Friday, May 30, 2014

Mercedes Wins at Le Mans, 1989

24 Hours of Le Mans, 10-11 June 1989. Sauber-Mercedes C 9, Group C racing car,. Starting number 63 – winners: Jochen Mass / Manuel Reuter / Stanley Dickens

Stuttgart. – The double victory of the Sauber-Mercedes C 9 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, on 11 June 1989, marked the culmination of the return of the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows to the race track. Jochen Mass, Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens won the race in the C 9 with the starting number 63, followed by Mauro Baldi, Kenny Acheson and Gianfranco Brancatelli (starting number 61). The triumph was completed by a fifth place for the third car racing for the Sauber-Mercedes team: the vehicle driven by Jean-Louis Schlesser, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Alain Cudini, with starting number 62, achieved the best time during qualifying and started the race from pole position. The magazine “Motor Sport” paid tribute in its issue of July 1989 to the outstanding performance of the “third-generation Silver Arrows”. In so doing, the British magazine clearly emphasised the role of the C 9 in the history of motorsport at Mercedes-Benz: the Group C racing sports car developed by the Sauber team and powered by the 530 kW (720 hp) Mercedes-Benz M 119 HL engine was a worthy successor to the legendary Silver Arrows of the periods 1934 to 1939 and 1954 to 1955.
During the 1989 season the C 9 became the rightful heir to the Silver Arrow name, joining the starting lineup with the classic silver paintwork of Mercedes-Benz racing cars. The C 9 deployed from 1987 until 1989 bore a variety of designs - and different names, according to the team’s sponsor. During the 1987 season it was known as the Kouros-Mercedes, then as the Sauber-Mercedes until 1989, and it finally started one race in 1990 as a Mercedes-Benz.
Sights set on the World Championship
The Sauber-Mercedes C 9 racing sports car was the outcome of a longstanding innovation partnership between Mercedes-Benz and the Swiss racing team established by Peter Sauber, a relationship that dated back to 1984. That was the year in which the Stuttgart company and the Zurich-based racing car designer reached an agreement for Mercedes-Benz to supply engines for the Sauber prototype sports cars used in the Group C motor racing series. The partnership marked the first step towards Mercedes-Benz’s return to international circuit motorsport since the company’s withdrawal in 1955.
Sauber had already been competing in Group C racing since 1982, initially using Ford and BMW engines in its C 6 and C 7 sports car prototypes. Then in 1985, Sauber presented the C 8, powered by a Mercedes-Benz M 117 engine – a modified V8 based on series production with a displacement of 4973 cc. The C 8 promptly won the ADAC 1000 km race at Nürburgring in 1986. The following year saw Jean-Louis Schlesser win the Super-Sprint on the Nürburgring for Sauber-Mercedes in the new C 9 (still at that point powered by the M 117 engine from the C 8).
From 1988 onwards, Mercedes-Benz again competed as an official works team in Group C for racing sports cars. The C 9 with an output of more than 515 kW (700 hp) also won the 800 kilometres of Jerez, the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix at Brno, the 1000-kilometre races at Nürburgring and at Spa-Francorchamps, and the 360-kilometre race at Sandown Park. On top of this came victories in the Supercup races on the Hockenheimring, Norisring and on the airfield at Diepholz.
The ultimate prize came in 1989, when Sauber-Mercedes won the World Championship with the C 9. For the 1989 season the racing sports car was equipped with the new V8 biturbo M 119 engine with four-valve technology, which was able to develop short bursts of power up to around 680 kW (925 hp). The configuration used in the race, however, delivered an output of around 530 kW (720 hp). The cars had not only been technically improved; they were also now painted silver as a clear signal that Mercedes-Benz was back on the race circuit as a works team fighting for victories.
Impressive engineering and efficient organisation bring victory
Organisation, preparation and strategy all need to be as good as the car, if a team is to win the 24  Hours of Le Mans. That Sauber-Mercedes had what it took to win in the 1989 season was ably demonstrated by the Silver Arrows team even during qualification: Jean-Louis Schlesser and Jean-Pierre Jabouille took pole position with a lap time of 3:15.04 minutes, followed by Mauro Baldi, Kenny Acheson and Gianfranco Brancatelli in the second C 9 (3:15.67 minutes).
However, the third vehicle with Jochen Mass, Manuel Reuter and Stanley Dickens joined the lineup in 11th position. Over the course of the race, however, this C 9 gradually made its way up through the ranks. “Impressive in the cool manner in which it had clawed its way back into contention from such a humbling beginning”, Ken Wells would subsequently write of this pursuit in his book “Mercedes Magic. The Story of the 1989 Le Mans Race”.
For hour after hour they raced on through the night and the morning, the deep bass tones of their Mercedes-Benz V8 engines roaring away in concert. “In the cacophony that constantly bombarded the senses these three stood distinct above the rest in their tenor”, was how Wells reported this unique backdrop of sound.
The power and reliability of the C 9, together with the smooth coordination between the drivers and the pit crew, was to pay off: at the end of this marathon race, two Silver Arrows would lead the field across the finishing line. The fastest car in qualification, however, had been beaten back to 5th place. This was most likely due to an accident during the second hour of the race, according to the race report in “Motor Sport”: Without this crash on the part of Alain Cudini, in which the car’s rear end had been damaged, Sauber-Mercedes might even have finished the race with a one-two-three victory.
The new Silver Arrows won a total of 16 out of 18 races in 1989 and 1990. These included the 1989 win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as victory in the 480-kilometre races at Suzuka, Jarama, Brands Hatch and Donington Park, in the ADAC Trophy on the Nürburgring, the Coupes de Spa in Spa-Francorchamps and the Trofeo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico. Jean Louis Schlesser won the Group C Drivers’ Championship in 1989, while Sauber-Mercedes took 155 points to become the winning team.
1990 saw the arrival on the racetrack of the Sauber-Mercedes C 11 as the successor to the C 9. This sports car prototype was the first Sauber car to feature a carbon-fibre chassis, which gave the vehicle outstanding strength. In 1990 Sauber-Mercedes once again took the World Championship drivers’ title (Schlesser and Baldi) as well as the constructors’ title. For the 1991 season, which brought the exclusion of turbocharged engines from Group C, Mercedes-Benz developed the new M291 V12 engine (478 kW/650 hp) for the C 291 racing sports car. This was the last Mercedes-Benz Group C car.
The double victory in Le Mans in 1989 also represented a glorious link with history, for Mercedes-Benz had won the famous endurance race once before, in 1952, with its then new model, the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194). Back then it was Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess who crossed the finishing line as the winners, followed by Theo Helfrich and Helmut Niedermayr in the second W 194.
Sauber-Mercedes C 9 racing sports car
The C 9 raced in the Sportscar World Championship between 1987 and 1989, as well as in the German Supercup series. This was the vehicle in which Sauber-Mercedes won the World Championship titles for both driver and team in both 1989 and 1990. The winning vehicle from Le Mans 1989 is fitted with the M 119 HL engine that was used in 1989 and 1990.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Sauber C 9 racing sports car (M 119 HL engine)Raced: 1989-1990
Cylinders: V8
Displacement: 4973 cubic centimetres
Output: 530 kW (720 hp)
Top speed: approx. 400 km/h

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Anyone interested in a Pre-WWII German Brennabor Motorcycle? Rare for sure!

I have a Brennabor motorcycle,and I want to sell it.
My phone number:+989399611268
ارسال شده از تلفن هوشمند ™Sony Xperia من

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Poster Art of Hans Liska, 1952

Bern Grand Prix, 18 May 1952. Racing poster by Hans Liska
24-hours of Le Mans, 1952. Racing sports car Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 194). Racing poster by Hans Liska
Nürburgring Jubilee Grand Prix for sports cars, 3 August 1952. Racing poster from Hans Liska, english version
Mille Miglia, 1952. Racing victory poster by Hans Liska

Monday, May 26, 2014

Taking a Porsche Cayman to an Autocross

A post by Mike Scott on Rennlist. A nice account worth re-posting!

>Like you, I also succumbed to the "dark side" 2 years ago and added
>a 2009 Cayman S with PDK and Sport Chrono to the stable alongside
>the 87 911 Targa.Â
>The 911 has now been retired from track duty and I have done a
>number of DEs with the Cayman. Â You are going to love it! Â One
>suggestion - for an autox, I would start out with Sport instead of
>Sport+. Â At least for the first run :) Â You might find the car
>will sometimes shift in the corners, which can be pretty
>disconcerting if you are not expecting it. Â However, the PDK shifts
>so fast and smoothly it doesn't upset the balance!

Well, a report was requested, and though I feel a little funny about
writing to the 911 list about my first autox experience in a Cayman,
here it is:

The PCA-SDR Zone 8 event at Qualcomm yesterday attracted 122 entrants
from several Lo Cal regions, including 100 Porsches as well as about
20+ Exhibition class entries (a Ferrari, a couple of Lotus Exige S
cars, plus a smattering of Miatas, S2000s, BMWs, VWs, a Mitsu Evo,
and a BRZ). The weather was very cool, in the 60s and overcast with
drizzle in the morning after several weeks of unseasonably hot and
dry weather that had spawned wildfires that made national news. The
site at Qualcomm is a relatively nice venue for autox, although the
asphalt surface of the west lot is deteriorating due to a lack of
maintenance by the city. The local car clubs have taken on the burden
of filling the ever-expanding potholes themselves over the last few
years by organizing their own work parties and buying the concrete
out of club coffers. The lot has a fairly large area with almost 100'
of vertical elevation change from north to south, though, allowing
for large, flowing courses with camber changes not possible on a
completely flat site, and elevated trolley tracks at the south end
provide some shade for the cold pits (or shelter from the rain, as
the case may be).

My day started early, arriving at 6:15AM to set up the tech station
and inspect all the entrants' cars before 8:00. Due to sound
restrictions, no cars are allowed on track before 9:00AM or after
5:00PM, and all must conform to a 93db @ 100' maximum noise level.
Due to the number of entrants and time limitations, each of the 6 run
groups had a total of 12 hot laps for the day, divided into two
practice sessions of 4 laps each, and a timed run session in the
afternoon of one warm-up lap and 3 timed runs. The course was fairly
long and twisty, with a couple of sections straight enough to hit
70mph+, and one 3-cone slalom element in the middle.

Having only had the Cayman in my possession for 6 days before the
event, I had not prepared it at all--no competition alignment, no
sticky tires, no harnesses, etc., just bone stock. Zone 8 has a
ruleset that allows for 16 Competition Classes (CC01-CC16) and 9
Street Stock classes (SS01-SS09), arranged from slowest to fastest
speed potential. They are determined roughly by HP/WT ratio combined
with additional points for modifications. No mods are allowed in SS
classes, though, and tires must have a minimum of 140 treadwear
rating. CC classes are wide open, with any mods and R-comp tires and
slicks allowed. The stock 987 Cayman S slots into SS04 class, along
with the 987 Boxster S and the 981 Cayman and Boxster (non-S) models.
The P-Zero tires the Cayman came with meet the treadwear limitation,
so that's where I ran it.

I missed the track walk due to working tech, but the driver's meeting
was over early, and my run group was the first out, so we were
allowed a parade lap at reduced speed and low RPM before the 9:00AM
start, which gave me a much-needed look at the track. I had requested
that the CDIs not assign me a student for this event, since I was
learning a new car, which thankfully relieved me from the
complication of having to explain to someone that I didn't know what
I was doing in this car yet, or what to expect from it. Having never
run the Pirellis before, I started with the manufacturer's pressure
recommendation (32F/34R). I took Mike's advice above and ran with the
car in Sport mode for the first 3 laps, finding the track and
building speed progressively, letting the PDK choose all the shift
points. The power steering and power brakes required some
acclimatization, as none of my older cars ever had any assist. Once
used to how light a touch the car needed, it inspired nothing but
confidence. The handling was excellent and well-balanced, seeming to
generate a lot of grip from the street tires, until I started pushing
harder on corners and the fronts started giving up. A little wider
front tire and some more camber in the front would help with the
understeer, I think, but since that option wasn't  possible on the
spot, I just changed my driving style to what had worked for me in
other mid-engine cars with a bit of push that I've run in the past,
braking deeper and later and trail-braking nearly down to the apex to
keep the front tires loaded while turning in, then getting on the
throtttle as the steering wheel straightens. There were not enough
straightaways to really reward a late apex and an early throttle
application, so this didn't give up too much time. On the 4th lap, I
felt comfortable enough to push the Sport+ button, and it did make a
noticeable difference. Throttle and brake responses were tightened
up, and shifts were crisper. On the slowest corner of the course, a
very tight right/left combo, the car did surprise me by shifting down
to first briefly, but the speed was slow and revs were well-matched
so it didn't upset the car. One thing I really missed was the
dedicated race seat and 5-point harnesses in my other cars. I was
really happy not to have to use my left foot to clutch, and could
just brace myself on the dead pedal with it. The sport seats in the
car are comfortable, but nowhere near as supportive as a race bucket.

In the second session, I lowered the cold pressures 3 psi, as when I
started pushing the car harder in the first session, I noticed the
tire pressures increasing to over 40psi in the rear and 37 in the
front, despite the cool conditions. The TPMS display seemed to
correspond fairly accurately to the readings I got in the pits with
my Longacre gauge, and the scuffing on the tire tread was showing no
rollover onto the shoulders at all. I ran all four laps in Sports+ to
get used to the different parameters of throttle, braking and
shifting. I found by being lighter and smoother on the throttle
exiting the really tight corner, the car would not downshift to first
on the exit, so it is possible I was hitting the "kickdown" switch on
the gas pedal by being too abrupt going to full throttle. I hit one
cone hard with the right front bumper while trying to straighten out
a kink in one of the fastest sections too much, but that was the only
mark on the car all day.

In timed runs, I took my warmup lap to get the tires and brakes to
temp, and then laid down a semi-aggressive but smooth lap to get a
clean run of 1:15.66 in the bank. The second lap I stepped up the
pace and shaved 3/10s off for a 1:15.38 lap. Then I figured I'd go
for broke on the last lap and turned off the PSM to see if it was
holding me back. I ended up overdriving the car and sliding around
too much, and ran a 1:16.16. It felt fast, but it wasn't. All in all,
I was very happy with the car's performance, considering the setup
was not optimized at all. My best time was good enough for the class
win in SS04, and I was 16th fastest out of the 100 Porsches there
(two "X" cars also just nicked me--one of the Lotus Exiges and the
highly modified BRZ driven by Derek Punch, a national-level SCCA
autocrosser). Most importantly, I was the second fastest car on
street tires, with only a 991 C2S in SS07 running a time 7/10s of a
second faster than mine--everyone else was on R-compounds. A 997 GT3
RS had TTOD with a 1:11.58. My friend Carl Vanderschuit (whose name
some may recognize if you saw the "King of the Curve" competition on
Speed TV) suffered a broken front swaybar on his highly modified
Boxster and only managed a 1:14.45, probably a second or two slower
than he should have been. Full event results are here:

With a little better setup, this car definitely has the potential to
be a really fun and fast autocross car that is exceptionally easy to
drive. I have to say it wouldn't hurt to have another 70 HP or so to
be able to squirt out of the corners like a GT3, but that won't
happen anytime soon. It is too nice to modify heavily, and still
under warranty until 2017, so I am not going to go crazy with a 3.8
X50 transplant or anything, fun as that might be. I will be on the
list for a Cayman "GT4" if Porsche ever decides to make such a car,
though. In the meantime, I'll probably just get a competition
alignment and a set of 18s with some 245/275 Advan Neovas on them and
keep autocrossing in SS class. With the health issues I've had the
last 18 months, I'm afraid my big track days are over, but I can
still get a cheap thrill in the local parking lot at Qualcomm.

The Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner, 1938

Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner (W 29), dimensional drawing. The original drawing is kept in the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archives.
Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner (W 29), vehicle registration document. The original document is kept in the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archives.

Mercedes-Benz 540 K Streamliner (W 29). This photo from 1938 shows the streamlined front section with the broad expanse of its air intake and curved front windscreen. The vehicle was built in 1938 as a one-off model in the special vehicle production unit at the Sindelfingen plant, the objective being to demonstrate the best possible aerodynamic performance. From mid-1938 it was used by the German branch of tyre manufacturer Dunlop in order to test tyres for fast and powerful vehicles.The 1920s and 1930s were characterized, in automotive terms, by the steadily increasing speed of travel. The development of fast roads ways and long-distance routes reflected this change, while the era also saw the advent of the motorway. The automotive industry took advantage of this progress. Not just with more powerful engines and redesigned suspensions: vehicle bodies, for example, grew more sophisticated in design, while streamlined vehicles also emerged.
Against this backdrop, Mercedes-Benz went on to build several vehicles with aerodynamically shaped bodies. The 540 K Streamliner, produced in 1938, marked the culmination in this respect for the time being. The 540 K was Mercedes-Benz’s sporty top model in the 1930s. Customised body shell creations, individually manufactured, had always represented the exclusive norm for Mercedes-Benz, and the “special vehicle production” unit at the Sindelfingen plant made the realisation of such singular ideas possible.
The styling experts at Mercedes-Benz – the term ‘designer’ as we know it today did not yet exist - created a whole series of aerodynamically shaped body shells for the 540 K during 1937 and 1938, all of which reflected the concept of aerodynamic flow to a greater or lesser extent. The Streamliner produced in 1938 was not only a masterpiece of design, but also demonstrated the most thorough application of the knowledge gained in the tests in the wind tunnel.
Achieving even higher cruising speeds than the 140 to 145 km/h usually associated with a 540 K demanded numerous detailed measures. Some of the most important of these involved the car’s aerodynamics: a 540 K in the standard version, with a coupé body, achieved a Cd figure of around 0.57 – too much for higher cruising speeds. For this, a more streamlined body with an considerably improved Cd figure was required. The 540 K Streamliner met the criterion, as wind tunnel measurements undertaken by Mercedes-Benz Classic in May 2014 go to prove: it achieves the exquisite figure of Cd = 0.36. The results are cruising speeds of 165 to 170 km/h and with supercharger a top speed of 185 km/h.
These were the requirements that led to the creation of the body shell of the 540 K Streamliner of 1938. It was systematically designed to meet the aerodynamic specifications: shaped from front to rear to allow the air to flow perfectly over it and to offer as little resistance as possible to the wind. The windscreens are curved to the sides. The roof line is set low, tapering to a point in the middle of the back and merging from there into the horizontal line of the softly curved rear section. The headlamps are fully integrated. At each point where the air flow risks breaking away, the designers have optimised the details, for example by recessing the door handles, omitting the bumpers or reducing the panel gaps. The underbody is completely panelled, so minimising obstructions to the air flow here too.
The requirement to achieve high cruising speeds also dictated an adjustment to the drive axle ratio, which was lengthened from i = 3.08 to i = 2.90. In all other technical details the car matched the standard version of the 540 K.
Just how seriously the builders of the vehicle took their responsibility is demonstrated by the Mercedes star: it does not stand proud, but is painted on – as in the case of the Silver Arrows, the renowned Grand Prix racing cars. Also like these, the streamlined 540 K was given silver paintwork. From today’s perspective it could be seen as something of a historical irony that the classic, vertical Mercedes-Benz pointed radiator grille was nevertheless still to be found below the body shell and remained a decisive factor in the appearance of the front section. Of course practical aspects of thermal management also played a role here, but a styling element that is as characteristic of the brand as the classic Mercedes radiator is subject to special protection - hardly surprising then, that the subject was a talking point at the time right up to Management Board level. This whole process demonstrates the extent to which the automotive industry at the time was changing and how it balanced on the very threshold between the traditional and the modern.
The resulting overall appearance of the 540 K Streamliner was of a powerful sports car, the potential of which to achieve high cruising speeds was immediately clear to the casual observer: doubtless this exceptional one-off vehicle caused a considerable stir when it first appeared.
Much of the praise around this vehicle is also due to Max Sailer. From 1935 on he was a deputy board member of Daimler-Benz and responsible for overall vehicle development for the Mercedes-Benz brand, including for its successful racing and record-breaking vehicles. He was thus very well aware of the significance of aerodynamics in motor vehicle construction and was one of the driving forces behind corresponding projects, also in relation to series-production vehicles.
The extraordinary 540 K was built by the special vehicle production unit in the first half of 1938. In June it was delivered by the Daimler-Benz dealership in Frankfurt am Main to the Deutsche Dunlop Gummi Comp. AG (German Dunlop Rubber Company) in Hanau. The company put this high-performance vehicle to specific use for tyre testing, as the ever-higher speeds at which cars were now travelling demanded new designs and materials for tyres that would enable them to withstand the more powerful forces to which they were exposed. These had then to be subjected to real-life testing, which was all the more necessary for powerful, heavy and fast cars.
And so the 540 K Streamliner really came into its own. Far more so than any other vehicle of that era, its aerodynamically styled body and powerful engine made it eminently capable of rapid supercharged acceleration to speeds as high as 185 km/h on the – in those days still very empty – German autobahns. It smoothly sustains cruising speeds of 165 to 170 km/h over a considerable period. We can only guess at the extreme concentration and tension on the part of the test drivers. Because, at  the speeds at which they were driving, a tyre malfunction was something to be reckoned with at any moment, they were all the more dependent on a reliable and predictable vehicle that would ensure the driver-fitness safety of its occupants over longer periods of driving at the critical limits. The 540 K Streamliner was ideally suited for this task.
Historical dates
According to the commission book Dunlop ordered a 540 K, one of the fastest passenger cars in existence at the time, from the Daimler-Benz dealership in Frankfurt on Main on 23 December 1937. A line drawing, dated 8 February 1938, was produced in the special vehicle production unit headed by Hermann Ahrens. This provided the precise manufacturing specification for a body shell previously tested on the model in the wind tunnel. At around the same time, incidentally, another design with almost identical lines was taking shape on the drawing board, in this case though as a Cabriolet B.
The vehicle ordered by Dunlop appears in the company’s documents dated 10 March 1938 with the comment “Schl. Si.”: Four weeks after the drawing had been made the chassis was trucked from Untertürkheim to the special vehicle production unit at the Sindelfingen plant, where it was fitted with the body that had been assembled there for it. In those days, the final assembly of most Mercedes-Benz passenger cars took place at the Untertürkheim plant, and the body shells were normally transported there from Sindelfingen. In the case of the 540 K it was done the other way round.
Further sources provide the following information: the vehicle registration document was issued by Daimler-Benz on 20 May 1938. Three weeks later, on 14 June 1938, the vehicle was registered in Hanau, where Dunlop was based, and given the registration number IT-146901. Ten days later, on 24 June 1938, an entry appeared in the books of the “Sammelstelle für Nachrichten über Kraftfahrzeuge”, or Central Office of Motor Vehicle Information in Berlin. All this happened even before the streamlined 540 K was handed over to the Daimler-Benz dealership in Frankfurt; and this the commission book records as having taken place on 25 June 1938.
Tyre testing at Dunlop
At Dunlop the vehicle was adopted into the company fleet, where it was looked after by garage foreman Karl Hammes. Hammes was responsible for all test vehicles, managers’ company cars, trucks and even the stables. As soon as the rather involved and time-consuming running-in process required in that era had been completed, Dunlop passed this unusual and elegant vehicle on to fulfil its planned purpose: high-speed tyre testing. Few vehicles can have been better suited to the task. Its streamlined body and powerful engine made it eminently capable of supercharged acceleration to a top speed of around 185 km/h, while its naturally-aspirated engine was then able to sustain cruising speeds of 165 to 170 km/h over long distances.
In a celebratory Dunlop brochure of 1938 we are told: “A particularly tough challenge is set by our tests with a high-speed streamlined supercharged car on the Reichsautobahn, which enable us to study the performance of the tyres at sustained high speeds. Such tests involve a changeover of drivers, driving at speeds of around 170 km per hour. The only stops are for refuelling and for the changeover of drivers, as previously mentioned.”
In order to ensure that the engine could cope with this exceptional sustained load in the upper range, a series of slits were cut in the upper side of the bonnet. These allowed air to flow through the engine compartment and the cooling air then to be discharged, so minimising wind resistance, or drag.
The autobahns, which were new at the time, offered the ideal conditions for testing. The rather special 540 K was often employed on long-distance runs, for example to Berlin or Hamburg and back, sometimes at night, as Gerd Hammes, the son of Dunlop’s garage foreman, remembers. In those days, and with the motorway network far from being complete, this was considered an extraordinary feat of driving. But it was this that made it possible to complete intensive test programmes with high-speed tyres on high-performance vehicles. The most obvious stretch of road to use was the motorway section between Karlsruhe and Göttingen, which had been completed at the beginning of the Second World War. This corresponds to today’s A 5 and A 7 autobahns.
That the car was not spared during its time at Dunlop is shown by traces of wear and tear on those original components that were still available to form part of the rebuilt vehicle some 75 years later - for example at the point where the steering system is mounted onto the chassis.
Following the outbreak of war on 1 September 1939 the non-official use of motor vehicles within the territory of the German Reich was severely restricted. The automotive and accessories industries would feel the impact of this. In order still to be able to drive the 540 K, for example during the ongoing development work, it was converted to run on liquid gas, as an entry in the vehicle documents dated 21 December 1939, authorised by the Director of Police in Hanau, goes to show. A further entry in the registration document – made by the technical inspection authority of district 5 in Frankfurt on 10 April 1940 – provides evidence that the conversion to run on liquid gas increased the unladen weight from 2500 kilograms to 2580 kilograms. The permissible payload was reduced by these additional 80 kilograms to 320 kilograms.
The 540 K survived the period from 1939 to 1945 undamaged. After the end of the war, during which it had been stored in the garages at the Dunlop works, the car was used by a soldier from the US Army, it is thought in the Stuttgart area. It was also he who had it painted to match the army vehicles, as traces of paint found on the original chassis show. A member of staff drew the attention of the manager of the Dunlop branch in Stuttgart, Mr Scheller, to the vehicle’s appearance on the scene. It is presumed that the vehicle was returned to the German Dunlop factory, as it was subsequently deregistered in Hanau on 21 April 1948, as a note in the registration document tells us: “Vehicle recorded as having been taken off the road in accordance with § 3 of the law of 21 November 1947 pertaining to the misuse of motor vehicles.”
The Streamliner would later be returned to the ownership of Daimler-Benz. But quite when and why it is no longer possible to establish. At this point the streamlined body was removed from its chassis, again without anyone today being able to identify or substantiate the reason for this. The note in the vehicle registration document “Chassis/Programme”could possibly be an indication that the plan was to fit a different body to the chassis, due to foreign currency shortages. Conversions of this nature undertaken on other models are well documented. These were fitted with body shells of a more modern design and sold abroad. Not, however, the 540 K Streamliner: the chassis, together with some body components and the rear axle, passed into the inventory of the Museum, where it was furnished in the mid-1950s with a Museum List number (known internally as a “MuLi number”).
The 540 K Streamliner and the “Berlin-Rome” long-distance race
The development of the 540 K Streamliner was begun in 1937 with the intention of building a comfortable, high-performance vehicle that would be able to sustain the high speeds required in the long-distance Berlin–Rome race planned for the late summer of 1938. Over the course of this development work it became clear that it would not be possible to devise solutions to every technical challenge by the due deadline, or certainly not such that would be sufficient to meet the high standards of the Mercedes-Benz engineers. One important aspect, for example, was the durability of the tyres at the speeds to which the team aspired and of which the vehicle was certainly capable.
There were two consequences of this as far as the developers at Mercedes-Benz were concerned: first of all, they decided to use a different variant of the 540 K for the Berlin-Rome long-distance race - one that was already fully developed and tested. The deployment of a short-wheelbase sports roadster, the proposed solution, never came to fruition, however, as the race was cancelled for 1938 and postponed to 1939, then ultimately dropped altogether due to the political situation. Secondly, in mid-1938 they placed the Streamliner at the disposal of the Dunlop tyre works in Hanau, where it was used for high-speed tyre testing – in other words for investigations into precisely those factors which had ultimately led to the decision not to enter the vehicle for the long-distance race.
This 540 K with streamlined body represents a milestone in terms of design and efficiency as well as of handling safety at high speeds. Then, as now, it was impressive for the exceptional professionalism shown by the special vehicle production team at Sindelfingen in the design and detailed implementation of the sheet aluminium body. The meticulously conceived overall concept and altogether perfect execution of this unique vehicle lead us to think that it should not be seen either purely as a competition car or purely as an experimental car. It was surely also built to serve as a prime example of the powerful luxury automobile of the future.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cruise-In at Beavercreek, Ohio, May 24, 2014 -- a very nice 1931 Pontiac!

Well, maybe not every car at the cruise-in is totally done yet!
God knows what this car was/is. But it is a creative work in progress, and definitely distinctive.

I thought this was the nicest Pre-WWII classic at the event. a 1931 Pontiac with a rumble seat. Beautifully restored.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Beginning of the Mercedes Benz Silver Arrow Legend, 1934

International Eifel race on June 3, 1934. The two W 25 Mercedes-Benz formula racing cars driven by Manfred von Brauchitsch (winner) and Luigi Fagioli took the lead immediately after the start
Start of the International Eifel race on the Nürburgring on June 3, 1934. The winner of this race was Manfred von Brauchitsch at the wheel of a W 25 Mercedes-Benz formula racing car
International Eifel race on the Nürburgring, June 3, 1934. Luigi Fagioli (start number 22) in a Mercedes-Benz 750-kg formula racing car W 25.
Stuttgart. – It was a debut in sparkling silver, and it ended with shining gold: the first race at Nürburgring with the completely newly developed Mercedes-Benz W 25 racing car on 3 June 1934 was won by Manfred von Brauchitsch with an average speed of 122.5 km/h – a new track record. However, the victory was almost outshone by the sensational fact that the new Mercedes-Benz racing car took to the track with its aluminium body in shining silver rather than with the classic paint finish in racing white. According to the legend, the metallic silver skin was only exposed during the night before the race, by grinding off the white paint to bring the starting weight of the W 25 down to the limit prescribed by the race rules. In subsequent years, this first appearance by a Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow founded a glorious tradition of great motor racing victories with racing cars and racing sports cars that continues to this day.
Premiere, victory and track record: the International Eifel Race on 3 June 1934 was dominated by the new Mercedes-Benz W 25. Manfred von Brauchitsch drove to victory at the Nürburgring on the first appearance of the racing car developed from 1933 for the 750-kilogram formula applicable from 1934. Thus began an unrivalled series of successes achieved by the W 25 and subsequent Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows in the years up to 1939. After the Second World War Mercedes-Benz followed up on these outstanding successes, initially in the 1952 season with racing sports cars, and then with two Formula 1 world championship titles in succession from 1954.
A new star on the horizon
Unemployment and an economic crisis – the year 1932 was not an auspicious time for motor sport activities in Germany. Even the racing department at Mercedes-Benz, whose supercharged model K, S, SS, SSK, and SSKL touring cars had dominated the European motor sport scene in the late 1920s and the start of the 1930s, was closed.
Yet there was hope for the future. Because in autumn 1932 the motor sport authority AIACR (Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus) in Paris announced a new formula for Grand Prix racing that would apply from 1934: cars were permitted to weigh a maximum of 750 kilograms without fuel, oil, coolant, and tyres, but there were no other design restrictions. In 1933, Mercedes-Benz decided to develop a completely new racing car for the new formula. The racing team for 1934 was to include Manfred von Brauchitsch, Rudolf Caracciola, Luigi Fagioli, Hanns Geier, and Ernst Henne.
The intention of the AIACR’s 750-kilogram formula was to limit the speed of racing cars compared to the previous generation: the rulemakers clearly assumed that only small engines with a low output could be installed in lightweight racing cars. However, they also underestimated the technical advances that had meanwhile been made: the W 25 developed in Stuttgart for the new formula was an extremely powerful racing car. And during the period of the 750-kilogram formula up to 1937 alone, the engine output of Mercedes-Benz racing cars would almost double up to a maximum of 475 kW (646 hp) thanks to continuous further development.
A powerful race-winner
Compared to the Auto Union with its mid-engine, the W 25 with a front-mounted engine appeared to be relatively conservative in design. However, this combination of a slim bodyshell, mechanically supercharged 3.4-litre in-line eight-cylinder engine, independent suspension and transmission directly over the rear axle produced an absolute race-winner. This already became apparent during the first test drives in Monza from February 1934, and on the motorway between Milan and Varese. The 235 kW (320 hp) car (later260 kW/354 hp with a new fuel mixture) achieved top speeds of up to 280 km/h.
For the W 25, Mercedes-Benz opted for a paint finish in the new silver colour for the first time. How the racing car acquired this livery, which would later give rise to the generic term “Silver Arrows”, is one of the great stories from 120 years of motor sport at Mercedes-Benz: the legend relates that before the race, the new W 25 cars weighed just one kilogram too much to meet the conditions for the 750-kilogram formula. During the evening before the race, racing manager Alfred Neubauer had a brainwave: the white paintwork had to be removed, which would produce the necessary weight saving. In his book of reminiscences “Men, Women and Engines”, published in 1958, Neubauer described the nighttime scene in the pits: “Throughout that long night, the mechanics scrubbed the beautiful white paintwork from our Silver Arrows. And when they were put on the scales again next morning – they weighed precisely 750 kilos.”
Triumph in the Eifel
The International Eifel Race at Nürburgring was one of the greatest motor sport events of the 1934 season. On that day in June, the popularity of motor racing as a mass phenomenon became very clear. In his memoirs entitled “No victory without a fight”, published in 1964, Manfred von Brauchitsch remembers the flood of spectators that made the pilgrimage to the Nürburgring: “Numerous special trains brought the crowds to the small Eifel town of Adenau. Thousands of motorcycles, buses and trucks wound their way along the country roads to the Nürburgring. They came to the Eifel from Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, and Cologne, from the entire Ruhr region, from Munich, Hamburg, and Berlin, in excited expectation of a titanic battle between engines. 200,000 spectators lined the track. Many had already put up tents during the night at the Hatzenbach bend, the ‘Carousel’, the ‘Fox tube’, the Wehrseifen valley stretch, and at the ‘Swallow’s tail’, to secure a good vantage point.”
The starting flag was lowered in the afternoon, at approx. 3 p.m. The start had actually been planned for 1 p.m., after two motorcycle races, however bad weather delayed the start for the racing cars. Mercedes-Benz was represented by two vehicles: von Brauchitsch had start number 20, and Fagioli was at the wheel of number 22. The total line-up was 44 vehicles. Fagioli and von Brauchitsch took an early lead in the W 25, followed by Hans Stuck (Auto Union) and Louis Chiron (Alfa Romeo). Fagioli having been forced to retire in the 14th lap – the last but one – von Brauchitsch took the victory for Mercedes-Benz, followed by Stuck and Chiron.
The spectacular rise of the Silver Arrows
The victory in the International Eifel Race ushered in a whole series of wins and placings: in 1934, at the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz W 25, the drivers in the works team won the International Klausen Race (Caracciola), the Coppa Acerbo in Pascara (Fagioli), the Italian Grand Prix (Caracciola/Fagioli), and the Spanish Grand Prix (Fagioli). In addition, there were numerous top placings.
For Manfred von Brauchitsch the 1st place in the Eifel Race was the only victory in the 1934 season. Instead the success of the W 25, which competed in Grand Prix races until 1936, was dominated by Rudolf Caracciola. In the 1935 season, Caracciola won a total of six Grand Prix races at the wheel of the W 25, with Fagioli achieving a further three victories. In 1935, Rudolf Caracciola became European Champion after already winning the German Championship. When Auto Union racing cars proved dominant in the 1936 Grand Prix season, Mercedes-Benz developed the new W 125 Silver Arrow for 1937, the last year of the 750-kilogram formula. It was with this car that Caracciola once again won the European Championship.
Over the subsequent years and decades, the success story of the Silver Arrows was continued by numerous Mercedes-Benz racing cars. During the classic era of the Silver Arrows, these legendary cars included the W 154 (3-litre racing car, 1938 and 1939), the W 165 (1.5-litre racing car for the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix), the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194, 1952), the W 196 R (2.5-litre Formula 1 racing car, 1954 and 1955), and the 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S, 1955). In the late 1980s, the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows initially returned to the circuit in Group C. Since 1994, the racing cars from Stuttgart have once again competed in Formula 1 – initially in partnership with Sauber and McLaren, and since 2010 with a newly established Formula 1 works team.
The Mercedes-Benz W 25 750-kilogram racing car
The W 25 was the first Mercedes-Benz racing car for the new Grand Prix formula valid from 1934. This formula prescribed a maximum weight of 750 kilograms for the vehicle (without service fluids and tyres) – in this way the organisers wanted to limit the power output of the racing cars and thus the top speeds that were possible. The designers at Mercedes-Benz opted for a classic vehicle architecture: the front engine drove the rear wheels via a transmission on the rear axle. The in-line eight-cylinder engine originally had a displacement of 3.4 litres and featured the supercharging that had fully proven its worth in racing; the displacement was later increased to a maximum of 4,740 cubic centimetres. Depending on the version, the engine output was 260 kW (354 hp) to 363 kW (494 hp), allowing a top speed of up to 300 km/h. Painted in the German racing livery colour of white, the W 25 weighed in at the Nürburgring 1 kilogram over the limit, just a day before its first deployment in the International Eifel Race. The legend holds that the mechanics scraped the paint off, allowing the racer to shine in the silver colour of its unpainted bodywork. With Manfred von Brauchitsch at the wheel it won the race, founding the unique success story of the Silver Arrows. The W 25 raced between 1934 and 1936 and was continuously further developed and enhanced during this time. In 1935, it helped Rudolf Caracciola to win the title in the European Championship, and two Grand Prix victories in 1936: in Tunis (Algeria) and Monaco.
The Mercedes-Benz racing drivers in the 1934 Eifel Race
Manfred von BrauchitschBorn on 15 August 1905 in Hamburg
Died on 5 February 2003 in Gräfenwarth (Switzerland)
Manfred von Brauchitsch was born into a family with decidedly military roots, but invested his own efforts into motor sport. He drove sports cars from Mercedes-Benz with the help of wealthy sponsors – and very successfully too. Between 1934 and 1939, he was engaged as a works driver for the three-pointed Mercedes star. In addition to his victory in the 1934 Eifel Race that marked the debut of the W 25, the highlights of his career were first places in the 1937 Monaco Grand Prix and the 1938 French Grand Prix. After the Second World War, Manfred von Brauchitsch lived in the former GDR (East Germany). He was active for many years as president of the society for the promotion of the Olympic ideal. He had difficulties in adapting to the further changes brought about by German reunification in 1990, and very little was heard from him until his death.
Luigi FagioliBorn on 9 June 1898 in Ósimo (Italy)
Died on 20 June 1952 in Monte Carlo (Monaco)
Luigi Fagioli was born near Ancona in 1898. Affectionately known by his friends as “the old Abruzzan brigand”, he came to motor racing rather late. He was already 28 years old when he competed in his first race, winning for the first time in 1930 – in the Coppa Principe di Piemonte, in a Maserati. In 1933, Fagioli became Italian Champion in an Alfa-Romeo. Behind the wheel he made a name for himself for his consistency and active enthusiasm. These attributes led to an invitation to join the 1934 Mercedes-Benz works team. Fagioli returned the favour with two Grand Prix victories in Monza (together with Rudolf Caracciola) and Lasarte, Spain, and in 1935 capped these with 1st place in the season’s first race in Monaco. Success in the Coppa Acerbo in Pescara (1934), on the Avus (Automobil-Verkehrs- und Übungs-Straße) in Berlin (1935), and in Barcelona (1935) confirmed the correctness of the choice. His contract expired in 1936. He subsequently drove for Auto Union and for Alfa Romeo after the Second World War. Here he was counted as one of the “three big F”, Fangio, Farina, and Fagioli, who substantially shared Formula 1 victories amongst themselves in 1950 and 1951. During practice for the 1952 Monaco Grand Prix, he collided with a stone ballustrade. “The old Abruzzan brigand” died three weeks after this accident.