1958 Simson AWO 250S
In 1854 the brothers Löb and Moses Simson bought one third of a steelhammer works in Suhl (Germany). The production of carbon steel began and the firm Simson & Co. was founded in 1856. The factory produced guns and gunbarrels in the years following. In 1871 the first steam engine started its service and the enterprise established production of bicycles in 1896, which was followed by the start of automobile production in 1907. The racing car Simson Supra is famous.
Simson S 51Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship forced the Jewish family Simson to flee the country in 1936. Under the framework of dispossession of Jewish industrialists a trustee took control of the firm, and so by merger with other factories the “Berlin Suhler Waffen- und Fahrzeugwerke” (BSW) was formed. In the same year the first motorbike came off the assembly lines whose name was BSW 98. After the politically determined emigration of the Simson brothers the factory intensified weapons production and so from 1939 the company was called “Gustloff-Werke – Waffenwerk Suhl”.
The factory continued to build bicycles, weapons and cars until 1945. Then, in 1946, by order of the Soviet military administration the manufacturing plant was partially dismantled and transported to the Soviet Republic (USSR). This was as part of the reparation programme for the damage caused by Germany during the second war and in 1947 the factory was integrated into the Russian “SAG Awtowelo” (state stock company motorcycle).
Simson DUO 4/1 tricycleLater, the USSR handed back control of the factory to the German Democratic Repuplic (GDR) and in 1952 it was renamed “VEB Fahrzeug- und Gerätewerk Simson Suhl”. Production of sporting guns, prams and bicycles slowly resumed, but the main focus was again on motorcycle manufacture.
Simson produced more than 300,000 motorcycles of the type AWO 425. This was a shaft driven, 250 cc four stroke motorcycle that enjoyed high reputation within the eastern bloc countries. There were two main models of AWO 425. The T (touring) had plunger rear suspension, while the S (sport) model had twin-shock swinging arm rear suspension.
Simson DUO tricycleSimson motorcycle manufacture ceased in the early 1960s when the GDR government decided that from then on all new private cars and motorcycles would be two-strokes. The GDR already had a two stroke motorcycle factory: the former MZ works at Zschopau. The Simson factory was therefore given a new task of building two stroke mopeds. From the 1960s moped production grew steadily in Suhl; up to 200,000 mopeds per year came off the assembly lines.