Scanning images for a new edition of Dove Publishing’s Audi book, which goes back to the early years of the 20th century, shows the heritage of NSU, Horch, DKW Wanderer and Audi. What pictures. Take “The greatest motorcycle factory in the world” (above) in 1930. The enterprising Dane Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen came to Saxony as a student and aged only 25 in 1903 set up Rasmussen & Ernst GmbH, boilermakers. The firm bought an empty textile works at Zschopau, and profits between 1914-1918 led to making motorcycles in this vast factory with chimneys and grandiose offices.
The 1922 Audi Type K was a 4-cylinder 3.5 litre 14/50 with an aluminium block, pressed-in liners, a ball-action gearshift and four wheel brakes. A dignified car Sebastian Vettel would approve its radiator motif, a figure 1 indicating Audi’s place in the world.
Horch went for the premium market in 1922 with its 10/35 4-cylinder engine designed by Arnold Zoller (1882-1934). Probably better remembered for his supercharger, Zoller also designed an astonishing 1464cc 12-cylinder 2-stroke racing car. The block was cast in one, the cylinders in two rows, each pair with a common combustion chamber. All the inlet ports were on the left of the engine, exhausts on the right, superchargers on top. Unfortunately it all proved too much for their inventor who died before the cars were properly developed.
Paul Daimler (1869-1945) designed this twin overhead camshaft for Horch, shown in Berlin in 1927. Gear-driven camshafts, 8-cylinders, the 3.3litre was the first in a series to secure Horch’s prestige.
Wanderer (below) was more middle-class with the 1926 W10 6/30, a modest 1551cc 4-cylinder. Its appeal was helped by a new electro-plating facility for bumpers and radiator. Side-mounted spare wheel wrapped in tidy cover.
Publicity caption for the 1971 Audi 80L (below) says “…rear part of Audi models redesigned so that it appears broader and appeals more to public. It can radiate charm and grace.” Car manufacturers’ publicity pictures. Phds have been compiled on less.