Thursday, June 16, 2016

the silver bullets

the Silver Arrows were the most spectacular, most sophisticated, and most visionary cars in motorsports history. The astonishing Auto Union Type A that debuted in 1934 featured an exotic V-16 engine mounted behind the driver, pioneering the template that is used to this day.

They were powered by the experimental and chemically exotic witch’s brew of methanol, nitromethane, and acetone  (In the interest of health, the nitrobenzene and sulfuric ether used in the 1930s are no longer permitted.)

By 1937, the sleek yet brutal Mercedes-Benz W125 was using a supercharged straight-eight engine that produced a mind-boggling 646 hp — or more than any Formula 1 car until the early 1980s.

The cars were driven to victories from New York to North Africa by the incomparable Bernd Rosemeyer, the indomitable Rudi Caracciola, Tazio Nuvolari, Achille Varzi, Hans Stuck, Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch, and Dick Seaman.

and the 2013 Goodwood Revival was the first time the Mercedes-Benzes and Auto Unions had faced off on a racetrack since 1939. To call the Revival the world’s best vintage race car event is to damn it with faint praise. For sheer entertainment value, the three-day extravaganza is arguably the most impressive motorsports spectacle on the planet.

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