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Orient Express



Vending machine manufacturers the Bergmann Industriewerke at Gaggenau, Baden, initially made cars that were so similar to the products of Carl Benz that he should either have been flattered or demanded a royalty! The designer was Joseph Vollmer and the vehicles were known by the name Bergmann and Vollmer. In 1898 this changed to the 'Orient Express' and they were sold in England by the Automobile Association Ltd, of Holland Park, London, an importer of continental cars with no connection to any other organisation using the same initials. The design evolved and by 1899 individual belts were being used for each of the three forward speeds, plus another for reverse, tensioned by a jockey-pulley as required. Notably, the cars were among the first to have ignition by the "Bosch Magneto-Electric device".

In 1903 Bergmann began making a friction-drive light car called the Liliput; large cars bearing the Gaggenau name followed in 1905, and the factory was taken over by Benz in 1907 for the production of commercial vehicles.

Source: Society of Automotive Historians in Britain


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