Engineer Friedrich Maier was already a well known person in the airline industry before he switched over to the automobile industry in the thirties.
This 32 year old man founded a car workshop in Charlottenburg, a district of Berlin. On 2nd April 1930, he applied for a patent at the Industrial Patent’s Office for a car that would have a body that would support itself. His idea was a car that will have national ramifications. A car that will exceed expectation of the government and her people. With 300,000 Mark (Germany's currency, then) he went to build his dream.
Friedrich Maier using the drive of a 2 stroke engine of a DKW went on to build one. Apart from the self-supporting car body, it had a centrally located headlight at the front was significant, whose technology was hidden behind a swivel mechanism, that adjusted the steering angle. He also applied for a patent for this solution, as well as height-adjustable driver´s seat and also a changeable chassis. He completed his drivable prototype in 1935 under the name Leichtbau* Maier.
* leichtbau = lightweight construction (in German)
Unfortunately his prototype found no approval among government circles, and he and his far-sighted ideas were soon forgotten. It remained in a single produced car by himself.
All his life, he patented applications after applications and several of them are today’s essential industry standards (monocoque all steel body, adjustable driver’s seat, etc.). Manufacturers copied his products but did not pay him anything. They knew that he did not have the money or the power to fight them. He was in such pitiable condition that he had to move his bed next to his workshop. His wife and only daughter deserted him. He was sinking and had no strength to fight the automobile companies.
Friedrich Maier died in absolute poverty at the age of 78 in Berlin. It was only after his death that his prototype was brought in to life by a person called Jörg Jansen in 2008.