HORCH (Germany) 1899-1939



August Horch was one of Germany's pioneer car manufacturers who produced 5 hp and 10 hp twin-cylinder cars. In 1902, he moved to Reichenbach and designed in 1903 a 20 hp four-cylinder car with shaft drive. A 22 hp version appeared in 1904, after Horch had again moved production, to a new factory at Zwickau in Saxony.

In 1905 a 40 hp 5800cc Horch went into production and 1907 saw the first six-cylinder model, a 7800 65 hp, on the market. Horch cars, very successful in sporting events, soon became very popular and production continued to rise. New models included four-cylinder cars of 1588cc, 2080cc, 2608cc, 3175cc, 4700cc and 6395cc. And there was even an 8440cc four-cylinder version, which was built in small numbers. There were also Horch cars with sleeve-valve engines, made under Knight license.

In 1909 August Horch left the works, and Georg Paulmann took over the design of Horch cars, which now also included a 2582cc model, a small car for that period and therefore called "Pony". After the war, Horch built cars including 8/24hp,10/30hp, 15/45hp,18/55hp, 25/60 hp and 33/80 hp models, all exhibited by the Zwickau-factory at the 1921 Berlin Show.

Quantity production came in 1924 with a 10/50 hp ohc four-cylinder model of 2630cc, which succeeded a sv 2630cc four-cylinder; 1926 saw the first 3132cc dohc straight-eight in production, followed by a 3378cc version. A capacity increase to 3950cc brought 80 hp at 3200 rpm, but from 1931 onwards there were also new single-ohc straight-eight Horch cars, designed by Fritz Fiedler, with engines from 3 to 5 litres. Another new car in the early 1930s was the sv 6021cc V12 Horch with a 120hp engine and ZF-Aphon four-speed gearbox.

Most Horch cars belonged to the luxury class and often had exclusive bodywork by Gläser, Neuss, Armbruster and other leading coachbuilders: 1933 saw the introduction of new' sv V8 models of 3004cc, 3227cc, 3517cc and 3823cc. There was also the 850, with an ohc 4946cc straight-eight motor, which developed 100 bhp at 3400rpm, while a "hotter" version, the 951A, developed 120hhp at the same number of revolutions. Less demanding customers got V8s of 3517cc and 3823cc.

In Zwickau, Horch built from 1933 to 1939 the rear-engined, Ferdinand Porsche designed, Auto Union Grand Prix racing cars.

Horch built high-class, beautiful cars until the war, but in 1945 the original Auto-Union became defunct: the name Horch is still waiting for a rebirth in Germany. To be correct, in 1946 there was the rebirth of a Horch in East Germany, at Zwickau, but as the name Horch belongs to the West German Auto Union, the East Germans had to drop it and call the new car "Sachsenring" instead.

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