Leseprobe SIGHTGEIST / Rubrik: Culture

The Age of the Automobile

Technology meets emotion

The new wing of the August Horch Museum in Zwickau opened in autumn 2017, following several years of construction. As a result, the exhibition space has more than doubled in size. Where the museum previously ended, visitors now find themselves in a new restaurant called “August Horch”. It serves as an architectural transition from the old exhibition area, starting with the company’s origins and leading up to the Second World War (1904 – 1945), and the new extension, with 70 major exhibits covering the pre-war era to the present day (1927 – 2017).
The new part of the museum presents technology and vehicles in everyday scenarios, provides information and stirs emotions. The concept blends in-depth facts with entertainment. Visitors can marvel at unique cars, study multimedia displays and information panels, watch short films and multimedia shows, explore hands-on displays, and even try out a driving simulator.

The museum is located on Audistrasse, close to the original site where automotive pioneer August Horch began making his luxury cars in 1904. The exhibition now impressively covers the entire history of car-making in Zwickau over more than 110 years. The August Horch Museum is the ultimate tourist attraction in Saxony for car fans from all over the world. They can learn all there is to know about the pioneering spirit and brilliant inventions of Saxon car-makers. Half-way through the tour of the museum, before they enter the fascinating new section of the exhibition, visitors can take a break in the new restaurant. Once refreshed, they continue the tour in the former production building of the Horch factory, which has been restored true to the principle of historic preservation. This is where the Trabant, probably the most famous car of the East German regime, was built after 1957. The August Horch Museum is one of just two automobile museums in Germany built on the site of a former car factory – a surprising fact in the “land of cars”. The historic buildings have been incorporated into the exhibition, creating a unique and authentic atmosphere.

The new section of the museum begins with a foray into the history of Auto Union racing cars. It is a proud tribute to the legendary Silver Arrows built at the Horch plant in Zwickau from 1934 to 1939. Head of development in the Auto Union racing division at Horch in Zwickau until 1937 was none other than Ferdinand Porsche.
The sweeping success of the Silver Arrows began with daredevil, amateur racing drivers, and became increasingly professional, with manufacturers forming their own racing teams. The exhibition tells impressive stories of engines, chassis and aerodynamics, of new speed records and intrepid long-distance races. The races by Bernd Rosemeyer and Hans Stuck against Mercedes Benz vehicles are legendary. Auto Union Grand Prix racing cars were ahead of their time in technical terms. The Auto Union Type A racing car with a 16-cylinder engine was the first mid-engine sports car. The engine was positioned behind the driver, a technical strategy still used in high-end motor racing today.
The highlight at this point of the tour – and for many of their entire visit – is the fantastic, 15-minute multimedia show. Visitors take a seat on the stands with baited breath. The lights go out, and events that took place in the pit lane at the start of a Grand Prix race back in the 1930s are recreated in sound and image. Two original Auto Union Silver Arrows are on the starting line. An unbelievably thrilling spectacle!
In its day, Auto Union was the second-largest car producer in Germany after Opel. The group, founded in 1931/32, encompassed the sports and luxury car brands Audi and Horch from Zwickau, the Wanderer factory in Chemnitz that built medium-sized cars, and the DKW plant in Zschopau, which made motorcycles and small cars. (excerpt)

Carsten Schulz-Nötzold, decorum Kommunikation

Photo: (c) Labhard Medien/dsl factory



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