Auto-Karosserifabrikken, shortened AKF, in Kambo outside Moss in Norway was founded in 1928. Already in 1917 the company Norsk Automobilfabrik A/S was started in Kambo. In 1919 the company changed its name to Norsk Automobilfabrik Scania Vabis A/S due to the building on Scania Vabis chassis. The company went broke in 1923 and the coachbuilding was overtaken by Automobilfabriken A/S. In 1928 they moved to Oslo and the AKF started its buisness in Kambo.
Gustaf Henning from Grebbestad in Sweden was travelling to the construction of the big mill in Kambo. In Sweden he had worked as a seasonal worker, fishing in the summer and carpenting in the winter. To come to the mill construction site he had to pass the newly started company Norsk Automobilfabrik A/S. He went in and asked for job and got it! When the company later was bankrupt he got employment at the new firm Automobilfabriken A/S. Gustaf advanced to foreman and later to master mechanic. When Automobilfabriken A/S moved to Oslo he stayed in Kambo and bought some of the factory localities to open his own coachbuilding buisness. For the sum of 45.000 Nkr he got 25 acres of the plant, the smallest of the large factory buildings, the painting shop and the directors residence. The biggest of the factory buildings still remained empty, as it had been since 1920. AKF started with a share-capital counting 15.000 Nkr. The buisness started with 10 - 15 men but was already in 1932 up to 27 employeed to escalate in 1937 - 38 with 67 employeed.
In the long run it was the concentration on tank- and cabinetbuilding that secured the manufacturing. In 1990 AKF bought swedish GRIP-kaross AB and through this got a good grip of the market. In 2000 the company AKF with the 3:rd generation Henning, Jon Richard Henning, went bankrupt.
The new owners rearranged the company and continued the manufacturing without any apparence from the Henning-family.
Below follows two stories from the coachbuilding factories in Kambo.
One buyers toast to much.
When a deal was set it was tradition to close it with a ' buyers toast '. In other words, you had a glas of alcohol. A fresh owner of a just finished bus got a little bit to much of the alcohol. He sat down behind the steering wheel and just made it through the factory portal. Well on the road he came only a few meters before hitting the ditch. The bus had to be taken in again and restored. The driver had to find himself some other transportation home that day!
" I can't fill her up! "
The factory had its own petrolpump and a fresh built Ford delivery van was to be filled up before deliverence. He who got the job to fill her up soon came running back to the mounting shop.
- I can't fill her up! You have forgotten to make a hole!
The gasfiller was neatly situated behind a metalsheet, all painted and done, without an opening for the filling!
Information about Auto-Karosserifabrikken is taken from the book Håndverk på hjul by Asbjörn Rolseth. The book has the ISBN nr. 82-995890-0-2 and is released in year 2001.
It presents around 50 norwegian coachbuilders with high quality photos in black&white. A big thank you to Kåre Leth who tipped about the book!