The founder of Franz Brozincevic et Cie Motorwagenfabrik Wetzikon AG was a Croatian engineer, Franz Brozincevic, who in 1909 designed a chain-drive truck for the Swiss Post Office powered by his own design of gasoline engine. Called the Franz, the truck was further developed into a range of shalt-drive machines for up to 5 tonnes payload. In 1914 the Franz operations were absorbed into Motorwagenfabrik Berna AG, Franz Brozincevic becoming Berna's general manager. After differences with Berna's management lie resigned and established his own company, FBW, at the former premises of Schweizer Motorwagenfabrik. In 1922 FBW built their first 4-cylinder gasoline engine and introduced a double-reduction rear axle. Two years later a licence was granted to Henschel & Sohn to build FBW vehicles in Kassel, Germany.
During the 1920s FBW introduced a very advanced design for 5-tonne payloads. They were powerful trucks featuring small turning circles, pneumatic tyres and four-wheel braking, suiting them to mountain roads. FBW gained an excellent reputation for engineering. By the late '20s they had built their first heavy-duty chain-drive six-wheeler. FBW engines were fitted with a patented exhaust brake.
The first FBW diesel engine was announced in 1934, an 8.5 litre/ 518cu in 6-cylinder unit producing 100bhp. Wartime production concentrated on military vehicles for the Swiss army. The post-war years brought increased demand for heavy trucks in the construction industry. From the late 1940s a range of trucks was available, including forward-control models for 7-tonne payloads. A powerful new 11 litre/671cu in 6-cylinder horizontal engine with 145bhp was introduced in 1949. The range of trucks expanded during the '50s and '60s extending up to maximum legal weight. In 1968 lighter models were added to gain wider market coverage.
The 1970s saw impressive new models with turbocharged diesels in both vertical and horizontal forms. A very handsome tilt cab appeared on the forward-control models. In the late '70s there were 18 basic models in the FBW heavy-duty range. The 70N 4x2 and 80N 6x4 were bonneted types also marketed as the all-wheel drive 70X and 80X. Seven forward-control tilt-cab models included a 17-tonne gvw 4x2 (50V type); 21-tonne 6x2 (75V), 26-tonne 6x4 (80V) and, perhaps FBW's most impressive machine, the 28-tonne 85V 8x4 which appeared following increases in the Swiss weight limits during the '70s. In addition there were seven underfloor-engined models designated the U range in 4x2, 6x2 and 6x4 form. These were especially suited to municipal operations as well as general haulage. The lightest was the 13-tonne gvw 40U while the heaviest was the 6x4 80U at 26 tonnes gvw. To cover the lighter end of the range FBW marketed the Mitsubishi Canter 2-tonner and the heavier Fuso 61/2-tonner as MMC-FBW.
In a declining market Switzerland's two truck makers, Saurer and FBW,. joined forces in 1982 to form NAW (Nutzfahrzeuggesellschaft Arbon & Wetzikon) and were absorbed into Daimler-Benz.