Tradition 

The History Hunter

As Archive Director, Henning Stibbe preserves the history of MAN Truck & Bus and its products. He is currently digitizing thousands of photographs and documents to make them accessible to as many people as possible. Let's take a look at his favorite discoveries.

Henning Stibbe in the historical archive of MAN Truck and Bus

A historical archive full of old documents, cardboard boxes and piles of files. Dusty and boring? Absolutely not. "Sometimes I do come across dusty documents, but every day spent in the archives is new and exciting. Whether I discover a new and rare document or receive a challenging inquiry from a vintage car enthusiast, no two days are ever the same," says Henning Stibbe, Archive Director MAN Truck & Bus. Since taking up his post in 2011, the trained art historian has never had any regrets – even though it was challenging at the start: "First of all I had to gain an overview of the extensive material." Item by item, he started to classify photo after photo and document after document. The results can already be seen: The documents in the archives have been meticulously classified on the shelves. No matter which photograph someone is looking for, Henning Stibbe will find it straight away. He proudly makes his way through the aisles.

Henning Stibbe with a historical plant newspaper

The greatest task: digitization

Classifying and archiving is just one small aspect of Henning Stibbe's job. He currently spends most of his time digitizing documents. "We are still at the scanning-in stage, which will continue for some time yet. But this is the only way we can make the documents available to other people," he explains. Around one million files, brochures, films and photographs are stacked up in his rooms in Munich. Some of these have already been digitized and are accessible online. By digitizing documents as well as photographs he can, for example, help vintage car enthusiasts who wish to restore their favorite old vehicles by sending them a link to download the operating manuals. Because in addition to preparing the historic material, Henning Stibbe also processes between five and ten requests each day. "I often receive MAN-related inquiries from vintage car lovers, journalists and museums as well as other colleagues. This is how I can help bring the history of the MAN brand to life and play my part in helping the customers too," explains Stibbe joyfully.

MAN rarities on paper

In his archive, Henning Stibbe handles all manner of documents such as old employee magazines, apprenticeship diplomas and patent documentation. However, for somebody who comes across unique documents on a daily basis, what discoveries would be considered particularly exciting? "I have found some special and rare original historical documents, dating back to when MAN first started out with commercial vehicle construction. Previously unknown photographs dating back to 1915 from Lindau am Bodensee. This was when I effectively rediscovered parts of our company's history. That was really something special," explains Mr. Stibbe.

Henning Stibbe has looked at many photographs as part of his work. Here is a picture gallery of his favorite discoveries:

Production in the truck plant MAN-Saurer in Lindau 1915

Where it all began

Truck production in Lindau am Bodensee first began as a joint venture with Swiss manufacturer Saurer in 1915. Here is the truck assembly hall in Kemptenerstrasse in Lindau-Reutlin.

People travelling in a bus cabriolet in 1920

A journey to the 1920s

In the 1920s it was fashionable to travel by country bus, ideally one with a convertible roof, of course. This photograph was taken in Saxony in 1922. As pneumatic tires were still something of a novelty, two spare tubes were attached along the side of the carriage.

original exhibit of the first MAN Diesel Enging for vehicles

Berlin Motor Show

The original exhibit of MAN's first truck diesel engine with direct fuel injection and gears, which was built in 1924: The photo was taken on January 17, 1925 at the Nuremberg plant, when the engine returned from the Berlin Motor Show.

First motorized test plow by MAN

The first motorized test plow

This vehicle was built at the Nuremberg plant in 1918. It was the forefather of all subsequent MAN tractors. At that time, the motorized plow prototype was fitted with the 25 hp engine as well as the truck hood from the 2.5 ton cardan-driven vehicle.

MAN commercial vehicle frame in 1921

Labeling to help drivers find their feet

This commercial vehicle frame dates back to 1921 when the clutch, brake and gas pedals were all still labeled with letters. Right-hand drive vehicles went into series production and the small wheel in the steering wheel controlled the engine brake.

bus model with the

Alligator hood

The MK25 and MK26 truck models went into circulation at the start of the 1950s. There was an omnibus version with a lower frame height than the MKN model. These models were fitted with a rather elegantly curved hood — the "Alligator hood". The body of the vehicle was supplied by Trutz in 1953.

MAN municipal vehicle clearing the roads in 1981

Clearing the snow in the 1980s

Winter 1981: A MAN municipal vehicle clears the roads in the Alpine foothills. The 16.240 HAK vehicle model is a 16-ton vehicle with a 240 hp Hauber four-wheel tipper.

Henning Stibbe holding a book

If you require any historical operating manuals or other materials, please do not hesitate to contact Henning Stibbe by e-mail: Henning.Stibbe@man.eu

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 MAN media centre

Let the MAN media centre take you on a voyage of discovery.

Join us on an illustrated tour of MAN’s history. Take part in the exciting adventures that the owners of our vehicles experience on their travels. You can also discover the latest highlights from MAN Bus and MAN Truck in our videos.

MAN media centre bus

 MAN media centre

Let the MAN media centre take you on a voyage of discovery.

Join us on an illustrated tour of MAN’s history. Take part in the exciting adventures that the owners of our vehicles experience on their travels. You can also discover the latest highlights from MAN Bus and MAN Truck in our videos.

MAN media centre truck