Otto Mathé

Otto Mathé (1907 – 1995) was a trained mechanical engineer and also used his experience as a designer of successful self-made products. Although his right arm was paralyzed, he won all the races he competed in in 1952. There were 20…

At the start

From his time as a cyclist and motorcycle racer, Otto Mathé appreciated the minimization of friction losses between chain and gears and, as an automobilist, devoted himself to optimizing the internal lubrication of the engine, transmission and differential. Mathé developed and marketed its “Mathé Universal” as an additive to engine oil (additional lubricant) and met with great approval in specialist circles.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

A serious accident in 1934, in which he partially lost his right arm, put an abrupt end to his success as a motorcycle racer. But Otto Mathé was not discouraged by this. In 1934, he developed the one-hand ski buckle shoes still in use today, but did not make use of that idea. Later, this was followed by the double safety ski binding, which he also applied for a patent for.

Construction times

After World War II, Mathé also opened the first cylinder and crankshaft grinding shop in Tyrol / Austria, where he himself carried out the main work. Otto Mathé had already been working on the idea of a Wankel engine since his apprenticeship. In the early post-war period – a few years before the Wankel engine became known – he built it himself.

The successful racing car driver

Otto Mathé quickly grasped the passion for racing again. He drove international races at home and abroad with the “Porsche ancestor” the so-called “Berlin-Rome Car” (Porsche Type 64). With his self-designed and built “Fetzenflieger” he defeated world-famous professional racers like Hans Stuck sen., Fritz Huschke von Hanstein and Richard von Frankenberg on their works cars. In 1952, Otto Mathé participated in twenty car races and became twenty times winner – one-armed!

The Mathé Collection

The largest part of Otto Mathé’s automobile collection can be seen in our permanent exhibition: among others his race car MA-01 “Fetzenflieger”, the Cisitalia D46 with which Hans Stuck won the first official German circuit race at the Hockenheimring in 1947, the Delfosse DVD streamlined racing car, his VW T1 Transporter as well as the original parts of the Porsche Type 64 (No. 2), on which the PROTOTYP Automuseum rebuilt the second “Berlin-Rome car”.