Oct 29, 2020

Liebherr restores a piece of history

Liebherr restores a piece of history

Almost 60 years after its debut, Liebherr has restored the LSL 1500, one of the first wheel loader prototypes from the company’s early years.

The restored LSL 1500 is the oldest Liebherr wheel loader in existence and the restoration process took about 650 hours.

Leibherr Bischofshofen plant managing director Martin Gscwend said respecting history was important for the company.

“When developing wheel loaders, we deal with the latest technologies and trends on a daily basis,” he said.

“However, we respect our roots … and this wheel loader shows that Liebherr was getting innovative machine concepts off the ground even six decades ago.”

The restoration project began earlier this year at the Liebherr Bischofshofen plant, with a number of apprentices working on the project.

“For them, this was a rare opportunity to observe and understand the technology of earlier times,” said Andreas Scharler, who ran the plant’s repair centre for many years.

In the 1950s, Liebherr was already experimenting with wheel loaders, a type of machine still in its infancy and underdeveloped at the time.

Liebherr’s first two prototypes, the “Elephant” and “Mammoth” models, still had to cope with increased tyre wear and modest traction.

In the early 1960s, the company managed to create a reliable wheel loader prototype with the LSL 1500, weighing around 10 tonnes and with 108hp.

Leibherr produced a pilot series of five units. The LSL 1500 had a rigid frame and hydraulically supported rear wheel steering, which was luxurious for the time. The load transmission was achieved by a torque converter and a four-wheel drive, which could optionally be switched off.

The new kinematics provided a dumping height of around 3m and allowed for the loading of construction site vehicles with larger side heights.

The LSL 1500 at work in a gravel plant in the early 1960s.