1933 UW Front ‘Prototype’ by Gläser
The Audi UW Front was manufactured in Horch factory in 220 and 225 versions (depending on the engine 2.0 and 2.25 liters). In 1933, UW Front became the first European car combining front-wheel drive with six-cylinder engine. The original vehicle (220) had OHV straight six-cylinder with 1950 cm³ and maximum output 40 hp at 3500 rpm. The letters “UW” in the car’s name stood for “Umgekehrter Wanderer” and referred to the fact that it featured a Wanderer engine that had been “umgekehrt” (turned around) through 180 degrees to drive wheels which, on this application, were actually ahead of the engine. In detail, the engine was located behind the front axle, being quite common in vehicles then.
UW Front model was the only serially produced Audi car. There were altogether 1817 vehicles of various types depending on the body, starting with four-door sports sedans up to two-door cabriolets.
And then there were body shops, talking about the UW Front model, Gläser from Dresden in particular. It was established in 1864 by Carl Heinrich Gläser in RampischeStraße and the original intent was to have a workshop to make carriages and sledges. Due to the high quality the workshop got even assignments from royal stables. In 1898 Friedrich August Emil Heuer, son-in-law of Gläser who was a blacksmith originally, became co-owner. Gläser died in 1902.
Emil Heuer extended the company and unified all operations in the factory in Arnoldstraße 16/24 in Dresden-Johannstadt in 1913. The company employed more than 200 people and had state-of-the-art technology. Before too long they started producing bodywork for many famous brands. The base was traditionally wooden skeleton cladded with textile or based on the Weymann patent with a flexible textile, later on also metal. Gläser produced classical bodywork such as phaeton, coupe, landaulet, limousine, pullman or cabriolet.After cancelation of a big contract from General Motors the company got into some financial trouble and Georg committed suicide in 1932. During the World Word II Gläser-Karosserie GmbH focused on the production of panzers and bodywork for war vehicles and parts of planes (for example, holders of Messerschmitt Bf 109 guns or gondolas for engine mounts in Messerschmitt Me 262 nicknamed Swallow). The airstrikes on 13 and 14 February 1945 destroyed almost all the Gläser factory.
The owner bought this fabulous car inKalningrad in 1984 from a Russian citizen who inherited it from his father, who had hidden the car in his basement, because after WWII Soviet Goverment were confiscating all the cars from its citizens, as there was substantial lack of vehicles. From 1984 to 2012 it was placed in a garage in Armenia Yerevan and then renovation began. The history before 1984 in Kralovec is very vague. The only thing that is known for sure is that someone disassembled the car after the war (it was usual to do that with German cars to prevent government from confiscating them) and hid it. The previous owner didn’t have a clue he had a unique and valuable vehicle at home, let alone knowing about its history.
The owner set about to discover the history of this vehicle and the official Audi museum as well as experts were unable to help. However, all agreed on the fact that it is not a serial-production car as there were none of this kind. First, its equipment features several things that were seen in other models produced later (for instance, flaps built-in the windscreen frame, inner steering wheel frame, leather seats, fog light, wire wheels etc.) and second, it a 3-litre engine.
So, it is presumed that it could have been a one-off concept tailor-made cabriolet for someone of importance – as it was produced in 1933 having NSDAP getting to power in Germany, therefore it is probable that the car was manufactured for a prominent member of the German military. A commoner would probably not be in a position to order such a vehicle and the symbol of the eagle and swastika on the keychain speaks for this hypothesis.
Another possibility is that someone made changes on the car during the war or just after. However, it is not very probable because there are the Gläser and Luxus Cabriolet tags.
With its leather interior, walnut dashboard and cabriolet styling, this fabulous rare and historical fascinating pre War luxury vehicle is indeed something to behold. Powered by a 3 litre UW engine and mated to a 4 speed gearbox, it would grace any collection or would be suitable at many Concours D ’Elegance competitions worldwide. For sale by auction on Saturday 17 July 2021 with Historics Auctioneers, Call 01753 639170
Reference #11831804 | Trade advert