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* 14. 2. 1878, Klosterneuburg, Austria
† 3. 3. 1967, München, Germany

Automobile designer

Following a locksmith apprenticeship in 1897 L. graduated from the State craft school in Vienna and in the same year voluntarily began to work in a car factory in Nesseldorf in Moravia. In 1899 he significantly contributed to the construction of the vehicle, which operated on all four wheels and a year later participated in the construction of racing car for Baron Theodor von →Liebig. Together with designers Kriebl and Struhatschek he made a plan for a new brake system and participated in the construction of type B car.
In 1902 he joined Max Friedmans’ Vienna company, but was already at the end of 1905 by director of the company sent to Kopřivnice. In 1914 the factory began producing L’s T type cars, which had brakes on all four wheels.
In May 1916 L. joined the car factory in Steyr (Austria), but was convinced by the director of company in Koprivnica to come back and was also offered a position of Director in the newly established car factory. Here L. in 1923 drew a two cylinder car called Tatra 11, which was the first car from Koprivnica to be successfully sold.
From 1930 onwards his youngest son Erich L. (1904-1992) was involved in the car construction. This was followed by a series of cars and heavy goods vehicles from L’s design bureau, such as the Tatra 77 - the first aerodynamic shape vehicle in the world, which was mass-produced and the Tatra 11 – a three-axle heavy goods vehicle with all-wheel drive.
New elements of L’s structures are: self-supporting torsional rigid body with a central structure consisting of a tube, fully independent suspension, aerodynamic ponton body, a frameless central tubular chassis with swing axles and rear-mounted air-cooled flat engine.
In 1944 he received his PhD in Technical Sciences at the Technical university in Vienna. After World War II L. was sentenced and interned in Czechoslovakia. After serving a sentence, he returned back to Austria. Later he lived in Munich, where he died in 1967.
It is not known whether Joseph L. (1870-1949), who in 1897 moved to the USA and was from 1910 to 1942 the main designer in the company of Edward G. Budda (engaged in the vehicle body production), was Hans L’s brother.

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