Italian OM 465 from 1920, four cylinders, 1375 cc

Officine Meccaniche or OM was an Italian car and truck manufacturing company. It was founded in 1899 in Milan as Società Anonima Officine Meccaniche to manufacture railway rolling stock and car production began in 1918. It disappeared as such in 1975, subsumed into Iveco, but still exists as a forklift builder.

The inception of the company resulted from the merger of two companies, Grondona Comi & C and Miani Silvestri & C in 1899. Originally, OM manufactured railway stock. Car production started in 1918, using the plant of the former Brixia-Zust (Brixia-Züst), just after OM took over Zust car company of Brescia, Northern Italy. The first OM car, Tipo S305, primarily an old Zust model, appeared in 1918 with a 4,712-cubic-centimetre (287.5 cu in) four-cylinder side-valve in-line engine.

Further models were Tipo 465 (with a 1,327-cubic-centimetre or 81.0-cubic-inch four) in 1919, Tipo 467 (1,410 cc or 86 cu in) and Tipo 469 (1,496 cc or 91.3 cu in) in 1921. 1923 saw an all new model, Tipo 665 ‘Superba’ with a 2-litre (120 cu in) six-cylinder engine. This model was extremely successful in racing, winning top five positions in the 2-litre (120 cu in) class in 1925 and 1926 at the Le Mans but its greatest achievement was the victory in the first Mille Miglia race in 1927 where Ferdinando Minoia and Giuseppe Morandi led home an OM ‘1-2-3’ finish at an average speed of 77.7 km/h (48.27 mph) for 21 hours 4 minutes 48 seconds. Some cars were equipped with Roots superchargers.

In 1925 OM began to build trucks and buses, using licensed Swiss Saurer engines and other mechanical components. Ties with Saurer persisted through all of OM’s history.

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