Mars 1922 “MA20” ‘White Mars’ (Weiße Mars) 956cc flat twin Maybach engine frame # 2726 engine # 1667
Mars was founded by Paul Reissmann in Nuremberg, Germany in 1873 and commenced production with a range of cast-iron stoves followed by sirens, grinding machines and bicycles. Motorcycle manufacture began in 1903 using proprietary engines supplied by Zedel and Fafnir and Mars also made cars from 1906 to 1908. Introduced in 1920, the company’s most famous model was the legendary ‘White Mars’ (Weiße Mars), designed by engineer Claus Franzenburg, which was powered by a 956cc horizontally opposed, twin-cylinder, side valve engine, made exclusively for Mars by Maybach. Unusually, the ‘White Mars’ featured a box-section frame constructed of welded and riveted steel sheet rather than the almost universal steel tubing. Early examples employed a two-speed, twin-chain transmission while a conventional three-speed gearbox was standardised later. The Mars’ high standard of workmanship and finish encouraged sales initially, but the economic downturn of the mid-1920s forced production to cease for a few years. The MA20’s manufacture was ended around the end of the twenties.
The flat twin Mars machines were available in red, green and white colours but the specimens in white were most attractive for the buying public. The 80x95mm bore x stroke Maybach engine is fed by a Pallas carburettor and the spark comes from a Bosch instrument. The engine has forced air cooling and a hand crank starter.
This genuine, original ‘White Mars’ has the early twin-chain transmission and was in one family ownership since the 1950s. She was restored in the 1980s, when the motorcycle was displayed in the Deutsches Auto Museum in Schloss Langenburg. Accessories include a spare wheel (that’s in original paint condition), rear view mirror, Hella acetylene lighting system and Hella bulb horn. She is road registered and in running condition.