In The Beginning: Audi Type A

source: Audi Magazine (Australia)

  • The Audi Type A was the very first car built with the new Audi name…exactly 110 years ago.
  • It is 110 years to the month since the very first Audi, the Audi Type A, first rolled off the production line and an automotive icon was born.

It is May 1910 – 110 years ago – and the company Audi (Automobil-Werke m. B. H.) in Zwickau is just a month old. But it is a momentous occasion in the auto world as it turns out, when the humble Audi Type first rolls off the production.

This is acknowledged as the very first automobile produced by the Audi company. It was a new design by company principal and founder, August Horch and Herman Lange and although the performance figures are difficult to comprehend by today’s standards, it was quite something 110 years ago.

The Type A used a four-cylinder, four-stroke engine of just over half a litre in capacity (2612cc) and boasted a power output of up to 22 horsepower – or 16.5kW in today’s figures. Weighing in at around 830kg, the four-seater was capable of a top speed of nearly 75km/h, which was significant for the day and saw the Type A entered in numerous motorsports events including the Austrian Alpine Rally.

Over the two years of the Audi Type A’s production run, just 137 of the model were produced and during that time, numbers technical improvements were carried out that ultimately saw the car’s power out grow to 28 horsepower, or just shy of 21kW.

A year after the Type A was released, Audi produced its successor – the Type B – which boasted similar performance figures to the Type A at the top of its development. This car would continue until 1914.

The Type A was discontinued in 1912 and just one of the original cars remains to this day, on show in the Technical Museum in Prague.

Now 110 years later, the Audi name not only remains but is recognised as one of the greater pioneers and innovators of the automobile industry. Spearheading the move to e-mobility and a range of all-electric cars is at the very heart of the modern Audi and with vehicles like the Audi R8 5.2 V10 Coupé boasting outputs of up to 419kW, dwarfing the performance figures of the original Audi car. But the significance of the original Audi as a building block to today should never be underestimated.