#0017 - Horch 853-A Cabriolet by Glaser, 1939
Horch 853 photos were recently posted to Mikael Rennerhorn's blog, Cars and Cameras.
Continental Rarity: The Horch branch of Auto Union are seldom seen in the United States. Less popular in Germany than their Mercedes-Benz competition and not quite as resourceful as the BMW marque, the Auto Union lines folded easily until Audi finally emerged from the heap. And with interest in Horch automobiles centered in Germany, the story of how this example reached the North American continent is naturally connected to World War II.
In 1951, U.S. Air Force Tech Sergeant Harold Morgan, Jr. purchased this car, #854340A, from a Munich dealer for 800 marks. After returning home to Lexington, Massachusetts he unfortunately passed away, leaving the car to his uncle who eventually sold it for ten dollars. If the purchase price was any indication, the car languished to no small degree for the duration of the new owner's stewardship. No lacky for respect, however, the car was kept complete and eventually found an interested suitor. Sometime in the sixties, Barbara and Sidney Hughes extracted the Horch from the barn in which it took a piecemeal residence, and set about the car's first restoration, eventually bringing it to national recognition with the CCCA. The present owner is Mr. Jack Rich (and many of his vehicles will feature here—this is but the first), who gave the car its second restoration.
The Horch nameplate has stepped into prominence lately with Audi's centennial anniversary passing in 2009, and with fervent interest in the great Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union Grand Prix battles of the late classic era. Much of the conglomerate's history has been revived and, as in the case of the Audi Front 225 Roadster, refabricated. Nevertheless, this Horch 853-A stands as a prime example of the marque's pinnacle, and has long been recognized as such by Audi, having been part of milestone celebrations in the past.
Skirting the Details: Earlier 853 models have a classic delicacy to them, (excluding the Voll & Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet, which is something of a locomotive in elegant drapes), while the later 853-A cars are more stout and tall in appearance. No surprise, the A model is 2 inches shorter in the wheelbase, and benefitted from an extra 20 horsepower. The 5-litre straight 8-cylinder gives 120 horses total and has a lovely 4-speed ZF gearbox with overdrive. Like many luxury cars of the era, a host of fascinating features is included. Grand classics like Maybach and Duesenberg both used self-lubricating chassis, and so did Horch. The 853-A also has a built-in jacking system capable of lifting any combination of wheels off the ground, (that includes all of them). Glaser, a coachbuilder based in Dresden, was commissioned for most of the bodies, and variation was slim in the typical German production way. The down-scale BMW 327 Cabriolet, for instance, was farmed out to two local companies with hardly any variation in the execution save for livery and rear wheel covers.
For more information on Horch and Auto Union branding history, (which is nifty), please refer to our feature on the Audi Front 225 Roadster.
For more information on the Horch 853, please refer to our feature on the Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet by Voll & Ruhrbeck.
On this particular feature we're sticking to information from the AACA Museum, which earlier in 2010 featured an exhibit of Jack Rich's automobiles.
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