About Zveza SVS
- »The Federation of Slovene Clubs of Historic Vehicles Enthusiasts«, short named »Zveza SVS«, has actually 45 member clubs from all parts of Slovenia.
- Zveza SVS was founded on September 19th, 1997.
- Zveza SVS is a member of FIVA since October 23rd, 2000, and is authorized as FIVA ANF (Authorite Nationele FIVA) for Slovenia.
- Zveza SVS is issuing SVS ID Cards for historic vehicles and SVS Certificates for youngtimer vehicles as well as FIVA Identity Cards for historic vehicles and FIVA Youngtimer Registration Cards for youngtimer vehicles.
- Zveza SVS is issuing documents that enable to grant a historic vehicle status to eligible vehicles and the road registration of historic vehicles
- Zveza SVS is organizer of different types of events and the National Championship for historic vehicles, yearly published in the SVS Event Calendar.
- Regular yearly seminars and trainings for Technical Scrutineers and Event Marshals are organized.
- Various presentations, lectures and motivation programs on Historic Vehicles are organized for youth, for potential owners and members and for general public.
- The Zveza SVS Bulletin is published quarterly.
- Zveza SVS represents the interests of Historic Vehicles owners in negotiations with the authorities and the ensurance companies.
- Zveza SVS is a regular member of Restoration – Conservation Society of Slovenia.
Founding the SVS Federation
In the second half of the 1990s, the Veteran Maribor society, Codelli Club from Ljubljana, Motorcycling Club Veterani from Murska Sobota, the Balilla society from Divača, OTC Škofljica, AMK Classic from Slovenska Bistrica, the Johann Janez Puch society from Ljutomer, and some other societies were already organising well-attended historic vehicles events.
However, the enthusiasts and the organisers had similar questions about the manners and conditions of determining the state and quality of preservation or restoration of historic vehicles. They realised it was time to establish a joint organisation which would benefit everyone when asserting their interests regarding the acquisition, restoration, registration, maintenance, and use of historic vehicles in regular road traffic. As early as 1995, a few meetings were called to discuss the establishment of “The Federation of Slovene Societies of Old and Classic Vehicles Enthusiasts” as the main topic.
The founding general assembly of The Federation of Slovene Societies of Historic Vehicles Enthusiasts was held on 19th September 1997 in The Motorcycle Museum in Vransko. The founders passed The Foundation of the Federation of Slovene Societies of Historic (Classic) Vehicles Enthusiasts Act and The Federation of Slovene Societies of Historic Vehicles Enthusiasts Regulations.
Nine societies, namely, Adria Classic Koper, AMD Tržič, AMTK Ljubljana, Balilla Divača, Codelli Ljubljana, C.M.O.C. Ljubljana, Mini Morris Club Slovenia, Veteran Maribor, and Veterani Murska Sobota, filed the application for the registration of the new federation with the Administrative Unit of Ljubljana in December 1997. In January 1998, the Administrative Unit required that the application be supplemented.
However, while supplementing the application, the founding societies Balilla Divača and Motorcycling Club Veterani Murska Sobota did not submit the necessary documents for the registration of the society. Meanwhile, the founding societies C.M.O.C. Ljubljana and AMD Tržič participated in establishing the rival federation SVAMZ. In accordance with Article 17 of The Federation of Slovene Societies of Historic Vehicles Enthusiasts Regulations and the general assembly act of 3rd December 1999, these two societies were removed from the list of founders.
Due to the aforementioned events, the administrative procedure of registration of The Federation of Slovene Societies of Historic Vehicles Enthusiasts – Zveza SVS was finalised only on 7th January 2000 when the Administrative Unit of Ljubljana issued the corresponding decree on the entry of The Federation of Slovene Societies of Historic Vehicles Enthusiasts – SVS in the register of societies at the Administrative Unit of Ljubljana. The Decree clearly states:
During the proceedings of this matter, the body in authority established that The Society of Old Motor Vehicles Enthusiasts Veteran Maribor, The Automobile and Motorcycling Touring Club Ljubljana, Codelli Classic & Sport Car Club, Mini Morris Club Slovenia, and Adria Classic society founded The Federation of Slovene Societies of Historic Vehicles Enthusiasts by the contract of 19th September 1997, based on the decisions of the highest bodies of these societies – the founders of the federation.
Janko Uratnik, Ljubljana, 21st May 2017
Who is who
Reports, ID Cards, Certificates
Historic vehicles evaluation and the Zveza SVS technical commissioners training
The idea of evaluating historic vehicles already formed in the societies which were active in the first half of the 1990s.
Within the initial discourse about the need to establish a federation of societies, a group, led by Urban A. Demšar and helped by other Codelli club members, formed to prepare professional criteria for evaluating historic vehicles. The system of the Italian ASI served them as an aid. The president of ASI, Roberto Loi, himself granted the permission for its use and offered us his help. Concurrently, preparations for proper recording of vehicles and forming a register of all historic vehicles at the future federation of societies were being made. Thus, the necessary foundation was set up by the end of 1994.
The future technical commissioners of Zveza SVS (TC) received the necessary education at a lecture by Mr. Derek Drummond Bonzom, the president of the Technical Commission of FIVA, directly after the foundation of the SVS Federation. This was followed by annual training of TCs with the participation of Slovene technical faculties’ professors, people with practical experience in collecting historic vehicles, and the leadership of the Technical Commission of the Zveza SVS. A number of FIVA ANF technical commissioners were trained in 2006 as well. Thus, the issuing of FIVA ID Cards began also in Slovenia.
Zveza SVS Events
The Zveza SVS Activities and Events
The SVS Federation consists of its member clubs and their members. The activities of the SVS Federation are those carried out by the member clubs and which directly reflect the wishes and needs of their members as well as those carried out by the president and the members of the executive board on behalf of the Federation member clubs and, of course, those suggested and carried out by the president and the members of the executive board for the needs of Federation’s management and operations. When making decisions regarding the Federation activities, we are open to the needs and suggestions of our member clubs and their members; we follow the needs for continuous development and expansion of the SVS Federation’s reach and significance in order to achieve the common goals of historic vehicles enthusiasts and owners.
Our member clubs organise friendly gatherings with short drives, sightseeing and local culinary trips, short journeys to specific destinations, skills trials in which the participants can show the command of their vehicles and driving precision, and even real historic vehicles races, naturally with speed limits as befits historic vehicles. Namely, we do not drive historic vehicles for speed but for driving skills and precision.
The SVS Federation championship is the common organised form of competitions that consists of five to seven events organised by different clubs, in which the participants from the Federation member clubs compete by equal rules for everyone. The SVS Federation championship has been held for eighteen years. In 2017, we also introduced the SVS Federation open championship in which people can participate regardless of membership in a club or a federation, be it Slovene or foreign. Yet another novelty is the Open championship in regularity circuit racing on traffic free closed tracks.
We must not forget the international competition Alpe Adria Classic Challenge – AACC, which is unique at the international level and in which organisers and clubs from Slovenia, Italy, Austria, and Croatia have participated for the fifth year running.
Slovenia Classic Marathon, this year organised for the 26th time by Codelli Club Ljubljana, and International Vintage Cars Show, organised for the 8th time by Historic Vehicles Club Kamnik, have also been listed in the FIVA national events calendar for several years.
Joint events organised by the SVS Federation and its member clubs are also shows and fairs. One such event with international attendance is, for example, Classic Vehicles Festival at Exhibition and Convention Centre in Ljubljana. Another, an already traditional event, is the Auto-moto Classic international exhibition at the Pomurski sejem fair in Gornja Radgona.
AMK Classic from Slovenska Bistrica, OTC Škofljica, and some other clubs regularly organise used historic vehicles equipment and parts fairs.
The SVS Federation representatives also attend occasional special events important for both Slovene technical heritage and clubs and federation members. We honoured the memory of Janez Puh on the occasion of the publication of a monograph on him and even more so at the 100th anniversary of his death by putting up a memorial plaque on Ilica street in Zagreb where he died on 19th June 1914. We also remembered Anton Codelli, Ljubljana’s first motorised resident in 1989, by naming a park in Ljubljana after him. A global motorisation pioneer Karl Benz also got a street in Ljubljana named after him.
Zveza SVS Events Calendar
Zveza SVS Championship Results
Baron Anton Codelli – an “Ingenious Eccentric”
In Slovenia, we know Baron Anton Codelli mostly in connection with the arrival of the first vehicle in Slovene lands. However, the work and character of Baron Anton Codelli are much more important for Slovene history and technical culture on both European and global scale than only driving the first car through the streets of Ljubljana.
He patented a system for visual broadcast (television), established the first intercontinental radiotelegraph station in Togo, produced the first live-action film shot in Africa, invented the electric ignition system for internal combustion engines, established a radio connection between the seismic station in Ljubljana with other similar stations in the region, and assembled a collection of Central African artefacts; he was the first Carniolan car racer (Salzburg-Vienna Rally in 1900) and a member of the provincial parliament …
These are only some of his achievements which have not found their true place in Slovene history. The one to blame for the lack of recognition among dignitaries might be Codelli himself due to his fickle personality. He did not finish his law studies, he was married at least three times and had, according to some people, at least eight children with five women, he gambled away the car he drove to Ljubljana as the first one to do so in casinos in Nice, and many of his ideas were beyond the realities of the time (such as wireless visual broadcast, military inventions…), which is why his contemporaries must have many times seen him as a “dreamer”.
But his tragic fate and the time in which he lived (two world wars and several political regimes) play crucial parts in marginalising his role in Slovene history. His parents wanted him to become a jurist, but he was a technician at heart. The Kodeljevo Castle in Ljubljana was in extremely poor repair and he had to invest a lot of energy in raising the finances for its maintenance. He had to demolish his life project, the radiotelegraph station in Togo, by himself lest it should fall into the hands of the enemies of Germany in the First World War. Upon his return from exile in Switzerland in 1921, the manor house beside the castle where he stored most of his documents and inventions burned down; in the same year his son was murdered and his daughter’s fiancé committed suicide. He was scammed out of the film negative of the first live-action film shot in Africa and after the Second World War his property of a “big landowner” was nationalised while he fled to Switzerland where he died in 1954.
The eternal question of whether the idea or its execution is of greater importance is still more unanswerable by studying the work and life of Baron Anton Codelli. We do not know how many ideas Codelli had, but those he actualized were visionary. From archive material, testimonies of people who knew him, newspaper articles, and the ruins in Togo, we can infer that Baron Anton Codelli was ahead of his time and many times ahead of himself.
Technical achievements are most often a result of some “crazy idea”. But only a person who is not too burdened with existing knowledge can come up with such ideas. Insufficient education can sometimes even be an advantage, because ideas are not limited by the knowledge of the existing technology.
Baron Codelli was restless and, therefore, many times impatient. He was only interested in something until he got to the bottom of it. He did not carry many of his ideas through because new ideas and challenges were waiting for him. His talent was considerably greater than his technical knowledge. He was an incredible cosmopolitan, often an adventurist, and even nowadays we could call him an “ingenious eccentric”. However, despite these personal characteristics, we should not disregard his topmost achievements, such as the aforementioned invention of television and the establishment of the radiotelegraph station in Togo. Among his Yugoslav contemporaries he had the highest number of filed and granted patents – at home as well as abroad.
Nevertheless, the past contempt for his achievements might not be coincidental. Namely, it is interesting that the literature mentioning Baron Codelli from before 1985 states the year of his death as 1945 and not 1954. But even after 1991, he did not get his true or at least a more visible place in Slovene history, which probably results from the lack of sources, since a big part of materials from the nationalised Turn castle disappeared after the Second World War. And we will never know what burnt away in the fire of 1921 …
What did he do after the Second World War in Switzerland? Considering his nature, he definitely did not wait for “tomorrow” but actively co-shaped it.
Perhaps his statement from 1906 says most about him both as an automobilist and a person: “Why have I become an automobilist? From the desire to travel and yearning for freedom. That was in 1898. And what is my impression now: still too slowly!”
Written by Jure Petač, a Codelli Club member
Janez Puh – a Pioneer of Our Motorisation
Janez Puh, an upstanding pioneer of bicycle, motorcycle, and car development and production, distinctively marked the development of motorisation at the transition from the 19th to the 20th century. At the time of Mr. Puh’s work, we were a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Puh seized the opportunity to work as an innovator, businessman, and factory owner in the neighbouring Graz.
With the exception of a few individual enthusiasts who were in vehicles development independently, we can claim with certainty that there were no noteworthy attempts at vehicles development and production in Slovene territory in that time, that is, at the transition from the 19th to the 20th century when personal means of transport came into use. At first those were mostly intended for the mobility of wealthy individuals but later, also due to Janez Puh, the masses as well, which had an extraordinary social and personal impact on individuals and families.
After primary school, Puh trained in locksmithing and finished his schooling with a practical in Radgona. Eager for knowledge he then gained experience in Vienna and Germany and after completing military service settled in Graz. He improved his knowledge with various masters in order to become independent in 1889. Puh’s factory successfully produced first bicycles and then also motorised tricycles, motorcycles, and cars. This enviable opus placed him at the very top of road vehicle production in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Unfortunately, his premature death – he died just before the beginning of the First World War – prevented him from actualising many more technical ideas he might have otherwise disclosed in the following decade or two. After his death, the production in the eponymous factory continued. Its emphasis was on manufacturing various types of motorcycles, which were one of most recognisable also in our country.
Puh obtained 19 patents altogether for his inventions, of which one of the most notable was a four-cylinder boxer engine. However, Puh’s first manufactured car from 1898 was propelled by a two-cylinder boxer engine; he only obtained the patent for a four-cylinder aggregate 13 years later, which likely means a debut. This type of engine was later implemented by both Puh’s competitors, firstly by Hans Ledwinka, the development engineer at Nesseldorf and Steyr, in Tatra cars, and somewhat later by Ferdinand Porsche in the famous Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 356, 911, 912… sports cars. In Puh’s time, Porsche was the head of development at Austro-Daimler, one of the three factories in operation already before the First World War. Due to the crisis in the beginning of the 1930s all three aforementioned factories merged into a unified Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG concern. Nowadays, Magna and Magna Steyr Motors successfully operate on the ruins of this concern. Puh’s name may have faded from its title, but the factory is making rapid progress in development and among others also employs top Slovene experts, who regardless of nationality contribute equally to development and progress in Europe without borders just as Janez Puh did more than a hundred years ago. After the Second World War, we also started licenced production of Tomos Puch trademark motorcycles and mopeds in a newly established factory.
This fact in itself poses a question about the manner of choosing a licence partner for our post-war built TOMOS factory in Koper, for Janez Puh, our fellow countryman, was a forgotten and suppressed figure. Perhaps technical reality yet prevailed over the political reality of the time.
The renaissance of interest in Janez Puh only happened in the 1990s, mostly thanks to a mass of local historic vehicles enthusiasts who preserve his name and look after his legacy. We take a special delight in exhibit items, written materials, and memorial plaques we keep and which will remain for our posterity as a memento of our ingenious motorisation pioneer.
Stanko Bloudek for the Progress of Automobilism
Among three internationally significant Slovene automobilism pioneers – Janez Puh, Anton Codelli, and Stanko Bloudek – the youngest but equally deserving is Bloudek. Having lived from 1890 to 1959, he made history mostly with his inventions and organisational work in sports, aviation, and automobilism, but above all as the beginner of ski flying. After graduating in Ljubljana in 1908, he went to Prague to study painting, but the following year he switched to engineering, which he completed in 1913; however, he did not get the title of an engineer at the university, but it was awarded to him for his accomplishments in the authorized industrial circles. He was a constructor with various Austrian and German aircraft manufacturers between 1911 and 1918 and the chief constructor at Ufag in Budapest between 1916 and 1918. After the First World War, he returned to Slovenia to establish an aircraft factory in Ljubljana. Having failed at that, he founded an invention company, following the example of Edison’s Menlo Park, in which car production soon prevailed.
Bloudek’s work in aviation yielded top internationally comparable results in 1910-11 with a biplane Libela (Dragonfly) and 1930 with a two-seat sports monoplane Lojze. Experimenting with engineless and motor planes take-offs off snow brought the Slovene aviation pioneer in touch with ski jumping already before the First World War (in 1912). He began designing ski jumping hills around 1925 and started intensely working in the field in 1933, when they started building the “mammoth” Bloudek Giant ski jumping hill in Planica. The attempts to force Bloudek off the first place both in theory and in practice and ascribe his early credit for ski flying to others have, despite aggressive and still ongoing efforts, failed to succeed without documented evidence. On the global scale only one comparable figure can be on a par with Bloudek: a Swiss engineer and sportsman Reinhard Straumann.
The first jump over 100 m was achieved on Bloudek’s ski jumping hill in 1936 and the world record was broken with 120 m in 1948 and thus the leap from ski jumping to ski flying was made. Bloudek was preoccupied with constructing ski jumping hills (he has constructed around 100 of them) until he died. Moreover, Bloudek was a versatile sportsman also in other fields. He introduced a number of new sports to Slovene lands; he himself actively competed in them and designed the necessary facilities. During the worst economic crisis, he built the Ilirija swimming pool complex (with an Olympic-sized pool) in Ljubljana. The highest Slovene sports awards are aptly named after Bloudek.
Bloudek’s work in car industry began with making bodywork, which were mounted on chassis and equipped with engines of renowned foreign car manufacturers. It was mainly for busses, trucks, and various purpose-made vehicles. In 1939, Bloudek’s factory Avtomontaža had sixty employees. However, Bloudek’s endeavours in automobilism also extended to passenger cars. His early work in aviation entailed designing aerodynamic aircraft cockpits, but his sketches from between the two world wars prove that he tried to draw on that experience also when it came to cars and motorcycles. But, his humanitarian and social instinct prompted him to design “cars for everyone”. In this he followed the example of the German VW “Beetle”. His ideas might have been even more progressive than those of his German peers and he certainly took them further when he, for the purpose of maximum simplicity and cost reduction, removed the fourth wheel and thus eliminated the need for a differential gear.
It might be an exaggeration to call a few examples of Bloudek’s Triglav passenger cars “the first Slovene cars”. It was modelled by a German two-stroke DKW passenger car from 1934, but some of its parts were original both in construction and making. Bloudek declared his intent to use more and more original parts until his car would not entirely deserve the name Triglav anymore. According to the presently available data, Bloudek made around 5 Triglav cars. We do not know of any of these cars having been preserved. Yet, a DKW from the middle of the 1930s would merit being represented by a model in Slovene museum collection, for Bloudek’s sake at least.
The Myth and Reality of Kožar's Naš
The story of devising Jernej Kožar’s Naš car
In 2003, the Museum of Contemporary History in Ljubljana hosted an exhibition titled The First Five-Year Plan in the Eyes of History. An exhibited article from Dnevnik described the achievements of 1948: the first post-war census in Slovenia (1,391,873 residents), the openings of the Museum of National Liberation of Slovenia and the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, and the founding of the Automobile and Motorcycle Association of Slovenia. In addition to these great collective accomplishments, the article also listed a personal accomplishment of Jernej Kožar, who made a passenger vehicle called “Naš”. But who was Jernej Kožar with his unique, unlabelled car, intended for both Sunday family trips and car racing victories?
Jernej Kožar was born into the Žorž family in Hrovača near Ribnica in 1907. At school in Ribnica, he was known as an excellent pupil of exceptional technical talent. At the age of fourteen, he was sent to St. Stanislav’s Institution grammar school and boarding house in Šentvid near Ljubljana, so that he would, after finishing grammar school, continue his studies for the vocation for which St. Stanislav’s Institution prepared its students. He soon found this course unappealing and more and more often lingered in the nearby Krušič body shop. With the help of the owner’s son, his peer Štefan, and without his parents’ knowledge, he moved from the boarding house into master Gregorin’s apprentice apartment and completed his apprenticeship with him with distinction, becoming a locksmith. Then he took a job with master Gregorin and contributed to certain important creations of his garage. Since body shop work was not creative enough for him, he started visiting masters Levičnik and Lovše’s garages in his free time and later took a job with one of them, but only for a short while. He also passed his master craftsman examination for mechanics. During that time he was friends with Mr. Karl Abarth, with whom he exchanged many a practical experience in reconstructing motor vehicles of the time. In 1937, he returned to his home town of Ribnica and, in partnership with Mr. Burger, opened a garage next to Mr. Burger’s technical store. With the help of Autounion representatives from Ljubljana, he bought Mr. Burger out and became independent. He became a local Autounion representative and obtained a licence for the export of vehicles. In the years after the war, he worked as a renowned expert at the Ministry of Local Transport of the government of the People’s Republic of Slovenia.
What about the “Naš” car? Between 1938 and 1940, Kožar made a few sketches and began thinking about integral automobile bodywork. In his sketches he combined the fenders into a single unit with the rest of the bodywork, because he noticed as an Autounion representative that all traditionally built vehicles, with fenders separate from the bodywork, had a critical breaking point of the chassis transversely in windscreen line. However, the idea was not all his own, because many factories were making such vehicles, for example, Mercedes-Benz 540K Streamlined from 1938, Touring Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Spider MM from 1940, Ferrari Auto Avio Costruzioni 815 also from 1940, BMW 328 MM Touring Berlinetta, etc. Yet, Kožar could not have seen these cars, for he did not have access to the global design guidelines for rare and innovative vehicles of the time. After the war, his work duties at the Ministry were restoration and repair of trophy vehicles. In Ajdovščina, on one of his depot visits, he saw a vehicle suitable for realising one of his pre-war ideas. He found a military Tatra truck which had been reconstructed for the needs of the Third Reich. Kožar sent a request to the Directorate of Car Traffic to obtain the car wreck so he could design and make a sports vehicle on his own. He soon received a positive response from the Directorate, which granted him the purchase of the passenger car for the price of 12,000 dinars. Jernej brought to Ljubljana only the chassis, without the passenger cabin, the dashboard, seats, and doors. It was only operational so much that he could drive to the garage on a “footstool”. A body shop mechanic Lovro Osredkar, who had been working in the workshop where they made wooden moulds for bodywork since 1929, helped with further work. In the first stage he redesigned the blueprints, following by making the wooden moulds in which they made the bodywork in a few months. At the same time, Kožar did the mechanical and auto electrical work and reconstructed the chassis. In autumn 1947, master Škander did the paint work and upholstery. The result was a lovely two-seater convertible, 410 cm long, 172 cm wide, and 134 cm high, with a ground clearance of 22 cm. The weight of the drive ready car was 1,050 kg. It had a retractable linen roof with scissors-like opening, which for the first time completely folded behind the back seats, as well as detachable side screens. The chassis was shaped as a central supporting tube which also contained a cardan shaft and to which two transverse beams were attached. The bodywork was a box-like construction. The bonnet with the fenders was mounted on the hinges in front of the windscreen. The large boot had makeshift seating with a backrest integrated into the boot lid. The front seat was lengthwise immovable, made in one piece, and upholstered in leather. The back seat was modest, but large enough for three people. The fuel tank was mounted on the front wall above the engine with a downdraft fuel-injection system. The original chassis had front and back transverse leaf springs without shock absorbers, which Kožar added. Tatra’s engine remained a four-cylinder four-stroke engine with 1,256 ccm engine displacement. The air-cooled boxer engine could propel the vehicle up to 110 km/h fast.
Jernej Kožar’s vehicle was registered with the Internal Affairs Section of the National Militia Administration on 15th April 1948. Kožar registered it as a “Naš” passenger vehicle, home-made, convertible, greyish brown, privately owned. The committee members signed the report on 30th April 1948 and the vehicle got the licence plate number S-2000. Since the car had no external factory or model label, people called it by many names, most often “Kožar’s Tatra”, but also “Gipsy”, meant affectionately due to its wandering hither and thither. However, it was filled in on the attestation form as “Naš” because of the inscription on the dashboard which had been brought from Ajdovščina together with the Tatra. The dashboard belonged to an unknown vehicle of American production by the pre-war automobile manufacturer Nash Motors Company from Kenosha in Wisconsin. The new car made great publicity. There were talks about launching serial production of such passenger vehicle in Maribor in cooperation with Czech factories Praga and Tatra. Tatra would supply mechanical parts, but that did not happen. By federal decree, licensed production of Prague trucks began in Maribor while Tatra continued producing its own cars alone. Kožar’s convertible was interesting to the point of finding a place at the exhibition at the White Palace in Belgrade; besides the people of Belgrade, it also delighted Tito, who even took it to a test drive. In 1948, it was given the People’s Technical Award and was mentioned and pictured in media numerous times. Jerney Kožar won the third Yugoslav national championship race from Kotor to Njeguši with it on 7th August 1949. This very accomplishment made him the champion of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia.
The glory quickly faded over the years. The car became outdated, even for his constructor, and changed several owners as a result. Its last owner was Josip Klobučar from Ravna Gora in Croatia, where Kožar’s “Naš” finally became a myth and vanished in a pile of waste. Only memories remain: photos and a few documents which leave a bittersweet taste at the thought that a vehicle with an advanced shape, soft elegant lines, good performance, and great publicity was made in Slovenia at the end of the 1940s. Perhaps it could have competed with Farina’s creations? It might have been launched for serial production or impressed in a race outside Yugoslav borders. It could be drawing people’s eyes among other exhibit items of the Technical Museum of Slovenia in the present; or would contemporary historic vehicles enthusiasts be making absurd hypotheses about it and waving their certificates? We will never know. All we will ever know is that once upon a time one Jernej Kožar had the vision and courage to put his dreams on the then dusty Slovene roads. He proved that one can turn myth into reality even if one does not live in a country with a strong car industry and without the backing of an entire team of promising engineers and a pile of money.
It is redundant to add anything before or after the title. With its inception, growth, development, recognition, and local and global position, Tomos made a name for itself.
After the Second World War, the Primorska region became part of Slovenia and Yugoslavia. The leadership of the Republic of Slovenia clearly saw the need to establish new factories and revitalize the existing ones, that is, to give people work and provide them with necessary goods. With the annexation of Zone B of the Free Territory of Trieste by Yugoslavia in 1954, the Municipal People’s Committee (MPC) of Koper passed an agreement to relocate establishing a factory of motorbikes from Sežana to Koper.
The TOMOS company was registered at the Commercial Court in Koper on 4th January 1955. Already during the preparations for the registration, a licence contract for the production of motorbikes with the Steyer-Daimler-Puch company from Graz in Austria was signed in 1954. Regarding the choice of the business partner, the option of paying in goods (TOMOS exported all kinds of raw materials, intermediate products, and food) and TOMOS’s obligation to buy only a certain number of motorbikes and their components were crucial.
At first, the production ran in the leased facilities of the Slavica factory (nowadays situated at the entrance to the Koper marina), assembling the Puch company models: a MS 50 moped, a Roller scooter, a SG 250 motorcycle, and outboard ship engines 49, 121, and 428 ccm (reconstructed from motorcycle aggregates). At the same time, a group of experts from TOMOS, TAM, and LITOSTROJ prepared the economic and technical study for a new factory which was built and started its trial run in 1959.
From then on, TOMOS had to rely on its own manpower, resourcefulness, and, as much as possible, independence from its licence partner. This encouraged TOMOS to begin building its own development department in the following years, which led to the foundation of an independent Development and Research Centre and later the INSTITUTE. TOMOS first developed its own drive aggregate for mopeds, outboard motors for small LAMO boats, and stationary engines. Thus, it gained full independence from licenced production. Over the years, it continued to develop new products, entirely based on its own technology and production. The organisation of the company developed and changed along the way. The Yugoslav market, where TOMOS established either its own or cooperative service and commercial network, was important. However, already in the very beginning TOMOS’s target market was global. Soon after its establishment, TOMOS exported to Scandinavia and other countries.
Besides motorcycles and related products (outboard motors, stationary engines, pumps and so on), TOMOS understood the needs of the market already under the leadership of its very skilful first director Franc Pečar and cast its eyes upon car production. It had several options for cooperation (Renault, Citroen, PUCH…). A cooperation contract with French Citroen was signed in 1959. Due to red tape in Belgrade and then problems with the delivery of parts from TOMOS, production started only toward the end of 1961. The production of car parts for Citroen demanded expansion to Senožeče and Buzet in Croatia, where TOMOS opened new factories, which became founding parts of a new company, CIMOS, in 1972. The founders were TOMOS, CITROEN, and ISKRA from Šempeter.
For the ease of sale and development, subsidiary TOMOS companies were founded in the Netherlands in 1965 and in Ghana in Africa in 1971. The market expanded to the entire Europe, the USA, Canada, North African countries (Algeria, Libya and others), the Middle East (Iran, Syria), Australia, and China.
Intending to gain global recognition, TOMOS has participated in motorcycle races ever since 1959, from the first international races in Portorož with reconstructed serial motorcycles to ensuing international victories (in Hockenheim in Germany, in Italy …) with motorcycles specially made by the racing motorcycles development department.
Participating in competitions as well as developing new products led the INSTITUTE to a number of patented inventions. Different product or aggregate models (a cylinder with a cylinder head, a TOMOS 4 outboard motor, an Avtomatic A3 racing motorcycle …) were likewise patented.
The TOMOS factory was founded in order to industrialise the southern Primorska region and ensure a supply of transport vehicles and auxiliary machinery. To accomplish that goal, the factory needed workers with at least minimal technical knowledge from both near and far surrounding areas. The experts from all major companies around Slovenia came to Koper, TOMOS trained its own human resources, and a vocational and technical high school was built. The living standard of the employees was taken care of by providing them with the factory’s own healthcare service, a large cafeteria, a sports clerk, and opportunities to study while working. TOMOS had the highest number of employees, 4,209, in 1971, when it still produced cars and merged with the bicycle factory Partizan from Subotica.
The development of the factory in the 1980s demanded reorganisation by production programmes and the following independent departments were established or confirmed (the Institute): The INSTITUTE, Motorcycles, Outboard Motors, Stationary Engines and Pumps, and Chainsaws. Joint Services, Tool Repairs Workshop, and Maintenance connected all the remaining aspects of the production process. This kind of organisation encouraged individual divisions to invest a lot into boosting the growth of their programmes. Thus, they made new investments, developed new products, signed a cooperation contract for the production of chainsaws with Swedish Husqvarna and so on.
Hence, the production numbers peaked in the second half of the 1980s. More than 95,000 mopeds and motorcycles, 120,000 pumps, stationary engines, and chainsaws, and 20,000 outboard motors were made. Unfortunately, the majority of these products weren’t profitable, with the exception of chainsaws and a few single products from other groups. Financial issues of the company and changes in the Yugoslav market intensified and at the end of the 1980s one of the first restructuring processes of Yugoslav industry began. In 1989, TOMOS went bankrupt, drastically reducing the number of employees, ending the production of outboard motors, chainsaws, and stationary engines, and considerably reducing the production of motorcycles. However, the worst blow for the future of the company was the dissolution of the INSTITUTE and with it organised product development.
A limited production of motorcycles continued with the purchase of TOMOS by Hidria from Idrija, but in an ever smaller scope and assortment. At present, TOMOS is owned by a private business and makes around 2,000 to 3,000 motorcycles per year. The company is also making attempts in electric motorcycles production, but developing new engines is expensive and depends on others.
Regardless of TOMOS’s situation today, it was a story of success. Due to the incredible willpower and confidence of its first director Franc Pečar and his small group of co-workers a big company was managed to be build. In the following years of growth, TOMOS left a great mark by employing a large number of people who enjoyed a certain standard of living, health, and personal development. TOMOS ensured human resources development for the factory and the wider coastal area, since its employees participated in activities and development of other companies. Above all, however, its quality products made TOMOS’ and Yugoslavia’ names known far across the world.
Koper, 25th June 2017,
TOMOS 25 let, the factory bulletin
Motorji iz Kopra by Boris Brovinsky
Own materials and memories of Edi Glavić
The Tale of the Giant under the Gorjanci Hills
The story of the industrial giant under the Gorjanci hills began more than six decades ago when Novo mesto and the Dolenjska region were considerably different from today. In the hilly countryside people cultivated precious grapevine just like today, but their main occupation was farming; hence, not much about industry was either heard or seen. A lot of water has flown in the river Krka since the birth of the local car industry in 1954 and today the region is home to three basically strongest and internationally renowned Slovene companies Adria Mobil, Revoz, and TPV.
Following the idea and vision of Franjo Bulc, born in 1901 in Šentrupert na Dolenjskem, who showed a talent for business, the Agroservis and Motomontaža companies were founded on 28th April 1954. At first, Agroservis repaired agricultural machinery and produced vine scissors and grassland spoon harrows. Meanwhile, Motomontaža assembled light commercial vehicles under a cooperation contract with German DKW. Soon, the symbol MM, Motomontaža, appeared on the bonnets together with the DKW trademark.
In 1955, Franjo Bulc managed to bring in his ranks the bold Jurij Levičnik, who took over the leadership of the company as well as of the one newly founded in 1959, Industrija motornih vozil (IMV). Jurij Levičnik was born on 2nd March 1925 in Kumbor in the Bay of Kotor in Montenegro. He attended grammar school in Novo mesto and finished the military academy in Zadar after the Second World War. Having been stopped from continuing his studies at the school of diplomacy, he left the army and went into business at Franjo Bulc’s invitation. After all the initial difficulties, especially those due to problems with foreign currency for importing car parts, his organisational and developmental skills soon became apparent. Since he was aware that only a major domestic investment can make production easier and from his experience with DKW vehicles, he decided to undertake a truly bold endeavour – the development and production of an original van. In just over six months, the first prototype of a Slovene or Yugoslav vehicle was made to the design of engineer Martin Sever; this vehicle was the later popular IMV van which was introduced at the autumn trade fair in Zagreb in 1958. They made twelve versions of the popular van: among others light commercial vehicles, vehicles for passengers, ambulances, and police and fire department vehicles. The shortage of foreign currency for the import of car parts import was resolved in 1965 with their own new export product: caravans. The first caravan, Adria 375, was also developed by Martin Sever. He himself took the prototype with a DKW vehicle to a fair in Sweden, where it saw great success. The orders for caravans increased year by year and IMV successfully exported them to the European market.
When DKW discontinued the production of two-stroke engines, Levičnik opted for cooperation with the British Motor Corporation, which lasted from 1967 to 1972. For that purpose new facilities were built for the production of Austin 1300 cars. After 1972, in the time of global recession, when the English did not want to expand the production abroad and the company in Novo mesto dealt with great quantities of unfinished cars, Levičnik decided to cooperate with French Renault. On the basis of a cooperative contract with Renault, IMV produced Renault 4 (“katrca”) cars from 1973 to 1992, as well as other models (R12, R16, and R18).
Alongside car production, IMV was gaining the knowledge of car-making technology and replacing foreign-made parts with domestic ones. From 1979 to 1980, they completely mastered the production of “katrca”. They also made their own tools and press parts.
If Yugoslavia hadn’t disintegrated, Slovenes might have also had their own production of off-road vehicles. In the 1990s, IMV responded to a call of the Yugoslav Army; it developed and made eight prototypes of an off-road vehicle labelled IMV TV 750 4×4. Three of those vehicles were military vehicles, tested by the army, while the other five vehicles were civilian.
Besides the enthusiasm of the employees, we shouldn’t forget that the company always encouraged and enabled employees’ training and education, built apartments for promising personnel, and was socially responsible.
In December 1989, the self-managing employees voted for dividing IMV and so the parent company IMV got its successors: Revoz, which today produces more than 200,000 cars a year; Adria Mobil, which specialises in caravans, campers, and mobile houses development, production, and marketing; and TPV Group, a development supplier in global car industry market.
Yet, the tale of the giant under the Gorjanci hills is not finished. It is true that it is not being written by IMV but by the employees of three newly established companies, each of which found their niche and built its international reputation in the 21st century, thus placing the capital of the Dolenjska region on the map of global car and caravanning industry. In IMV, people from the Dolenjska region honed their skills; they were not used to working in car or caravanning industry and yet they made the first Yugoslav car and became one of the biggest caravan manufacturers in Europe. Jurij Levičnik proved that it is possible to accomplish the virtually impossible through hard work, will, and with the right vision. In the beginning, it was only a dream, but today the descendants of these pioneers are accomplishing enviable results on a global scale.
Group of Friends of IMV, Franci Štupar
A Walk through the History of Motorisation and the Beginnings of Collecting Historic Vehicles in Slovene Lands – the First 90 Years
Naturally, we cannot begin without baron Anton Codelli, who drove for those times an already small Benz Velo car from Vienna to Ljubljana in 1898. His acquisition of this technical wonder was supposedly inspired by his unrequited love for a descendant of the Auersperg family. The combination of both technical aptitude and notorious susceptibility to the charms of the opposite sex marked the baron’s life until his death in the beginning of the 1950s. Apart from his interest in women and some other areas, such as wireless telegraph, television, weapons, parachutes, zeppelins, nautics, mowers, cinematic production, and West African explorations, Codelli was the first Slovenian car driver and racer, as well as the inventor of the electric ignition system for internal combustion engines, the rotary engine, and self-adhesive car tyres.
Next, there was Johann Janez Pu(c)h from Prlekija, Codelli’s contemporary, who moved on from his significant modern bicycle manufacturing industry to the production of motorcycles and cars at the turn of the century. It was certainly a very successful endeavour of the company which is now, a very long time after his death (1914), expanding into the vicinity of his birth place. What I have in mind is Magna, the successor of Pu(c)h’s company, which intends to build a factory in Hoče near Maribor.
While we are talking about the pioneers of Slovenian automobilism, we must also tackle their organised gatherings. They were gathering together within the Carniolan Automobile Club, founded in 1909 and alternately led by brothers Born, barons from Podljubelj. In the few short years before the beginning of the First World War, this country club was working on promoting and furthering automobilism, tourism (above all, automobile tourism), and sports. Sports? The Imperial Royal Austrian Automobile Club organised a prominent international automobile “Great Alpine Rally” between 1910 and 1914. Every time, a part of this 8-day-long trial passed through our roads; hence, members of the Carniolan Automobile Club participated in organising the competition.
Between the World Wars
After the First World War, the cards were dealt out anew. Slovenes were incorporated into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. A few years after uniting with brotherly southern Slavic nations, the time came for a renaissance of organised automobilism and motorcycling. Thus, the Automobile Club of Slovenia and Motor-cycling Club Ilirija were founded in 1920.
The two clubs, the automobile club and motor-cycling club, organised a few prominent international mountain races to the pass of Ljubelj together, then their ways parted. Speaking of races to Ljubelj, in which automobilists also participated, we have to mention yet another important protagonist of our motorisation, engineer Stanko Bloudek. Sometimes, he raced in a Ford Model T and at other times with a little bigger and stronger 6-cylinder Buick. Of course, engineer Bloudek was a lot more than just a car racer. Primarily, he was a plane constructor, an architect of ski jumping hills and other sports facilities, and, finally, also a car “designer”. In the 1930s, Avtomontaža in Ljubljana almost serially produced his buses. They also attempted to produce a prototype series of Triglav cars (16 samples altogether), for which they bought the mechanical parts from the German factory DKW (F5 model) while making the rest in Ljubljana with the help of domestic trade knowledge and skill. Engineer Bloudek unsuccessfully competed with his Triglav cars against numerous foreign car manufactures in a contest by the Royal Yugoslav Army, which wanted to establish a domestic car production for its own needs. After years of deliberating, the army finally chose the Czech company Prague; thus, licensed production of Prague trucks began in Rakovica at Belgrade only in 1940, just before German occupation. During Second World War, the factory in Rakovica was plundered, but after the war ended, they made a great deal of relaunching the production of domestic-made trucks. But not for long. Due to the looming danger of a Soviet invasion in the Informbiro period, the truck production was moved from Rakovica to Maribor in the north, where a former Wermacht factory for aircraft propellers was turned into TAM (Maribor Automobile Factory).
The Second World War
After the occupation of Yugoslavia, the Germans requisitioned all vehicles in their territory, while the Italians were somewhat less consistent in their part of the territory. It was only mandatory to turn in car wheels or tyres. Therefore, car owners in the Province of Ljubljana conserved their vehicles, while some people even dismantled their vehicles and hid the parts, believing in better times. Five years later, as the war was coming to an end, the Germans and other armies, retreating northwards, took what little else remained that was at least somewhat useful. However, not for long, because most of these vehicles, together with hundreds of others these armies picked up all over the Balkans during their retreat, got stuck in South Carinthia. These so-called trophy vehicles represented the main stock of Slovene driving pool after the Second World War, although the liberators had to turn the most valuable of these cars in to the authorities in Belgrade.
The Second Yugoslavia
In November 1946, a year and a half after liberation and 30 years after Great Alpine Rallies, we finally awaited the first Slovene rally in Ljubljana and its surroundings. After speed and driving skills trials, the first three places among the multitude of all kinds of cars were taken by a DKW F7 and two Topolino cars.
Soon after this rally, auto moto clubs started appearing anew, together with so-called folk technical clubs. The Automobile and Motorcycle Association of Slovenia (AMZS) was founded in 1948, but it mainly organised only motorcycling races in the following years. Car drivers mostly participated only in mountain races and also on a few street races in Ljubljana.
The aforementioned folk technical clubs often rather boldly adopted serially produced cars for sport competitions, since there were fewer sports cars in Slovenia than the fingers on one carpenter’s hand (two BMWs, an Amilcar and a Bugatti – which wasn’t in driving condition.) Such procedures were called “reconstructions” and were more often than not ill-conceived from the present point of view on “old-timers”.
Unfortunately, in the great eagerness to fix the factory “shortcomings”, some cars were completely and irreversibly destroyed. That might have also been a result of a touch overzealous revolutionary spirit or hatred for all things bourgeois.
On the other hand, there were also individuals who were constructing often exceptionally inspired “creations” from scrap car parts. Therefore our short overview of the development of Slovene motorisation certainly cannot fail to mention either Kožar’s “Naš”, made from parts of a Czech military Tatra truck or Osredkar’s “Woody”, based on German military KdF-Wagen technology.
The Beginnings of Collecting Historic Vehicles
In 1951, Technical Museum of Slovenia was founded with a clear message that technical heritage is a part of national culture. However, at least in regard to antique cars, as historic vehicles were called at the time, our attitude was yet distinctively ill-mannered for a long time to come.
In the first half of the 1950s, AMZS organised in a few consecutive autumns an international “Yugoslav Alpine Rally”, in which pre-war cars participated within a special “old vehicles” category. However, the reason for it was far from enthusiastic. At the time, domestic drivers, apart from three or so lucky exceptions, had ten or more years old cars and simply could not compete with foreigners, who, as a rule, had new vehicles. This rally was abandoned with the beginning of politically more supported Adriatic Rally.
In August 1958, the Večer newspaper from Maribor, came up with a rally of “old-timers” on the route between Celje and Maribor as a side event of so-called Maribor week. Three small BMW Dixi roadsters also participated and actually raced, since the winner made the 60-kilometers long distance in less than an hour (!).
This time already coincides with the appearance of the first Zastava’s Fičko cars, which were the first serious cause for the demise of outdated historic vehicles. The remaining drivers of historic vehicles transformed into buffoons. They accompanied carnivals, graduates processions, and freshmen parades, or they were used as comic inserts in films (Ne čakaj na maj, Naš avto…)
The gradual demise temporarily stopped with “TT veteran rallies”, an event, organised over five consecutive years from 1966 to 1970 by TT weekly magazine from Ljubljana. The event became such an attraction that people would buy discarded cars with the sole purpose of attending these rallies. At the time, other “home-made” products appeared on the market in addition to Zastava cars, for example Renaults from Litostroj, Morris cars from IMV, or AMIs from Tomos, whereas, due to the supply of these new cars and the lack of proper events, there was less and less interest in historic vehicles and they were yet again on a downward trend… In ten years, until 1981, when Technical Museum organised its first “TMS veteran rally”, the number of historic vehicles on home ground considerably declined. A lot of historic vehicles ended up in dumps, but many more of them fled to the West even before brain drain. However, those historic vehicles who survived this critical era more or less still go on nowadays.
Therefore, we can say we became aware that historic vehicles are part of technical heritage, which is in turn a part of national cultures (in plural, because I have in mind the nations of our former common county), only in the 1980s. Meaning, it only occurred with the phenomenon of “TMS veteran rallies” (1981 – 1989), which were regularly attended by contestants from other regions of former Yugoslavia. Simultaneously, other historic vehicle events were organised by newly formed societies across the county, for example: LSMV at AMTK Ljubljana (1981), Veteran Maribor (1986), AMK Veteran Voždovac – Beograd (1987), Oldtimer club Zagreb (1988)…
Foundation of Enterprise TAM
The Automobile and Engine Factory Maribor was founded on 31st Dcember, 1946. The foundation decree was signed by the President of the Republic, Marshal Josip Broz Tito.
The new enterprise first began to produce a three-ton truck Pionir upon Czech licence. TAM was producing this vehicle for 15 years and during this period 17,416 vehicles of this type were manufactured.
Already in 1957, our enterprise acquired new licence from the West German firm Klöckner-Humboldt Deutz and began rapidly to adopt this modern 4,5 ton vehicle. Three years after this vehicle has already been wholly adopted. TAM has also adopted a new air-cooled engine and has been called Tovarna avtomobilov in motorjev Maribor (Automobile and Engine Factory) since then.
In 1960, TAM put on the market the two-ton vehicle TAM 2000 which was the achievement of its designers in whole and was thus first Yugoslav vehicle of an entirely home producction.