Very Rare 1936 Horch 853 / Model History and Specs

The 1936 Horch 853 featured in this article is one of the most valuable collector cars in the world. The automobile is original and features a 4.9 liter straight eight engine.

horch 853

1936 Horch 853

August Horch

Horch & Cie. Motorwagenwerke AG was founded by August Horch, a former production manager for Karl Benz, in 1904 in the city of Zwickau in the Kingdom of Saxony.  Interestingly enough, due to an internal personnel problem and because the Horch brand was already registered and not to August Horch therefore the company was renamed Audi Automobilwerke in 1910.

The name Audi was suggested to August Horch by a business partner. The word "Audi" is the Latin translation of "Horch". This is why the Audi automobile had it's roots going back to the original company founded by August Horch.

The Horch 853

August Horch gained a reputation for building quality automobiles.  Horch had a goal to compete for the Mercedes-Benz market with OHC 4.5-liter straight eight engines, and also a 6-liter V-12. Mercedes-Benz built engines with superchargers while Horch did not, leaving his great looking cabriolets relatively under powered and with a top speed of around 80 mph. With that being said, the elegant Horch 853 series looked comparable with the Mercedes-Benz 500K and 540K series.

1936 horch

The very first Horch 853 was introduced for 1936 and the 853s continued to be produced up until the start of World War II.

A total of 627 Horch 853's were produced. They sold for the price of 14.900 Reichsmark. These were very luxurious automobiles, looks comparable to Mercedes but carried a price tag lower than Mercedes-Benz.

It's important to note that Horch was one of the most important car companies in Germany before World War II and Mercedes Benz's only real competitor in that country. One reason why the name is not more commonly known is that in 1932 Horch merged with three other car manufacturers. The four brands (Horch, Audi, DKW and Wanderer) formed the Auto Union, the company under which this particular automobile was built. On the hood of the car is the Auto Union's four-ringed badge which continued to be used when the conglomerate eventually evolved into a new company named Audi.

Under Auto Union, Horch presented a new model range consisting of just two basic model series in the mid-1930's. These were the Type 830 with three-litre V8 engines and the Type 850 with five-litre straight-eight engines. The highlight in the 850 series was the 853, a sports cabriolet that was an outstanding success in its class. Its two-color finish gave the car a very elegant look. Car buyers were also able to order this car with a kind of metallic paint finish at an extra cost. The glittering effect of this paint, which was offered in several color versions as “Fish Silver”, was made by adding extremely finely ground fish scales.

The Horch Type 853 Sports Cabriolet was popular among Germany’s rich and famous, as it was the only German built car that offered an alternative to Mercedes-Benz. The 853 was also the car of choice for German NAZI officers and generals before and during World War Two.

Horch automobile photos

The Horch badge

The Horch Series 850 featured the 100 horsepower straight eight engine along with it's luxury and style. The Model 853 was fitted to a shorter wheelbase and used a DeDion axle rear suspension.

Some Horch 853s were produced with bodies in the factory while some chassis were sent to coach builders to add customized bodies for the new owners.

1936 Horch 853 Specifications

The 1936 Horch 853 was built with a 4.9 liter straight eight engine which delivered 120 HP. The 853 had a top speed of just over 80 MPH.

Transmission was a four speed manual.

Brakes were servo assisted hydraulic drum.

The automobile had independent front suspension and a rear DeDion axle. The DeDion tube which connects the two rear wheels keeps both wheels parallel to each other under all conditions. This keeps them perpendicular to the road surface regardless of body roll.

Weight was about 5,775 lbs.

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1933 Duesenberg Model J

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horch 853 specifications

Horch 853 dash

The 1936 Horch 853 Collector Car

The 1936 Horch is a very, very rare automobile and has attained high valuation at auction. The Horch 853 featured in this article was one of 50 which were used by the German forces as General Officer's transportation during World War Two. This automobile was taken over by U.S. forces after the war and eventually found it's way to the U.S. The car was exhibited in several museums and was ultimately purchased by a U.S. individual.

Fifty years later this 1936 Horch 853 was purchased by another individual in 2010 at the Branson Auction. The automobile was awarded second place at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours in the pre-war preservation class.

A 1936 Horch 853 has been offered for sale in the mid $600,000 range.

References for this article included...Four Rings: The Audi Story by Audi...Legendary German Cars by Whitestar...Hemmings Motor News.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)


1933 Auburn 12 / Specs and Model History

The 1933 Auburn 12 featured in this article was the top of the line Auburn model at that time and today is a very rare and high priced collector vehicle. These were luxury automobiles and Auburn had a reputation for great styling and superb engineering. Designed by chief engineer George Kublin, Auburn unveiled their new 391 cubic inch V-12 engine that delivered 160 HP at the end of 1931.

auburn 12 specifications

1933 Auburn 12

Interesting fact is that Auburn is said to have spent about one million dollars to develop their V-12 in 1930. A very high sum in those days and especially after the shocking stock market crash of 1929. Some have said that the company's president, as well as a few others, believed the economic downturn would be short lived and the go ahead was given to spend the money. Obviously it wasn't a short bump in the road and while 1931 was Auburn's best year ever, the company lost about one million dollars in 1932.

E.L Cord priced his dramatically styled and multi cylinder high performance luxury cars at prices noticeably lower than luxury competitors which may have been a big reason for  profit shortfalls. By the same token, selling luxury automobiles during the early 1930's required superb marketing which Cord did have a gift for.

The Auburn Automobile Company

The Auburn Automobile Company was founded in 1900 and began by producing a one cylinder automobile. The company grew out of the Eckhart Carriage Company, founded by the Eckhart brothers in 1875 in Auburn, Indiana.

1933 auburn car

Great styling

Auburn found itself in financial trouble in 1919 and was purchased by a group of Chicago investors. These Chicago investors also had a difficult time trying to make a profit, not helped by the recession of 1921-22, and as a result eventually hired a man named E. L. Cord with the goal of turning things around.

Cord was a Chicago car salesman with a keen ability to market automobiles. Cord's overall ambition was to someday own a car company and reportedly had a deal with the investors to at some point take over the company himself.

Cord did indeed increase sales and was named company president in 1926. E.L Cord would later partner with Duesenberg and also build the Cord automobile. That first automobile was the 1929 Cord L-29. Eventually, the Auburn Automobile Company became part of "Cord Corporation" led by E.L. Cord.

Like any luxury automaker, Auburn and E.L. Cord were hurt by the Great Depression. The problem was building a luxury automobile at a cost where a profit could be made. Price pressure from competitors was a major factor during the 1930's and profits were being squeezed like never before.

One great venue to view and learn more about the cars from Auburn is a visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn Indiana. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is a National Historic Landmark and is located in the building that was once the national headquarters and showroom for the Auburn Automobile Company.

The 1933 Auburn 12

There were only about 100 of these Auburn V-12's produced. Today, there are only a very small number in existence. The high styled and elegant body is credited to Chief stylist Alan Leamy. Leamy was a self taught designer who built some very good looking cars for Cord during the 1920's and 30's.

On the engineering side, which Auburn had a fine reputation, the company utilized their V-12 with a Dual Ratio rear end that by using a lever on the dashboard would offer either a 3.0 or 4.5 ratio for each of the transmissions three gears. Because this reduced engine strain better fuel consumption was attained. This was even with a 160 HP engine and a high cruising speed.

Another novel addition to the 1933 Auburn 12 were headlights that turned in conjunction with the steering wheel.

auburn 12 photos and specs

Grille and headlamps. Headlamps were made to turn with the steering wheel.

1933 Auburn 12 Specifications

Engine for the Auburn 12 was a Lycoming 391 cubic inch V-12 that put out 160 horsepower. As mentioned above, Auburn invested one million dollars to develop their V-12.

Transmission was a three manual with overdrive.

Brakes were four wheel vacuum assist hydraulic drums.

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Reference material for this article includes...Auburn & Cord by Lee Beck and Josh B. Malks...Errett Lobban Cord: His empire, his motorcars : Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg by Griffith Borgeson...Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg by Don Butler and George H. Dammann.

Auburn 12 Collector Car Values

auburn motor company

Auburn 12 dash

As we have mentioned, the Auburn 12's are rare automobiles. Some of the rarest out there.

Auburn automobiles in general are high priced collector cars and values easily get into six figures. We have seen 1932 and 1933 Auburn 12's selling at auction in the neighborhood of $200,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)


1949 Diamond T Model 201 Truck / Specs and More

The vehicle featured in this article is a 1949 Diamond T Model 201 One Ton Truck.

1949 diamond t

1949 Diamond T Model 201 One Ton

The Diamond T Motor Car Company

The Diamond T Motor Car Company was a  Chicago Illinois automobile manufacturer for a short time from 1905 to 1911. After 1911 Diamond T produced only trucks and enjoyed much success for many decades.

The “T” in Diamond T was Chicago’s Charles A. Tilt, and the company's  logo came from his father’s shoe company, where the diamond signified quality and the “T” represented the family name.

Diamond T's reputation was as a builder of heavier trucks, typically one ton and larger. The company produced quality trucks with the style you might look for in a passenger automobile. Some would refer to Diamond T as the "Cadillac of trucks". Charles Tilt made the comment.."A truck doesn't have to be homely". Diamond T certainly lived up to both of those attributes.

dianond t specs

Diamond T's stylish horizontal bar grille

During the First World War Diamond T built more than 1,500 Liberty Trucks for the military. During World War Two, when the company produced over 50,000 trucks with many of these vehicles purchased by the British Purchasing Commission. This included half-tracks, army wreckers, tank tractors, and tank movers. Lots of heavy duty vehicles that the military required.

Diamond T is Acquired by the White Motor Company

The White Motor Company purchased Diamond T in 1958. In 1960 White moved all production from Chicago to Reo's manufacturing facilities in Lansing, Michigan. The Lansing Division of White Motor Company then produced both Diamond T and Reo trucks. This all changed beginning in 1967 when the two brands, Diamond T and Reo, became one brand known as Diamond Reo. As a result of the two brands being merged into one, the White Motor Company established a new Diamond Reo Division and that same year started building Diamond Reo trucks.

Diamond T Model 201

The Model 201, a one-ton pickup, was introduced in 1938 and used a Hercules engine and Warner Gear transmission. Highly regarded for its rugged and sturdy character, the sturdy Model 201 was many times converted for use as a towing vehicle.

The six cylinder Hercules engine powered the 1949 Diamond T Model 201. Hercules Motors Corporation produced both gasoline and diesel engines and either could be employed without major changes to the vehicle. During World War Two Hercules significantly increased production for the U.S. Military and by the end of the war had supplied about 750,000 engines for the war effort.

The Model 201's were built from 1938 to 1949. These are rare today because the best estimates put total Diamond T Model 201 production for the entire run at about 7,000 vehicles.

It's estimated that Diamond T produced about 250,000 trucks over the company's 56 year history.

1949 Diamond T Model 201 One Ton Specifications

The 1949 Diamond T Model 201 was built with a 236 cubic inch inline six cylinder Hercules engine that delivered 91 HP.

The engine worked into a Warner T-9 Four Speed Manual gearbox.

diamond t historyThe trucks were built with an X-Braced frame that was placed on an extra heavy duty front axle and a floating rear axle with leaf springs in each corner.

Gross vehicle weight was about 8,000 lbs.

New truck price for the 1949 Diamond T Model 201 One Ton Pickup was in the area of $1,675. Diamond T's weren't cheap trucks to purchase since it's price was at least $200 more than a Ford One Ton at that time. By the same token the cost was justified considering the Diamond T reputation for quality and rugged construction.

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Reference material for this article includes...The Worlds Toughest Truck The Reo/Diamond Reo Story by Robert R. Ebert...Motor Trucks of America by James A. Wren...Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles.

The 1949 Diamond T Model 201 Collector Values

For a variety of reasons, the Diamond T Model 201 is a popular classic truck. The Diamond T trucks were known for quality construction and engineering. The trucks were built for rugged jobs but at the same time offered great styling. The Diamond T Model 201 One Ton is probably one of the most stylish classic trucks ever produced.

diamond t model 201

As mentioned earlier, the Diamond T Model 201 is a rare truck and not easy to find. With only about 7,000 built from 1938 to 1949 there simply are not many of them around these days.

We have seen finely restored 1949 models in the $37,000-$50,000 plus range. We also see mechanically sound yet non restored models with some minor rust in the $25,000 to $30,000 range. A 1949 Model 201 project truck which needs complete rebuilding was priced at $11,500.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)