NW First Truck

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Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft First Truck
NW 1st lorry2.jpg
Manufacturer Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft A.G.
today Tatra, A.S.
Production 1899
Assembly Kopřivnice, Moravia
Body and chassis
Class Truck
Layout RR layout
Engine 2x 2 cylinder Benz 2750 cc
combined power (13,2HP) at 600 RPM
Transmission 3 speeds (+ reverse)
Wheelbase 2,000 mm (78.7 in)
Length 4,590 mm (180.7 in)
Width 1,720 mm (67.7 in)
Height 2,805 mm (110.4 in)
Predecessor Präsident

Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft (NW) First Truck is a veteran truck manufactured by Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft A.G. (now known as Tatra) in 1899. The unique feature of the engines setup was that the two engines could be operated sequentially depending on the load requirements. After the company finished its first passenger car, named the Präsident, it focused on manufacturing a truck. The First Truck represents the beginning of the long tradition of Tatra commercial vehicles.


The truck was a flatbed with covered loading area and with a top over the personnel compartment, which could seat two.

The loading area was 1,720 mm (67.7 in) x 3,510 mm (138.2 in) and had 2,5 tons capacity. There are poles in its corners, which carry the roof, most of the rear face wall middle part is tiltable (similar to low divided side wals) as a flatbed rear loading ramp. The seat for two is in front of the loading area.

The front axle carries the iron frame via two elliptical leaf springs. The wooden front wheels have steel rims with outer diameter of 750 mm (29.5 in). The steering column is on the right in front of the driver. The rear axle is sprung by two couples of spiral springs. The wheels are wooden with steel rim and outer diameter of 900 mm (35.4 in).

The vehicle has two two cylinder flat 120 x 120 mm liquid cooled Benz engines (the same as the 1st Präsident passenger car), which are mounted under the frame behind the rear axle. Uniquely, the engines could be operated sequentially depending on the load requirements. No 1 engine was started via a cranking handle and had a flywheel attached and No 2 engine without the flywheel was connected via a gear clutch and started by the first engine already running. The second engine could be started or switched off anytime during the drive. Switching off the second engine cuts the fuel consumption in half. Another interesting detail is the both engines vapour cooling - coolant fumes are led to the roof condenser and the water is recycled back into the coolant tanks placed in the vehicle rear what lowers the water consumption.

The gear box is mounted under the frame in front of the rear axle. The gears are changed through two gear sticks in front of the driver. The truck has 3 gears forward and reverse. It was able to reach 20 km/h.[1] The fuel consumption was 4 kg of petrol per 100 km and it was able to climb 12° angle.[2]

The replica[edit]

Replica of NW The First Truck (rear view)

Unlike the Präsident, the first passenger car made by NW, the original of the First Truck has not survived. After the work on Präsident passenger car replica was finished in 1977, the decision was taken to build a replica of the First Truck. After all, the main production of the Tatra company were the trucks at the time. However the task was more complicated than in case of Präsident, as there was also lack of original technical documentation. There was one original photograph of the truck's side view, but this one was made after partial reconstruction of the original. Very important was the photographic tablet of the original technical description, this one was however representing a later truck, which was made on May 22, 1900, and which had only one engine (instead of the two installed on the first truck), different gear box and a different steering. Only the concept of the front and rear axles, cooling, the frame and chassis itself were the same. The last source for the project was a description given by a Viennese editor named Adolf Schmal jnr., who described in a newspaper the truck he saw in Nesselsdorf in spring of 1899. His description was very detailed. There were also 39 usable original technical drawings: another 702 had to be made from scratch. The technical drawings for the engine, electrics, and fuel tank were taken from those for the Präsident. The replica is made from 1333 pieces. More than 500 enthusiastic Tatra employees took part in the construction of the replica after working hours. The replica was finished in autumn of 1979.[3] The First Truck replica can by now seen in Tatra Technical Museum in Kopřivnice.


  1. ^ "První nákladní automobil z Kopřivnice (The First Truck from Kopřivnice)". Tatra Brochure. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
  2. ^ "První nákladní automobil z Kopřivnice (The First Truck from Kopřivnice)". Milan Olšanský, Trucker 1/1998. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
  3. ^ "V Kopřivnici opět první (Again a primacy in Kopřivnice)". Ing. Kamil Procházka, Automobil 1/1980. Retrieved 2010-06-15.

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