A Brief History of the Marque
Initially called the Strolch (rascal, vagabond, little monkey), the name was changed to Progress in 1954. The original company name of Gottlieb Gaßmann, Stuttgart-Untertürkheim was changed ProgressWerk Oberkirch AG.
Designed by Gottlieb Gassman, the first Strolch 75cc scooters entered production in 1950. This was followed by a 100cc Sachs version, with a 150cc engine fitted in 1952. That year an agreement was reached with the Progress company to produce the machines and in 1954 the new Progress Stolch scooter arrived with a Fichtel & Sachs 175cc engine located centrally in the chassis, it had 16 inch wheels, rear swinging arm suspension with integrated shock absorbers and the headlight was attached to the front forks. The body was constructed of pressed steel. The machine was available with conventional kickstarter or as the ES model with electric start.
1957 saw another name change to Progress, and several changes to the product. The scooter was fitted with a 200cc F&S engine and the headlight was moved from the forks to the now more conventional fixed position on the scooter's bodywork.
Access to the drive train was easily accomplished by loosening two levers.
The company had some 500 employees, and sales continued for 7 years. With the scooter market declining, in 1960 it was decided to cease production and return to manufacturing metal parts for industry. Production of the scooters in 1960 but they remained on sale in some locatons until 1963. The firm returned to manufacturing metal parts for industry and remains in business, with facilities in China and Canada.
Carr Brothers Ltd of Purley UK imported Strolch scooters and 1955 began producing their Villiers-powered machines, the 175 cc Anglian, and the 200 cc Briton and Brittannia - the latter with electric start. Although inspired by the German machines, they were distinctly different, having fibreglass bodywork. A new company was formed for the endeavour Progress Supreme Company Ltd but the project did not go into production.
See also: Progress DE
Sources: JF, Wikipedia NL
Bibliography: Die Motorroller und Kleinwagen der fünfziger Jahre
There were at least three firms which used the name Progress. One in Coventry in 1900, another in Germany in 1902, and Progress-Strolch.
Berliner Corporation in the US imported Progress scooters around 1957-58.
According to one source, the Progress 200 project was headed by Louis Lepoix, designer for Bastert, TWN (Contesa), Walba and many more in the motorcycle field and others. Vintagent has a page on him here.
If you have a query or information about Progress machines, please contact us