In 1899, August Horch founded the auto company that bore his name. He had formerly been a production manager for Karl Benz. In 1909, he founded a second auction company but since the Horch name was already registered, he used the name Audi. Audi is the Latin translation of Horch which is the imperative of the German verb horen meaning 'to hear.' In 1932 Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer joined to form Auto Union.
Horch introduced the 853A in 1937. It was built for the Autobahn and is powered by a five litre straight eight overhead valve engine. The engine produced 120 horsepower, 20 more than the 853 model. It weighs about 6,000 pounds and is capable of speeds of over 90 mph. It has eight forward speeds, achieved by use of a four-speed transmission coupled with a two speed rear axle.
While there were about 400 model 853A's produced, this example is one of 3 Model 853 Phaetons produced. Two were destroyed during WWII. This is the only survivor.
This car was originally built for the Luftwaffe(German Air Ministry) for use as a parade vehicle. Everything is heavy-duty for use on the Autobahn. It was brought to the United States after World War II, purportedly by German Curtis LeMay. The current owners found it on a farm in Virginia. The car was completed with all its original parts and was drivable.