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Back to the Future 4.0

18.07.2019  — 

Berlin/Zwickau. Engineers in IAV’s Development Center in Chemnitz/Stollberg have reconstructed the gearbox for the historical vehicle Horch 14/17 hp from 1904. The work was based on old brochures, sketches and photos of the individual parts. Today the gearbox was handed over to the Friends of the Horch Museum in Zwickau, who will use it to finish their reconstruction of the Horch 14/17 hp. The vehicle will then be on display as a new roadworthy exhibit in the permanent collection at the August Horch Museum.

Reconstructing the Horch gearbox was a special challenge for IAV’s experts, because in the early 20th century, automotive engineering was still in its infancy without the established standards and norms we know today. Every manufacturer developed and produced vehicle components as they felt inclined. Reconstructing vehicle components from this period without the original production drawings is thus tantamount to detective work, and this also holds true for the Horch gearbox.

“Our expertise and experience in the development of transmissions and gearboxes have played a major role in letting us reconstruct the Horch gearbox”, says Dr. Andreas Schild, team leader for powertrain development at IAV and head of the voluntary reconstruction project. “Our only reference materials consisted of old brochures, sketches and photos of the individual parts.” Wartime destruction and inadequate archiving of the remaining documents meant that technical design or production documents were no longer available.

And so reconstruction of the gearbox for the Horch 14/17 hp began with comprehensive research. Horch’s catalogues from 1904 told the IAV engineers that the standard vehicle had a three-speed gearbox. This was ultra-modern in those days, particularly with the direct speed when the countershaft was at a standstill. Other new features included the use of chromium nickel steel and the young method of ball bearings in an aluminum sand casting enclosure.

The special challenge consisted in making the reconstructed functional gearbox as authentic as possible, although the techniques, know-how and production methods used back then can no longer be compared with current-day standards. “It makes us proud to have reconstructed the gearbox for the Horch 14/17 hp and to be able to hand it over to the Friends of Horch museum today. The development of transmissions and gearboxes, engines and other powertrain components has been part of IAV’s core expertise for 35 years. On course for CO2-neutral mobility 2050, we make daily use of this know-how in our engineering projects. Thanks to the Horch project, IAV’s know-how is now to be found in powertrains of yesteryear, as well as those of tomorrow”; says Dr. Andreas Schild.

About IAV:

IAV with its workforce of more than 7,500 employees is one of the world’s leading engineering partners to the automotive industry. The company has been developing innovative concepts and technologies for future vehicles for 35 years, generating turnover of over € 900 million in 2018. The client base includes all renowned automotive manufacturers and suppliers. Besides vehicle and powertrain development, IAV has been involved in electromobility and autonomous driving from an early stage and is today one of the leading engineering providers in these fields. Besides its Development Centers in Berlin, Gifhorn and Chemnitz/Stollberg, IAV also has other sites among others in Munich, Sindelfingen and Ingolstadt, in Europe, Asia and also North and South America.