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1953 Horch (The last ever built)

Built by hand as a one-off specimen in 1953, the last Horch ever to have been built returned to Ingolstadt from Texas in 2008 . This arresting story fuelled the desire among enthusiasts to see the car in its unrestored condition.

The large velvet seats are slashed open, the headlining is ragged, the door trims look battered and the interior smells of musty upholstery and old wood. And yet the vehicle exudes a certain air of serenity. The rusty panelling has lost little of its substance. One senses the demeanour with which the only Horch ever to have been built at Ingolstadt rolled out of the workshop. It was intended for the man who was head of Auto Union GmbH at that time, Dr. Richard Bruhn.

The story of the last Horch began in 1953, when the president of Auto Union needed a suitably representative vehicle. This is how the DKW experimental department came to develop this chauffeur-driven limousine based on a 1938 Horch 830 BL. The vehicle was presented to Dr. Bruhn that June.

A US soldier stationed in Germany subsequently bought the one-off specimen and took it home with him to the States. Eventually the gearbox packed in and he parted company with the car. Al Wilson, a car enthusiast from San Angelo, Texas, saved the Horch from the crushers. Although he knew nothing about the Horch brand, he sensed that the vehicle was something special. So this former manager of a shoe factory paid 500 dollars for it and took it away.

The research now started. He contacted Ingolstadt, the Deutsches Museum in Munich and the Dresden-based expert Dr. Kirchberg but nobody knew anything about the car. Al Wilson nevertheless kept it and just parked it on his property in Texas along with other finds. The Texan's sons resumed the research process and finally Ralf Hornung, who is responsible for buying and restoring vehicles at Audi Tradition, recognised the car: "The photos clearly showed Bruhn's car, the whereabouts of which had been a mystery for decades." Hornung flew straight to Texas. Al Wilson agreed to sell it: "The Horch should go home." In 2008 Bruhn's Horch arrived in Ingolstadt by container.

The last Horch - the Chief Executive sat in the rear, with a glass divider of course

The last Horch - the flowing design harked back to the streamline style of the late 30s

The last Horch - in each wing, there was a full week of dedicated panel-beating

The last Horch - the basis for the bodyworks was a solid wooden frame

 

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