History and Table of Contents

Models Racing Special

There is possibly no other car company in Germany whose history is as tricky as Audi's. But it is not really that difficult:

  • 1885: Wanderer founded
  • 1899: Horch founded
  • 1907: DKW founded
  • 1909: Audi founded
  • 1932: The above metioned companies fused to Auto Union AG, four rings symbolizing then four brands
  • 1949: Changed to a GmbH (Limited Liability Company)
  • 1969: Purchase of the NSU Motorenwerke AG founded in 1873 as NSU. New name: Audi NSU Auto Union AG
  • 1985: Today's name: Audi AG

Before WW II
Irritation often circles around Audi and Horch. August Horch was the founder of Horch. In 1909 there were arguments in the company. Horch -slightly upset- left it and founded in the same year the A. Horch Motorenwerke AG. But the old company Horch had secured the rights on the name "Horch", resulting once again in problems. To avoid these, August Horch renamed his company in Audi, Latin for "Horch!" meaning "Listen!". The idea came from the son of a co-worker in a meeting.
Audi soon gained a reputation with its "Alpensieger" (meaning Winner in the Alps). These sportive cars were not only called this way. They truly lived up to their name. Even if Horch started out with little cars, today Horch is best-known for its huge straight eight-cylinders, giving ample power to elegant luxury cars.
1932, the fusion was a deep cut. Within three years, the program was completely restructured, resulting in a better use of resources (yes, even back then!), but still leaving the character of the different companys exist. That way, Horch established its role in the luxury market, while DKW became famous for its motorcycles. The most widely known "product", however, are for sure the "Silberpfeile" (meaning Silver Arrows). Powered by supercharged V16s they fought hard battles with the Mercedes Silberpfeilen.
On the right the Auto Union hillclimber, on the left the circuit racer.
Both were restored by Audi in painstaking work and now are in immaculate condition. Their worth cannot be estimated.

After WW II: Consolidation and management by Volkswagen
After the war, it was especially DKW with their 3=6 principle, that was productive for Auto Union.
In 1964/65 VW already owned 50,3 % of Auto Union. Under the management of VW, a four-stroke engine, developped at Mercedes during the short period Auto Union belonged to Mercedes was built into the DKW F 102. Its name: Audi, with no other extensions yet. The reason for this step was that the old two-stroke engines just didn't sell any longer. In the transition time until the Audi was introduced to the market, the VW Käfer (aka the Beetle) saved Audi, as it was partially built in Ingolstadt. Since 1966 Audi is a 100% daughter of VW. In 1969 NSU came to Auto Union. NSU is most widely known for its motorcycles, the Prinz (meaning Prince) and the misfortuned rotary engines, called Wankelmotor.
NSU was a pretty old company, having had success even before WWII. Some of their racers were converted to streamlined worldrecord racers, but not this one.
This Wankelmotor was a pain for the oldfashioned VW-guys. Sure, it did have its problems, but these resulted in the main part of a too fast introduction to the market. The high fuel consumption was not too important before the oil crisis in 73. However, later the decision against the Wankel should be considered right.
NSU had also developped a four door sedan without the rotary engine. As K70 it came to the VW line of products. Its fast end was caused by
  1. being progressive (ample room and a watercooled engine)
  2. that's about it really

VW said the reason was the high fuel consumption, well, you could have used another engine, but VW was at that time too fixed on air-cooled rear engines. Later, that should nearly break VW's neck. But this and much more you'll be able to read on this homepage:

     New start
     Medium: B
     Large: C
           Rad & Reifen
     Luxury: D
        Auto 2000
     Pikes Peak
        C3 French TM
        CNG A4
        C3 Nordschleife
        C3 Finnland
        C3 USA
        C4 Finnland
     Your Audis
     My Audis
        Pics & Fun
     Special Audis
           Hunter Typ85
           Hunter Typ89
           T1 & T2
        other companies
           ASC Convertible
           Typ44 Camper
           Typ43 Camper
           200 Kombi
           UrQ Kombi
           V8 hearse
           C4 hearse
           V8 station wagon
        from the net
        Steinhude C2
        Bochum B3/4
        Hann. Münden
        Oberhausen C3
        Angrillen C3
        Mainz 01 C3


Models Racing Special