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 4712 cc four-cylinder side-valve in-line engine.
The OM cars era
Further models were Tipo 465 (with a 1327 cc four) in 1919, Tipo 467 (1410 cc) and Tipo 469 (1496cc) in 1921. 1923 saw an all new model, Tipo 665 'Superba' with a 2-litre six-cylinder engine. This model was extremely successful in racing, winning top five positions in the 2-litre 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 led home an O.M. '123' at an average speed of 48.27 miles per hour (77.7 km/h) 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.
Fiat take-over and post-war years
OM was taken over by the Fiat Group in 1938 and in the following year passenger car production ceased, and OM became a commercial vehicle and train part manufacturer.
Main new product in the WWII post-war era was the Leoncino (1950) a light truck in the 2.0 to 2.5 tons range, which was an immediate success. It became the forefather of several series of heavier but structurally similar models, namely Tigrotto, Tigre, Lupetto, Cerbiatto and Daino, launched between 1957 and 1964. Bus chassis versions of several of these models were also available.
The end of OM
In 1968 OM was definitively merged into the Fiat Group as a brand belonging to the Commercial Vehicles division, which also included Fiat and Unic.