At this year’s GuangZhou Auto Show, there is an old car on the Audi booth that attracts a lot of attention. This classic car occupies a prominent position in the booth. This car is the Horch 851. Many friends are not familiar with the horch brand, but in Germany before World War II, the brand was the leader and ruler of the German top luxury car market. Let’s take a look at the history of the horch brand.
In 1899, August Horch, who once worked as an intern engineer at Mercedes-Benz, left Mercedes-Benz Motor Company and founded his own company in Cologne. This company specializes in car repairs, engine ignition system modification and a small amount of car production. Based on this company, August Horch began to prepare for the realization of his dream, which is to make his own luxury cars.
In 1901, August Horch designed and built the first car, which used front engine technology that was not valued at that time. At the same time, Horch used a single-cylinder dual-piston design when designing the engine. This design first solved the problem of excessive engine vibration at that time and established a new standard for car comfort at that time.
As the company continued to grow and develop, in 1904 August Horch and his shareholders established the August Horch & Cie automobile company named after himself. Since the establishment of the new company, the production capacity has been expanding, with annual production increasing from 18 vehicles in 1903 to 94 vehicles in 1907. At this time, August Horch set the motto of the company’s development: “In any case, only produce powerful, high-quality luxury cars.”
Starting from building the first car of his own, August Horch constantly tried to make luxury cars. However, in 1909, the founder of Horch, August Horch, left the company helplessly and created the Audi brand because of disputes with shareholders. Although the founder left, the Horch company still followed the motto that August Horch once proposed.
August Horch’s departure did not affect Horch’s development. Horch created the Horch 23 model during this time, which was very popular at the time. Horch also rapidly developed with this car and its derivative models. As of 1914, Horch’s turnover exceeded 5.8 million marks, and reached 30 million marks 4 years later in 1918. This growth rate is very amazing. At that time, the average monthly salary of German workers was only 100 marks. It can be seen that Horch’s development rate is astonishing.
At the Berlin Auto Show in 1928, Horch launched the “Horch 8” series of models. The launch of this series of models laid the dominant position of Horch in the German luxury car market. The first to be launched was Horch 303, the first luxury car in Germany with an in-line 8-cylinder engine. The price positioning of Horch 303 clearly expressed the status of the car at that time: the basic model was priced at 11,900 marks. In Germany at that time, few competitors were more expensive than it. In fact, many competitors were significantly lower than this price.
After the launch of Horch 303, Horch became the only manufacturer in Germany that only produced more than 8-cylinder luxury cars. At that time, Horch has become synonymous with top luxury cars. In 1931, Horch launched a sports convertible car model Horch 670 equipped with a V12 engine.
The V12 engine on the Horch 670 has a seven-bearing crankshaft, twelve balance weights and an additional shock absorber, which makes the engine run smoothly and the vibration is very slight. In addition, its hydraulic valve clearance adjuster is far ahead of the times. The Horch 670 is now regarded as a rare treasure. Due to its high price, Horch has only sculpted 58 finished cars for a few rich people before and after, and today there are still few left in the world.
In 1932, Horch Company returned to August Horch again. Horch officially merged with Audi and became Audi’s top luxury car brand. In 1933, Horch introduced the 830 sedan, which was no longer equipped with an in-line 8-cylinder engine, but switched to a smoother V8 engine. The Horch 830 has a polished instrument panel, elegant door handles and window frames, as well as large and thick leather sofas and rear armrests. Luxury reflected everywhere in the whole car.
Once the Horch 830 was launched, it was sought after by the wealthy Europeans. Subsequently, Horch launched a number of 830 derivative models, including 830B model with 3.2L V8 engine, 830BK model with 3.6L V8 engine, and 830BL convertible model with 3.5L and 3.8L V8 engine and use a long wheelbase, equipped with a middle row of seats and luxury suitcases. The most famous one is the Horch 830BL, because the review car used by French President Charles de Gaulle after the liberation of Paris was the Horch 830BL convertible.
The Horch 830 series models are deeply loved by people, and a total of 9522 units were produced in the four models, of which more than 6100 units were produced in the last 830BL luxury vehicle. As a top luxury car, such sales figures were very rare in the luxury sedan market in continental Europe at that time.
The Horch 830 has achieved unprecedented success, making Horch fully confident in its products. In 1934, Horch launched the new Horch 850 series, which has become the most successful car in Horch’s history. The Horch 850 series is equipped with Horch’s newly developed 8-cylinder engine. The maximum power of this engine reached 100 horsepower. Such a number was very amazing at that time.
In 1937, the Horch 850 series replaced a more powerful 8-cylinder engine with a maximum power of 120 horsepower. The Horch 850 series includes four models, namely the basic (Horch 850), the special (Horch 851), the sports convertible (Horch 853) and the special sports car (Horch 855).
Among them, Horch 851 is the model that Audi showed at the Guangzhou Auto Show. The configuration of Horch 851 is not inferior even by today’s standards. It has a wheelbase of 3750mm, a length of 5550mm and a width of 1820mm. In addition, users of Horch 851 can customize different height car bodies according to their own needs, and its height can reach 1580mm to 1770mm. With the most advanced 8-cylinder engine at that time, the top speed of Horch 851 can reach 125km / h.
In addition to the extreme popularity of the Horch 851, the Horch 850 series sports convertible, the Horch 853, was also sought after by European dignitaries at the time. As a sports model, Horch 853 is equipped with an 8-cylinder engine with a displacement of 5L, which is very powerful. At the same time, the configuration on the Horch 853 is very luxurious. Therefore, the Horch 853 is particularly loved by the upper class society of the European continent. With its dynamic and smooth body, elegant and luxurious decoration, it has become a generation of classic.
Today, the Horch 853 and Horch 853A are recognized as the best cars made in the 1930s. In 2009, a 1937 Horch 853 coupe carefully cared for by its owner won the best in the world’s famous Pebble Beach antique car show.
The Horch 855 is a very special model. This car is one of the most representative historical models in Horch’s history. It is a special version of Horch 853. It only produced seven cars, which were the private cars of the most distinguished people in the society at that time. It sells for up to 22,000 marks.
When the Second World War broke out in 1939, Horch’s main automobile manufacturing plant was destroyed by bombs during the war. Due to the economic recession during the war, Horch’s sales fell sharply. The most famous luxury car brand in the history of German automobile manufacturing eventually declined.
From the advent of the first Horch car in 1901, in just a few decades, it became the most prestigious manufacturer of top luxury cars on the European continent, making countless powerful people competing for it. In addition to using the most advanced technology and the most luxurious craftsmanship regardless of cost, what made Horch succeeded was the original motto of August Horch: “In any case, only produce powerful, high-quality luxury cars”, which is the essence of an enterprise, has always been following and practicing, let us see the rigorous of Germans, but also deeply impressed by the persistence of this once top luxury car manufacturer.