by Gauk
Fri, Oct 12, 2018 12:46 AM

The last Horch sold new in Sweden.

Estimate (€): 300,000 - 400,000.

•Reputed connections with Ingrid Bergman
•Known and continuous ownership history
•Present family ownership since 45 years
•Restored between 1973 and 1997 respecting originality

In 1932 Horch became part of the 'Auto Union' together with Audi, DKW, and Wanderer. The firm produced a veritable plethora of model variations throughout the 1930s, ringing the changes on engine capacity, wheelbase, and styles of coachwork, but all were aimed squarely at the prestige end of the market where Horch was the only serious domestic rival to Mercedes-Benz. 

Paul Daimler, son of Gottleib, had been Chief Engineer for most of the 1920s, and following his departure Fritz Fiedler (later of BMW fame) took over, designing a single-overhead-cam straight-eight - the Horch 450 - which was followed by 6-litre V12-powered 600 and 670 models in 1931 and the V8-engined 830 and 930 in 1933. The 830/930 was available in two engine capacities – 3,517cc or 3,823cc – and a variety of body styles including a saloon, limousine, tourer, and three different types of convertible. Around 6,400 830s of all types had been made when production ceased in 1940, plus some 2,000 of the short-wheelbase 930. 

After WW2, Horch's Zwickau factory ended up on the eastern side of the 'Iron Curtain' where it would eventually be pressed into service manufacturing the utilitarian Trabant - a sad end to a once noble marque that had ranked among the very best. 

This rare and original German thoroughbred is the last Horch sold new in Sweden, being registered there on 13th May 1939, a mere four months before the start of WW2. Its original purchaser was Major Reinhold Schmidt, who later on would become father-in-law to film star Ingrid Bergman when she married his son, film producer Lars Schmidt, in 1958. It is said that Lars and Ingrid used his father's Horch during the early days of their relationship. 

The Horch had been fortunate to survive WW2 unscathed. At this time, all cars registered in Sweden had to be assessed with regard to their military usefulness in time of war. While many of its type were pressed into military service, some being converted into ambulances, Major Schmidt's Horch was classified as unsuitable, no doubt thanks to his connections with the local authorities! In 1940, the wartime rubber shortage led to the military requisitioning the Horch's tyres, which had the beneficial effect of rendering it unusable. The car was not back on the road until early 1946. 

Major Schmidt kept the Horch until January 1959 and over the next few years it passed through the hands of four more owners in Sweden (original documents on file). It appears that none of them made much use of the car, which was registered only briefly and spent most of this period off the road. In the early 1960s, the Horch was acquired by an ex-patriot Swede living in Chicago, USA: Leland Frödelius. Frödelius never bothered to register the Horch, which was kept in a small private museum in Sweden. 

Its late owner, Lars-Erik Larsson, the current vendor's father, bought the car from Leland Frödelius in October 1973, just as it was about to be exported to the USA. A businessman with a passion for old cars, and with previous successful restorations to his credit, Mr Larsson used his network of skilled craftsmen to assist with rebuilding the Horch, which was complete and unmolested, while keeping it as original as possible. This would turn out to be a lengthy and much-interrupted process, taking some 24 years (1973-1997), but the owner's painstaking approach was vindicated when the car was classified as very original by the Swedish National Federation for Historic Vehicles when it at last returned to the road. Written by the vendor, a more detailed account of the Horch's history may be found in the accompanying documents folder together with useful instruction manuals and technical information (perusal recommended).

Unusually, and despite the Horch's age, only two owners have driven it to any extent: Major Schmidt (and his family) and Lars-Erik Larsson. Over the course of the last 20-or-so years the car has been driven on special occasions only, the last such being in May 2018. A rare survivor with a remarkable history, this outstanding Horch 830 BL Convertible is worthy of the closest inspection.

published by Gauk



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