Immediately after reforming the Austrian Military in 1956, plans started to replace the motor vehicles left behind by the allied occupation forces with Austrian-manufactured equipment. The Steyr truck plant had already commenced manufacturing of the light Steyr 2000 A truck in 1945 – mainly from existing parts stock – and in 1947 they presented the Steyr 370, the first new truck model after the war. It was powered by a V8 gasoline engine, however the urgent need for re-motorization of the country made fuel economy not too much of an issue. Just one year later however, Steyr’s new WD 413 4-cylinder diesel engine was introduced in the new Type 380.
The Type 370 was never formally introduced by the Army as by the mid-1950s the Steyr Type 380 with its new diesel engine had already been presented, and introduction of the Type 480 was just a couple of years away.
Only a handful of Steyr 380s were actually procured by the Army, mostly for service with the „B-Gendarmerie“, the heavy police force predating the Austrian Army before signature of the State Treaty and the departure of the allied occupation forces in 1955. Our vehicle was delivered on January 11 1956 to the Defense Office at the Chancellory – as the Ministry of Defense had not yet been established. On December 4 1958 it was licensed by the MoD with the plates W 175.407, and in 1974 re-licensed to the new Army plates BH 75.407 (with „BH“ standing for „Bundesheer“ or „Federal Army“). In 1978 – after twenty years of Army service – it was decommissioned and sold.
Its 1956 date of manufacture makes this truck the oldest Austrian-produced vehicle in our Collection.