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Car "Horch": the history of the famous brand

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Car "Horch": the history of the famous brand
Car "Horch": the history of the famous brand

The multifaceted, eventful history of the famous automobile brand "Horch" goes back to the 19th century. On November 14, 1899, the talented German engineer August Horch founded his own vehicle manufacturing company, Horch & Cie, in Cologne. Motorwagen Werke. A year later, the world saw the first car of the Horch brand, distinguished by design innovations. Subsequently, August Horch became one of the first famous automotive designers in the world.

horch car
horch car

August Horch

The future talented engineer and successful entrepreneur was born on October 12, 1868 in the city of Winningen, in the family of a blacksmith. The family of August Horch could not boast of prosperity, and therefore he had to work from the age of 13. Having changed several types of occupations, the purposeful and quarrelsome Horch was not inspired by any of them and in 1888 he decided to enter the Saxon Engineering School. Compensating for the lack of knowledge, the persistent young man successfully graduated from an educational institution and got a job first at a foundry, and then in the design departmentshipbuilding company, where he first encountered internal combustion engines.

His life changed dramatically after he got into motorcycle racing in 1896. At that time, this vehicle was a miracle of technology. Horch asked mechanics a lot about motorcycles and by evening he decided to write a letter with detailed information about himself and a request for employment at Benz. Not expecting a quick response, August was pleasantly surprised when he soon received word that he had been accepted and should immediately begin work. The 27-year-old Horch was promoted to assistant head of the engine department, but four months later, thanks to diligence, he was put in charge of car production.

horch car photo
horch car photo

Founding a company

Karl Benz was too conservative for a young ambitious German, and in 1899 August Horch, with the financial support of a we althy businessman in the Cologne suburb of Ehrenfelde, opened Horch & Cie. Motorwagen Werke. At first, a small company with a staff of 11 people was engaged exclusively in the repair of other cars. But a year after the founding of the company, the first Horch car appeared with a 5-liter two-cylinder engine. With. The beginning of the story named Horch was laid. The press was still discussing the new car, when the company had already released the second model - the first car in Germany with a driveline.

First cars

The first two Horch models produced before 1901 were 5 and 10 hp. With. These cars were equippedtwo-cylinder engines located in front. In the first model (4-15 PS), the rear drive wheels were driven by a belt drive. In the second model (10-16 PS), for the first time in Germany, the drive was carried out using a cardan transmission. The main design advantage of the first Horch cars was a gearbox located in a single block along with the final drive. At the time, it was a revolutionary decision.

The car body was open type, the work of the carriage workshop. Lighting was provided by candle lanterns. Unlike the powerful cars of later years, the first Horch could barely reach a top speed of 32 km/h. Nevertheless, it was a significant figure at the time. Friction clutch was used on cars. The first "Horch" (car) photo below clearly demonstrates.

german car horch
german car horch

The path to success

From customers to a new car "Horch" with a 10-12 hp engine. With. and there was no end to the silent box. The staff has grown to ninety people. The talented engineer Fritz Seidel was involved in work on the engine. Within the former framework of the company, it became crowded, and in 1902 production was moved to Reichenbach, and two years later to Zwickau (Saxony), where the company was transformed into a joint-stock company with an impressive authorized capital of 140 thousand marks at that time.

The first model released by the new production was distinguished by a large number of design innovations. It was fitted with a newsilent transmission with gears made of high-alloy chromium-nickel steel. The clutch was located between the gearbox and the engine. Torque was transmitted to the rear drive axle using a cardan drive. In 1906, the Horch car won the first auto race victory, which brought even more popularity and even more orders to the company. In the same year, new Horch models began to be exhibited at the Berlin and Paris Motor Shows. A year later, a luxury model was introduced with a six-cylinder eight-liter engine with 60 hp. s., the first owner of which was the Sultan of the Indonesian island of Java.

horch brand car
horch brand car

Four rings - four brands

The innovative approach and constant search for new solutions of August Horch in the design of cars required constant financial injections. This did not please the shareholders in any way and led to constant disagreements. Horch considered participation in motor racing the best advertisement for the brand. The company's cars became regular participants in the competition, and the designer often got behind the wheel himself.

The world of speed requires constant investment and growth. So, in 1906, the company released a new model ZD. The German car "Horch ZD" with a 5.8-liter engine and a lightweight sports body was specially assembled for participation in the prestigious races of Henry of Prussia. The poor performance in the competition aggravated an already difficult relationship with shareholders, who were extremely unhappy with the sales of the previous Horch Z. Stubbornthe designer rejected any proposed compromises, fully defending his point of view. As a result, in the summer of 1909, under pressure from shareholders, Horch left the company he founded, but a month later, in the same Zwickau, he registered a new company, August Horch Automobilwerke GmbH.

car horch 901
car horch 901

Two firms with almost identical names and practically on the same street outraged the owners of the previous company. After the trial, which Horch lost, the question of a new name arose. During a discussion about this at a friend's house, the owner's son, who was studying Latin, simply translated Horch from German into Latin. This is how the name Audi appeared, and later - the company Audi Automobilwerke GmbH.

Familiar today four AUDI rings appeared much later. Influenced by the economic crisis of the early 1930s, the four companies decided to merge into one concern, Auto Union AG. The association included Horch, Audi, Wanderer and DKW. The emblem in the form of four rings symbolized the union of these four companies and had to be present on all cars of the concern. Horch and Audi made luxury cars, Wanderer made middle class cars, DKW made budget and subcompact cars. There is an erroneous opinion that the Horch car is the same as the Audi, just renamed over time. The fact is that after some time, three of the four representatives of the concern ceased to exist. Only Audi remained, which inherited the emblem.

Most Popular Models

Most popular models"Horch" are rightfully considered cars with four-cylinder engines of medium displacement. Sales volumes of cars with larger displacement engines (sports, executive) have always been lower for several reasons. The exception was the models produced from 1937 to 1940 (851/853/853A/855/951/951A). It was these solid representative cars that were remembered as a symbol of the Horch brand. The car (photo below from 1939 proves it) looked great.

horch cars in chronological order
horch cars in chronological order

In addition to the production of civilian cars, Horch had considerable experience in the production of military vehicles. One of the most famous is the medium multi-purpose vehicle "Horch 901" off-road. This vehicle was produced from 1937 to 1940 under the target program of the Wehrmacht to equip the army with all-wheel drive vehicles of three types: light, medium and heavy.

horch car photo 1939
horch car photo 1939

The post-war decline of the company

Starting from the mid-30s, the leadership of the company by August Horch was formal. He was increasingly involved in social activities, occupied a number of leadership positions. After the war, the city of Zwickau remained in the territory controlled by the Soviet Union. The enterprises were nationalized and became part of the IFA, although for some time cars under the Horch brand were still produced, for example, the executive model 930S.

Horch cars in chronological order

Lineup of civil carsby years can be seen in the table below.

Years of issue Model Engine and number of cylinders Displacement, l
1900-1904 4-15 PS Inline, 2
10-16 PS P, 2
22-30 PS Inline, 4 2, 6
1904-1910 18/25 PS P, 4 2, 7
14-20 PS P, 4 2, 3
23/50 PS P, 4 5, 8
26/65 PS P, 8 7, 8

25/60 PS

P, 4 6, 4
10/30 PS P, 4 2, 6
K (12/30 PS) P, 4 3, 2
15/30 PS P, 4 2, 6
Pony (5/14 PS) P, 4 1, 3
1910-1919 H (17/45 PS) P, 4 4, 2
1911-1922 6/18 PS P, 4 1, 6
8/24 PS P, 4 2, 0
O (14/40 PS) P, 4 3, 5
1914-1922 25/60 PS P, 4 6, 4

18/50 PS

P, 4 4, 7
S (33/80 PS) P, 4 8, 5
1922-1924 10 M 20 (10/35 PS) P, 4 2.6
1924-1926 10 M 25 (10/50 PS) P, 4 2.6
1926-1927 Typ 303/304 (12/60 PS) Inline, 8 3.1
1927-1928 Typ 305/306 (13/65 PS) P, 8 3.4
1928-1931 Typ 350/375/400/405 (16/80 PS) P, 8 3.95
1931-1935 Typ 430 R,8 3.1
Typ 410/440/710 P, 8 4.0
Typ 420/450/470/720/750/750B P, 8 4.5
Typ 480/500/500A/500B/780/780B P, 8 4.95
Typ 600/670 V12 6.0
830 V8 3.0
1935-1937 830B V8 3.25
830Bk/830BL V8 3.5
850/850 Sport P, 8 4.95
1937-1940 830BL/930V V8 3.5
830BL/930V V8 3.8
851/853/853A/855/951/951A P, 8 4.95

Now you know the history of these amazing machines and their talented creator.

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