Here in The Garage, we’re all about the history. Most manufacturers realize the value of their heritage and Audi is no different. This year they are celebrating 75 years of the four rings as the company symbol. It’s been 75 years since 4 manufacturers joined forces to become Auto Union AG. This combination of Audi, Horch, Wanderer and DKW produced the second largest auto manufacturer in Germany. If you’re lucky enough to be in Essen from March 29 to April 1, be sure to spend some time at the Techno Classica show, where Audi is showing a number of vehicles from all 4 partners.
Read all the details from the Audi press release after the break
Audi Tradition at the Techno Classica 2007
* Anniversary: “75 Years of the Four Rings”
* Premieres: DKW 3=6 “Rallye Monte Carlo” edition, Audi 80 rally version and Audi 80 touring car
At the 19th Techno Classica Essen show being held from 29 March – 1 April 2007, Audi Tradition is once again exhibiting in Hall 7 where its stand revolves around the brand’s “75 Years of the Four Rings” anniversary. Audi Tradition has also chosen this international classic car show as the backdrop for the public unveiling of three recently restored and extremely rare motor sport cars Ã¢â‚¬â€œ all from the pre-quattro era. Also present on the Audi stand again are the Audi museum mobile Ingolstadt, the August Horch Museum Zwickau and the Audi Club International (ACI) as the umbrella organisation of the Audi clubs and of all clubs of the predecessor brands.
The history of Audi is one of the most diverse in automotive history. In 1932, the four brands of Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer amalgamated to form Auto Union AG, with the symbol of the four rings as the company emblem. This merger made Auto Union Germany’s second-largest car manufacturer in the 1930s. The wide-ranging brand portfolio that was synonymous with the four rings at that time is represented in Essen by the following exhibits: the exclusive Horch 670 Sport Cabriolet with 12-cylinder engine (120 bhp at 3200 rpm) from 1932, the nippy two-seater DKW F5 Roadster (20 bhp at 3500 rpm) from 1937, the sporty and elegant Wanderer W 25 K Roadster (85 bhp at 4000 rpm) from 1938, as well as a best-selling model from 1939, the Audi 920 Cabriolet with a 6-cylinder in-line engine (75 bhp at 3000 rpm). Rekindling memories of DKW’s motorcycle glory days, meanwhile, is the DKW UL 700 sidecar combination from 1936: this was the year that this very combination won the German Championship, before going one better in 1937 and taking both the German and the European Championships.
At the 19th Techno Classica, Audi Tradition is showcasing three motor sport rarities from the time before Audi quattro turned rally sport on its head: the winner of the 1954 European Rally Championship, the “Rallye Monte Carlo” edition of the DKW 3=6 Sonderklasse F 91, the Audi 80 GLE Group 2 rally version from 1979, as well as the Audi 80 GLE, winner of the 1980 European Touring Car Championship.
In 1953, Auto Union GmbH premiered its new DKW 3=6 Sonderklasse F 91 model (34 bhp at 4000 rpm) at the Frankfurt Motor Show. With its three-cylinder two-stroke engine, the newcomer proved tremendously popular in Germany, with 72,600 being built in a variety of body types between 1953 and 1955. After a series of thrilling wins Ã¢â‚¬â€œ including victory in its class at the Monte Carlo Rally Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the car’s debut motor sport season came to a sensational finale when ace DKW drivers Walter SchlÃƒÂ¼ter, Gustav Menz and Heinz Meier made it a one-two-three for the DKW Sonderklasse in the 1954 “European Championship for Standard-production Touring Cars”. The models that raced in the rallies of 1954 were broadly similar to the standard-production saloon, leaving little doubt as to this model’s performance potential. Incidentally, the three-cylinder DKW Sonderklasse also enjoyed great success when it participated in Europe’s most prestigious long-distance speed trial, the Mille Miglia, in 1954 and 1955, finishing as the fastest touring car in the sub-1000 cc category to take the “Coppa argento grandissima”. The “Rallye Monte Carlo” edition that Audi Tradition is exhibiting in Essen was rebuilt by classic car specialists “Oldtimer Klassik” from Hradec Kralove in the Czech Republic, using original documents from the Auto Union’s motor sport department.
In 1979, Audi competed in a total of 10 European and World Rally Championship races with the second generation of its Audi 80 GLE rally version. The 1600 cc engine under the bonnet of this front-wheel-drive car transmitted 160 bhp to the wheels at 7600 rpm and reached a top speed of 205 km/h. The rally version of the Audi 80 on show at the Techno Classica is a works car that Harald Demuth and Freddy Kottulinsky piloted in the European and World Rally Championship races. This forerunner of a glorious rally era was restored by sms engineering GmbH from Cadolzburg in Germany, the same company which worked together with Audi on its rally cars back in 1979.
Another Audi 80 that made a name for itself in the motor sport arena is making its public debut in Essen: this circuit version of the Audi 80 GLE from 1980 is the same as that driven by Hans Joachim Nowak and Willi Bergmeister in the European Touring Car Championship. The car is based on one of the original bodies that were specially built for motor racing at Audi’s Ingolstadt plant. This contemporary witness to the formative years of motor sport at Audi has now been rebuilt by Astec GmbH from Forchheim in Germany. The 1600 cc engine with front-wheel drive developing 194 bhp at 7500 rpm was good for a top speed of 230 km/h. Although the Audi cars competing in the circuit events were raced exclusively by private drivers, the successful teams of Bergmeister/Nowak and Seikel/Trint were supported by Audi works. After finishing as runners-up in 1979, they emerged victorious in 1980 to give Audi its first ever European Touring Car Championship title.
For collectors of automotive rarities, the Audi Tradition team will also be offering a range of appealing lifestyle articles and exclusive model cars from the traditional brands of Audi, DKW, Horch, Wanderer, Auto Union and NSU. Visitors to this year’s classic car show in Essen also have the opportunity to buy a limited-edition 1:87 scale model of the DKW 3=6 “Rallye Monte Carlo”.
Attachment: the Audi Tradition list of events for 2007
The four rings of the Audi badge symbolise the brands Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer, which were later combined under the umbrella of Auto Union. Auto Union and NSU, which merged in 1969, made many significant contributions towards the development of the car. AUDI AG was formed from Audi NSU Auto Union AG in 1985.
Together with the two traditional companies Auto Union GmbH and NSU GmbH, Audi Tradition nurtures and presents the deep and diverse history of Audi. The Audi museum mobile at the Audi Forum Ingolstadt is open from Monday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.