1930s, automobile, cars, design, garage, germany, streamline


Horch & Cie. Motorwagenwerke AG was founded by August Horch in 1904. Six years later Horch, who had to leave his first company after a financial conflict, founded another car company, Audi. In 1932, both companies were incorporated into Auto Union together with DKW and Wanderer. The famous "four rings" Audi emblem is a symbol of four car brands, DKW being the most affordable and Horch the most luxurious and expensive.
In 1935, the Model 850 was introduced, powered by 4,994 cc 100 hp straight-eight engine. Soon other versions, with slightly different designations, hit the market. Horch 853, 855, 950 and 951 - they all were just variants of the basic 850 design.
To become a happy owner of this Horch you had to pay a princely sum, 15-18 thousand Reichsmark ($6-7K). But the car was worth every penny... er, Pfennig. Just take a look...

1935 Horch 851 Pullmann Limousine:
1935 Horch 853 Sedan Cabriolet:
1936 Horch 853 Coupe by Glaser:
1936 Horch 853A Cabriolet:
1936 Horch 951 Sedan Cabriolet:
1937 Horch 853 Sportcabriolet:
1937 Horch 951 Cabriolet:
1937 Horch 853A Voll & Ruhrbeck Spezial Cabriolet:
1937 Horch 853A:

1938 Horch 853 Erdmann & Rossi Sport Coupe:
1938 Horch 854:
1938 Horch 855 Spezialroadster:
1939 Horch 853 Stromlinien Coupe:
another one:
1940 Horch 853A Edmann & Rossi Sportroadster Recreation:
Special thanks to Supercars.net

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Vintage postcards and magazine illustrations give us an opportunity to see automobile as a part of cityscape, to judge its proportions in a proper way, when it is running along the streets or standing still between other cars at the parking lot.
Just look at this brave Austrian Steyr streamliner in the Alpes!
Or at these front-wheel drive Citroens in the medieval neighborhood:
Or at the bus excursion across Corsica:
Or at a rare picture of Austin A90 Atlantic (on the right) in f. Italian Lybia:
Or... at this extravagant driver in his Cadillac convertible:
There's more in our Postcards album. Browse it - or enjoy the slideshow:
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1920s, automobile, cars, design, garage, races, streamline, us


Stutz Blackhawk Special

Today, a car fit for Dieselpunk technodrama:
During 1927 Frank Lockhart established a world record of 164.28 miles per hour on the dry lakes of Muroc, CA; in a car powered by a tiny 91½ cubic-inch displacement engine. This established Lockhart as one of the most competent and skilled drivers in automobile racing. Lockhart's success was due largely to his inherent engineering ability and the ability to make changes necessary to make a racing car go faster. The specially built Stutz "Blackhawk Special" in which Lockhart was to make the assault on the world speed record was a product largely of his own creation and was considered a masterpiece of engineering.

The most recent holders of world speed records were established by massive cars, powered by two or more aircraft- type engines, having piston displacements up to 4,900 cubic inches.

The Stutz "Blackhawk Special" was in every respect much smaller, being powered by one 16-cylinder engine (two banks of 8 cylinders, set at an included angle of 30 degrees), and having only 181 cubic-inch displacement.

During the trial run at Daytona Beach on Feb. 22, 1928, at a speed of approximately 225 m.p.h., the tires apparently struck an irregularity in the sand and catapulted the "Blackhawk Special" end over end into the sea. Lockhart was rescued from the water by spectators, and was uninjured except for a few bruises and traumatic shock. The "Blackhawk Special" was retrieved and sent back to Indianapolis for repairs. The car was rebuilt and returned to Daytona in April 1928 for the next try for the world speed record.

On Wednesday April 25, 1928 all was ready for Frank to make his attempt on the 122-183 cubic inch speed record. On his first run through the measured mile Lockhart broke the existing mark into little pieces with a record shattering run of 198.29 miles per hour.

On the return run something, possibly a sharp seashell, cut a tire on Lockhart's flying missile. The Stutz Black Hawk Special, made In Indianapolis, became a flying object, crashing down on the sands of Daytona Beach killing the uneducated 25 year old genius instantly. Frank was gone, but the mark he set in his record shattering one way run for the mile stood for 39 years.

Lockhart's tragic death was devastating to the motorsports community, especially to the Stutz Motor Car Company, which declared a halt to all its racing activities.

Source: Racing Campbells (read more about Frank Lockhart and his car at the same page)
Two photos:
Blackhawk artistic impression by Stefan Marjoram:
Frank Lockhart @ Wiki
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: 1930s, automobile, cars, design, garage, streamline, sweden-Volvo Heritage

In 1933 Gustaf L-M Ericsson (son of the telephone company founder) presented a special handmade vehicle of which only one version had been produced. Ericsson was named designer and the project was his brainchild. "Venus Bilo" (an obvious wordplay: Venus of Milo + 'Bil', i.e. 'car') used a Volvo 655 chassis and had a full-width body with a front not unlike that of the Hupmobile Aerodynamic a year later.
Its smooth shape was rounded at the rear with the spare wheel slotted in horizontally under the trunk (spacious enough to accept seven specially designed suitcases) and acting as rear bumper. Another spare wheel was stored in one of the front fenders together with toolbox, while the other fender hosted two suitcases.
The body, built by 'Nordbergs vagnsadelmakeri och vagnfabrik' in Stockholm, was a streamlined integrated unit, with flat sides without footsteps and other 'loose' parts. The car was almost 5 metres long and 1,9 metres wide, and weighed slightly over 2 metric tons. Five easily exchangeable steel plates made the side of the body easy to repair in case of damage. Inside there was room for 3 persons in front and 3 in the back seat. The seats could be folded into beds.
The idea of the car was to cut fuel consumption and prevent the creation of swirling road dust by using a streamlined body with a fully covered underside. The car aroused enormous interest, but opinion was divided when it came to its appearance. It was a prototype and as such it stayed. After WWII it was sold to a person in Denmark. In the mid 1950s it was owned by a Danish scrapyard owner who rebuilt it into a pickup truck. It was used as late as 1956, but then it vanished. The genesis of Venus Bilo is also unclear. Some say the car was commissioned by Volvo. Others claim that Ericsson built it for his own pleasure and Volvo founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson discovered the Venus when it was already running.
A great deal happened at Volvo during 1935. The big news was the PV36, "the streamlined car". The PV36 was an advanced car which was clearly inspired by US designs. The engine was the same as the one fitted in the "conservative" models, but the gearbox had no freewheel.
The car had a split windscreen, cover plates over the rear wheels, an integrated luggage compartment and a roomy passenger compartment. It weighed 1,660 kg.
The PV36 looked much sleeker on the front page of the original sales brochure than in real life

A great deal of work had been put into making the car comfortable and the rear seat was wider than the one in previous models. The car was a 6seater - three at the front and three at the rear. The PV36 was intended to be a relatively expensive luxury model. It cost 8,500 Swedish kronor.
Looking too radical for a Volvo and being very expensive to buy, the PV36 was unfortunately no commercial success
A series of just 500 cars was therefore planned and this proved to be correct as it took a long time to sell them. The PV36 was nicknamed the Carioca, perhaps because the Carioca was a South-American dance that was in fashion at the time. The PV658/659, the successor to the PV653/654, was also introduced in 1935. The bonnet had been modified and a "grille" had been fitted in front of the radiator for the first time. New taxi models, the TR701-704, were also presented. The exterior changes were relatively small, but the engine was larger and developed more than 80 hp. In 1935 Volvo shares were floated on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
A less complex, cheaper model had been developed alongside the PV36. It was called the PV51 and was greeted with tremendous interest. Although it was more expensive than the majority of rival makes in its class, customers were still prepared to pay a few hundred kronor more for this, the first "people's car", which also carried a name people associated with quality - Volvo.
The PV51 did not have the same extreme lines as the PV36, but its character was the same. The body was narrower, with a flat undivided windscreen. The rear section and the doors were virtually identical to those on the PV36 and the spare wheel was still in the luggage compartment. The engine was also the same, with an output of 86 hp. Together with the weight of 1,500 kg this made the PV51 much faster than earlier models. In certain areas the PV51 had been simplified to a point that was barely acceptable, however. It had just one windscreen wiper, no armrests and cheap quality upholstery, for example. Even so, the price - 5,800 Swedish kronor - attracted many customers and sales went well.