A 1939 Horch 930V Phaeton remains one of the rarest vintage classics ever to grace the internet. Very few Horch 4-door open tourers were ordered that year. The records show only three built, while today just two survive. Doubtless, one of the reasons a 1939 Horch 930V Phaeton remains so rare comes from Horch’s failure to include it in the sales lists for 1939. Historians assume you could only buy one on a special purchase order. No mention exists in the sales materials for Horch open tourers. Thus, one Horch Phaeton, with id# 931591, emerges for sale after 37 years in the same collection. The other is known to be in a military collection in the U.K.
The 1939 Horch 930V Phaeton was the feature story in this week’s Cars-On-Line.com newsletter. It sports a stunning black over Ascot Grey finish with a gorgeous dark red leather interior. Daniel Schmitt & Company will be handling the sale out of their St Louis gallery. (Follow this link to view dozens of high quality photos.) In 1999, it was shown at Pebble Beach in the Auto Union Anniversary display. More recently, it appeared at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. For the elite collector, this is a dream car find of extraordinary provenance.
The Horch open tourer was purchased by a Guatemalan collector in 1981. A year later a refreshening was done on the car, including the paint. Although this incredible motorcar has just been released from long-term ownership, its beautiful restoration is now showing some age and patina. A potential buyer might consider driving and enjoying it in its current condition. However, Daniel Schmitt & Company notes that this car is so significant that it deserves a concours level restoration.
Buyers will want to note the period speedometer, a wood-surfaced dashboard and doorsills, classic interlocking four-ring badge, and prominently raked V-styled grille. Options include the dual side-mounted spares, whitewall tires and fog-lights.
The powerful 930V gets its power from the 3.8-Liter, 3,823 cc horizontal-valve V8 engine fed by 2 Solex carburetors. The engine produces 92 horsepower spinning the four-speed manual transmission with overdrive.
August Horch got his start in the automobile industry working for inventor Karl Benz. But the dream of building his own car resulted in him starting the company, Horch & Cie. Motorwagenwerke AG, in 1904.
After some disagreements with the board of directors, August Horch left the company to go start another one in 1909 that still used his family name. Because of naming rights issues, Horch was forced to change the name of the company. The word horch was similar to a Latin word, “audi”, meaning “to listen.” Horch found it amusing to use the play on words naming his new company Audi as of April 1910.
Both Horch and Audi were facing financial pressure by the 1930’s due to the great depression. In order to survive the companies merged combining with two other automakers, DKW and Wanderer, to form the Auto Union. Horch cars became the Auto Union’s luxury brand. All four brands would brandish a unique logo with four interlocking rings to represent the four separate companies that made up the Auto Union.
By the 1930’s the Horch brand of the Auto Union had established itself as one of the premier luxury marques from Germany with quality and performance that rivaled Mercedes-Benz. The Horch 830 line was unveiled in 1933 and offered an extensive range of coach built bodies based around a new 3-liter V8 engine. The pinnacle of the 830 line, the 930V, was unveiled in 1937. It originally featured a 3.5-Liter version of the 830’s V8 engine. Horch would increase the displacement again to 3.8 liters in 1938. This gave the 930V a 92 horsepower engine combined with a 4-speed gearbox with a separately engaged overdrive.