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How much is a Pebble Beach 'Best in Show' car worth? We're about to find out. A 1938 Horch 853A Erdmann & Rossi Sport Cabriolet (that's quite a mouthful) is looking for a new home and is headed to auction at RM's Monterey sale in August. The car underwent an extensive restoration in 2001 and debuted at the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it took home first prize. Since then, the Horch has gone on to win many other accolades including the Best in Show at the New York City Concours (2005), the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance (2006), the Glenmoor Gathering (2008), and the Ault Park Concours (2009).
So what makes this particular car so special? Horch, one of the original four German automakers of the Auto Union that lives on today as Audi, produced some of the most luxurious vehicles in the early part of the century. The 853A Cabriolet, one of the company's last efforts, is widely considered one of the most beautiful cars of its era and came with many modern features including vacuum-boosted hydraulic brakes, overdrive in all four gears, and a unique hydraulic jacking system. This particular example features unique coachwork by Erdmann & Rossi and is one of just three known to currently exist.
One of only three known surviving examples of its kind, the sensational Horch 853A was designed by Fritz Fiedler, who later created the BMW 315 and 328. Displaying exquisite coachwork by prominent German coachbuilders Erdmann & Rossi, it was the most expensive car offered by Auto Union, and came equipped with a 120 bhp 5.0-liter straight-eight engine and such modern features as vacuum-boosted hydraulic brakes, overdrive in all four gears, and a unique hydraulic jacking system.
Combining luxury, style, and sophistication, the example on offer, chassis 854275, is from the model's second series, differentiated from the first series by its more modern coachwork, pontoon shaped fenders, one-piece rear body, and blade style bumpers. Commissioned in 1939, it was imported into the US in the late-1940s by a World War II veteran, before eventually finding its way into the collection of Herbert Von Fragstein in the early-1970s. With a vision to restore the car, Von Fragstein spent almost 30 years scouring the world for parts before selling it to its current owner in 2001. A comprehensive, two-year restoration by RM Auto Restoration followed soon after, with the beautifully restored Horch debuting at the prestigious 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where it was judged 'Best of Show' out of a field of 210 competitors. Its success at Pebble Beach has been complemented by a string of other coveted 'Best of Show' accolades in recent years, including at the New York City Concours (2005), the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance (2006), the Glenmoor Gathering (2008), and the Ault Park Concours (2009).
"We are truly delighted to have been selected to present this magnificent Horch in Monterey. Horch is one of the great marques of prewar Europe, and the marque's Sport Cabriolet is arguably one of the most beautifully styled cars of its era. The fact that only six examples survive-and only three of this series-makes them all the more desirable," says Rob Myers, Chairman and Founder, RM Auctions.
"It is an exciting time for the RM team, having first debuted the car at Pebble Beach in 2004 and now having the privilege to bring it back to Monterey for auction. Historically accurate, mechanically perfect, and visually breathtaking, it combines beauty with engineering excellence and a great provenance. We expect its offering will attract significant interest from collectors around the world," adds Myers.
The multi-award winning Horch joins an elite, handpicked selection of more than 120 blue-chip automobiles slated to cross the podium at RM's upcoming Monterey sale. Held at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Convention Center, the RM sale is a longstanding tradition for collectors, spanning over 25 years. In 2011, RM once again claimed top honors during the famous Pebble Beach motoring week, generating more than $80 million in sales-the highest results ever achieved on the Monterey Peninsula. In addition to a record for the week, the sale also entered the history books as the highest dollar single-day collector car auction in history, with over $60.5 million in sales generated during the company's Saturday sale session.
For further information on RM's upcoming Monterey sale or to discuss consignment opportunities, please contact an RM specialist at +1 519 352 4575 or visit www.rmauctions.com.