After leaving his eponymously named firm around 1910 due to disagreements over lagging sales and engineering problems, August Horch founded a company based on a Latin translation of his name, Audi. In 1932, Germany found itself in a financial crisis and the result saw Audi, Horch, DKW, and Wanderer merge to form Auto Union in hopes of survival, In 1933, August Horch was reinstated as the head of the Horch-werke.
That same year, Horch, still catering to the luxury market, launched the Type 830, followed by the 850 in 1934. The top Horch models were based on the fully developed straight eight- cylinder engines, and they reached the absolute pinnacle between 1937 and 1940, with the Type 853 and 951. The engine was now of five-litre capacity, and the 853 employed double- jointed rear axle shafts that were pioneered on the Porsche-designed Auto Union racing cars, providing fully independent de Dion rear type suspension. Front suspension consisted of an upper A-arm, with the lower hub being carried by a pair of transverse leaf springs. Vacuum assisted hydraulic brakes were standard, as was a four-speed transmission with lever actuated overdrive that was usable in all four gears The result was a highly advanced chassis for the time, and one that would not be matched by most other car manufacturers until well into the post-war years.
Just as they were competitors on the track, with their team cars collectively known as the ‘Silver Arrows’, Horch and Mercedes-Benz also competed in the luxury market, and Horch decided directly to the 540K, design concept began, a wooden model was to respond built to assess the Horch Special Roadster. The decision was made to go ahead, and the construction of the car was undertaken by the factory works in Malan, Germany. The car was shown briefly, but it was not initially sold, as plans to supercharge the car were contemplated. Ultimately, the straight eight was deemed sufficient for car, and the plans to supercharge it were abandoned. Although not supercharged like its rivals, the 853 models do have overdrive, which closes the performance gap.
This 1940 Horch, chassis number 854402, is a stunning example of the 853 autobahn stormer. Fitted with the 120bhp, 4,944cc inline overhead camshaft eight-cylinder engine and ZF five-speed overdrive transmission. Showing wonderful patina on the elegant cream interior with black piping, which matches the marvellous black exterior finish of the car; this outstanding Horsch 853 is worthy of any collection.