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Overview

The Martini logo depicts a gun which is convincing evidence that the company produced weapons.  The decision to start manufacturing motor cars as well was not made until late last century.  The first Martini left the Swiss factory in 1897.

It started out small.  Until 1900, only one car was built each year.  In 1898, it was still a 'Vis-a-Vis', but the engine in the car that rolled off the assembly line of the factory in Frauenfeld in 1899 was already mounted in the front of the car.  'Mass production' started in 1902.  In that year no less than thirty cars were built.  In 1904, they were very successful in hill climbs in Switzerland, Italy and France.  Martini built a special Voiturette, the Sport Speciale, for the 1913 Tour de France.  In 1903, the company moved from Frauenfeld to Saint-Blaise.  Beautiful and sturdy cars were built in this new factory and exported to many countries.  After the First World War, Martini faced hard times.

American and German cars were sold at such low prices Martini could not compete.  In 1919, the Swiss built the TF model.  This model was to remain in production until 1927.  New models were launched such as the FU, the KM and the NF.

The KM model was a relatively small car, with a wheel base of only 300cm.  Because the demand for this car remained limited, the factory found itself in increasingly financial trouble. 

The NF was its final model and technically its best.  The 4379cc engine delivered 95 bhp.  A synchronised four speed gearbox, mounted behind the engine, drove the rear wheels.  Its hydraulic brakes and suspension meant the car was ahead of its time.

The complete encyclopedia of Vintage Cars - Rob de la Rive Box

Models produced by Martini

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