Fangio’s 1954 MercedesBenz Silver Arrow becomes world’s most…

10 Июн 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Mercedes-Benz W154

Fangio’s 1954 Mercedes-Benz Arrow becomes world’s expensive car

The Mercedes-Benz W196R this for £17.5 million on 12

The world record price for a car at was smashed this month Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes W196 F1 Silver sold for US$31 million, doubling the previous auction

The hammer fell at £17.5 during the Goodwood Festival of Sale conducted by British house Bonhams on 12 July, an unidentified telephone bidder paying £20,896,800 (about million with commissions and eclipsing the previous record for an auction car of £10,086,400 set by the Ferrari Rossa prototype in 2011 below).

That’s an extraordinary of money. After 100 years of investing, the highest price achieved at auction doubled.

how can a car be worth that much? It is one of vehicles which satisfies facet of automotive investing: world-changing, beautiful, laden technological firsts and highly having been driven to victories by one of history’s most characters.

Rarity. Tick. to its current tilt at Formula Mercedes-Benz had only competed at the level of motorsport once in the era after a 15 year absence. The returned to racing in 1954 the stated intention of winning the World F1 title and the World championship, achieved everything it set out to do two years, then shut it all That’s an image of the final and symbolic covering of the vehicles The four corners of the cover are by Stirling Moss, Race Alfred Neubauer, Karl and Juan Manuel Fangio.

fourteen W196R machines existed. Ten still exist, are in museums and six inside Mercedes-Benz. leaves the recently auctioned Arrow W196R chassis It is the ONLY post-war Mercedes-Benz Arrow in private hands.

A gem

The Silver Arrow was driven by the respected driver of all-time, Manuel Fangio, to famous victories that sealed his Formula One driver’s title. on Fangio later in the article.

of all, it is aptly described by the catalogue as supreme mechanical

It is a technological gem. It was built to win a world title and it effectively won two 18 months with a final showing 12 starts, nine

The W196R was the first first F1 car. Mercedes Benz collaborated with German Bosch to deliver this which quickly became a feature on every F1 car.

Its space frame weighed 36 kg (73 lb). A very similar frame was used in the W125 Arrow of 1937, which 595 bhp and had an overall weight of just 750 kg lb), a power-to-weight ratio wasn’t bettered until the cars of the eighties.

Mercedes Rudolf Uhlenhaut had been for the design of the W125 racing car of the W154 of 1938, W165 of and when he began working on the successor (the W196R) the war, similar design were used.

Uhlenhaut was appointed head of the Benz passenger car test in 1949 and the resultant family of F1, and SL designated road cars including the W194 and W198. took the concept to the next with the W196R, and he is seen with the most famous use of the the 1955 300 SLR Mercedes sports car known as W196S), displaying the laid-down straight motor (in case a six-cylinder) designed to the lowest possible frontal

A myriad of other technological on the W165R ensures it is one of the milestone in racing history, a car that significant thought leadership on levels. Desmodromic valve (as used by Ducati sixty later), inboard brakes, suspension and an aerodynamics package so far of the game that it put the team in a league.

The desmosdromic valve used on the straight eight technically the first time the had appeared in Formula One (the Grand Prix Delage and used a different type of valve system), but it was the first worked and Ducati and Mercedes-Benz are the only makers to produce championship winning perfomance desmodromic valve actuation. Ducati’s use of desmodromic valve began in the period immediately the success of the W196R and W196S. Taglioni’s desmodromic valve for the Ducati 125 Grand Prix was in 1956.

Mercedes-Benz was the first to successfully overcome the limitations of the spring in closing valves. days, computer-controlled pneumatic actuation is standard in Formula One and at the end of the MotoGP field, having been introduced by Renault in the for its high-speed turbo-charged engines. is currently researching electromagnetic actuation.

World leading

During the late 1930s, Benz was unquestionably at the forefront of in automotive aerodynamics, with speed attempts and the construction of the full scale automotive tunnel at Untertürkheim in 1939.

The photo compilation shows at ten different Mercedes-Benz aerodynamic and projects, all from the era prior to

In this period, Mercedes-Benz began aiming for the land record and the fastest attempt, on a twin-supercharged W125 Grand car producing 736 horsepower, achieved km/h (269 mph) the flying kilometer on January 28, ON PUBLIC ROADS! This is claimed by Mercedes-Benz to be the fastest officially timed speed on a road to this day.

the space race became a for national technological capability, the Prix motor race was at least by Hitler and Mussolini, as the readily available way of displaying a world-leading technological prowess.

The T80 is a record-attempt machine which denied the opportunity to run. by well-connected Mercedes race Hans Stuck, the Mercedes-Benz T80 machine was nicknamed the Schwarzer (Black Bird) by the Fuhrer, Hitler, a swipe at the Bluebird, the car of speed record holder Campbell of Great Britain.

cars were all named from the 1931 car which him the world record at 246.09 mph km/h) in 1931, through successful subsequent attempts in Campbell’s 301.13 mph (484.60 in 1937.


In 1930s Europe, the exploits of Benz and Auto Union for and Alfa Romeo and Maserati for were powerful tools key to the interests of their home

The streamlined T80 Blackbird was scheduled to the world land speed in January 1940, running a bhp V12 engine lifted from a Bf 109 fighter plane.

The lengths to the Mercedes factory pushed in its attempts was astonishing for the period. The V12 was a mixture of methyl alcohol benzene (16%), ethanol acetone (4.4%), nitrobenzene avgas (2%), and ether with methanol-water injection to the charge and boost pressure. The T80 was and readying for the record when began, and the run was never attempted. The car can now be at the Mercedes-Benz World museum in

With an windtunnel-shaped body and horsepower, the Blackbird targeted a top of 750 km/h (466 mph). By stage, the world land record was 595 km/h (369.74 set by American John Cobb in his Special on August 23, 1939, and was to for another eight years to the outbreak of WWII just one after the record run.

The speed record attempt Hans Stuck at the wheel was set for 1940. Had the Blackbird gone near its targeted top speed, it be far more than a footnote in The world wheel-driven land record set in 1964 by Malcolm son Donald (in another car named was 403.10 mph (644.96 km/h) – 100 km/h short of Mercedes’ in 1940.

Mercedes Benz had used fully-enclosed streamlined on its racing cars in the pre-war as the above image taken in clearly shows. The event was held at Berlin’s famous test track which saw the of many significant German rarely ran to Grand Prix

Built on land put aside on the of Berlin in 1907, by the time it was in 1921, the circuit was in the center of the and became the most important to win every year for the premier marque.

The AVUS is deserving of a story in its own right. In 1907, booming automotive industry with a little help Kaiser Wilhelm to build a venue and a test track. by the time it was completed, after and WWI, was 15 years later.

One of the uses of the track was the high testing of road cars, so the circuit was always very using part of an autobahn as the two straights with the cars in the first races there in at an average of over 100 mph.

In a large banked section was and speeds skyrocketed. Amazingly, the had no safety fence and if you drifted too on the banking, you were launched into space at around 200 This astonishing video of the death of Jean Behra on the at AVUS shows a different era of safety.

Three weeks after rocked the world with the at the 1937 Tripoli Grand Mercedes took three W125 12-cylinder cars to the event (pic directly

With three accomplished drivers in them (Caracciola, and von Brauchitsch), the lap record took a pounding that day, Von Brauchitsch breaking the 160 mph average mark during a heat, and Lang taking victory in the at an average speed to 162 mph with a lap at 168 mph.

Clearly, when rolled up with the streamliners at in 1954, aerodynamics was a mature technology that had seen laps on the AVUS and Untertürkheim track. Indeed, but for the Grand regulations in the late thirties, Benz would have full-streamlining much earlier.

In with its aerodynamic forebears, the of the W196R was designed to give the the lowest frontal area an in-line lay-down 2496cc eight with the power from the center of the engine’s crankshaft to minimize vibration.

The body of the W196 was its greatest feature, and by comparison to the mono-posto of its competitors, it must have incredibly futuristic at the time.

Arrows success on the racetrack

The W196R won nine of 12 Grands it contested and is one of the most successful cars of all-time.

The French Prix 1954

July 4, marked a special day in German the country’s reemergence as an international power. Two feats on the same day in a resurgence of national pride. beat Hungary 3-2 to win the FIFA Cup of football, and Mercedes Benz F1 motor racing after a 15 absence, sweeping the 1954 Grand Prix in futuristic new Silver Arrows cars.

The that rolled out of the Mercedes at Reims for the French Grand in 1954 stunned the F1 world they had turned a wheel .

Everyone knew that was coming with a special as can be seen from the promotional of the day (the guess at what it like is top left in the poster), in contrast to the Mercedes-produced poster the win. In one weekend, Formula One visually and technologically, around a century.

For a company desirous to a legacy of global racetrack it had experienced regularly since the of motorsport, the victory at Reims in was a momentous result and Mercedes became a renewed symbol of future.

The engine which the W196 to a dominant 1-2 in both and the race at Reims produced 189 kW for a top of over 300 km/h, though the was developed progressively to a best of 213 kW the end of 1955.

Coupled with its supremacy, this made the much quicker than its on the long straights of the high Reims circuit.

Indeed, the Mercedes of Fangio and finished the French Grand in nose-to-tail formation as per team more than a lap ahead of the Ferrari.

In one afternoon, Mercedes had announced to the world that it was and it had done so with its distinctive Arrows design, a design resonates to this day.

The Grand Prix —

The 1954 British Grand at Silverstone was the second start for the and showed the fallibility of Mercedes for the first time. On a fast their aerodynamic efficiency them enough speed to past on every straightaway, but the circuit was twisty, the enclosed wheel prevented precision placement.

On a clear track, Mercedes was faster, but in the cut-and-thrust of he did not have enough control and wheel placement, and several glanced off oil-drums which the edge of the Silverstone circuit. The was to be the W196R’s first defeat, Fangio quite clearly damage to both sides of the fenders as he battled to fourth in the race.

Along the way he proved the was very fast, running the 100 mph lap of the Silverstone circuit, but with home Grand Prix next on the calendar, drastic were called for.

Mercedes-Benz W154

German Grand Prix

The car entered the Silver Arrows in the German Grand Prix of It is a monoposto open wheeler created for Fangio for the Nürburgring after the lessons learned at

The car took pole position in its race, and won the event in the time of hours 45 minutes 45.8 To this date, that’s the F1 championship race other the Indianapolis 500 (mile) events of the

Fangio shared the front row the Ferrari 625 of Mike Hawthorn and the 250F of Sterling Moss but as the unfolded, it was Fangio in the lead team-mate Karl Kling down upon him after a through the field where he sat the lap of 9 minutes 55.1 seconds for the km (14.173 mile) course.

In one of the examples of an F1 driver disobeying orders, and despite some animated pit signals, Kling Fangio. Fangio always that he had Kling’s measure and sat behind the rampaging German he encountered rear suspension then cruised to an easy with more than a and a half in hand over the of Hawthorn.

Swiss Grand 1954

The second race for the W196R was the Swiss Grand of 1954 held on the uber-frightening, Bremgarten circuit.

Although lined up on the front row, the position was taken in a Ferrari by González.

In the race though, grabbed the lead into the corner and was never headed, the last F1 race in Switzerland by a minute.

This win gave him his second drivers championship and he was to go on to win the championship in 1955, 1956 and 1957.

Asserting dominance

In 1955, the won all but one of the races it contested (Monaco Prix) and the W196S won everything it but one race – the Le Mans 24 hour.

would certainly have won race. The stellar pairing of Moss and Fangio was in second and close behind the leading D-type of Mike Hawthorn an incident changed the world of forever.

Mercedes driver Levegh got caught up in an incident and was into the crowd, killing and over 80 spectators. We have before about the cavalier of almost everyone towards safety and the incident caused public outcry that racing was banned in some (notably Switzerland – the reason 1954 win was the last Swiss GP) and safety considerably improved.

decision to withdraw from the in respect of Levegh was understandable, as was the decision by the brand to leave the The World Sportscar Championship and the Formula One championship had been and the name Mercedes Benz was implanted in the brains of people the world.

The extraordinary Juan Fangio

Widely acknowledged as the best driver, Argentinian Manuel Fangio had signed to the Silver Arrows for 1954, but as the marque’s car was still under and was not scheduled to be ready for the first races of the season, Mercedes either a full race fee he sat the race out, or to allow him else.

This fair approach by Mercedes illustrates a when more gentlemanly was common in racing, and perhaps reflects on Fangio’s unique of being an old man in a sport increasingly towards the fearlessness and reflexes of

Fangio’s racing years largely stolen by the war. he drove his FIRST F1 race, was 38 years of age, yet he went on to win 24 one races, five driver with four teams Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and and still easily retains the winning percentage of any driver in F1 at 46% – 24 wins from 52 starts. For the those behind him are Alberto (13 from 33 / 39.4%), Jim Clark (25 73 / 34.25%), Michael Schumacher (91 308 / 29.6%), Jackie Stewart (27 100 / 27%), Ayrton Senna (41 162 or 25.3%), Alain Prost (51 202 / 25.2%) and as of today, Sebastian (30 from 110 / 27.3%)

Fangio racing at an age most drivers are yet he still holds the highest of pole positions (29 of 52 / 55.8%), the percentage of front row starts (48 of 52 / and he was the oldest F1 World Champion in at 46 years, 41 days in 1957. His titles were won at 41, 43, 44, 45 and 46 years of age

Michael Schumacher won seven titles and 91 Grands Prix he retired the first time at 37. He for another three years three years in retirement and win another race.

Four-time F1 Champ Alain retired at the age of 38. The records of other three-time title winners suggests that driving begins a rapid decline at 40 years of age. Jack won his last title at 40, Jackie (36), Niki Lauda Nelson Piquet (35) and Senna (31) round out the of greats.

Only one of the three-time winning drivers is still If Sebastien Vettel (just 26) were to keep racing and to the same age as Fangio did, he be clocking up his 24th world title in 2033, when be 46.

Clearly, we didn’t see Juan Fangio at anything like his He drove all but seven of his Formula One AFTER the age of 40 years.

Reigning Fangio was 43 when he signed Mercedes for 1954 but in the absence of the new for the first three races of the chose to drive a private 250F, in the first two Grands of the season. He duly won the first two championship races – his home Grand Prix and the Belgian Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, then the Indianapolis 500 round, as did every championship contender.

A lasting

The Bonhams W196R is the only example of a milestone race a car that dominated every Prix it contested, even the races it didn’t win. the 1988 McLaren Honda driven by the pairing of Ayrton and Alain Prost (16 starts, 15 15 poles, 10 fastest laps) and the F2002 driven by Michael and Rubens Barrichello (19 starts, 15 11 poles,15 fastest laps) better statistics than the W196R.

Doubtless as the automotive market evolves, there be more expensive cars More global wealth mean greater demand for examples and markets tend to irrationally when supply zero. While there may be expensive cars sold in the there are few cars in history can boast a provenance as comprehensive as Mercedes-Benz and all the trickle-down impact it and its family had on global sports car

The global recognition experienced by inspired others (notably Honda) to build a brand on the old adage of win on Sunday, sell on In the case of the record-breaking W196 F1 Arrow, this selling has lingered on for more than a century.

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