Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet

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853 Sport Cabriolet





The company was established first by August Horch and his first business partner Salli Herz on November 14, 1899 at Ehrenfeld, Cologne. 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.

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.

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 more advanced and superior to those being then built by Mercedes or Benz.

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 Horch engaged Paul Daimler, son of Gottleib, as Chief Engineer, the first car to bear his stamp being the '300'. This was powered by a 3.2-litre, double-overhead-camshaft, straight eight engine, and power units of this type would be favoured by Horch throughout the 1920s and 1930s. After Daimler's departure Fritz Fiedler (later of BMW fame) took over, designing a single-overhead-cam straight-eight - the Horch 450 - which was followed by 6-litre V12-powered 600 and 670 models in 1931 and the 3.5-litre V8-engined 830B in 1933.

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.

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.

Horch presented a new model range reduced to two basic model series in the mid-1930s: the Type 830 with three-litre V8 engines and the Type 850 with five-litre straight-eight engines. The highlight in the 850 series was the 853, a sports cabriolet that was a resounding success in its class. Its two-colour finish gave it an extremely elegant look. Customers were also able to order this car with a kind of metallic paint finish at extra cost. The glittering effect of this paint, which was offered in several colour versions as “Fish Silver”, was achieved by adding extremely finely ground fish scales. Engine: 8-cylinder in-line, 4-stroke, 4,911 cc with 100 hp at 3,400 rpm and maximum speed: 84 mph. Fuel consumption: 11 mpg. Production: 619 cars.

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