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Mellsbach AG


Welcome to Mellsbach AG, a German company based in Hamburg doing just what you need: cars, in many specifications, models and based to your preferences. Experience in our excellence rooting from 1936 until today.

We specialize mostly in mass produced vehicles in Europe, both Americas, parts of Asia, Africa, Oceania and China - from superminis to large SUVs and sports cars.

A bit of history

Chapter 1: Beginning of the Mellsbach
Rudolf Melsbach (26.09.1899 - 28.09.2001) was a German engineer and businessman born in Dresden, German Empire in an aristocratic family. When he was in his youth, his main goal was to establish his own car manufacturer, but World War I successfully rendered those plans impossible, as he was drawn into army service in 1916 and had to battle on Eastern Front.

Returning from the war, he applied for economic studies instead in newly established Weimar Republic - he finished the studies just right before Great Depression destroyed German economy already torn by war reparations that were impossible to be paid out. As Melsbach noticed Mark’s huge drop in value and incoming overinflation, he decided whatever he had - and he had his own savings and family’s fortune into gold, later which he had used to buy an fallen factory in 1934 in his hometown of Dresden and after restoration it was working again and Autoteilefabrik Melsbach Dresden was registered as a company at 1st February 1936.

Buying a car parts company did not mean that Rudolf had abandoned his plans from youth - he planned to design his own car for masses that would be a competition to the government-made project already going on - Melsbach believed that a car done by the officials can’t be anything good and would be overvalued due to it’s monopoly on the market. After all, in early 30s Germany’s motorized industry did not have any cheap cars, so typical German lower class citizen did not have much choice other than a motorcycle. By 1939 he had enough money from contracts with civil automakers, services and even German army to start production of his own car, which would be introduced in 1942 according to his plan but due to World War II this plan was delayed.

In World War II, ATF Melsbach was dedicated solely to war production; making parts for tanks and light off-roaders that Germans used. However, seeing allied forces’ advancement on the west and Soviets on the east and fearing for his own life and wealth as well as fearing the Red Army, Rudolf Melsbach relocated almost all of the equipment to Hamburg in the north of Germany - just in the neck of time, because shortly after, at 14th February 1945 his parts factory in Dresden was obliterated with a series of bombs.

Melsbach’s luck seemingly ended when the Brits captured Hamburg on 1st May 1945 - he was immediately arrested under the case of being involved in crimes against humanity by fueling the industry, however due to lack of evidence he was let free in late October.

After returning to his home in Hamburg and his, as he called “temporary” factory getting a permanent status and HQ for ATF Melsbach, he proceeded to rename the company to Mellsbach AG in early 1947 and resumed the development of his own car from remaining parts of designs with his dedicated engineering and designing teams, Rudolf named it Eta, starting Melsbach’s tendency to name cars after greek letters or words with a certain meaning.

This is where the company began.

Current cars


Historical cars

Eta (1949-1958)
1949 Sedan (Base and Premium)
1951 Panel
1953 Family

Out of character note, if someone’s interested

I am back, with a new PC, so I can tackle on Automation again. After trying my luck in reviving old stuff, I came to a conclusion that reviving a corpse in an advanced state of decay even during in it’s lifetime that Airborne was isn’t worth my time and energy, so I did my research, what am I good at and what am I not good at and I decided it’s time to try a german company - ran like a typical business, so no heroistic nationalist pride, just pure business, like it should be.


Mellsbach Eta (1949 Sedan)

Category: Compact car
Made in: Hamburg, West Germany
When: 1949-1958 (Premium), 1949-1959 (Base)
How much made: Approximately 76.200 units

Eta was Mellsbach’s first production car, as well as Rudolf Melsbach’s and his team’s first ever production car. With the improved design from 1939 and despite having to re-engineer whole chassis from scratch due to all documentation and rolling prototype lost in Dresden bombing, the whole car was redesigned in a recordously short time of just 3 years and was supposed to be presented at 1948’s Frankfurt Motor Show, but due to chassis stiffness issues that were detected in last minute the presentation was delayed to 1949’s show, when it was also supposed to already be in production - a traditional practic cultivated in Mellsbach to this day if it comes to showing production cars.

The car was shown in a more upscale premium trim and more down-to-earth base one. Both were powered by the same 1.1 liter inline 4 with direct acting OHC, which was considered rather unique back then and even now, looking 70 years back into time. Public generally was enthusiastic about little cheap german car with decent build quality and fairly low prices of 778 USD (today’s 8390 USD) for base model and 796 USD (today 8590 USD) for the premium, more upscale model.

All variants of Eta Sedan were assembled with a 3-speed manual gearbox.

Premium trim pictured. It was shown to the public first and almost instantly got much attention from the motor show’s crowd that came in to see new premieres. While journalists and people who got on test drives on the show actually praised driving characteristics like overall drivability, mentioning that Eta is quite easy to drive, decent performance for such small car and cabin space, looks were the most controversial thing, especially in the premium variant.

Some loved how the Eta looked a bit more upscale than it really was, some hated it - a stigma that would hold up to the car until it’s very end. Truth is, the car made many divisions amongst the community just by how it looked and how it was inspired by american cruisers and pre-war German vehicles.
Another interesting styling quirk that also was dictated by ease of eventual repairs and functionality were the external door mounts - some people thought about this practical thought in design as too utilitarian, too downscale for such car or just plain ugly.

Premium trim of the Eta was most notable for a fair amount of chrome covering it’s body, coloured hubcaps and an interior finished fully with material with exception of leather seats.

It’s interesting to note that the car pictured is one of the very first cars made in a test batch before full-scale production - production version has the headlights from Base variant.

On the other hand, Eta Sedan Base variant was much more… basic. As the name suggests.

While the powerplant, gearbox and chassis stood the same, Base variant got it’s fancy chrome details mostly removed, ribs in the grille were replaced with painted ones, chrome bumpers with steel ones and it’s interior stripped out of any unnecessary stuff - material door panels, as well as fully covered dashboard were gone, showing the barebone metal that was just painted and pressed to work as a replacement for fancy door inner sides or fancy dashboard. Painted hubcaps were also gone and the wheels were just basic steelies.

This version strangely was more praised by critics back then by looking simpler and being more, as they called “true to itself”, regarding it’s nature as an entry level compact for masses. They also noticed that both models actually have equal handling and the differences in performance, price or fuel economy were very marginal with the Premium model.

In general, despite all the criticism, Eta actually managed to be a very successful model for the restructured company and brought a lot of money from being sold all around western Europe - it brought so much money to the company in first two years that Mellsbach decided to begin development on a small delivery version and a family wagon, which would be shown respectively in 1951 and 1953.

Some statistics:

Vmax: 115 km/h
0-100: 26.9 s
Engine: 1098cc DAOHC 2v NA Inline 4 (R449A-V1)
Drivetrain: FR
Power: 34.8 hp @ 5000 RPM
Torque: 71.2 Nm @ 2300 RPM
Curb weight: 632 kg (58F/42R)
Mileage: 9.4 L/100 km
Price (today’s value): 8590 USD (796 USD at debut in 1949)

Vmax: 116 km/h
0-100: 26.6 s
Engine: 1098cc DAOHC 2v NA Inline 4 (R449A-V1)
Drivetrain: FR
Power: 34.8 hp @ 5000 RPM
Torque: 71.2 Nm @ 2300 RPM
Curb weight: 626 kg (58F/42R)
Mileage: 9.3 L/100 km
Price (today’s value): 8390 USD (778 USD at debut in 1949)


After the initial success of sedan variants of the Eta, the company decided to try and expand their offer to something beyond one bodystyle. While many possibilities were discussed, like 4-door sedan, it just got simply cancelled due to construction stiffness issues that the mockup prototype had. The three designs that were greenlighted were the 3-door wagon with split doors at the back, a panel van and a convertible, the last one planned for eventual expansion to North America and therefore delayed due to unknown ETA.

1951 Eta Panel

Category: Light delivery vehicle
Made in: Hamburg, West Germany
When: 1951-1958
How much made: Approximately 104.200 units

Despite being developed in the same time as the family variant, Eta Panel was completed earlier due to less technical difficulties and more usage of already existing components. On the technical side, aside from being a box from the B pillar to the rear, it did not have any major changes with the sedans from 1949 - it had the same engine, but gearbox was adjusted to have a longer 1st gear for more comfortable ride and to change gears less during driving and suspension was re-adjusted and slightly raised to be able to meet the planned goal of 300kg of load capacity - it was achieved, and according to Mellsbach’s documentation on 1951-58 Eta Panel, it could carry 353 kg of stuff on it’s back.

At the designing stage, rear leaf springs were also planned, however it would delay the car to around 1954, which was considered to be too late and too expensive to do it just for the sake of giving a huge load capacity to a light delivery car made essentially for the cities - especially that a big van based on Eta’s internals temporarily named Neuvanprojekt Eins (later named Heta) was in development already.

While offering the same engine as normal Eta and having a barebone basic interior with no unnecessary upholsting the Panel still had suffered from lacking performance in comparison: the car needed now 33.3 seconds to achieve 100 km/h and it topped out at 111 km/h - this was because increased weight and worse aerodynamics due to the boxy cargo body.

Eta Panel also had one unique trait - it was the only model in the range that was already adapted to tow trailers - it had a tow hook welded to the ladder frame.

On the pricing side, Eta Panel due to having absolutely nothing in the interior, as well as material cost reduction by removing all of the rear from sedan, it was the cheapest one from the range being sold at 8170$ at today’s value of the dollar, which, until the arrival of the supermini Mi in 1960 made it the cheapest vehicle Mellsbach sold, which also contributed to the huge success that the car had - except, of course, that a light delivery vehicle was an excellent choice for recovering economy of postwar Germany, France and Italy, which were Eta’s main markets.


Vmax: 111 km/h
0-100: 33.3 s
Engine: 1098cc DAOHC 2v NA Inline 4 (R449A-V1)
Drivetrain: FR
Power: 34.8 hp @ 5000 RPM
Torque: 71.2 Nm @ 2300 RPM
Curb weight: 673 kg (54F/46R)
Mileage: 9.7 L/100 km
Price (today’s value): 8170 USD (828 USD at debut in 1951)


1953 Eta Family

The final model of a pre-facelift Eta, the primary Mellsbach car and the kickstart into industry.

Category: Compact Wagon
Made in: Hamburg, West Germany
When: 1953-1958
How much made: Approximately 52.400 units

Family was the last variant approved to be done in immediate mode alongside the Panel model. Initially scheduled to be released with it in 1951, the Panel van was done earlier, as it used more parts that were already produced, and Family wagon needed more custom-made parts - so it was delayed first to 1952 and then to 1953 due to ironing out the issues and preparing a production line for a car that aside from the front part of the car needed everything else and done specifically for it.

Eta Family was a car done similarly to the Panel, but contrary to; it still had bare interior, it also lacked most chrome detailing, it even lacked hubcaps but it could seat six people, which in 1950s Europe was indeed a great thing to have if you had a large family and needed some cheap wheels for daily usage.

However, six seats were also the cause why the car was delayed again - dashboard needed to be redesigned to accomodate a gear stick on it’s center up, not on the floor like in usual cars or even other Etas. The car still used 3-gear manual, as seen in standard models, this time however it had slightly longer gears, but not as long as the Panel, still allowing for decent acceleration.

On the technical side, Family was the only one of pre-facelift Etas to actually have an engine to be different - it was still a 1.1 liter from R449A family, but dubbed V2 - slightly more economic to compensate bigger mileage caused by heavier body, it had improved fuel delivery system and more precise valve timing. The engine was also optimised to have flatter torque curve from 1800 to 3600 RPM, delivering constant value of 72 Nm and allowed Eta Family’s driver to not change gears that much during eg. cruising.

Family was the final model of Eta lineup before it got generally revamped in 1958, and after it’s delayed premiere in 1953 it was generally well accepted, however it did not sell as much units as sedans or the Panel did due to late introduction in comparison to them - something that Eta wagon after facelifting would straighten out.

Vmax: 110 km/h
0-100: 27.8 s
Engine: 1098cc DAOHC 2v NA Inline 4 (R449A-V2)
Drivetrain: FR
Power: 34.3 hp @ 5000 RPM
Torque: 72.2 Nm @ 2200 RPM
Curb weight: 663 kg (55F/45R)
Mileage: 9.6 L/100 km
Price (today’s value): 8600 USD (895 USD in 1953)


We haven’t heard much from you for quite a while, but this is a good start to your new all-UE4 thread. Maybe a reboot or remaster of Airborne’s history is in order? From what I’ve seen, that older company of yours probably deserves to be reimagined for UE4.


Thank you!

Actually, Airborne has one major issue - lacking lore and inconsistency in design language of the region it was situated in.

I hope you read that offtopic part? It might return sometime after I’m fully done with Mellsbach’s and other companies in it’s lore, one of which is going to be a recycled idea from Airborne era actually, but main brand itself would need to be almost entirely different to what I did.