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Horch was a car brand manufactured in Germany by August Horch & Cie, at the beginning of the 20th century.

August Horch (12 October 1868 – 3 February 1951) was a German engineer and automobile pioneer, the founder of the manufacturing giant which would eventually become Audi.

Horch was born in Winningen. His initial trade was as a blacksmith, and then was educated at Hochschule Mittweida (Mittweida Technical College). After receiving a degree in engineering, he worked in shipbuilding. Horch worked for Karl Benz from 1896, before founding A. Horch & Co. in November 1899, in Ehrenfeld, Cologne, Germany.

Before the end of the 19th century, August Horch established a company known as Horch & Cie. Motorwagen Werke in Cologne. In 1902 he moved it to Zwickau in Saxony, and in 1904 it was reorganised into a joint-stock company. In 1909, following a dispute with the members of the executive and supervisory boards, August Horch left the company and a few weeks later established a second automobile manufacturing operation, also in Zwickau. Since he could not use his own name, which was a registered brand, he chose a Latin translation instead: the German word "Horch!" (meaning "Listen!") became "Audi". The use of this Latin imperative was suggested by the son of one of August Horch's business partners, a student of Latin, who had followed the discussion about a new name with interest.

Car production began on a small scale, true to Horch's basic principle of building only "good, strong cars", but only a few years later Audi had already developed into one of the best-known German automobile brands. It enjoyed success in competition from the very start. Victories in Austrian Alpine Rallies between 1911 and 1914 made the Audi name familiar on the international scene. The Audi Type C 14/35 PS was especially successful, and acquired the name "Alpine Victor".

Horch left Audi in 1920 and went to Berlin and took various jobs. He published his autobiography, I Built Cars (Ich Baute Autos) in 1937. He also served on the board of Auto Union, the successor to Audi Automobilwerke GmbH. He was an honorary citizen of Zwickau and had a street named for his Audi cars in both Zwickau and his birthplace Winningen.

The first Horch car, model "Phaeton" with a 5 hp engine: The first trial run of a Horch motor car took place in the beginning of 1901. (from left to right: August Horch, his wife Anneliese, a friend and Horch`s associate Salli Herz

The first Horch from Saxony - the Model 2 from 1902/1903

August Horch in Zwickau

August Horch
Curriculum vitae

  • 1868 - Born in Winningen (Moselle) on October 12, 1868.

    Apprentice and journeyman smith, Technical studies in Mittweida, Plant engineer for an engine manufacturer
  • 1896 - Worked for Benz in Mannheim until 1899 as manager of the Motor-Vehicle Assembly Department
    • 1899 - Opened his own workshop in Cologne
    • 1902 - Business transferred to Reichenbach, in the Vogtland region
    • 1904 - Establishment of A. HORCH Motorwagenwerke AG in Zwickau
    • 1909 - Dispute and departure; AUDI factory set up in Zwickau
    • 1912/1914 - Triumphant success for AUDI cars in the world's toughest competition events
    • 1920 - Horch moved to Berlin and acted as an expert and consultant on technical automotive matters
    • 1922 - Awarded honorary doctorate by Braunschweig College of Advanced Technology on February 20
    • 1932 - Member of the Supervisory Board of AUTO UNION AG in Chemnitz
    • 1944 - Bombed out several times in Berlin; moved to Langenhessen in Saxony
    • 1945 - Fled to Upper Franconia, finally taking up residence in Münchberg
    • 1949/1950 - Helped to set up the new AUTO UNION in Ingolstadt
    • 1951 - August Horch died on February 3 in Münchberg, at the age of 83


    August Horch (seated, with peaked cap) pictured with the first workers recruited for his engine factory in Cologne

    Horch - Dates in history

    • 1899
      August Horch & Cie established on November 14 in Cologne by August Horch
    • 1902
      August Horch & Cie Motor- und Motorwagenbau set up in Reichenbach on March 3
    • 1904
      August Horch Motorwagenwerke AG established on May 10 in Zwickau
    • 1909
      August Horch withdraws from the company
    • 1918
      Change of name to Horchwerke AG Zwickau on February 16; capital 3 million Marks

      Between 1920 and its liquidation on June 29, 1932, HORCH Werke AG belongs to Argus-Flugmotorenwerke, Berlin. Throughout this period, the HORCH management is based in Berlin, on Mittelstrasse 15. Capital: 5 million RM


    Horch Model 1, "vis-à-vis", 2 cylinder, 4-5 hp, August Horch behind the wheel

    Horch with his workforce in Reichenbach, Vogtland

    August Horch (leaning against the car) following victory in the 1906 Herkomer Run in the Horch 11/22 hp, 2.7 litre four-cylinder inline engine

    August Horch was master of the Austrian Alpine Run with the Type C

    August Horch with the Audi Type C victoriously in the Austrian Alpine Run.

    August Horch, photographed in the 1930s with one of his first cars

    Horch 31/60 with 60 hp from 1909, with Kaiser Wilhelm II (standing)
    Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, ruling from 1888 to 1918.

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