The 1925 Hanomag Kommissbrot, affectionately nicknamed after a loaf of military bread, stands as a testament to innovation and resilience. Conceived by two young engineers lacking prior automotive experience, the prototype and drawings found their way to Hanomag, a prominent German company specializing in locomotives and large engines. This collaboration birthed the Kommissbrot, with 16,000 units representing a significant portion of Hanomag's pre-war automobile production.
Hanomag, initially a manufacturer of tractors, steam engines, lorries, and forest machinery, ventured into the 1920s car market with a keen focus on creating a light and economical vehicle. The 10HP 503cc single-cylinder engine positioned at the rear aimed to maximize legroom, while clever design choices, such as omitting separate wings and running boards, reduced the car's width and weight. The result was the Hanomag 2/10, a pioneering vehicle that marked the advent of the "people's car" concept, featuring a rear engine layout.
Production commenced in the spring of 1925, introducing a single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine that consumed a mere 5 liters per 100 km and propelled the 370-kilogram car to a top speed of 64 km/h. Notably, the gearbox lacked a differential or synchronizers, and the car operated without a battery. A unique "crooked starter" between the front seats initiated the engine, emphasizing simplicity and efficiency.
Priced at 2,300 Reichsmarks, the Kommissbrot aimed to cater to a broad audience, allowing a skilled worker or doctor to earn the sum in just three to four months. Despite its compact size, capable of accommodating only two individuals, and its initial association with soldiers' rations, the Kommissbrot made an impact. Delivery vans and the Korbwagen, a rattan-bodied single-seater, diversified the lineup, showcasing Hanomag's commitment to adapting to evolving preferences.
Despite the car's initial popularity, changes in Germany's economic landscape prompted a shift in consumer preferences.
As prosperity improved, Germans moved away from the Kommissbrot, and Hannoverische Maschinenbau shifted focus to more expensive and conventional cars in 1928. The Kommissbrot, with its unique legacy, became a symbol of a bygone era, representing an extraordinary chapter in Hanomag's journey—a tale of simplicity, adaptation, and the pursuit of affordable mobility in challenging times.