By 1938 the top model produced by the Horch Company was the Horch 853A. It was a more powerful version of the 853 fitted with a 120 bhp version of the 5-litre Horch straight eight. Many bodies on the shorter 853 A chassis were highly regarded, and the sporty cabriolets were among the most beautifully styled cars of their era. Over 350 cars were built between 1938 and 1939 and although expensive, they were cheaper than their Mercedes-Benz rival the 540K.
This car was bought in Munich by a US airman in 1951 and shipped to the US. Sadly he died before he was able to enjoy the car and it was sold for the price of $10! Since then it has been fully restored and shown at many events including the Audi 80th anniversary.
August Horch began producing vehicles with Karl Benz prior to 1899, after which he began building vehicles under his own name, August Horch & Cie. In 1909, after disputes with shareholders, he departed from his company and founded Audi, which is the Latin translation of his surname. The production of the Horch automobile continued without their founder using his name.
In the early part of the 20th century, the automobiles began to appear less like horseless carriages and more like automobiles. The tiller steering and high buggy wheels became a thing of the past and the engine found its way to the front of the vehicle.
In 1926, a new model was introduced powered by a straight eight engine. This engine was used by the company for many years. Over the years it displacement size grew as did the horsepower rating. This engine was instrumental in providing the power-plant necessary to propel the luxurious Horch automobiles to quick speeds while maintaining a competitive price. As was the case with most early automotive manufacturers, Horch would either build the entire vehicle or merely supply the chassis for a coachbuilder to outfit the vehicle.
Horch was instrumental in continuing the growth of Audi as a company and on the race track. During World War I, the direction of Audi switched to producing vehicles for the military.
As was the case for most automotive companies, times were changing and becoming increasingly difficult to stay competitive and stay in business. In 1932, due to financial problems, August sold Audi. It became part of Auto Union. Auto Union was comprised of Horch, Das Kleine Wunder, Audi, and Wanderer. The Union was essential a way to continue production of automobiles while providing financial support necessary to fuel automotive racing and technology.
The Horch Series 850 featured the 100 horsepower straight eight engine, luxury, style and sophistication. The Model 853 was fitted to a shorter wheelbase and used a DeDion axle rear suspension. In an effort to stay competitive, The Model 853A became available in 1937 and featured a 120 horsepower straight eight engine.
When World War II began, production of the Horch Automobiles ceased. By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2008