Motorworld’s newspaper №61

Wilhelm “Willy” Ostner was an irrepressible man. In all circumstances, men of that kind are the foundation of prosperity of every nation. A jack-of-all-trades, a businessman and an inventor, he put himself on record in the German industry.

He was born in 1889 in a rural family, graduated from school and learned a locksmith’s trade. Then, he bounced around a few jobs and managed to work in the Minerva (a Belgian automobile company). On 1st August 1914, he was called up for military service and return to Belgium as an occupationist. Ostner was lucky: he survived the bloodshed of the World War I and was demobilized in 1917 due to illness (malaria). After he got married, settled down and moved to Dresden where he started employment with Steiger and studying in a Technical Institute.
But such a level life made Ostner sick and tired. In 1922, he became a freelancer and after a while founded his own company manufacturing bicycles and water supply fittings. His brother Karl who was an engineer and a motoracer joined him. Probably it was Karl who transfused his enthusiasm on motorcycles into Wilhelm.

In December 1926, brothers bought a new building at Burger Straße and launched the manufacturing of motorcycles next year. They didn’t break their heads over the name of their future bike, so name it just OD, which stands for Ostner-Dresden. Ostners made a stake at on the manufacturing of high quality machines equipped with chassis of own their design and engines by Motosacoche (Motosacoche’s engines under the MAG marque, which stands for Motosacoche Acacias Geneve, were used by many motorcycle manufacturers throughout Europe). The first OD bikes had pipe frames closing themselves in the crankcase and unusual parallelogram forks (they had reinforcing belts, and the rear pipes were straight) and one-cylinder engines. In 1929, the flagship T100 was introduced, which got 986 cc double-cylinder V-engines by MAG.

In this Swiss engine, the valve train was designed as “valve over the valve”. It got a good reputation for its reliability and dynamics (22 h.p. was good for those times). On a Motosacoche bike equipped with the sport version of this engine, Tony Zind won the first two races Bol d’Or in 1922 and 1923.

The engine was installed onto the strong pipe frame. A chain drive covered with an aliminium housing was coupled to the hand shifted three-speed gearbox Hurth (in their later years, the bike got a four-speed gearbox by the same manufacturer). The motorcycle had a signature feature – a big finned silencer before the engine. There was an exhaust pipe going out of the silencer. OD bike had a parallelogram fork with two springs, the rear wheel suspension was rigid. The big petrol tank hosted a classy dashboard with illumination. It had a speedometer, a clock, a petrol and oil tank gauge, a pilot lamp of the electrical equipment.

Т100 was advertised as a bike for travellers and sportspeople. Brothers never scrimped on sportbikes, so their machines successfully participated in various competitions, especially at mountain races. Even a mass produced OD T100 with a lightweight sport sidecar could achieve 110 km/h, and a solo bike was able to accelerate to a speed of 120 km/h. So, an advertising was truthful when promising the dynamics “like a car with a six-cylinder engine”.

In 1933, T100 was replaced by the T85 model equipped with a 850 cc double-cylinder engine by MAG. Despite the less displacement, the engine had 25 h.p. because of the updated design. At the same time, the German Government set a course for import substitution and banned importing of wide nomenclature of industrial products. German companies were manufacturing a lot of different engines but almost all of them had low displacement. This was against the brothers’ interests – they didn’t want to manufacture bikes with anaemic engines. They tried to adopt to the new realities and launched the manufacturing of a lightweight model P20 equipped with a 200 cc two-stroke engine ILO but, what is to be expected, couldn’t compete with mass produced machines like DKW bikes.

And then Willy Ostner has found a nonstandard solution: he converted a 200 cc bike into a cargo trike. It was a success, so brothers moved on to the manufacturing of lightweight cargo trikes in 1936.

After the WWII, Ostner brothers came over to the West Germany where they reanimated their company (in 1955, the company was made a part of the Faun group of companies). Ostners’ manufacturing facilities in Dresden were used as an automotive equipment maintenance plant during the postwar years.

Manufacturer Fahrzeugfabrik Willy Ostner, Dresden, Germany
Years of manufacture 1928-1932
Quantity produced, units N/A
Price 1875 RM
Today’s value N/A
Тип MAG, V-twin, 4-stroke
Engine capacity, cc 986
Bore and stroke, mm 82 х 94
Engine rating 22 hp at 3800 rpm
Sparking Bosch
Carburetor Amac
Battery 6 V
Clutch Multiple-plate, oil-bath
Transmission 4-speed
Frame type Steel tubular
Front suspension Parallelogram fork
Rear suspension Rigid
Brakes Drum type
Wheel size 4,40 х 27
Length, mm 2350*
Width, mm 770*
Height, mm 1130*
Wheelbase, mm 1468
Ground clearance, mm 120*
Seat height, mm 690
Mass, kg 160
Gas tank size, l 19
Maximum speed, km/h 120
Range, km 350

* – Data on the results of the measurement at the exhibit of “Motorworld by V.Sheyanov”.