Horch

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Horch AG
Industry Automotive
Founded 1904
Defunct 1932, (part of Auto Union)
Headquarters Zwickau, Saxony, Germany
Key people August Horch, founder
Products Automobiles

Horch was a car brand manufactured in Germany by August Horch & Cie, at the beginning of the 20th century.

History at a Glance[edit]

August Horch in his car (1908)
Horch hood ornament (1924)
Horch 670, 12 cylinders luxus cabriolet (1932)
Horch 930 V Phaeton (1939)

The company was established first by August Horch and his first business partner Salli Herz on November 14, 1899 at Ehrenfeld, Cologne.[1] August Horch was a former production manager for Karl Benz. Three years later in 1902 he moved with his company to Reichenbach im Vogtland. On May, 10th, 1904 he founded the Horch & Cie. Motorwagenwerke AG, a joint-stock company in Zwickau (State of Saxony). The city of Zwickau was the capital of the South Western Saxon County and one of Saxony's industrial centres at that time.

After troubles with Horch chief financial officer, August Horch founded on July 16, 1909, his second company, the August Horch Automobilwerke GmbH in Zwickau. He had to rename his new company because Horch was already a registered brand and he did not hold the rights on it. On April 25, 1910 the Audi Automobilwerke was entered in the company's register of Zwickau registration court. Audi is the Latin translation of horch, from the German verb "Horchen", which means "Listen" (compare English "hark"). The Audi name was proposed by a son of one of his business partners from Zwickau.[2]

Both companies from Zwickau (Horch and Audi) were unified in 1932 with Zschopauer Motorenwerke J. S. Rasmussen (brand DKW) and the car producing piece of Wanderer to Saxony's Auto Union corporation. The Silver Arrow racing cars of the Auto Union racing team in Zwickau, developed by Ferdinand Porsche and Robert Eberan von Eberhorst, driven by Bernd Rosemeyer, Hans Stuck, Tazio Nuvolari, Ernst von Delius, were known the world over in the 1930s.

Initial cars[edit]

The company initially began producing 5 hp (3.7 kW; 5.1 PS) and 10 hp (7.5 kW; 10 PS) twin-cylinder engine automobiles near Cologne in 1901.

The first Horch had a 4.5 hp (3.4 kW; 4.6 PS) engine, with an alloy crankcase, a unique achievement in those days. It had an open-body design, with lighting provided by lanterns with candles in them. In contrast with the powerful cars of later years, the first Horch could barely reach a top speed of 32 km/h (20 mph). It was significant at that time because it used a friction clutch, and also had a drive shaft to power the wheels.

The firm soon ran into financial troubles, not surprising considering the pioneering nature of the automobile business at that time. Horch had to seek new partners.

On March 1902, August Horch produced a 20 hp (15 kW; 20 PS) four-cylinder car with a shaft drive in Reichenbach in Vogtland. Horch cars were considered[by whom?] more advanced and superior to those being then built by Mercedes or Benz (who were then separate manufacturers).

By 1903, Horch had built a car with a four-cylinder engine. In March of the following year, he introduced his new car at the Frankfurt Fair.

In 1904, August Horch developed the first six-cylinder engine, which appeared in 1907. In 1906 a Horch automobile driven by Dr. Rudolf Stöss from Zwickau won the Herkomer Competition (equivalent to a 'brand-name' world championship at the time). In the 1920s, Moritz Stauss, a cosmopolitan Berliner, was the principal stockholder of the Horch company. He succeeded in making the Horch brand highly desirable by introducing art into the advertising of their products. He recognized that only a brand emphasising Horch's unique characteristics would be successful.

In 1923, Paul Daimler (a Stauss associate) worked for Horch as the chief engineer for 8-cylinder engines. Horch vehicles were subsequently the first to introduce 8-cylinder engines in series production.[citation needed]

Audi connection[edit]

In 1909, the supervisory board (the German equivalent of the Board of Directors) of the corporation forced out Horch. Horch went on to found Audi as Audiwerke GmbH, which became effective on 25 April 1910. The name was a solution to the legal dispute with his old company over use of the Horch brand and a clever play of words ("audi" is the literal Latin translation of the Old German "horch", meaning the imperative "Listen!").

In 1928, the company was acquired by Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen, owner of DKW (from the German Dampfkraftwagen, or steam engine vehicle) who had bought the remains of the US automobile manufacturer Rickenbacker in the same year. The Rickenbacker purchase included their manufacturing equipment for eight-cylinder engines.

Auto Union[edit]

Auto Union Typ C (1936)

Eventually, on 29 June 1932, Horch, Audi, DKW and Wanderer merged to form the Auto Union AG, Chemnitz affiliated group. The current Audi four-ring logo is the Auto Union logo that represents the merger of these four brands. In the 1930s, Horch introduced a new line of smaller and cheaper, but still presentable, V8 automobiles. In 1936, Horch presented the 25,000th 8-cylinder luxury car in Zwickau.

The Auto Union Grand Prix racing cars types A to D, were developed and built by a specialist racing department of Horch works in Zwickau between 1933 and 1939. Between 1935 and 1937 Auto Union cars won 25 races, driven by Ernst von Delius, Tazio Nuvolari, Bernd Rosemeyer, Hans Stuck and Achille Varzi.

Heavy standard passenger car Type Horch 108 (1942)

Auto Union became a major supplier of vehicles to the German Wehrmacht, such as Heavy standard passenger car (Horch 108), Medium standard passenger car (Horch 901 and Wanderer 901) and Half-track Sd.Kfz. 11. Civilian production was suspended after March 1940. After the war the Auto Union AG at Chemnitz was dissolved and in Ingolstadt, West Germany the new Auto Union GmbH was founded, where civilian car production continued. Due to widespread poverty in postwar Germany, only small DKW vehicles with two stroke engines were produced. After Auto Union was purchased in 1964 by the Volkswagenwerk AG, the old brand Audi was introduced again, together with the new four stroke vehicle Audi F103.

Trabant connection[edit]

During the Second World War, the factories suffered heavy bomb damage. Later, the advancing Soviet forces captured the area, and it became part of the Soviet sector of divided Germany in 1945, and later became part of East Germany.

Horch P240 (Sachsenring) Cabriolet (1956)

From 1955-1958, old Horch factories produced the Horch P240, a 6-cylinder car that was respected at the time. The former Horch and Audi operations from Zwickau were unified in 1958. A new brand, Sachsenring, within the East German corporation IFA was born. After unification in 1958, the P240 car was renamed as the Sachsenring P240. As the Soviet Administration inexplicably banned the foreign exportation of the P240, the East German economic administration decided to stop production of the vehicle. IFA also produced the initial Trabant "P-50" model from 1957.[3]

The Zwickau site was acquired in 1991 by Volkswagen, effectively restoring its connection with Audi.

Rare collectibles[edit]

On June 24, 2006, an incredibly rare 1937 Horch 853A Sport Cabriolet in original unrestored, unprepared condition sold at auction in Cortland NY for $299,000 US.[4]

In the late 1930s, Horch supplied a limited number of promotional scarves bearing the Horch logo. Sent only to the wealthiest drivers, it is a major collectible amongst diehard enthusiasts of the pre-war car era. However there is also a degree of controversy associated with these scarves as they were commonly sought by senior SS members.

1938 Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet (1938)

Horch models[edit]

Type Construction Cylinders Displacement Power Top speed
4-15 PS 1900–1903 straight-2 2.9-3.7 kW 60 km/h (37 mph)
10-16 PS 1902–1904 straight-2 7.4-8.8 kW 62 km/h (39 mph)
22-30 PS 1903 straight-4 2,725 cc 16.2-18.4 kW
14-20 PS 1905–1910 straight-4 2,270 cc 10.3-12.5 kW
18/25 PS 1904–1909 straight-4 2,725 cc 16.2 kW
23/50 PS 1905–1910 straight-4 5,800 cc 29 kW 100 km/h (62 mph)
26/65 PS 1907–1910 straight-6 7,800 cc 44 kW 120 km/h (75 mph)
25/60 PS 1909–1914 straight-4 6.395 cc 40 kW 110 km/h (68 mph)
10/30 PS 1910–1911 straight-4 2,660 cc 18.4 kW
K (12/30 PS) 1910–1911 straight-4 3,177 cc 20.6 kW 75 km/h (47 mph)
15/30 PS 1910–1914 straight-4 2,608 cc 22 kW 80 km/h (50 mph)
H (17/45 PS) 1910–1919 straight-4 4,240 cc 33 kW
6/18 PS 1911–1920 straight-4 1,588 cc 13.2 kW
8/24 PS 1911–1922 straight-4 2,080 cc 17.6 kW 70 km/h (43 mph)
O (14/40 PS) 1912–1922 straight-4 3,560 cc 29 kW 90 km/h (56 mph)
Pony (5/14 PS) 1914 straight-4 1,300 cc 11 kW
25/60 PS 1914–1920 straight-4 6,395 cc 44 kW 110 km/h (68 mph)
18/50 PS 1914–1922 straight-4 4,710 cc 40 kW (55 PS) 100 km/h (62 mph)
S (33/80 PS) 1914–1922 straight-4 8,494 cc 59 kW
10 M 20 (10/35 PS) 1922–1924 straight-4 2,612 cc 25.7 kW 80 km/h (50 mph)
10 M 25 (10/50 PS) 1924–1926 straight-4 2,612 cc 37 kW 95 km/h (59 mph)
8 Typ 303/304 (12/60 PS) 1926–1927 straight-8 3,132 cc 44 kW 100 km/h (62 mph)
8 Typ 305/306 (13/65 PS) 1927–1928 straight-8 3,378 cc 48 kW 100 km/h (62 mph)
8 Typ 350/375/400/405 (16/80 PS) 1928–1931 straight-8 3,950 cc 59 kW 100 km/h (62 mph)
8 3 ltr. Typ 430 1931–1932 straight-8 3,009-3,137 cc 48 kW (65 PS) 100 km/h (62 mph)
8 4 ltr. Typ 410/440/710 1931–1933 straight-8 4,014 cc 59 kW (80 PS) 100–110 km/h (62–68 mph)
8 4,5 ltr. Typ 420/450/470/720/750/750B 1931–1935 straight-8 4,517 cc 66 kW (90 PS) 115 km/h (71 mph)
8 5 ltr. Typ 480/500/500A/500B/780/780B 1931–1935 straight-8 4,944 cc 74 kW (100 PS) 120–125 km/h (75–78 mph)
12 6 ltr. Typ 600/670 1931–1934 V12 6,021 cc 88 kW (120 PS) 130–140 km/h (81–87 mph)
830 1933–1934 V8 3,004 cc 51 kW (70 PS) 110–115 km/h (68–71 mph)
830B 1935 V8 3,250 cc 51 kW (70 PS) 115 km/h (71 mph)
830Bk/830BL 1935–1936 V8 3,517 cc 55 kW (75 PS) 115–120 km/h (71–75 mph)
850/850 Sport 1935–1937 straight-8 4,944 cc 74 kW (100 PS) 125–130 km/h (78–81 mph)
830BL/930V 1937–1938 V8 3,517 cc 60 kW (82 PS) 120–125 km/h (75–78 mph)
830BL/930V 1938–1940 V8 3,823 cc 67.6 kW (92 PS) 125–130 km/h (78–81 mph)
851/853/853A/855/951/951A 1937–1940 straight-8 4,944 cc 74 kW (100 PS) 125–140 km/h (78–87 mph)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ August Horch: "Ich baute Autos - Vom Schmiedelehrling zum Autoindustriellen", Schützen-Verlag Berlin 1937
  2. ^ Audi AG motion picture 1994: "The Silver Arrows from Zwickau", running time approx. 49 mins.
  3. ^ "Trabant History". Trabant.shocauto.com. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  4. ^ "Rm Auctions". Rm Auctions. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 

External links[edit]