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Mercedes and paint-stripping


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#1 Michael Müller

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Posted 27 January 2002 - 23:45

We had some racing colours topics before, including one about the "birth" of the silver arrows at the 1934 Eifelrennen. My personal opinion is that the "paint stripping story" is untrue, however, I'm too tired now (0.45 a.m.), will try to find some time tomorrow to write detailed posting.

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#2 Michael Müller

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Posted 28 January 2002 - 11:44

Although Neubauer’s “silver arrow story” meanwhile belongs to the fixed points of motorsoport history, I’m not sure whether it is really true. The Eifelrennen was on 3 June 1934, and one week earlier on 27 May there was the AVUS race at Berlin, at which the Auto Union racers had been silver already! I have no photos available, but as mentioned by Hans in the earlier thread Chris Nixon’s book "Auto Union Album 1934-1939" confirms this undoubtly.

Mercedes had entered for the AVUS too, but cancelled their entry because the cars had been not 100 % ready. However, there had been tests at the AVUS the week before the race, and althoug b/w photos are not 100 % proof, at least one of the cars was white.

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The photo below shows von Brauchitsch, the later winner, at the start of the mentioned Eifenrennen, and in my opinion the finish of car is faultless. It is obviously a silver painting, and no plain aluminium with scratches and reamains of filler.

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The original photo is in the Daimler-Benz archive, and shows more clearly the perfekt finish of the silver body.

Another photo shows a W25 with obviously plain aluminium body, but white painted wheels. It is also a works photo, clearly taken under studio conditions, and also lacking a race number. I believe that this photo has been taken between the AVUS and the Eifelrennen at the factory, probably already before the AVUS tests.

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It is my opinion that Mercedes-Benz had realized the silver painted Auto Unions at the AVUS, and consequently took over the colour, however, not in a panic action at the Nürburgring, but professionally at home in their workshops. Also for sure not for weight reasons, because silver paint is even heavier than white one (at that time they used micronized metal particles, and also - believe it or not - grinded fish scales!), but most probably for optical reasons.

Why Auto Union changed from white to silver, and why Mercedes-Benz followed them, is still an open question, and I could not find out anything about this. There must have been a kind of deal between the ONS and the AIACR, which allowed silver. The next race was at Montlhery, and one can be sure that the French would have refused the German cars, if the colour would have been different from the allowed one.

Fact is that the “scratching action” first popped up in Neubauer’s memoirs, and after that it has been taken over by numerous others writers. In the contemporary press nothing seems to be reported about this. However, we all know that Don Alfredo was a really great and amusing story teller, who always added some new details to his storys to make them more interesting. The Tripoli 1933 story seems to be a good example for this.

Also Manfred von Brauchitsch in his memoirs tells the scratching story, after the entry refusal due to overweight at the Eiferennen, the team had a meeting at the pits, and von Brauchitsch said “Now, well, it seems we are the lacquered ones ...” (in German this wording is used for “we are the fools”), and Neubauer jumped up, shouting “Manfred, you said it - lacquer! - that’s it!”.
Neubauer’s book was first published in 1958, and von Brauchitsch’s “Ohne Kampf kein Sieg” came only in 1964, so probably the baron had taken over some sequences from his formerly master.
I also remember an interview with von Brauchitsch from the 90s (have it on tape somewhere), where he said (freely translated from German to English) “Now you start with that scratching, with that fat guy who srcatched the paint. I was present, and could tell you something else ..., we both had that idea, but the paunch liked to brag of it, but let him do so!”

I also remember an interview somehere in the 90s with a MB mechanic, who at that time belonged to the Rennabteilung, who said, that the white paint had been removed already at the factory before the Eifelrennen. Unfortunately I don’t remember details.

2 months ago there was an article in the German classic car magazine „Motor-Klassik“ about the „silver arrows“ and the their history. Of course they repeated the old Eifelrennen scratching tale, and they also wrote that Auto Union followed Mercedes-Benz later. I wrote them a reader’s comment with content similar to this posting, but never heard anything from the author. Understandably, because “Motor-Klassik” can be seen as the unofficial Mercedes-Benz PR magazine.

For me it is proven that Auto Union used the silver livery earlier than Mercedes-Benz, and for 90 % the circumstancial evidences are against the Nürburgring scratching story. Of course this story is still today a very important part of the Mercedes glorification myth, and we can be sure that there is no interest at all at MB (sorry, Daimler-Chrysler) to correct it.
However, I believe that the real reasons behind the change of race colour from white to silver could be very interesting, and they are an important detail of the racing history of the 30s. And the only place able to bring light into this mysterious incident is TNF. So guys, any comments please.

#3 William Hunt

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Posted 28 January 2002 - 16:14

Maybe Auto Union thought that silver looks more spectacular and Mercedes decided to follow them.

#4 Michael Müller

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Posted 28 January 2002 - 16:53

Don't think it was that easy. Auto Union could think what they want, the national colours had been part of the sporting regulations of the AIACR, and the ONS was member. For AVUS and Eiffelrennen probably a permit by the ONS to change colour was sufficient, but surely not for Montlhery. I believe that the colour change was initiated from somebody rather high in the hierarchy, may be Adolf himself. Somebody obviously not only had the power to arrange the new colour scheme with ONS, but also with AIACR. My hope at this moment concentrates on Hans with his treasury of contemporary magazines ...!

#5 karlcars

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Posted 02 February 2002 - 10:20

Slightly tweaked, the text in "Quicksilver Century" about the Merc W25 is as follows:

The official scales at the Nürburgring were unsympathetic. They showed that the new white cars were two kilogrammes over the limit. Last-minute changes had forced the weight up, like the small scoop on the right side of the cowl that led cool air to a duct down to the clutch.

At the first weigh-in, the two cars were passed as meeting the limit. But the team manager of the Scuderia Ferrari, entrants of the Alfa Romeos, on a sudden whim reached into the cockpit of one of them and pressed on the brake pedal. It flopped down to the floor. Some fluids could be omitted for the weighing, but not brake fluid. When properly topped up the cars were over the limit — and the saga of the paint and filler began. Now there was nothing, the engineers argued, that they could or would remove.

Luigi Fagioli’s chief mechanic, Hermann Lang, recalled the situation: “The cars had been painted very carefully, in order to get an excellent finish, but the bodies were uneven hand-beaten aluminium. This meant a lot of lead filler was applied before the paint was sprayed on.” The idea of stripping the paint and filler “could well have come from one of the mechanics, because we were all standing around discussing what could be done about the problem.”

Off came all the carefully-applied paint and filler. A light coat of silver paint was sprayed on to mask imperfections. Looking more sinister, more menacing, the cars squeaked past the weighing-in and came to the line in matte aluminium. This remained the racing colour of Mercedes-Benz cars. It led to the nickname of Silberpfeile or Silver Arrows that was bestowed upon them in the 1930s by the German press.

I am pretty happy with this interpretation of events from a good source. It's not just the paint that was removed but some filler as well. It would have been hard work, but the cars could have been taken back to the factory for these changes and returned to the 'Ring for the final weigh-in.

#6 Michael Müller

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Posted 02 February 2002 - 13:14

2 things which still makes me thinking, one is the perfect finish of von Brauchitsch's car on the photo, the other is the fact that the Auto Unions has been silver already the week before at Berlin's AVUS. I remember that the Eifelrennen start photo some time ago was available at the Mercedes-Benz homepage's press part in much better quality say resolution, where the fine glossy finish was much more detectable. Unfortunately this part of the website is not public anymore, you need press accreditation and login. And why had the Auto Unions been silver already at AVUS, with the Mercs to be still white at the Nürburgring? Would really like to see a contemporary article in the German motor press over the 1934 Eifelrennen, which for sure must contain any comment about the new silver colour.

Hans :confused:

#7 Catalina Park

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Posted 02 February 2002 - 13:56

Can you get Lead filler to stick to Aluminum?

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2002 - 14:21

Originally posted by Catalina Park
Can you get Lead filler to stick to Aluminum?


If you use Araldite, I suppose...

I was wondering this too... but I have no answer.

Michael's question makes the whole thing look a bit crooked, I think.

#9 Michael Müller

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Posted 02 February 2002 - 14:45

Believe it was no lead, but a kind of tin alloy. We use the same still today.

#10 William Hunt

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Posted 02 February 2002 - 16:00

Well, the mistery still remains unsolved then...

#11 karlcars

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Posted 02 February 2002 - 16:35

I would question the "perfect finish" referred to in the photo of the W25 on the grid for the 1934 Eifelrennen. Especially down around the shrouds over the front suspension it looks pretty lumpy. I don't see any inconsistency between the appearance of this car and the story related by Lang.

I agree that Lang probably didn't mean "lead" literally but body filler as has been used throughout the years by many, including the Italians, on aluminum.

#12 Holger Merten

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Posted 27 June 2002 - 19:58

Good discussion I like TNF and that knowledge of the people.

I guess, what Michael wrote in this thread is right. AU was first, MB followed and the German classic magazin "Motor Klassik" is the unofficial PR Magazin of MB.

Now back to the facts in this "no longer used" thread.

The white/silver discussion came back by MB, when they raced in Le Mans with Sauber, please correct me -in1989- (I'm only a little bit interested in Le Mans since 1999, because of Audi.)

In the early 90s a mechanic from MB from the 30s, his name was Eugen Reichle, said this colour-story from the 30s was a fairy tale. The MB haven't been painted white. And two of his old colleagues said the same. Also no Magazin or a Race-Story from that time in germany in the 30s ever talked about a colourchange by MB. Not in training sessions or in race sessions. Also you couldn't find a foto of a white MB W 25 - would be nice, MB could show us one from their great archiv to make the story more true.

There are only pictures, which show us the W 25 in former training sessions in spring in front of the "FORSTHAUS", the MB "Headquater" at the ring.

Much more interesting in that case is, why could the germans start in silver and not in the national colour white? As we know that the A.I.A.C.R. had it in the Annex?. (Also in this thread). Does anybody know.

So the W25s haven't ever been painted in white, the wheels maybe, as Michael posted the foto on this thread. But why the white wheels. Fact is that AU started in silver before on the Avus, and nobody was against the colour, no protest, nothing. May because everybody thought, the white colour was reserved for MB as representing Germany and not that unknown manufacturer AU? Nobody knows. And on the top, with such a special mid-sized-engine-construction. But this is just an idea, butI could imagine, it could be possible. And that MB did it like AU and followed.

And another fact is, that the name "Silberpfeil" (Silver Arrow) was written the first time in an 1937 in the magazin of the GP of Germany. May the people were talking about the "silverarrows" but nobody named it like that in press. But it wasn't such a marketing driven time than it is today.

And so it took three years that the name was printed. And just to add that. About the name "Silberpfeil". The name and the right belong to Audi since the early 90s. They made a deal with MB: not to use that name for a car (it was the time they showed the Audi Avus in Tokio in 1991) and MB gave back all rights about the name Horch and the Logo and so on. ( It was the time of the A8 shown as show car in 1993 in Frankfurt and Tokio, presented in 1994)

So, may we contimue on this thread, with those who are interseted in the time when AU and MB started the era of the "silverarrows". Michael?

#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 July 2002 - 10:32

Originally posted by Holger Merten
So the W25s haven't ever been painted in white


Umm - in the Zoltan Glass collection of photographs at the Museum of Photography and Film in Bradford I saw a lovely shot of the W25s being prepared, apparently in a farmyard adjacent to the Nurburgring in 1934. The cars in those pix I am sure were white. I have found this early pic published in the Burgaller/Stuck buch. White or silver???

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#14 Holger Merten

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Posted 05 July 2002 - 11:43

Doug I believe it is white.

We have pictures, we have quotes from people working arraound the cars, and how can we prove the real story. I think this pictures is a white MB. But when was that picture taken.


Just for a for better understanding:
What I'd liked to say is. May MB painted them white before the first races, but until AU presented their cars silver, and nobody argued about national colourpaintings, they also used silver instead of white. I' don't believe the story of neubauer, but I don't have facts.

And as I wrote in this thread, the interesting thing is, why were AU and MB allowed to race in silver, instead of white? And did AU ever think about a white Type A? Or not....

#15 uechtel

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Posted 05 July 2002 - 18:53

Somewhere I read the explanation, that in heraldry white is the equivalent to silver just like yellow is that for gold (just like the German flag, the colurs of which are given as black-red-gold). But I don´t remember any more where and when I have this from.

Don´t know, whether this can be taken serious, but perhaps a little trace.

#16 Michael Müller

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Posted 05 July 2002 - 20:35

Realize only now that Holger has taken up this old topic. I agree with him on most points, as in fact his theory is the same than mine. The mechanic of the Rennabteilung mentioned by me now has a name, Eugen Reichle, which means that my remembering about this interview is correct.

But I do not agree with Holger’s opinion that the W25s never had been painted white. The picture posted by me from the AVUS tests in my opinion clearly shows a white car, and I also believe the car posted by Doug is clearly white, but with dark wheels. Believe this photo has been taken during testing sessions on public roads in February 1934, as it shows the prototype without headrest, and carries registration plates. The fact that the wheels are white on the one photo posted by me in my opinion does not mean that this was a special colour for the wheels only. The car itself look like bare aluminium, which could mean that the white paint has been stripped down. Removing paint mechanically from wire wheels is a nearly impossible task, so they simply left them unchanged. Theory, I know.

However, the wheels may be the key to solve this question. If really the paint has been stripped down before the scrutineering at the Nürburgring, nobody would have stripped the wheel spokes also, because only 10-20 grams or so would be achieved, therefore in that case the cars would have been entered with white wheels. The photo I have of van Brauchitsch’s car at the Eifelrennen is a frontal one, so the wheels cannot be spotted, and the other one in my opinion has been taken under studio conditions, and not at the pits of the Ring. So, anybody having available some photos of that event? Strange enough, the one I posted here in this thread is the only one I could find, even Karl’s Mercedes bible does not include a single picture of the very first race of the Mercedes GP cars of the 30’s - normally all books and articles about the “Silver Arrows” should honour this rather historic moment with corresponding photos. Strange, or?

However, one thing is confirmed, the Auto Unions already at the AVUS had been silver, whether bare aluminium or paint doesn’t matter, so in any case Mercedes-Benz, sorry - Daimler-Chrysler, can remove the “invention of the Silver Arrows” from their roll of honour. But some rather important questions remain, asked by me earlier in this thread, and repeated by Holger: Why had the AUs been silver at the AVUS? Why and when did MB follow? And why, when, and how did the AIACR authorize this colour change?

Very interesting is Holger’s report, that the rights on the name “Silberpfeil” and the “Horch” brand had been part of an exchange deal between DB and Audi in 1991. I knew of course that the “Audi” brand belonged to Daimler-Benz after they accquired Audi-NSU AG in the 60’s, and they had been clever enough to exclude this trademark from their deal when they sold the whole stuff to Volkswagen some years later. When Audi later became a serious competitor to Mercedes-Benz in the luxury class this trademark was a valuable treasure, because a luxury Audi under the Horch brand would have removed the last bit of “headmaster image” Audi still had in those years. I didn’t know about this deal, but it confirms that the “Silberpfeil” history is a very important part of DB’s marketing image.

PS: if the impression comes up that I don’t like the threepointed star, that’s absolutely not correct, my first car 30 years ago came from Stuttgart, and my actual one also, as well as 80 % in between ...!

#17 Doug Nye

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Posted 05 July 2002 - 21:41

Since the initial Auto Union A-Types had part fabric side panels at least that part was not 'bare metal' at AVUS. Those sections, at least, must have been painted - or doped?

DCN

#18 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 06 July 2002 - 05:43

Originally posted by Michael Müller
.....The photo I have of van Brauchitsch’s car at the Eifelrennen is a frontal one, so the wheels cannot be spotted, and the other one in my opinion has been taken under studio conditions, and not at the pits of the Ring. So, anybody having available some photos of that event? Strange enough, the one I posted here in this thread is the only one I could find, even Karl’s Mercedes bible does not include a single picture of the very first race of the Mercedes GP cars of the 30’s - normally all books and articles about the “Silver Arrows” should honour this rather historic moment with corresponding photos. Strange, or?.....

There is one picture in George Monkhouse’s book MERCEDES-BENZ GRAND PRIX RACING 1934-1955, the same as in MOTOR und SPORT 1934 report. Another is in Cimarosti’s book, History of Grand Prix Motor Racing, same as in AAZ (A) 1934 report and yet another one is found in William Court’s Power And Glory. All of them show the car in motion and none of them display any detail of the wheels.

#19 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 20:59

Bringing up this thread once again, because of BS Levy's new thread about German race colours.

I think the way from the white AU's and MB is one of the most interesting questions of the "golden era" of the 30's.

Looking on this thread I'd like to add two sources, which, from my point of view, show the AU "prototype" from 1933 at testruns at the Nürburgring painted white.

There is one picture in Chris Nixon Auto Union Album, p. 8 and and another one in Ian Bamsey's Auto Union V 16 supercharged, p.which shows the AU from the side. (If this pictures show the same car, is another question, cause there are some differencies in the body).

But my impression is, that the car is painted white, cause there are the polished centre-lock fixings for the tyres, which can be identified as "silver", while the rest of the body seemed to be white as the D-plate (for Germany) on the tail of the car.

The colour must changed after 1933 until the Avus race, where AU started. I couldn't proof a change from white to silver with my pictures from the AU testruns in early 1934 (Monza/Avus), cause of the bad quality of the pictures.

Of which reason AU started silver at Avus ? They were first, before MB. The weight couldn't be a a good answer for the AU's. They never had problems with the 750kg formula (especially when they shortend the tail and saved some more 30kg) , while MB often had problems to qualify the cars.

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#20 Michael Müller

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 22:59

I agree that the P car in the Bamsey book looks like white, but the quality of the picture is not good enough to be 100 % sure. The "D" in my opinion looks more like a plain letter painted to the car than a sticker with a white background, and the wheel nuts could be chromed.

I agree totally with Holger, but for me more important than AVUS and Eifelrennen is Montlhery, where the French racing authorities for sure would have not permitted the German cars, if the silver colour was not legalized by the AIACR.

Believe we can list the open questions as follows:
(1) Why did the AU's appear at AVUS in silver instead of white?
(2) Why did MB follow them (forget the paint scratching legend!)?
(3) When did MB change from white to silver? Already at AVUS (testing before the event), or only at the Nürburgring?
(4) When and how did the governing motorsport bodies (ONS and AIACR) legalize silver as alternative colour?
(5) Why was white used till the 50's?
(6) When was white dropped officially by the FIA?

#21 dretceterini

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 17:00

I don't think either the Auto Unions or the Mercedes of this period were actually painted white.

#22 dretceterini

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 17:12

I don't have a copy of the regulations, and my ability with any language other than English is minimal..but is it possible that there is something in the regulations that allows the cars NOT to be painted, and the Germans used this loophole?

Also, would anyone be willing to raise enough protest to disqualify the German cars because of paint in the political climate of that time??

#23 Michael Müller

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 18:51

Originally posted by dretceterini
I don't think either the Auto Unions or the Mercedes of this period were actually painted white.

No comment

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#24 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 19:38

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Michael, look at the back of the car. The D-plate, seems to be the same one than on the AU in Nixon's book on page 8?

#25 Felix Muelas

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 20:30

Originally posted by Holger Merten
There is one picture in Chris Nixon Auto Union Album, p. 8

I think it is about time that we all see that picture...if only to follow the logic of Holger´s hypothesis (*) and points of view ;)

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(*) Hypothesis : explanation which gives a reason for observed phenomena, theory (specially in the sciences) ; supposition, assumption

#26 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 20:38

Thank you Felix for following this thread and posting this BIG photo, which shows Willy Walb the team-manager of AU during testdrives at the Nürburgring in November with the AU Longtail A-Typ. :up:

#27 Holger Merten

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 20:42

But my impression is, that the car is painted white, cause there are the polished centre-lock fixings for the tyres, which can be identified as "silver", while the rest of the body seemed to be white as the D-plate (for Germany) on the tail of the car.



Just to add this. And compare the D-plate with the pictures of the MB, posted by Michael.

#28 dretceterini

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Posted 12 February 2003 - 17:51

Michael:

Something about the photo of the W25 with the number plate on the side of the tail looks very funny to me.

In the photo of the W25 with the workers in the snow, the snow looks to be more white than the car.

Strangely, to my eyes, the only picture that convinces me to any degree is the one of the Auto Union A longtail, as the wheels appear to be more grey/silver than the car!

I'm NOT saying that the cars weren't white at some point, but the photos do not convince me 100%.

#29 oldtimer

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Posted 12 February 2003 - 20:20

Re the painted wheels: The 750Kg formula did NOT include wheels and tyres, so stripping paint off the W25 wheels would not have been necessary.

Which leads back to Whitney Straight's comments about the AU posted much earlier, where it seems the myth of 12cwt was already established. In 1934, these cars had an all up weight of at least 20cwt on the grid. And when did AU get 600 bhp out of their engine? My understanding is that AU restricted the power of the 16 cylinder engines because they could not cure the wheel spin problem. The 16 cylinder engine had enormous torque compared to the MB. Enormous by any standard, really.

Fascinating thread. Will TNF solve another mystery?

#30 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 February 2003 - 22:24

Originally posted by dretceterini
Michael:

Something about the photo of the W25 with the number plate on the side of the tail looks very funny to me.

In the photo of the W25 with the workers in the snow, the snow looks to be more white than the car.

Strangely, to my eyes, the only picture that convinces me to any degree is the one of the Auto Union A longtail, as the wheels appear to be more grey/silver than the car!

I'm NOT saying that the cars weren't white at some point, but the photos do not convince me 100%.


If the colours of the cars which attended Goodwood from the MB museum are correct, then Mercedes raced in a shade best described as "off-white", very close to being "pale cream". Somewhere I have a Matchbox model of a 1908 GP Mercedes in the same shade!

German number plates, OTOH, are snow-white!

#31 Michael Müller

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Posted 12 February 2003 - 22:59

Originally posted by oldtimer
Re the painted wheels: The 750Kg formula did NOT include wheels and tyres, so stripping paint off the W25 wheels would not have been necessary.

The wheels had been included in the weight, only the tyres not. But the paint on the rims and spokes you can count in grams.

#32 dretceterini

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Posted 12 February 2003 - 23:58

I was speaking only of the 1930s cars. I am aware that the 1908 and 1914 GP cars were "off-white", along with the 1923 rear-engined GP car. I still am not convinced that the 1930s GP cars were white. My father was a panel beter on the Mercedes team, and he never mentioned the cars being white...than again, he didn't ever have a reason to do so...

#33 oldtimer

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 00:55

Originally posted by Michael Müller

The wheels had been included in the weight, only the tyres not. But the paint on the rims and spokes you can count in grams.


According to Pomeroy, in his The Grand prix Car 1906-1939, the 750Kg formula did not include wheels and tyres. However, in 1938, the 850Kg formula did include wheels and tyres. According to the numbers for these components given by Pomeroy, a set of wheels and tyres would weigh about 100Kg.

Seems like the rule setters of old had as much grasp of racing technology as the present bunch. :)

#34 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 09:22

Originally posted by dretceterini
I was speaking only of the 1930s cars. I am aware that the 1908 and 1914 GP cars were "off-white", along with the 1923 rear-engined GP car. I still am not convinced that the 1930s GP cars were white. My father was a panel beter on the Mercedes team, and he never mentioned the cars being white...than again, he didn't ever have a reason to do so...


The 1923 car was of course a Benz, before the merger. Pictures of the 1926 car at AVUS seem to show it wasn't as bright a white as Caratsch's linen helmet. The NSUs look brighter than the Mercs too, so the 1926 car was probably the old off-white colour.

The 1927 S, 1928 SS and 1929 SSK OTOH look a bright white. We also need to consider the 1931-2 SSKLs. These were white, but what shade - I have no clear pics of these to hand.

#35 Michael Müller

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 14:42

According to Pomeroy, in his The Grand prix Car 1906-1939, the 750Kg formula did not include wheels and tyres.


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#36 oldtimer

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 19:45

Thank you Michael - 'nuff said. Pomeroy leads us astray again. :

#37 Holger Merten

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 20:54

I think so, Oldtimer, and MB too.


What, if the whole story of the "before the Nürburgring-race-white painted MB" is a fake?

#38 dretceterini

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 21:38

From what I have seen, the SSK and SSKLs were originally an off white...not reallyquite cream or ivory, but not a pure white either. It's also difficult to tell what color the mudguards were on some of the cars...red, maroon, burgandy, black..???

#39 Holger Merten

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 21:51

Yes, but what if the whole story is a simple fake?

Nobody is talking about silver AU's at the AVUS. Nobody is laking about the silver-before white-painted-MB at the Nürburgring at that time. What happened?

Where the cars simply silver, not painted-or do we believe a story of the Neubauer/MvB connection in cooperation with MB?

Fact is, that AU and MB never talked about the silverarrowas until 1939. Am I allright? But why?Wasn't that necessary?

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#40 Barry Lake

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Posted 14 February 2003 - 01:34

Why weight the cars without tyres, I wonder?

Did they suspect people might fill them with helium to get down to the required weight?

#41 Michael Müller

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Posted 14 February 2003 - 07:46

Have this question in my mind already since long time. May be they considered the tyres not as elemental part of the cars, but as "consumables", because they needed to be changed so often.

#42 oldtimer

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Posted 14 February 2003 - 19:05

Another thought is that not all cars used the same tyre size. Mercedes used different wheel and tyre sizes for different circuits according to Pomeroy, and presumably AU did the same. Even if my confidence in Pomeroy has diminished, George Monkhouse's book shows shots of W154s which are clearly on 22in. wheels rather than the normal 19in. The W154s were racing under the 850Kg formula, but the point is that different wheel sizes were used and the tyres would have different weights.

Speaking of Monkhouse, he also carries the story of the paint removal.

Monkhouse's book also shows a B&W picture of the the grid for the 1934 Spanish GP. The W25s are clearly painted white with the numeral 111A and D painted on the tail, whilst the AU looks silver by comparison. Now the Spanish GP was held after the Eifel race, the event where the famous, or infamous paint, removal took place.

Curiouser and curiouser...

#43 dretceterini

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Posted 14 February 2003 - 19:58

Supposedly Hitler was into a lot of superstition and metaphysical stuff. Maybe the silver arrows thing is just a political term that was used and has something to do with a silver bullet or arrow needed to kill off evil vampires...like the French :blush:

#44 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 February 2003 - 20:24

Tyre weights would vary with wear also... do they then need to stipulate unworn tyres?

Then again, the helium suggestion is a good one.

#45 Michael Müller

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Posted 14 February 2003 - 21:53

It is correct that Mercedes used different wheel and tyre sizes latest at the W154, but in 1932 when the formula was created this was totally unusual.
And the Spanish GP was at the end of the season, with a lot of other races in between where the cars definitively had been silver.
I have a lot of photos in my archive, where the quality, the light, or whatsoever may cause the color look like white, but I don't believe that for 1938 or 1939 this would be basis for any discussion.

#46 Catalina Park

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Posted 14 February 2003 - 22:10

Originally posted by Barry Lake
Why weight the cars without tyres, I wonder?

To make the mechanics work harder!

I suspect it was for safety reasons, to stop the development of lightweight tyres.

Could you imagine them shaving the tread from the tyres instead of shaving the paint from the car to get that last kilogram off!

#47 Catalina Park

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Posted 14 February 2003 - 22:16

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Then again, the helium suggestion is a good one.


The Germans could not get helium so they would have had to use hydrogen (oh the humanity)

#48 Leif Snellman

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Posted 15 February 2003 - 10:40

Originally posted by Barry Lake
Why weight the cars without tyres, I wonder?

The rules said to weight the car without driver, fuel, oil, water or tyres (as those things were not to be considered part of the car itself).
Now, it wasn't uncommon for teams with weight problems to remove both tyres AND wheels before the weight check and it was as I understand it also usually accepted.

#49 Vitesse2

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 09:11

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Originally posted by Holger Merten
Doug I believe it is white.

We have pictures, we have quotes from people working arraound the cars, and how can we prove the real story. I think this pictures is a white MB. But when was that picture taken.


Funnily enough, Holger, I was about to revive this thread! I can't tell you when the picture was taken but - as Felix, Brun and Racer.Demon already know - I can give a date which might just be first publication! The same picture appears in Motor-Kritik, 1934/6, page 134, published mid-March 1934, as one of the illustrations to a long article called "Volkskanzler - Volksfahrzeug - Volksausstellung".

Even if it's not the first time it was published, at least we now know where to start looking!

#50 Brun

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Posted 15 September 2003 - 09:20

Originally posted by Holger Merten
Of which reason AU started silver at Avus ? They were first, before MB. The weight couldn't be a a good answer for the AU's. They never had problems with the 750kg formula (especially when they shortend the tail and saved some more 30kg) , while MB often had problems to qualify the cars.


As it happens, we had a small discussion on this one while visiting Goodwood. My idea was that someone has to visit the Mercedes and AU archives to see if there are bills for paint from the 1930s. I mean, if they painted them white, they had to buy the stuff, didn't they?