1934 Horch 780B Cabriolet Headed to Bonhams Monterey Auction

With Monterey Car Week looming, including a great number of classic car auctions, it’s worth keeping track of places to be and events not to miss. Earlier this week we provided a general breakdown of the highly crowded Monterey Car Week schedule. Now, we’re happy to add to that list with a callout to Bonhams’ Quail Lodge Auction.

Bonhams is quickly becoming the auction not to miss for Audi enthusiasts. Last year included a Sport quattro as part of a Group B collection, and also a pre-war Horch for good measure. Though this year’s lists of cars are still coming together for most auctions, we can now confirm that a 1934 Horch 780 B Cabriolet will be part of the Bonhams sale.

These pre-war cars produced by then over-arching corporation Auto Union offer a view of a different era. Though exceedingly rare and expensive, Horchs are popular choices for the super rich to include in priceless car collections or on lawns at the top concours. For our members and readers, they also have the four ringed Audi heritage and are thus obvious highlights for the week.

Below are the Lot Details for the Horch 780 B. Below that are details of the auction itself. You can also find more information at Bonhams’ own website HERE.


1934 Horch 780 B Cabriolet
Coachwork by Gläser

Chassis no. 78380
Engine no. 50321
4,944cm Inline 8-Cylinder
100bhp at 3,400
5-Speed Manual Transmission
Semi-Elliptical Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Vacuum-assisted Mechanical Drum Brakes*One of only 82 examples produced
*Restored and preserved by Horch Classic
*Getrag five-speed all-synchromesh gearbox
*Schloss Dyck concours award winner

In 1932, in the depths of the great global depression, August Horch & Cie of Germany, courageously launched its superior new Type 780, the star of the 700 Series line. Producing an astounding 100 bhp with its magnificent 4.9-liter straight eight powerplant, the Horch could achieve 125 kmh. Coached by various German ateliers, such as Bauer and Erdmann & Rossi, around 300 of the Horch 780 series were hand-crafted between 1932 and 1934, and of those only 82 were 780 B models.

This superb Horch is a 780 B cabriolet, rare by any measure, but especially collectible as it is one of even fewer examples dressed by the celebrated coachbuilder Gläser of Dresden. It was ordered in this elegant two-door convertible body in 1934 by its initial owner and then was acquired by a wealthy businessman in Belarus around the early 1940s. The intermittent history of the car is unknown, until 2005, when, according to the consignor, it was discovered dismantled in a dry and enclosed barn with minimal deterioration or corrosion. Chassis ‘78380’ was acquired by Horch Classics and returned to Germany.

Recognizing the significance of such a rare find, Horch Classics set about preserving the cabriolet for posterity.

Despite its storage in a barn, this octogenarian was in well-preserved condition, including the timber frame, body panels and hood frame, thus enabling the restoration team to keep these original elements. The timber frame was cleaned and where necessary damaged sections were replaced with seasoned ash or oak. The body panels were inspected and almost all original pieces were able to be reinstalled. According to restoration documentation, only the two bonnets and running boards required replacement. The frame for the top was fully restored and a new hood fitted with a rich woolen velour liner in stately grey. The glazing was replaced with laminated glass, while the headlamps, chromed trim, all the seat and door mechanisms, plus all the driving lights were refurbished, rather than replaced. The interior was redressed in grey leather and the Horch was finally painted in stunning Königsblau (Royal Blue) with a premium clear topcoat.

Meanwhile, the running gear of the car was fully dismantled and the front and rear axles, differential, gearbox and steering systems were all overhauled as necessary, with an emphasis not only on preserving originality, but drivability. Subsequently, safety critical elements such as the brakes and steering were renewed. Upon inspection, it was determined that several key features could be maintained exactly as original, including the radiator, the horn in the engine bay, the carburetor and the exhaust manifold.

The engine was dismantled and inspected and fitted with new seals to the valve guides, new bearings and pistons. The camshaft drive was overhauled, and the crankshaft was balanced together with the flywheel. The engine was then reassembled and tested on a dynamometer for over 20 hours before finally being reinstalled to the car. According to the consignor, the car runs smoothly and without hesitation.

To maximize drivability, a new Getrag five speed gearbox was installed to facilitate shifting, and although this is not the original specification for the 780 B, the 5-Speed transmission was a feature on the subsequent Horch 853 and is considered the preferred gearbox by marque devotees.

Chassis 78380 finally received new chrome wire wheels rendering this 1934 Horch 780 B Cabriolet absolutely magnificent in every respect.

The entire process, from disassembly to completion, was a labor of love which lasted seven full years.

In 2013 the car was presented at the Jewels in the Park concours d’elégance at Classic Days, Schloss Dyck, Germany, and received the award for ‘Best Restoration’ – a tribute to the car’s significance and the exceptional quality of the work completed by the Horch Classic team.

After the concours the Horch was carefully stored in a climate-controlled facility and never driven. It was eventually sold in 2016 to the current consignor, a private collector, with a passion for highly valuable and significant automobiles. Within that collection the car has been meticulously maintained, regularly started, but never driven, with only a few delivery miles on the restoration.

Largely original and superbly preserved by Horch Classics, this gorgeous 1934 Horch 780B Cabriolet is a remarkable representation of the Golden Era of automobiles, a rare and highly collectible fully operational model with the Horch pedigree and a supreme example to add cachet to any fine vintage collection.

Friday, August 24th 10am

Preview Times
All preview days are open to the public:
Wednesday, August 22nd 9am-6pm
Thursday, August 23rd 9am-6pm
Friday, August 24th 8.30am-10am

Admission to Preview & Auction
Registration Fee – $150: (for attendees only) includes one Auction Catalog, one Gallery Guide, and entry for two people.