Pebble Beach 2014 Concours Lawn – 1936 Horch (Auto Union) 853 Cabriolet

Despite Audi’s rapid rise to prominence in the global luxury stakes over the past 20 years, there is still one place where Audi has almost no presence versus rivals BMW and Mercedes.

This is primarily because Audi is formed from the merger of four automakers into the “Auto Union” we know today. Each of the marques is one of the four rings in the modern Audi badge. One of those brands was Horch — and this 853 Cabriolet is not only seriously exclusive, but also very refined in the flesh.

Most cars from this era were destroyed in WWII, as Germany had little to no car export freedom in the interwar period — leaving most of the cars inside Deutschland’s borders. From there, they were often just a few bomb runs away from returning to dust.

Some of that dusty, war-torn patina is still preserved on this car — saved for history, from history.

Wearing ‘1953 US Forces in Germany’ license plates in back, this Horch 853 was obviously squirreled away somewhere very safe for the war’s duration. Many US troops needed cars during the Berlin Airlift time period and rebuilding processes after fighting ceased.

This Horch crossed the big blue to the US with its new caretaker almost ten years after the last bombs fell on German soil.

Its presence on 2014 Nevada plates in front is reason to celebrate the 1936 Horch alive and well – albeit far from home.

1936 Horch Auto Union 853 Cabriolet


Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.

He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.

Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)

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