100 years of Audi - From Horch to Audi
AUDI AG can look back on a very varied and often turbulent history. 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 â€œHorch!â€? (meaning â€œListen!â€?) became â€œAudiâ€?. The use of this Latin imperative was suggest
The Audi museum mobile will be displaying no fewer than thirteen of the oldest Audi cars still in existence anywhere in the world. In order to present not only these historic vehicles but also any number of anecdotes from the companyâ€™s early days in a stimulating manner, including the years up to the major interruption in its activities caused by the Second World War, the exhibitionâ€™s organisers have adopted an unusual approach. The stories have become a storyboard, and this in turn takes the form of a comic strip. Each page deals with anecdotes, special occurrences and legendary landmarks in the Audi companyâ€™s history. The choice of name, the dismissal of August Horch, the first eight-cylinder model, the pioneering adoption by Audi of left-hand drive in Germany, the competition for the first Audi radiator badge, acquisition by DKW and the subsequent creation of Auto Union â€“ the chronicle continues until the point when, on the outbreak of war, Germanyâ€™s second-largest automobile manufacturer had to cease production of passenger cars for the general public. As Stefan Felber from the Audi museum mobile explains: â€œAudiâ€™s history is far too exciting for a conventional form of presentation. We have aimed to make it easily comprehensible at first glance, and for children to understand it easily too.â€?
The second-oldest exhibit, an Audi Type E built in 1913, also has a dramatic tale to tell. Its 55-hp engine, with a displacement of 5.7 litres, is the largest built by Audi during its Zwickau period. This model remained in production until 1924. Two examples are to be seen in the exhibition, one from the first and one from the final production batch. Although they have similar open tourer bodies, the changes introduced over an 11-year period can be clearly seen. The hero on the competition scene, however, is definitely the â€œAlpine Victorâ€? â€“ the Audi Type C, built from 1911 to 1925. With August Horch himself as one of the drivers, this car won the Austrian Alpine Rally, at that time the most challenging event of its kind, three times in succession, the last occasion being in 1914. The car on display dates from 1919 and is still in roadgoing condition.
The natives looked in astonishment at the DKW Meisterklasse from Paul Hartlmaier at his expedition in India 1935/1936
In 1931 Audi began to build the Type P, the first small car in the brandâ€™s history. For many years it was believed that none had survived, until 2003, when one was found in a barn in Ludwigsburg. Its documents indicated that the last owner had been the mayor of a town in the Swabian region of Germany and that the car had been taken off the road in 1955, to spend almost half a century like Sleeping Beauty waiting to be reawakened. Following extensive restoration in Riga (Latvia), Audi Tradition is now able to display this unusual car again â€“ the sole surviving Type P. This first major Audi centenary exhibition is rounded off by cars produced by the Auto Union after its establishment and up to 1940 â€“ two different Audi Front 225 models dating from 1935 and the last Audi to appear before the outbreak of war, the 1939 Audi 920.
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