Between the barn and the garage with Oswald and Felix Auracher
Packed full of memories
The tradition-conscious Auracher family company has been making a name for itself as a freight and moving service expert in Stuttgart, Germany, for more than 90 years.
With a powerful tug Felix Auracher opens the garage door and lets the sunrays shine on the spotlessly clean front of a vintage delivery van. “The LP 322 is the oldest of our five vehicles and in use at our family company since the first of July 1959”, says the tall man. His father, Oswald Auracher, picked up the chassis from the plant in Mannheim personally and drove it to Eislingen to be fitted with the body, sitting on only a fruit crate. “When he brought the vehicle here I was only seven years old”, explains Felix Auracher. That is why he not only associates his daily work but also many memories with the vehicle. Such as the many journeys on which he or his siblings sat next to their father Oswald Auracher on the front seat. Or the first time that Felix Auracher was allowed to take the wheel himself. And naturally the countless adventurous journeys on which they accompanied the Stuttgart State Orchestra as a freight company.
It all began in 1921 when Karl Jakob Auracher founded a driving business in Stuttgart Heslach. The first motor vehicle was purchased in 1933 to handle the increasing demand for all types of transport. After 1945 Karl Jakob Auracher’s youngest son, Oswald, took over the family company. The qualified vehicle mechanic had begun to drive the heavy trucks when he was only 17. But like his father he also shared the love of horses and classic carriages which also belong to the family’s fleet. Auracher has since gone on to specialize in moves and transport along with international freight haulage. In addition to its LP 322 the family now owns a 1965 LP 911, a 1976 LP 1319 along with two newer vehicles, which are not less well cared-for than the classic vehicles. With the exception of the newest vehicle, an Actros from 2008, they are all equipped with bodies from the Staufen plant in Eislingen; the 1831 L is equipped with a rare Hannoverian Warnecke body. With its tipping driver’s cab integrated into the box body, it is probably one of the last Pullmans on Germany’s roads.
“I am simply a Mercedes man.”
“You drive the old vehicles differently. You pay a lot more attention to whether a branch is in the way and are a lot more careful when loading. It also takes a little muscle to drive the vehicle”, says the mover Felix Auracher. “Because the steering wheel is nothing like power steering.” The vehicles are restored from time to time. He handles the small jobs himself. But for more extensive restorations he has been taking the vehicles to the same garage for decades – another company with tradition. “I am simply a Mercedes man”, explains Oswald Auracher as he walks out into the courtyard outside the office and apartment building. That simply happened. His private vehicle has long been a beautiful 280er SE.
At the Heslacher Hof
In his broad Swabian dialect the 89-year-old tells stories about the company, provides a tour through the various rooms, garages and barns together with his son. Because Oswald senior not only has a passion for horse power but also for real horses and carriages. In the middle of Stuttgart Heslach it feels as though you were on a farm when you follow him through the carriage garage and horse barn. “My wife and I were both enthusiastic riders and she also shared a passion for old carriages with me. When carrying out moves in the country I always asked whether there was an old carriage in the barn and that is how I acquired my collection”, explains Oswald Auracher and guides us past a sled coach, a Victorian coach, a landau and other antique antique buggies and curricles. “Simply look at this leather”, he says enthusiastically and runs his hand over a black seat cushion. “This was manufactured at King Wilhelm’s court, so it is well over 100 years old.” The coaches are lined up tidily next to each other, perfectly clean while they wait for their owner to hitch them up to one of the six horses at the weekend.
Everything stays in the family
Almost all of the family works at the transport company and shares the fascination for classic vehicles, carriages and horses. Three of the four children work for the company and take care of the cars, carriages, horses and the business itself with just as much dedication and love. Martin Auracher is in the office, working on the current jobs while we admire the faded photos on the walls. For more than 70 years the Aurachers have been transporting the Stuttgart State Orchestra’s instruments around the world. But the moving service remains the company’s core business. “Business has become tougher in recent years”, says Oswald Auracher, who still runs the business. “But we have a good name and are often recommended by people”, explains Oswald Auracher and waves through the window at a young neighboring family.
“They are all equally beautiful.”
Felix Auracher has now pulled an old black folder out of the shelves and is paging through the collection of old vehicle papers and vehicle inspection documents with obvious pleasure. “Many people expressly request an old vehicle for their moves. And when you are on the road in Stuttgart with the vehicles, the people love it and toot their horns at you”. Naturally, the Aurachers also receive a lot of offers to purchase their vans. “Most of them would like to make the vans into a campervan or something. But that is out of the question for us. Because we also need all the vehicles, as well.” Before we leave we would like to know which van is Oswald Auracher’s absolute favorite. “They are all equally beautiful”, says Oswald Auracher with a gentle smile. And waves and walks back inside the house to his family.
In 1921 Karl Jakob Auracher founded a driving business in Stuttgart Heslach. He delivered goods to retailers and tradesmen and soon began to transport the musical instruments for the Stuttgart State Theatre. At the beginning of the 1950s the company converted completely to motorized vehicles. The family company specialized in moves and furniture transport and continues to transport the musical instruments for the State Theatre today. Today the family company employs 10 employees and has a fleet of 5 vehicles. The company is managed by Oswald Auracher, who will celebrate his 90th birthday next year