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«Carl Hofele - company sign of Benz & Cie 1915 - Carl Benz _ 1914 Carl Hofele’s original report portfolio about a very strong 200 HP Benz-airplane ...»

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History and roots of Hofele-Design GmbH

“ 100 Years Family Tradition in Automotive and Aviation


- 3 Generations of inventors, technic and design The „Hofele-Family History“ was often in touch with Mercedes-Benz

The First Generation: Carl Hofele


1914: Carl Hofele (grandfather of the current company owners) was born in 1886 and

learned in the early years of the last century, how to construct and to do the service of Benz airplane engines at Carl Benz & Cie. in Mannheim-Waldhof.

Benz was the inventor of the first automobile (car) in the world.

Carl Hofele - company sign of Benz & Cie 1915 - Carl Benz _________________________________________________________

1914 Carl Hofele’s original report portfolio about a very strong 200 HP Benz-airplane engine Cover of report portfolio interior of report portfolio We still have the original report portfolio from Carl Hofele with personal comments from 1915 at Benz & Cie.

example: airplane „Fokker“ with a Benz engine Carl Hofele, on the left side, in front of a pursuit airplane with a Benz engine in Mannheim, 1917 Carl Hofele, the Aviation Pioneer 1927: Carl Hofele becomes a pioneer of airplane construction.

Together with Wolf Hirth (from Kirchheim) he constructs gliders of his own.

About Aviation History in general: The brothers Wright built in the year 1903 the first real airplane and it was an airplane with motor and wooden propellers. The „Wright Flyer“ was the first sustained flight with a powered, controlled aircraft. In the years after the first world war for Germany it was forbidden, from the Allied Forces, to use airplanes with motors.

In fact of this reason, the German aviators looked to an alternative method of flying without motors.

Carl Hofele was one of this fascinated Aviation Pioneers: He looked into the sky, watched the flying methods of the birds and thought „it must go without a motor, too! “ Then he decided to start the engineering of an airplane glider and after 1 years work and a lot of construction plans and blue prints, the first construction of a flying glider was done. It was done with the cooperation of an other great aviation pioneer and glider specialist, Mr. Wolf Hirth, who lived not far away from Carl Hofele.

Carl Hofele’s first own designed and constructed airplane:

body of airplane without cover Airplane naming ceremony of Carl Hofele’s first airplane in 1928 ________________________________________________

1928: Carl Hofele founded the „Fliegergruppe 1928 Donzdorf e.V.“ he was the leader of this club for many years. The “Fliegergruppe 1928 Donzdorf” was a very early Aviation Club in Germany. They engineered and built own gliders and air planes.

This Aviation Club is growing a lot in the past over 80 years and today it still exists.

Today this Club has a club owned smile airport with tower, hangars, meeting rooms and a restaurant on the mount Messelberg near Donzdorf.

Airplane naming ceremony 1930 of the glider „Zögling 35“ in the park of Donzdorf, castle (Carl Hofele, is the 1. person on the right side, his wife Ottilie beside and his son Bruno as child between them) 1928 – 29 First starts of the new gliders, pulled into air with a long rubber band.

1930, naming ceremony of a new built glider plane, in the beer garden of Hotel “Becher”, Donzdorf

–  –  –

Carl Hofele (left photo: in the middle) in the 1950ies Carl Hofele (right photo on right side) Honoured officially by the „Luftfahrtverband Baden-Württemberg –Aeronautic Club“ The Second Generation: Bruno Hofele _____________________________________________________________________________

1946 to 1949 Bruno Hofele (father of the current owners)

1946 Bruno Hofele worked as a 19 years old young “engineer trainee” at the machine tool company „Böhringer” in Göppingen and prepared himself for the engineering school in Esslingen.

Bruno Hofele was trained in all departments, but especially in the construction office.

There he participated in the construction of the new Unimog.

The Unimog was constructed and produced by engineers of former airplane construction departments, at company “Böhringer.” In 1951 the Unimog and his revolutionary concept was acquired by Daimler-Benz and is still built in-house today.

–  –  –

1970: Bruno Hofele develops and builts foldable and small caravans and motorhomes under the brand „STAUFERLAND.“ The German national authority “Kraftfahrtbundesamt (KBA)“ gives him the status of a vehicle manufacturer.

1977: Based on the Japanese Daihatsu Hijet, Bruno Hofele’s company STAUFERLAND built a small, flexible motorhome, with elevating roof, sleeping beds, kitchen and additional tent. Bruno Hofele constructed and built a second, bigger motorhome. This was fully equipped and based on a Ford Transit light truck.

In order of the official German Daihatsu importer „Inthelco“ the Hofele-brand “Stauferland” built and sold in the 1970th several hundred „Stauferland“-Daihatsu-motorhomes. The basic cars were delivered with special trains from Bremerhaven to the Donzdorf railway station.

1977: Bruno Hofele is the inventor of the first Ski Box - worldwide

–  –  –

In 1977 he applies, and got, an official registered design Patent at the German patent office for this Ski-Box.

Official, first Patent documents from German Patent-Amt for the Ski-Box!

Bruno Hofele exhibits the first „Ski-Box“ in the world at the ISPO-Fair in Munich 1978 under the brand name „STAUFERLAND Ski + Sport-Box“.

–  –  –

1978: The supervisory board of Daimler-Benz chooses the ‚STAUFERLAND‘ (the brand name)-Ski-Box of Hofele for their own official company cars.

Over many years, Hofele has been providing these boxes to the Daimler-Benz management board.

1979: The German cross-country skiing team was equipped with Ski-Boxes from „STAUFERLAND“ / Hofele and drives them for many years to international competitions and races.

Bruno Hofele in the year 2012 in his company office at Hofele-Design GmbH in Donzdorf and outside ______________________________________________________________________________________

The Third Generation: Martin, Juergen, Dorothee and Michael Hofele __________________________________________________________

Martin & Michael Hofele and the beginning of ‚HOFELE-DESIGN‘ 1974: From the beginning (after obtaining the driver’s license) the Hofele-Brothers took part in regional motor sport events.

First Michael Hofele participated in Slalom Races and together with Martin Hofele took part in several Rallyes over more than 6 years.

Martin Hofele’s Rallye-NSU TT (100 HP) with a first characteristic “Hofele” special design painting.

In that times, the model NSU TT and TTS was one of the most successful race cars – very light, very strong and very fast.

In the 1980th. Hofele-Design bought the complete stock of motor tuning parts of the former great NSU-Tuner “SPIESS-Tuning”.

1976: Slalom-Race + Rallye with Michael Hofele on Fiat X 1/9 and NSU TT with Hofele-Tuning ___________________________________________________________________________

–  –  –

First logo:

coming out of the first logo: the following logo 1972: The first LOGO of Hofele-Design, „MH-DESIGN.“, based on the ‚M‘ in both names ‚Michael‘ and ‚Martin‘ and the ‚H‘ from ‚Hofele‘.

Michael Hofele has designed this first logo in his school exercise-books, with ruler and compass.

Therefore this shape. This shape was continued on the second logo, which was used up to the end of the millennium.

At first, it was the private cars of Martin and Michael Hofele that have been rebuilt and “tuned”:

Fiat-Bertone X 1/9 with changed front and special painting in copper/ dark brown metallic (smooth transition painting).

Converted great Luxury Interior with new formed dashboard in burl wood, an integrated bar with glasses and bottle case, board computer and an installed TV.

Fiat-Bertone X 1/9, converted into a luxury sports car.

Fiat-Bertone X 1/9 With newly shaped instrument panel in genuine burl wood, quilted Alcantara-leather on door blades and panel cover, new round instruments and TV-receiver, board computer und Hifi-equipment.

First series Golf GTI in 1980: All new VW Golf GTI in the look of HOFELE-DESIGN VW Golf GTI with Hofele stripe painting. ATS Cup-wheels, sport chassis, sport exhaust and very “hot” Oettinger-2.0 l-engine.


–  –  –

Then there were friends who wanted to have their cars converted. And the two Hofele boys Michael and Martin did it, in the evenings and weekends, besides doing their main fulltime job as employed, well educated persons.

Ford Fiesta RS Wide Body 1980: The Hofele-Brothers constructed and build (by their own) the first and only Full Cabriolet (without Targa rod) on the basis of Fiat-Bertone X 1/9.

With a foldable, real soft top for rainy days.

Altogether, Hofele has built three cars as Full Cabriolet.

Additional this special car had a front spoiler, rear spoiler, wheel arches, wide alloy wheels, special painting in Permute White and Dark Blue met, with golden lines.

It was a very special, solitary car version and fully homologated by German TUEV.

1982: Martin Hofele builds a VW Golf GTI with the front part and rear part of a Porsche 924 GTS race car. This car was powered by a strong Oettinger 2.0 l-engine with 140 HP. The special painting was dark green metallic and gold metallic, all done by the early Hofele-Design.

Martin Hofele and his Golf-Porsche, from the press called “Golpo” ___________________________________________________________________________

After some press reports about the rebuilt Hofele cars in car magazines, foreign people from all over Germany came and wanted to have their cars improved, converted and refined.

The work was too much, to do this “beside” a regular employed job.

As result, Martin Hofele decided to built up a company for car conversions and development of own car accessories and special car versions.

1. 11. 1983:

The company “HOFELE-DESIGN, Martin Hofele GbR”, was founded by Martin Hofele.

Object of business: „Development, production and sales of car accessories and special car versions.” The Hofele-Brothers started their business in their father’s double garage, where they rebuild and modify cars. On weekends, the garage is at the same time the “paint shop” for the Hofele special paintings.

Later on, the garage doors of the double garage are replaced by shop windows and a shop door.

The first Hofele-Design sales shop was born. The business could start officially.

The first car of the young company is a Mercedes 190 E, for which an engine hood in SL-Style and a body-kit are developed. This kit is distributed by D&W in Bochum, which is among the customers from the very beginning.

Hofele-Design starts to develop and produce a wide program of double lights, which at that time signal High-Tech and „en Vogue“.

This program too, was offered by D&W and the AEZ group of wholesalers.

1984: A customer, having a brand new Opel Kadett E, contacts Hofele and wants to buy a beautiful body kit. Since there is no such body kit for the new Kadett E on the market, the customer places an order and Hofele develops the first complete body-kit of its own.

This was the starting point for a big long lasting success and the rise of the brand „Hofele-Design“, as a leading brand for the design and production of high class body kits.

–  –  –

At the end of 1987 Michael Hofele joins the company Hofele-Design GmbH and takes over Marketing and Design.

1987: Re-location to a rented and larger office building and a warehouse with in total 1.200 m² in Donzdorf, Herrengartenstr. 6.

1987: The first products are being Z-listed (VW-tested and certificate to be sold in the Volkswagen-organization) at VW works in Wolfsburg and sold over the dealer organization TECHNO.

1988 – 92: Developing Products by HOFELE-DESIGN Martin Hofele controlling model 1:1 making Michael Hofele drawing the designs 1993 - 94: Hofele-Design develops an innovative Double Headlight Grill for Volkswagen VOTEX directly. With Valeo-FF light techniques (identical with the headlights of the Ferrari Testarossa) for the VW Golf III.

Approximately 16.000 complete Headlamp Grills with 60.000 pieces of the headlights were made by Hofele directly for VW and the worldwide Volkswagen-accessory program.

–  –  –

Hofele-Design developed and produced for Madza Germany 1995:

A very successful special car model:

The Mazda 121 GOLDY Which was promoted by the famous TV-moderator Thomas Gottschalk and HARIBO.

Hofele-Design produced all accessories for this car in the “Teddy Bear”-Look, including wheel covers in Teddy-look and a huge plushy toy TEDDY.

–  –  –

2000: The HOFELE-logo was revised to the actual styling:

2000: Hofele-Design engineered and built a new Show-Car.

It was the „Audi TT Spyder“ and it was shown at the “Auto Salon” show in Geneva 2001.


2000: ‚Hofele-Design‘ moves into the newly built and own big Hofele facility, with office building, production, warehouse and technical development center.

It is located in the town Donzdorf, Hermann-Schwarz-Str. 11, in Germany.

2000: New program for Luxury Limousine:

Full range of accessories, wheels and mufflers for Audi A8 D2:

2002: Hofele-Design presented on the Auto Salon in Geneva the first idea of a “Single-Frame”-Front Grille on an Audi.

The idea was born as a homage to the Auto Union Type D racecar from the 1930th.

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