Austro-Hungarian automaker Austro-Daimler, the subsidiary of Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, was founded in 1899 in Wiener-Neustadt. In 1906 Austro-Daimler recruited Ferdinand Porsche as their chief designer and technical director. In 1922 Porsche designed a small racing car with financial support from Count Alexander (Sascha) Joseph von Kolowrat-Krakowski, Austrian film producer and amateur racing driver. The car called ADS-R (Austro-Daimler ‘Sascha’ Rennwagen) was a small, lightweight car that was revolutionary for its time. It had a four cylinder engine with 8 inclined overhead valves and bevel-driven dual overhead camshafts. The engine of the ‘Sascha’ had a capacity of 1100 cc and produced 50 horsepower and the car achieved a top speed of 144 km/h.
Four ADS-R cars were ready for the 1922 Targa Florio. Austro-Daimler entered four 1100 cc Sascha cars for Count Alexander Kolowrat, Lambert Pöcher and Fritz Kuhn in production cars while Alfred Neubauer drove the same type with modifications as racing car. The cars were painted red so they wouldn’t stand out so much and be stolen in Italy. To help tell them apart from a distance, Kolowrat had them adorned with symbols from playing cards. Kolowrat drove the car No. 1 which was bedecked in hearts, Lambert Pöcher drove no. 2 with clubs and Gregor Kuhn, mostly known as Fritz Kuhn, No. 3 with red spades. Alfred Neubauer, the most successful driver and later the racing director of Mercedes, got No. 46 and red diamonds. Neubauer was 19th (and last in the racing cars category) on the finish, Fritz Kuhn finished 22nd (and first in 1100 cc category). Kolowrat and Pöcher retired.
Later the season the four ‘Sascha’ cars started in several hill climbs and races, including 1922 Italian Gran Prix. Cars were repainted, but playing card suits remained, and, as a rule, belonged to the same driver. Kolowrat himself continued to race mostly in minor events, while Neubauer, Pöcher and Kuhn were entered for the 1922 Italian Grand Prix at Monza in three white colored Austro-Daimler ADS II-R cars. Fourth ‘Sascha’ was given to Friedrich Haiden. Kuhn was killed while practicing his Austro-Daimler one day before the Grand Prix. Owing to this tragic accident the Austro-Daimler team withdrew from the competition his other cars of Lambert Pöcher, Alfred Neubauer, and Friedrich Haiden in sign of mourning.
The ‘Sascha’ project was abandoned when the Austro-Daimler company encountered financial problems by the end of 1922. Ferdinand Porsche resigned his position and walked out, moving to Mercedes in Stuttgart to become their Chief Designer. Neubauer followed Porsche to Germany to work for Mercedes, first as a driver but later to became the world famous team manager for the Mercedes-Benz Racing team.
Two of the ‘Sascha’cars was later restored in white with red spades and red with black clubs liveries for Porsche Museum. The scale models of red and white Austro-Daimler ‘Sascha’ were made by Masterpiece Automotive Replicas for fahr(T)raum, Ferdinand Porsche Erlebniswelten Museum near Salzburg, Austria.
|Lambert Pöcher||2||Österreichische Daimler Motoren AG|
|1:43||Masterpiece Automotive Replicas|