Friedrich von Martini established his company in Frauenfeld in 1860 and started by producing machines for the binding of the books. In 1869 the production from rifles, famous Martini “Stutzer began”. In 1897, studies for the construction of cars were undertaken and, in 1903, Martini made build an important factory with St-Blaise (CH) where frames under licence Ratchet-Schneider were built.
The spectacular performance of the ‘Rochers de Naye’ car in 1903 was valuable promotion for Martini in Switzerland and beyond. So much and so, that Martini managed to sell more than 100 frames the same year. The powerful car made the headlines when it completed the ascent of the Rochers De Naye Cog-wheel Railway at 11-km with an average gradient of 22%.
This Swiss-built motor car was included in Bonhams’ Sale of Collectors’ Sports and Grand Touring Motor Car at the Musee International de l’Automobile, Geneva on Monday 10 March 2003. It sold for $298,294, including buyer’s premium, which reflects the few Martinis that were built and survive today.
There is much debate if the car sold by Bonhams is indeed the Rochers de Naye car. The car Martini used for their public relations stunt was accually a four-door phaeton, and this particular car sports a body made in recent times.