An ultra-rare car bearing the name of Audi’s “founding father” August Horch has won the top award in the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, very appropriately crowning the prestige car company’s 100 year Centenary celebrations.

This year sees a host of anniversaries for Audi, which is synonymous with the famous four rings emblem that also takes pride of place on this exquisite Horch. Sixty years ago this month, the brand began producing cars at its Ingolstadt plant in Germany. At the Frankfurt Motor Show 30 years ago next month (September), Audi presented its first turbocharged petrol engine. Ten years later at the same show in Germany, the 100 became the first Audi model to wear the now ubiquitous TDI badge denoting turbocharged diesel power.

The 1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet, owned by an American private collector, was named “Best of Show” at the 59th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance along the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links® on August 16th.

Competitors from almost 20 countries brought their lovingly restored cars to California’s Monterey Peninsula for judging in 28 classes. A 1938 Horch 853A Erdmann & Rossi Sport Cabriolet had won the “Best in Show” award in 2004.

The Horch company, which was founded in 1899 and began manufacturing cars in 1901, was unified with three other car manufacturers – Audi, DKW and Wanderer – to form Auto Union, or what is today known as Audi. In fact, Audi is the Latin translation of Horch.

In 1935, the Horch Company introduced the Horch 850 with a five-litre, straight-eight engine. The shorter wheelbase 853 model, which won this year’s “Best of Show” and featured coachwork by the Berlin coachbuilder, Voll & Ruhrbeck, was very popular among Germany’s rich and famous, offering luxury at a very competitive price. The last Horch roadcar was built in 1958.

Owner Robert M. Lee, from Nevada, spent five years restoring the Pebble Beach winning vehicle to a show-worthy condition requiring specialised parts and information to be sourced from Germany.

“I had never seen anything like it when I first saw it,” reflected Mr. Lee. “I drove it almost 100 miles a day before the competition and it ran beautifully. It’s a wonderful car and I wanted to share it with others.”

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