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A 1932/33 Mercedes SSKL; but what circuit?


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#1 sebbbl

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 12:31

Hi everyone,

some time ago I found that picture on the internet - unfortunately very small indeed. Can somebody tell me where it was taken? It looks like a 1932/1933 Mercedes SSKL on a banked (!!!) circuit. That would be the car that gave victory to Manfred von Brauchitsch in the 1932 AVUS-Rennen and death to Otto Merz in practise for the 1933 AVUS-Rennen...

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Maybe sombody has a bigger version of that picture... that could help.

Thanks a lot!

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#2 GIGLEUX

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 18:22

v.Brauchitsch and Merz had two different cars.

#3 dretceterini

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 01:22

from Motorsportmemorial.org


Mercedes-Benz went back to racing in 1933, and one of the crowns the company’s management was most poised to conquer was the Avusrennen; that event, to be held on 21 May in the German capital, was to be attended by high government dignitaries and would be a great opportunity for the marque to show its technical prowess. Taking the nine-kilometer long straights of the Berlin track in to consideration, the Mercedes-Benz team produced a streamlined SSKL especially for the occasion. Caracciola, who was back to the firm, would be the first choice to conduct the SSKL, but he was still in hospital, convalescing from the fractures and injuries suffered during a practice accident for the Monaco Grand Prix on 23 April in a private Alfa Romeo. Under such circumstances, Merz got to take the SSKL seat in the Avusrennen. From one side, it is possible that he was invited by the team to drive: Merz was a very popular employee since 1906 and was in very good standing with the management. From another, it is quite possible that Merz offered his services: aged only 43, he had semi-retired from racing, but enjoyed driving so much he may have seen in this race his last great chance to compete, giving farewell to Avus in great style. Whatever the reason, Mercedes outsiders were surprised to see Metz in the car.

Another driver at the wheel of a Mercedes in that race was Manfred von Brauchitsch, who was to drive his own car, equipped with a streamlined body designed by von König-Fachsenfeld. Upon seeing this vehicle, the Mercedes works team copied it, but made alterations to it. Whilst the tail of the von König-Fachsenfeld machine comes to quite a high point – that balanced out the lift at the rear of the car – the Sindelfinden-made body of Merz’s car curved down markedly at the rear, a configuration much more likely to create substantial lift. Indeed, some insiders alleged that the Sindenfelden design made the car unstable at high speeds.

#4 sebbbl

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 06:19

Thank you for pointing that out. But that picture is not taken at the AVUS circuit as there's not been such a banked part in 1932/33.

#5 lil'chris

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 11:08

I know the North Curve wasn't banked in 1932/33 but wasn't the original South Curve banked at that time ( and I'm sure I've seen pictures showing that spectators were able to view from the top of the South Curve banking ) ?

#6 sebbbl

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 11:49

Yes, it was a little banked - about 5-8 degree.

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But that looks like a + 35 degree banking oO - that's what makes me so curiouse...

#7 Great Zapper

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 13:34

Looking at the steepness of the banking, the apparently fairly tight radius of the bend, and the close proximity of some sort of grandstand, I wonder if it might be a velodrome?

#8 D-Type

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 14:28

On previous threads regarding prewar banked tracks I believe we established there were only a few candidates: Avus (with North and South curves different), Montlhery, Monza, Sitges, Miramas, Brooklands, Indianapolis, the Opel test track, the Fiat rooftop track or the far smaller cycle tracks (velodromes as GZ suggests).

The identifying features are the steepness of banking and the "safety wall" at the top. The Avus brick surface (was that the North curve only?) is distinctive but is does not always show up as it can be 'flared out' or blurred by panning. The same applies to the concrete tracks as the joints don't always show. The presence of the right texture can confirm a location, but it's absence does not eliminate it.

Having stated the obvious, I am sure it is not:
Brooklands - as Brooklands had no wall at the top
Indianapolis - banking too steep
Fiat and Opel test tracks - Mercedes wouldn't be running there would they?

My feeling is it's somewhere on Avus

Over to the experts ...




Edit: Miramas added for completeness

#9 sebbbl

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 14:50

I would say that I'm not exactly an expert, but that's definately not the AVUS circuit. It looks indeed like a velodrom (the radius doesn't look "that" tight to me)... but that big Mercedes on such a small track?! May that tree in the back is a hint?

#10 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 14:57

Von Brauchitsch did a number of demo runs at cycling ovals in 1932.

#11 sebbbl

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 16:27

Any further information regarding those demo-runs and maybe photographs would be appreciated... Thank you.

#12 Henk

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 10:36

Originally posted by sebbbl
I would say that I'm not exactly an expert, but that's definately not the AVUS circuit. It looks indeed like a velodrom (the radius doesn't look "that" tight to me)... but that big Mercedes on such a small track?! May that tree in the back is a hint?

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The ‘Deutsches Stadion’ (formerly ‘Grunewaldstadion’, a few years later transformed into the ‘Olympiastadion’) in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 20:30

Great work, Henk!

Again TNF members come up with the solution... every distinctive facet of the original pic is shown here...

#14 Leif Snellman

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 20:53

One can see the round platform in the middle of the far corner on this picture (under the high tree).
So here you can see its a normal stadium with an additional velodrome track. Built for the 1916 Olympics.

http://upload.wikime...g_-_Hamburg.jpg

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Also I want to add that it is definitely von Brauchitsch's car on the picture, not Otto Merz's.
Merz's car had a different tail.

#15 D-Type

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 21:46

That is an incredibly narrow track to run any car on, let alone a big Mercedes!

Cogratulations Henk, an excellent piece of investifation

#16 lil'chris

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 22:06

Well done Henk !! :clap:

#17 sebbbl

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 13:26

I just found that information about the date of that demo-run...

Der deutsche Automobilrennfahrer Manfred von Brauchitsch bei einem Versuch des Bahnrekords im Grunewaldstadion, 24.07.1932.


24 July 1932

#18 eukie

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 09:24

July 24, 1932 is correct. Here's a report from a cycling magazine about MvB's "exhibition", aimed at establishing a new track record over the distance of 5 KMs (one lap of the stadium was 666,6 metres)

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source: Illustrierter Radrennsport 31/1932 (July 29, 1932)

#19 eukie

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 09:34

About one month later MvB also made some demonstration runs at the cycling tracks in Elberfeld (Zoostadion - today city of Wuppertal) and Hamborn (today city of Duisburg).

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source: Illustrierter Radrennsport 36/1932 (September 02, 1932)



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#20 sebbbl

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 11:14

Thank you for those.

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 13:10

Has anyone noticed the basic difference between the original photo and the broader one of the velodrome?

The weather! Umbrellas everywhere in the second pic... is that maybe not the day the Mercedes was there?

#22 sebbbl

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 20:53

Has anyone noticed the basic difference between the original photo and the broader one of the velodrome?

The weather! Umbrellas everywhere in the second pic... is that maybe not the day the Mercedes was there?


There're umbrellas because it's not the same day and event. The umbrella-shot was taken in September of 1932 (look at the caption) and the other one was taken 24 July 1932 during the demo-run.

By the way, I've got that other picture of a Mercedes SSKL doing a run on a banked track... is that the same event or is that on the other mentionned track?
Further information and maybe photographs would be very appreciated.

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