Italian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History


Turkheimer Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Italian Entrepreneur

Max Turkheimer (Moses Max Türkheimer, b. Germany 1860) moved to Italy with his family as a boy. Turkeimer had been importing Hildebrand & Wolfmuller motorcycles since 1894.

He began producing motorcycles in 1902 and is perhaps best known for the Moto Astra. The company was a main agent for Ariel, with whom he had a close relationship - he was a shareholder in Charles Sangster's company, and that relationship continued when Jack Sangster took over from his father. Max concurrently advertised Moto Derad. His company also built O.T.A.V. cyclecars from 1905 to 1908, and Stella motorcycles 1924 to 1927.[1,2]

Alberico Seiling was Italy's general representative for Max Turkheimer. Francesco Vincenzo Lanfrachi of Florence worked with Turkheimer before creating his own business in 1913, and later created the FVL marque.

Türkheimer died in 1936 and his cousin, also named Max Türkheimer, briefly took the reins. He died in Auschwitz.[3]

Junior and Otav Car Co.

117 Long Acre, W.C. Stand No. 300.

This firm are showing a number of the little "Otav" voiturettes, which have been previously described in The Review. Their great feature is, of course, their price, which is only 95 guineas. They have a 5 H.P. air-cooled engine, the cylinder being jacketed, and the air being forced through by a powerful fan. The engine drives by chain to a countershaft placed across the car and carrying a two-speed epicyclic gear. From the countershaft the drive to the road wheels is by " V " belts. The car behaved distinctly well in the Auto-Cycle Club run to York and back some months ago. We understand that the car is selling well, and it is certainly an interesting type of vehicle.

Stanley Show 1908


  1. OTAV - Officine Turkheimer Automobili e Velocipedi
  2. There are several Stella marques - see: Disambiguation
  3. Max Turkheimer, son of Moses Turkheimer and Rosa Odenheimer was born in Muenzesheim in Germany on November 19, 1878. Arrested in Lenno (Como), he was interred in Fossoli concentration camp in Emilia-Romagna, as was Primo Levi. He was deported to Auschwitz on 26/06/1944. He did not survive the Shoah.

Sources: Moto di Lombardia, The Motor Cycle,, Tragatsch p80, et al

rolleditzler at bluewin dot ch
Max Türkheimer on Hildebrand and Wolfmüller
We saw the photo of Max Türkheimer on a motor-bicycle of Hildebrand & Wolfmüller on your website.
We are currently writing the biography of Eduard Burkhardt from Basel/Switzerland. He was the holder of the Italian patent of H&W and hence the direct business partner of Türkheimer in 1894-1895. Our book will be published in spring next year.
We would be interested to use this photo in our book. Do you remember your source? We would like to acquire a high-res copy and the publishing rights.
Yours sincerely
Christoph Ditzler
    Sorry, have no source nor high resolution copy of the image. When published, do please send an image of the cover when published so that it may be included here. Ed.

ccg471 at
as you can see i have a cyclecar built by max turkheimer, i am looking for history from the factory, ie. how many cars where built, chassis no, anything about this ineresting man.

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