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Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet by Voll & Ruhrbeck, #853558, 1937

  • Though to most it is an obscure marque, Horch was a formidable competitor of Mercedes-Benz in Germany, and the 853 sold very well against Mercedes' premier offering, the 540K. A strong, yet pedestrian (Horch would have said refined, and therefore adequate) cast iron 8-cylinder motor powers the chassis, providing about 105 brake horsepower to move nearly three tons of automobile. The modified 853A offered more power thanks to an alloy head and cam refinement, but the standard 853 was something of an aristocratic clydesdale.
  • Contrary to its conventional powerplant, the Horch 853 benefitted from an advanced chassis design of early independent configuration at all four points. In particular, the rear assembly came about through a contract with Ferdinand Porsche, who in 1931 had been granted a patent for his independent, torsion bar unit.
  • Subsequent to an extensive restoration, this Horch won Best of Show at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, which is of course where these photographs were taken. The car is a quintessential Pebble Beach car, an immense confection of chrome and curves. Later, in 2014, chassis #853558 won Best of Show at Amelia Island.
  • The world knows little of this chassis' origins, the Voll & Ruhrbeck factory having been destroyed in World War II, obliterating all build and delivery records. The car was at one point claimed by the French army, and after the War surfaced in Switzerland. Although the car was close to complete upon arrival in the U.S., late owner Robert M. Lee and RM Restorations used period photographs to fabricate new front and rear bumpers, and a new bonnet. All remaining panels are original. The full restoration consumed about five years, with half the time dedicated to chrome, upholstery, and woodworking details.
  • The pewter finish on the car, with its uncharacteristically dull metallic tone, was created to mimick the fischsilber paint Horch developed in the classic era. Fischsilber was so named because it used actual fish scales to achieve a reflective appearance.


Last Updated: Aug 23, 2017