In 1936, the Austrian-based Steyr Company introduced a small car called the ‘Steyr 50’. It had a streamlined body that was approved by Director Karl Jenschke; shortly thereafter, Jenschke relocated to the German Adlerwerke in Frankfurt/Main. The Steyr 50 was an aerodynamic and affordable automobile. The car was regarded as the ‘Austrian Peoples’ Car.’ It was built with a solid unitary body structure and powered by a water-cooled four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine that offered 25 horsepower. The top speed was in the neighborhood of 60 mph.
In 1938, the car was revised, receiving a more powerful engine and a longer wheelbase. In recognition of these changes, the name changed to the Steyr 55 and went on sale in 1940.