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#1 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 20:38

Since my last race was as a works Audi driver and I hope to continue this pattern in 2002 I thought id bone up on my history.


Why/when did Auto Union become Audi? This Audi S8 test drive program on Speedvision is referring to the Auto Unions as 'the silver arrows' but I thought that was a tag reserved for Mercedes-Benz.

Where's a good place to answer any other questions I might have, and to get a brief and simple history of Audi/Auto Union racing?

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#2 mhferrari

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 20:47

Audi was one of the companies of Auto Union, the others were Horch?, DKW?, and another company.

I believe it became just Audi after World War II, either in the 1940's or 1950's.

A Road & Track article a few years back had an article about Auto Union/Audi, but I can't remember exactly when.

#3 Bostromi

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 21:14

The companies that was part of Auto Union was Audi, Horch, DKW and Wanderer.
DKW lived on after WWII, I remember those two-stroke machines in the late 50´s. I have also a mind picture of Audis, most likely the same car as DKW but another brand?
Next memory is the Audis that came out in the 70´s.

Silver Arrows were both the Mercedes and the Auto Unions of the 30´s

Per

#4 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 21:35

So the other three companies that made up Auto Union disappeared or un-joined from Auto Union and just Audi was left?

#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 21:47

Much of what was AU ended up in the Soviet Zone when Germany was partitioned and I think the old factories ended up making Wartburgs. The rest of AU had to reinvent itself and in the fifties majored on the DKW name, both for cars and bikes. Later (possibly after VW took them over?) they picked Audi as the name they would use. Horch and Wanderer were allowed to wither on the vine before the war - IIRC Horch was a sort of poor man's Mercedes while Wanderer was in the cheap end of the market.

#6 Don Capps

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 21:52

Auto-Union AG essentially disappeared because it wound up in the Soviet Zone of Occupation. This meant they became "bad" Germans and Daimler-Benz by default became "good" Germans and D-B promptly took advantage of the situation to revise history to their advantage. Of course, A-U produced no rear-engined cars although its racing cars were rear-engined and Mercedes-Benz did produce rear-engined cars (the M80 if I recall) and raced front-engined cars.

Of the companies which formed A-U, only DKW bounced back in the immediate post-War years (and do I ever remember those popppa-pop-pop two-strokes...). Audi was the result of some German auto industry realignments on the late '60s and early '70s. All this is off the top of my head so error alert -- DKW and NSU merged and then NSU became Audi. There are no end of machinations I am leaving out, but is the Readers' Digest Very Condensed Version of what happened.

#7 Roger Clark

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 22:28

In the early 1960s there were 2-stroke cars marketed, in Britain at least, as Auto-Unions. At the time, as I recall, the company was owned by Daimler-Benz. At some point in the 1960s D-B sold the company to VW, which went into the new car called the Audi 70. That engine later became the basis for the first generation of water-cooled VWs. NSU was separately taken over by VW; I don't think there was any relationship between them and audi before that.

I dont know, but I've always assumed that the relationship between Audi and Horch pre-dates the 1930s auto-Union combine, as both mean "I hear" in Latin and German respectively. From time to time there are rumours that VAG plan to revive the Horch name with a rival to the S-Class Mecedes.

Some years ago Audi trade-marked the term "silver arrow", so that's what they are despite what history may tell you. Of course, the Grand Prix Auto-Union were dynamically the antithesis of an arrow, and they shouldn't have been silver, but that's another story.

#8 Felix Muelas

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Posted 03 November 2001 - 22:30

Courtesy of "Classic & Sports Car", March 2001 :

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Felix

#9 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 04 November 2001 - 00:30

Auto Union was the result of the amalgamation of four companies; Wanderer, DKW, Audi and Horch. See also http://www.autounion...co.uk/index.htm

#10 Michael Müller

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Posted 04 November 2001 - 00:46

Felix' graph shows very nice the complicated relations between these companies. Although nearly all production facilities of AU had been left behind the iron curtain after the war, the company was reestablished in the Federal Republic as Auto-Union. The only brand used - for bikes and cars - was DKW, when Mercedes-Benz bought the whole thing in 1964 they thought this would be a good home for their newly developed 1.6 liter engine. The DKW F102 equipped with the new 4-stroke engine became the Audi 60, because the name DKW was too much connected to outdated 2-stroke engines. Within short DB realized that Auto-Union didn't fit into their overall concept, so they sold it to Volkswagen. Completely, except one thing - the trade mark "Horch"! Very clever decision, as nowadays VW is crying bitter tears about their stupidiness. The Audi A8 - or even something bigger - under the name "Horch" would be real competion for Mercedes-Benz. It took Audi 30 years of hard work to change their image from "civil servants car" to what they are today, would have been much easier and faster under the Horch badge.

#11 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 04 November 2001 - 03:17

Michael,
Thanks for the entertaing condensed Audi history. :up:

#12 dbw

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Posted 04 November 2001 - 04:15

3=6 :cool:

#13 Michael Müller

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Posted 04 November 2001 - 10:22

Made some mistakes, because posting was written without checking. 1964 was the year VW took Auto-Union over, Daimler-Benz acquired it already 1959 (as the graph says correctly). The engine was 1.7 ltrs and not 1.6, and the Audi 60 was only introduced shortly after VW took became major shareholder. However, the engine was a DB development, and more modern than everything DB used in their own cars. The engine then appeared also in the Volkswagen K70 (which was originally a NSU development), and was also the basic layout for the later Golf/Rabbit engines. Considering this it can be said that the era change at VW from outdated aircooled rear-engined boxers (remark: Porsches are no VW's!) to modern front driven car generations was only possible with assistance from outside.

#14 Holger Merten

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Posted 27 June 2002 - 20:58

The history of AU is very complicated. Sometimes its like a horror:

AU was founded in 1932 by the pressure of a bank consortium. Audi (depending to DKW since 1928) DKW and Horch had -everybody for itself - no more money after these depression years after the dark friday in 1929. So Mr. Rasmussen the founder of DKW, gave up his shares, and DKW was renamed in AU, which overtook Horch and the car department of Wanderer. Audi depends to DKW since 1928. I think more than 90% of the shares were hold by the saxonia national bank. And AU had lived until 1948 in (then they were unregistered- the story was over in eastern germany).

Those of the chairmans -Carl Hahn and Richard Bruhn- , who went to the west in may 1945, left new chairmans back, which looked more positv to the russians -for example Hans Schüler-, who was accepted by the russians. This Hans Schüler went to the west in 1948, when a new "Industrie Auffang Gesellschaft" was founded in Ingolstadt, with the AU Filiale in Munich, which officially depends to the AU AG in eastern germany, which excists at that time. This constellation tried with the old chairmans -Carl Hahn and Richard Bruhn- and many of the "old guys from saxonia" to start a new automobil-productin in ingolstadt. Schüler now was in the role to give all the rights from (AU east) to the new AU (west). So at the same adress in ingolstadt: Schrannenstr. 3 were to excisting Auto Unions, which didn't belong together, but only over Schüler who worked ojn both paysrols.


AU (west) was always affraid until 1954-56 about the GDR (German democratic republic), that they wanted to have money. Cause the AU (east: Chemnitz and now Ingolstadt - think about that funny situation about thecopyrights on one hadn and the iron curtain on the other) was about the ingolstadt connection shareholder in the AU (west) represented by Schüler. So they were always affraid the GDR could came and say these changes of rights, drafts and so on are all bulls....

Especially, when the IFA started the production of the IFA F9 (3-cyl two-stroke engine) in east germany and sold in western europe, which depends on the same plans, than the DKF F 89(2-cyl two-stroke engine), later with nearly the same 3-cyl two-stroke engine like the eastern version.


Going on with the story:
Since 1955/56 AU in the west didn't make good business (They had problems with selling motorcycles) and hadn't innovations in car production, the DKW Draft depends on plans from 1939 and was sold even until 1962 (a little bit like the beetle story - but this car was less expensive). So MB overtokk AU in 1958(!) and than MB sold the uggly daughter (in two times to VW 1964/65) which never stopped the development of two stroke engines, MB wanted to have 4-stroke engines in that DKW F 102 -later Audi 60 (look at michaels post)- to produce beetles. After constructing the bestseller Audi 100, which was presented in 1968, Auto Union, the cars were named Audi got more image. In 1969 VW bought NSU, the AUTO UNION was implementated in NSU. But at the chairman table until 1971 there was Audi spoken. Conclusion. I told you it's a horror, and I made it very short.

The AU (west) never depends to the AU (east) AND Audi never depends to the AU(west). The AU (east- based on the rest in western germany and Hans Schüler) was renamed in Autania AG and is now selling houses.

Everything clear?

#15 Brun

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 09:21

Very complex stuff.

By the way, up into the 1990s, Audis sold here in the Netherlands were registered as Auto Unions. I could scan my registration, which claims I drive an AU... :cool:

#16 Racer.Demon

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 15:10

Originally posted by Bostromi
Silver Arrows were both the Mercedes and the Auto Unions of the 30´s


Originally posted by Roger Clark
Some years ago Audi trade-marked the term "silver arrow", so that's what they are despite what history may tell you.


To my knowledge there were Silberpfeile (MB) and Silberfische (AU), so why would Audi trademark the "wrong" name?

#17 Holger Merten

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 15:45

Racer.Demon

don' t believe everything. Silberpfeile for both AU and MB was and is right.

#18 Racer.Demon

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 16:10

I'll gladly believe you, Holger, but your answer of course begs the question where this notion of Silver Fish originally comes from - I've seen it too often for it to a figment of my imagination! Can you enlighten me? Why does it not (or no longer) apply to AU/Audi?

#19 Holger Merten

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 17:25

I saw it only in one book, from the "Deutsches Museum" from Erik Eckermann. As I asked people involved in thze AU project, they told me, that it gave that name maybe by some people, but officially everybody talked about the "Silberpfeile" as I posted here on TNF a few days befor.

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#20 fines

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Posted 28 June 2002 - 19:13

A "Silberfisch" (or Silberfischchen, to be more precise) is an insect, and a very unpleasant one at that! I suppose that was a derogatory moniker by someone not too friendly with AU...

#21 Holger Merten

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 00:51

Bringing some clearness in the discussion, after looking into the press. The name "Silberpfeil" officially was used in press after 1936-37. It was the press, which used the name, looking on the "peoples mouth". You wouldn't find any racing poster from the 30ies from AU or MB talking about "The Silverarrows". But after all: welldone MB....

Eberan von Eberhorst, the Auto Union chief engineer - C-Typ, the right hand in for Porsche at AU (1933-37) and later on, the chief constructor of the AU D-Typ (1938/39) describes the construction the Swiss car magazine "automobilrevue" in 1948. But he'd never talked about the "Silverarrows" (including MB). Also an AU brochure (Siege in drei Erdteilen = Victories over three continents) from 1936 never talked about the "Silverarrows". We can find that name later on in the press, but not so useful and normal, that Eberan used it after the 2nd WW.

#22 Dennis David

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 15:48

Silberpfeile or Silberfische ... either way I love my Audi!

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#23 Holger Merten

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 17:49

A 6 what?

#24 Dennis David

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 17:53

Yes 2000 A6 Quatro 2.8

#25 Stefan Ornerdal

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 18:30

Fascinating thread.

I wonder if this is true:
August Horch sold his company and started a new car factory. As he was not allowed to call it Horch, he used the latin word Audi, which also means "listen" or "hear this".

Stefan

#26 Holger Merten

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 20:02

Right Stefan,

Audi is the latin translation of the german word Horch. The story in Horch biography tells us. that Horch was in the house of a good friend and business partner, while searching a new name. The Horch company had registered 22 combinations with the word Horch, after Horch had to left the company. because of spending so much mopney with motorsport (unsuccessfull). While they were searching. the son in the next room was listining and problably said, why not to use the name Audi, which means the same in latin, than Horch in german.

#27 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 22:27

Originally posted by Stefan Ornerdal
Fascinating thread.

I wonder if this is true:
August Horch sold his company and started a new car factory. As he was not allowed to call it Horch, he used the latin word Audi, which also means "listen" or "hear this".


And thank you for the explanation, Holger.

One of my favourite subjects... but this is a new twist...

Most who go out of business and start up again ... or who did in the past, particularly in the first decade of the twentieth century ... used their initials... Albert Champion, Eric Foden, Ransom Olds etc...

None of them resorted to linguistics... a great way to do it!

#28 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 22:47

Linguistics - like Volvo....

DCN

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 October 2002 - 23:40

Another I didn't know about, apparently...

plsxpln?

#30 Holger Merten

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 06:12

Ray

Volvo is also latin, means I'm rolling (moving).

#31 dbw

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 06:41

as the husband of the new owner of a 2002 A6 avant quattro [yes,she let's me drive it..]i noticed a lot of image references in the literature to the AU "silver-things"..and the shots[mostly half tones in the background] seem carefully chosen to hide the "trademark" on the drivers side....how pc.

the question; in what years and how often did the "twisted cross" appear on the auto unions flanks???[i suspect this has been covered before..]



hey! dennis..we're close[i'm in palo alto]...you should four-wheel it over ....we can compare german machines and we could fire up the bug and have a blast up the street......

#32 Holger Merten

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Posted 02 October 2002 - 07:33

Whats the the twisted cross? Sorry, to understand it right in english, sometimes an explanation is necessary. Do you mean that Nazi-sign from the NSDAP-Party???

And congrats to the 2002 A6 Avant quattro. quattro is the best you can have on the road, Especially here in switzeland, when you go to the mountains, I like the feeling just to pass all that MB and BMW on the way to the top with turbo power.