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German Motorcycles

History of Horex Motorcycles

Horex began in 1923

In 1920 motorcycle and automobile racer Fritz Kleemann persuaded his father Friedrich Kleemann (1868-1949), financial manager at the Rex Konservenglas Gesellschaft (preservative jar manufacturing company) in Bad Homburg to buy the nearby Columbus Motorenbau AG, a small motor factory in Oberursel, near Taunus.

Kleemann built the first machines under the Gnom marque, delivered from the Columbus Engine factory.

In 1923 Fritz Kleemann (1901-1975), founded Horex-Fahrzeugbau AG, the name being derived from his town HOmburg and his father's preservative jar company REX. He was also a motorcycle racer and was riding his own Horex machine with a 248cc OHV engine.

In 1925 he had financial problems with his business and partnered with Columbus. The new firm's first motorcycle was a 600cc side valve, followed by a 4 valve 600cc OHV model, the S 64.
Horex built a competition SOHC 600cc parallel twin in 1932. This was followed by 795 and 996cc twins. A supercharged version of the 600 twin was campaigned in 1936.

In 1938 their SB 35 350cc machine appeared, and the engine was also supplied to Victoria for their KR 35 model. During World War Two Horex production was suspended, resuming in 1948 with the SB 35 being the first post-war model available.

In 1950 the modern SB 35 Regina began production, a beautiful single cylinder machine.

By 1953 the range included Regina 250, 350 and 400cc models, with aluminium heads.

In 1954 Horex built the Imperator model, a 400cc twin, and 446cc version which was sold on the American market as the Horex Citation.

In 1955 Horex Resident model appeared. Model 8, 350cc, ohv, single and model 11, 250cc, ohv, single.

In 1956 Horex production was only 2790 motorcycles. This was only 15% of the 1953 top year production, therefore Horex decided not to produce motorcycles and produced only parts for Daimer-Benz.

In 1960 Daimler-Benz took over, ending the Horex era.

When Horex closed, Friedel Münch purchased one of their factories to produce the mighty Munch Mammut.

Sources: Makis MC Classic, et al.

N.B. The archive from which this page was derived had a number of errors when first posted. No doubt some remain. Dec 2020.



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