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Streamlined Auto Union


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#1 Roger Clark

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 03:41

Reading Chris Nixon's Auto Union Album recently, I came across a car I had never heard of before. This was a fully streamlined version of the 3-litre D-type which appeared at Reims for the 1938 French GP. Rudi Hasse crashed it in practice and as far as I know, the car was not seen again.
It must have cost AU some effort to produce that car as they were late in preparation for the 3-litre formula and the other cars at Reims were all converted C-types. THe true D-type open-wheeler did not appear until the German GP some weeks later. The shape was not the same as the record breaking and AVUS cars of 37/38.
THere is only one picture of the car at speed in Nixon's book. It looks as though the nose is lifting. THat could have been the cause of Hasse's crash. AU must have been very sensitive to aerodynamic instability after the death of Rosemeyer, so that may have been why the car never appeared again.
I can find no other reference to the car. does anybody know more about it? Did AU originally intend to use it on all circuits? Nixon's book alos contains a picture of it being tested on the Nurburgring. Was it completely abandoned after Reims?

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 03:51

That race doesn't even rate a mention in Speed Was My Life (Neubauer). Probably never happened.... but then again, Monkhouse details first, second and third to the MB team.

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#3 John Cross

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 05:22

Leif Snellman's terrific site says:

"Auto Union entered two new streamliners for their first GP of the 1938 season. The team was however in complete disorder during practice in which both Müller and Hasse crashed. Hasse destroyed his car completely but was unhurt. Müller's car on the other hand was only slightly damaged but the driver was unable to race further and had to be replaced by Kautz. The team decided to withdraw the streamliners and only after some persuasion from the organizers they finally decided to race two rebuilt 1937 cars with 3 litre engines."

I should be getting Pomeroy's book in a few days - I'll see what he says.

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 07:13

But in the meantime that's two cars that Neubauer's failed to recognise.

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#5 Roger Clark

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 07:14

John: Chris Nixon says that Muller drove one of the converted C-types. He certainly crashed in practice and was unable to take part in the race. THe thought that there might have been two streamlined D-types at Reims is even stranger. I f your strugglting so much to make the start of a new formula, why build two cars which can only be used at one r two circuits?

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 08:01

Maybe they felt ill at ease with the equalisation of engine capacity?

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#7 John Cross

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 08:03

Roger - I'll let you know when the Pomeroy book arrives! I do not have much else on this and I do agree it seems odd given their state of disarray following Rosemeyer's death.

#8 desmo

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 08:21

http://www.newscom.c...ocs/008/116.thm

#9 desmo

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 09:04

These images are from the Classics.com coverage of the 1999 Monterey Historic Races at which Auto Union was the featured marque:


http://www.classics....om/lagsc16.jpg" TARGET=_blank> Posted Image

http://www.classics....om/lagsc17.jpg" TARGET=_blank> Posted Image

http://www.classics....om/lagsc18.jpg" TARGET=_blank> Posted Image

http://www.classics....om/lagsc15.jpg" TARGET=_blank> Posted Image
Click on images for full size version.


1937 V-16 Type C Streamliner- a recreation by Audi of the originals of which none remain.

I realise this is slightly off topic but I couldn't find an image of a Type D streamliner (yet).




[This message has been edited by desmo (edited 03-24-2000).]

#10 Art

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 09:34

Desmo.

I saw the Monterey Races on Speedvision and the the type c streamliner looked better than the Hope Diamond. It has to be the most beautiful show car in the world.

Art

#11 Don Capps

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 10:29

Remember that you are dealing with Auto Union, not Daimler. Keep in mind that in July 1938 Rosemeyer is now dead, Herr Porsche is gone and... You get the picture.

At the GP de l'ACF, they were behind the eight ball right off the bat: Muller is banged up and one car already junk. Hasse and Kautz lasted exactly zero laps between them in the race! Kautz managed to collect a house no less. At the German GP they had interim cars still and finally at Berne a pukka Typ D was put on the grid.

Also, in the winter of 1937/38, AU did look very seriously at V16 and V12 front-engined designs before sticking with the rear-engine layout - despite not having a rear-engined production car while MB did!

BTW, the 1938 Stromlinie that was tested at the Nurburgring in late June was referred to as the Modell G.

From what I have been able to sort out just glancing at my notes, there were 9 Typ D AU's produced. Still sorting out the eaches on them, however.

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[This message has been edited by Don Capps (edited 03-23-2000).]

#12 Dennis David

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 10:35

While their racing team might have been in disarray their development department still had a job to do. Auto Union had put a lot of effort into aerodynamics and spent a considerable amount of time using wind tunnels through the years including pioneering work with ground-effects. Many within Auto Union felt that this was part of their advantage over Mercedes and that they were not going to abandon it just yet. They tested a full-envelope body for their D-type at the Nurburgring in May before bringing two to Reims. Hasses's crash may have had more to do with driver error and an unsorted out car with newly designed shock absorbers than any problem with lift. It is my opinion that the D-Type was intended to be fully enclosed for almost all but the slowest tracks like Monaco and Pau.

BTW Pomeroy's book does not talk a lot about this car except for early problems with the new type shock absorbers.


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#13 Dennis David

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 10:56

Acording to Karl it was late May that they tested the car at the 'Ring.

Don what sources are you quoting regarding Auto Union considering front engine cars as early as D Types? I know that they were considering them for the E Type 1 1/2 liter cars according to their technical director Wilhem Werner. Prof. Eberhorst the real brains behind Auto Union, Prof. Porsche not withstanding was still convinced that the rear-engine was the way to go.

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#14 Don Capps

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 12:44

Kirchberg has a set of drawings of the studies for the front-engined cars.

Just skimming through both Kirchberg & my notes, apparently AU just got off to a slow start, had some niggling problems with the engine and then the Typ D chassis and the season snuck up on them.

Agree with the assesment that the streamliner was lost at Reims to an error on the human side. BTW, there were "langem" and "kurem" Heck versions of the Stromlinie.

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#15 Dennis David

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 13:47

Kirchberg, Is that the German book on Auto Union? How would you rate it. I was thinking of getting it.

I still think that it was Werner that was pushing it. I can't believe that Eberhan was very happy with it though.

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#16 Leif Snellman

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 15:59

There are pictures of both the long and short variants in Kirschberg's book (page 144-145) and a very interesting picture of a wind tunnel modell on page 135 but I have failed to find anything about them in the text.
Dennis,
Kirscherg is rather a collection of old documents than a traditional racing history book, so it is not all-covering. It can have 6 pages about one race and then skip the rest of that season. But the documents and the 155 pictures are so interesting that the book is a must for the "Golden Era" enthusiast.


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#17 MCH

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 19:29

I hope I'm not bothering you with this, but since I'm interested in the Kirschberg book I would really like to know the ISBN and publisher.

Thank you in advance.

#18 Leif Snellman

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 21:00

The name of the book is:
Grand-Prix-Report
Auto union
1934-1939
by Peter Kirchberg
I happen to own an East German edition
(Transpress VEB Verlag für Vehrkehrswesen, Berlin 1984) but the original was as far as I know from Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, 1982. So someone else has to help with the ISBN. Don?


#19 Dennis David

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Posted 23 March 2000 - 23:24

Thanks, I'll have to get me a copy.

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#20 Don Capps

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Posted 24 March 2000 - 00:09

I have the 1982 edition. The Kirchberg book will drive you crazy. I always use it in conjunction with my notes from other sources. However, the pictures and some of the other aspects of it are absolutely wonderful.

ISBN is 3-87943-876-5

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#21 AUSTRIA

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Posted 24 March 2000 - 01:21

Don, may I (nativ german speaking) give you a little advice, reflecting on the "langem" and "kurem" Heck versions of the Stromlinie, you mentioned above?

'langem' and 'kurZem' are simply the dativ-forms of 'lang' (=long) and 'kurz' (=short).
So these are the same two versions, Leif called the long and the short version.

BTW 'Stromlinie' means 'streamline', but I think you knew it already. ;)

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E.T.

[This message has been edited by AUSTRIA (edited 03-23-2000).]

#22 Dennis David

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Posted 24 March 2000 - 04:02

Thanks Austria but I think we all knew that already, even Don ;-) What part of Austria are you from? I own a timeshare in Maria Alm that I visit every other year off-season (summer).

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#23 Roger Clark

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Posted 24 March 2000 - 04:37

A couple of people have mentioned that AU took two streamliners to Reims. What's the evidence for this? If Muller's car was a streamliner and was only slightly damaged, why didn't one of the other drivers take it over? I fthe only problem was shock absorbers, why did the streamliner never appear again?

#24 MCH

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Posted 24 March 2000 - 15:43

Thanks for the quick response :)

I'll try and get me a copy of it asap.




#25 Leif Snellman

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Posted 24 March 2000 - 15:54

Well Roger, you answered most of those questions yourself in your initial letter under this topic.
Evidence of two streamliners? See Monkhouse's "Motor Racing with Mercerdes-Benz" (Foulis London 948) Page 124. (If you can find it :) )


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#26 AUSTRIA

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Posted 24 March 2000 - 18:17

Dennis, in the deepest wild west, near the swiss-border and close to the 'Bodensee'.

E.T.

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#27 Dennis David

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Posted 24 March 2000 - 22:56

That's a beautiful area. I've been on the german side many times. What the name of your town?

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#28 Dennis David

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Posted 24 March 2000 - 23:01

There was a faction in Auto Union that still believed in the streemliners but they I guess found themselves in the minority and with all of the other problems mounting including believe it or not funding they decided to go with the open wheel cars.

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#29 AUSTRIA

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Posted 25 March 2000 - 02:27

Dennis, feel free to mail me for further talking about Austria.

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E.T.

#30 Roger Clark

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Posted 25 March 2000 - 03:13

Lief, You're right about Monkhouses "Motor Racing with M-B" (of course), but his later "Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Racing 1934-55" says there was one streamliner!

#31 Leif Snellman

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Posted 25 March 2000 - 05:02

Just wonderful! :( :( So you mean that only Hasse had a streamliner? I cannot deny nor confirm that.

#32 Dennis David

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Posted 25 March 2000 - 06:27

I have other sources that tell of two plus Monkhouse was not at that particular race since he relates Seaman sending him a letter describing it.

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#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 March 2000 - 09:33

A copy of that would be interesting!

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#34 Tarnik

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Posted 03 April 2000 - 05:36

About the record-setting streamliner, are thaere are other websites with info/pictures about it? The current BMW V12 sportscar racer looks almost indentical, minus the wings.

[This message has been edited by Tarnik (edited 04-02-2000).]