřivnice’s line of magistrates, trained to become a saddler and afterwards spent some time in Vienna to gain experience. After his return he acquired a licence to manufacture carriages and he began to build them under the name Neutitscheinka. The business kept expanding and in 1870 the factory employed nearly 150 workers. In 1882 Schustala even commenced construction of train cars. At the end of the century, the factory’s director Hugo Fischer took advantage of his friendship with Baron Theodor Liebig, a Liberec-based motoring pioneer, to acquire one of the first two-cylinder Benz engines that was used to make the very first automobile, Präsident, in the Kopřivnice plant. It was based on the Mylord carriage, but instead of horses it was powered by a combustion engine. That required a radical change in construction. The vehicle featured an array of novel components, such as a metal-plated bumper shielding the cooling system condenser from an impact, or a differential. After testing, Präsident was driven to an exhibition held at Vienna’s Prater. The journey took fourteen and a half hours net without any glitches. On arrival in Vienna, the automobile was displayed at a spot of honour as the first factory-made automobile in the monarchy.