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1936 Auto Union Type C Sheds Light on Audi's Past at Auto Shanghai 2015

Audi is probably the first European premium brand to target directly the Chinese market. Their efforts were rewarded with huge demand for the A6, A8 and Q7, which kept the Germans in the green during economic hardships.
1936 Auto Union Type C 26 photos
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Of course, we've all seen how the company changed over the years, as the latest e-tron models are many times more advanced than an early 80 sedan. But those Chinese customers might need a short history lesson, one which is told using beautiful aluminum and racing parts.

One of the most exciting cars shown at this year's Auto Shanghai 2015 was the Auto Union Type C, one of the legendary silver arrows and the most prosperous German Grand Prix car… ever (between 1935 and 1937, it won 25 races).

Before we say anything too technical, just take a moment to glance over those beautiful lines. The Type C is nearly 80 years old, but no modern car can match it in terms of style and presence. Everything is strictly functional, of course, but the metallic body looks like it belongs in a museum.

The heart of this beast has 16 cylinders arranged in a 45-degree V pattern. With 6 liters of fire-breathing displacement, this proto-Audi makes up to 520 PS and 853 Nm (629 lb-ft) of torque. And yes, it's got one or two superchargers.

The brakes are a 400mm hydraulic setup developed by Porsche while the suspension uses a crank semi-trailing arm similar to the Beetle. Can you imagine doing 340 km/h (211 mph) with those ultra-skinny tires that look like they belong on a Prius? Considering that wheel speed could be induced at 160 km/h (100 mph), you have to admit that those were some brave race drivers back then.

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