A Brief History of the Marque The Champion was a project of Albert Maier, chief engineer at the Friedrichshafen (ZF) factory. The prototype appeared in late 1946, powered by a 196cc Triumph-Gemo stationary engine. The project was shelved in 1949 as management were concerned that automotive clients for the ZF gearboxes may see the new vehicle as competition.
A licence agreement was established with Hermann Holbein, a former BMW engineer. He formed Champion Automobil-Werke G.m.b.H. in 1950 and production of the Champion Ch 400 commenced at a former military airfield in Paderborn in Westphalia.
Holbein left the firm in 1952, and production ground to a halt. The firm became bankrupt in 1954.
In 1955 Maico bought the estate and began producing the Maico 500, initially using the Champion name.
Source: Axel Oskar Mathieu Archive
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