The history of Scania

Dansk Deutsch
The logo of Scania is the Griffin, the weapon of the Swedish region Scania, where the company Scania was founded in Malmö.

In 1891 a group of industrialists started
Vagnfabriks Aktie Bolaget I Södertälje,
the waggon factory in Södertälje, for manufacturing of railway waggons. Short after, the market was recessive, and then the production of cars and trucks was established. The vehicles were sold under the brand af VABIS, the company was early aware, to have an easy recognizable trade mark.

The entry to Scania in Malmö

The beginning

In Malmö in Scania was Maskinfabriksaktiebolaget Scania which had a similar production. In 1903 the first passenger cars leaved the factory, in 1905 the first Scania motors were constructed, and from now were produced both cars and trucks.

The Scania vehicles were easy to sell, but an increasing of the capital was needed, to build out the production facilities, and a partner was seeked. In 1911 Scania in Malmö and Vabis in Södertälje went together. The trucks were made in Malmø, the passenger cars in Södertälje. In Malmö the administration was housed, to 1913, when it was moved to Södertälje.

In the years before world war one, Scania-Vabis had a good export to the other Nordic countries, Russia and the Baltic states.During the war the export was nearly stopped, but the domestic market was good in the neutral Sweden. After the war there was an overflow of vehicles from the war, and Scania-Vabis went into a hard economic crisis. 1921 the company went bankrupt. Scania-Vabis was short after reconstructed, and was slowly but safely rebuilt to a strong and effective operator in the industry.

The Danish Scania-Vabis period.

In a period there was a production of Scania vehicles in Denmark too.

1911 the first Swedish Scania truck was delivered to the Danish market, with a 26 hp, straight 4 cylinder at 8,8 litres .The carriyng capacity was 4 tons. The following two years, 7 trucks and 1 passenger car were sold in Denmark.

At the end of 1913 the company Dansk A/S Scania-Vabis was established. In 1914 the first Danish Scania-Vabis was produced, a 4 seater Phaeton passenger car, built at the factory at Frederiksberg in Copenhagen. 1915 the first Danish Scania-Vabis truck was leaving the factory on its own wheels. The following years the Danish factory constructed one of the first V8 motors in the world, designed for passenger cars. It was made in a number of about 25, and was used in ambulances, policecars, cabs and luxury cars. Allready 1920 the Danish craftsman tradition was overtaken by the mass-production. 1921 the Danish Scania-Vabis production was closed down. The exact number of vehicle made in Denmark is unknown, but there were sold 175 trucks and about 75 passenger cars in the period.

Concentrated in Södertälje

1925 the serial production of passenger cars ceased, and the plant in Malmø was closed in 1927. During the thirties the production of buses was increased, and the company became a well known and respected producer of motors. 1932 the first diesel engine was presented, developed in collaboration with German Magirus. During 1936 their own 120hp diesel engine were finished - and it was in more than one way "finished". It was sold, with only minor changes, during almost 15 years. It could be converted for use of petrol, and during the Second World War it also was used with wood-gas.
The modern truck, with the engine "beside or under" the driver instead of under a separate hood at the very front, was introduced in 1932. This construction, often nicknamed "bulldog", made it possible to increase the cargo area.
The trucks were of high quality. One probably exceptional truck was delivered to a snowplow company in 1924. It was used for snow plowing and transports until 1974, when it had made 1.500.000 kilometers!

World War 2

During the war a large number of military vehicles were produced, also light tanks.
The tanks were built under license as Stridsvagn m/41. In 1942-44 222 m/41s were delivered to the swedish army. The second series of 122 tanks had thicker armour in the front and a more powerful engine. They were in service till the late fifties, when they were rebuilt to armoured personnel vehicles (Pbv 301).
During the war all new trucks were fitted with wood gas units, and elder trucks rebuilt with these units. Buses often had the unit mounted on a separate wagon, so the bodies did not have to be rebuilt.

After the war

In 1948 Scania-Vabis became the general agency in Sweden for Volkswagen. This gave better conditions for the service organisation in Sweden, investments and research. Export marketing was also increased.
This expansion kept on during the fifties and the sixties, and i this period factories in Brazil and Holland were opened too.

New models

1951 was the year of the first Scania-Vabis turbo engine, a turbo powered by the exhausts. From 1954 the turbo was used in truck engines, the first ones were used in railway machinery.

1953 the serial production of L51 Drabant started. It had a 4 cylinder 100 hp engine, and could load 6 tons. It was made in four models with various length between the axles. Over 9.000 L51s were made until production stopped in 1959.
One year later came the 2-axle L71 and the 3-axle LS71, both with the name Regent, with 150 hp engines. (The 'S' stands for the third support axle, Stödaksel in Swedish). The gearbox was fitted with PTO, for use with extra cranes, tipping devices or other equipment on the trucks. The trucks could be delivered with pneumatic brakes, and from 1955 also with servo steering.
1958 came the first truck in an entirely new model serie, L75, based on the new 6-cylinder 165 hp diesel engine. In the serie were also LT75, with both rear axles connected to the power line.
Still the traditional body design, with the engine under a separate hood at the front, was very usual on trucks, but the L75 truck was the first European truck with an integrated body attached to the chassis with rubber fitting. This gave better comfort for the driver.
The L75 series was the base for a serie of trucks that were produced till august 1980 - 22 years. During the years improvements were made, and the model number changed (L76, L110 and at last L111).
In the summer of 1959 L55 and LS55 were presented, as the replacement for L51 series.
1962 the L56 series replaced the L55. An important news was the double separate pneumatic braking system, increasing safety in traffic.
The L76 replaced the L75 from early 1963. The series included some LB76 'Bulldog' models, the first built since the thirties, aimed at the European markets where restrictions were set prohibiting vehicles longer than 18 metres. A LB truck with trailer could carry about 7 cubic metres more than a L model. (In Sweden the maximum length was decided in 1966, to 24 metres.)


In 1968 the company was merged with the SAAB AB, a company which was founded as Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, Swedish Aircraft Ltd. SAAB produced aeroplanes and cars. Scania-Vabis and SAAB were now united in SAAB-Scania AB.

The name of the trucks changed from Scania-Vabis to Scania. On some markets the long name was seen as too long, and the shortening was positive.

All models were renamed, and the cylinder volume was used in the new names. The L36 had a 5 litre engine and was renamed L50, and so on to L76 that became L110 (11 liter).

Among the news were also some new models, like the LB110 with a coach that had a large opening in the front for easy access to the engine and that could be tipped forward for larger maintenance work on the engine.

In 1969 a V8 350 hp, turbo engine was introduced. The Scania 140. This engine was at that time the most powefull truck engine in Europe, and its remarkable sound was well known among enthusiasts, press the motor icon and listen.

During the seventies Scania had a remarkable expansion. The production was doubled, and the export rate grew to 300 percent to over 10 000 units yearly. A factory in Argentina was built in the period. Scania was now a global truck manufacturer with over 20 000 employees.
In the middle af the decade, the new generation was presented, as 81- 111 and 141, as sucessors for the former 80-, 110- og 140-series.

In the eigthies the series 2 was introduced. Scania developed the modular concept in a way, more significant than other truck producers ever had.
In the end of the decade, the 2 series had grown to the 3 series, and that model was named as European "Truck of the Year" in 1989.

At the entry to the nineties Scania was represented in over 100 markets all over the world. The annual production rate reached 40 000 units. In 1995 the series 4 was presented, it was made on factories in Sweden, Holland and Brazil, a real global truck model.


Today there are 11 Scania factories in 5 countries. In the year 2000 truck number one million left the assembling band, and same year was an engine intruduced, V8 and 16 litres.
Scania is a well known brand all over the world, a brand respected for its quality and reliability.
SAAB is now under the wings of General Motors, the aircraft division is continuing as a seperate, independant company.
Scania is a 100 percent truck company.

Scania during the time
Three generations of Scania, LT75, T113 and T124
Vabis 1902 Scania Vabis 1917
Scania Vabis 1953 Scania Vabis LT75 1960
Scania Vabis 56 1962 Scania Vabis 76 1963
Scania Vabis LB76 1963 Scania Vabis L36 1964
Scania L111 1974 Scania L111 1978
Scania LS141 1979 Scania T142 1982
Scania T143 Topline 1991 Scania T114 1998
Scania T144 1999 Scania T144 2000
Scania T124 Topline 2002 Scania T380 2004
Scania T580 Topline 2004 Scania 114G 2004


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