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Rudolf Uhlenhaut... a real genius


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#1 LukeECNorris

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 22:13

Hi all, This is my first post on the board after being more of a distant observer for a few years.

 

What has always Irked me a tad is the praise that is always heaped onto the likes of Adrian Newey and Colin Chapman for example, but the man who to me was the most innovative of them all, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, is overlooked completely. I'm not only talking about on these forums, but by the general motorsport media as a whole.

 

My feelings of admiration and respect towards Uhlenhaut are not only due to his creation of some of the most iconic cars that have ever graced the track, but also because of his habit of taking the cars out onto the track himself to verify the problem himself, and if a solution was found. 

 

After lapping the 'Ring 3 Seconds faster than JM Fangio, he surely must have been a world class driver himself, driving an SLR as a daily company car and all that too.

 

I would just like your thoughts and opinions of the man himself, which of all the models he created you find the most impressive, and why you think that he is often overlooked by the media?

 

Thanks all

 

EC


Edited by LukeECNorris, 13 November 2013 - 12:58.


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#2 Simon Davis

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 22:51

Hi EC,

 

Congratulations on your first post. Nice to hear from you.

 

I agree with your sentiments about Uhlenhaut's talent, both as an engineer and as a driver. Maybe he is a victim of the passage of time? Afterall, what about other great engineers and designers of bygone years? Adrian Newey is obviously of the moment and Colin Chapman's legacy is still recent enough to be remembered by many racing fans.

 

In terms of Uhlenhaut's cars I think all of the Mercedes models that he worked on are extraordinary but for me the 1937 W125 is a particular favourite.

 

I never met Uhlenhaut but judging by interviews, articles and film footage I get the impression that he was a decent, intelligent man with both feet firmly on the ground. He clearly had the respect of the Mercedes drivers, both pre and post-war, probably due in no small part to his excellent driving skills.

 

Simon.



#3 bradbury west

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 23:05

Welcome on board. What a good topic. I share your views. ISTR that Vintage Racecar had an article on him a few months back, and a piece by Tony Dron in Octane on the lightweight coupe covered Uhlenhaut well. I believe Jenks held him in very high regard too.
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#4 Roger Clark

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 23:52

I don't believe he lapped the 'Ring faster than Fangio but he was undoubtedly a very good driver and largely responsible for the esteem with which Mercedes-Benz were held for so many years.

I particularly like the story told by Denis Jenkinson in 1965. He had been invited to a Mercedes press day at Hockenheim. Uhlenhaut was by this time Chief Engineer of Meredes passenger cars but he took time off talking to serious journalists to take Jenks for a few laps in a Typ 600 limousine. He drove - perhaps it's best to say in the way that DSJ wanted him to drive - at one stage getting into a boy racer duel with S Moss, there as a journalist and driving a 200 saloon. As Jenks said afterwards: " you have to respect a company that has a man like that as Chief Engineer".

#5 Updraught

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 02:54

A friend of mine had business dealing with Uhlenhaut years ago. My friend once asked Uhlenhaut how he had obtained his job with the Mercedes racing team. Uhlenhaut responded that no one else had actually wanted the job, as having to stand before the Board when Mercedes did not win was such a terrifying experience!



#6 JoBo

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 08:55

Hi all, This is my first post on the board after being more of a distant observer for a few years.

 

What has always Irked me a tad is the praise that is always heaped onto the likes of Adrian Newey and Colin Chapman for example, but the man who to me was the most innovative of them all, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, is overlooked completely. I'm not only talking about on these forums, but by the general motorsport media as a whole.

 

My feelings of admiration and respect towards Uhlenhaut are not only due to his creation of some of the most iconic cars that have ever graced the track, but also because of his habit of taking the cars out onto the track himself to verify the problem himself, and if a solution was found. 

 

After lapping the 'Ring 3 Seconds faster than JM Fangio, he surely must have been a world class driver himself, driving an SLR as a daily company car and all that too.

 

I would just like your thoughts and opinions of the man himself, which of all the models he created you find the most impressive, and why you think that he is often overlooked by the media?

 

Thanks all

 

EC

 

Hmmm... can not agree!

Uhlenhaut is fully recognised by all journalists, authors etc. who are writing about the Mercedes 30s- and 50s-period race activities as the man behind the fantastic MB-cars. 

 

He is forgotten by the wide public but truly remembered by all experts etc.

 

Adrian Newy is the Genius today but I doubt that he will be much remembered in 30+ years. Most of the public (outside UK) does not even know his name in our days.

 

Chapman was a Genius too, but his credits are mostly remembered due to his own car making named Lotus (and its close connection with Jim Clark). 

 

JoBo


Edited by JoBo, 13 November 2013 - 08:56.


#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 09:32

I don't believe he lapped the 'Ring faster than Fangio but he was undoubtedly a very good driver and largely responsible for the esteem with which Mercedes-Benz were held for so many years.

I've wondered about the 'Ring story too, Roger. But just to play devil's advocate, Uhlenhaut had no doubt completed several hundred testing laps there from 1936 onwards - as opposed to Fangio having raced there just three times before he joined the team in 1954: 1951 in an Alfetta and 1953 in an A6GCM and a Lancia D24.

 

Or perhaps he was faster than El Chueco on the Betonschleife?

 

My impression of Uhlenhaut is that he was quite content to be the 'back room boy', leaving the larger-than-life Neubauer to be the team's public face.



#8 Allan Lupton

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 10:28

Uhlenhaut is fully recognised by all journalists, authors etc. who are writing about the Mercedes 30s- and 50s-period race activities as the man behind the fantastic MB-cars. 

 

He is forgotten by the wide public but truly remembered by all experts etc.

So far as I know that is quite true.

All that and a native speaker's command of English which allowed us to appreciate what was going on, at least to the extent he was prepared to tell us.



#9 kayemod

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 11:16

I don't believe he lapped the 'Ring faster than Fangio but he was undoubtedly a very good driver and largely responsible for the esteem with which Mercedes-Benz were held for so many years.

 

 

I have no doubt at all that this "Three seconds faster than Fangio" quote stems either from a mistranslation or a misunderstanding from something written back in the 1950s. I'm not in any way trying to talk down Rudolf Uhlenhaut's undoubted talents, like the similarly skilled Colin Chapman he could certainly handle one of his GP cars with great aplomb, but like ACBC, he was middle of the grid fast at his best, and where the Nürburgring was concerned, unlike Fangio, he'd lapped the place often enough to know every tree. A statement I've seen, I suspect in one of Leonard Setright's works, is that Uhlenhaut was capable of lapping the Ring "within about 2% of Fangio's time in the same car". The car in question was the W196, and since Fangio's pole position in 1954 was 9'50", the fastest race lap was Karl Kling at 9'55", within 2% of those times is around twelve seconds. For a non-F1 driver to be able to lap the Nürburgring within twelve seconds of one of the greatest drivers who ever lived is a phenomenal achievement indeed, but let's be sensible, "faster than Fangio?" Never in a million years!



#10 RogerFrench

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 11:42

Uhlenhaut is a great subject for a thread, but forgotten? Not by enthusiasts and followers of racing history, surely? 

What is more, given the publicity that has attached to the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows in recent years, I'd wager he's had a lot more mention than, say Jano or Colombo.



#11 LukeECNorris

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 12:57

Uhlenhaut is a great subject for a thread, but forgotten? Not by enthusiasts and followers of racing history, surely? 

What is more, given the publicity that has attached to the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows in recent years, I'd wager he's had a lot more mention than, say Jano or Colombo.

I guess the way in which i have written the Thread Title is not the best, please accept my apologies. I know that those of us who are interested in the history of motorsport and racing history will know about his presence and achievements, but I just feel that Its a shame that the wider public are not made more aware of what he did for the sport by the general media. By that I mean the likes of the TV broadcasters who seem to always go on about the spirit of Ferrari and Lotus, and the respective founders of those teams, but the history of Mercedes is often overlooked past a brief mention of the successes in the 1950's. No real depth seems to be put into the research they present. The only places that you seem to find individuals who are aware of Uhlenhaut are either motorsport historians writing for their respective magazines, or members of this section of the forum. I think i'll change the Title to simply "Rudolf Uhlenhaut.. The Genius" as the replies so far all seem to indicate that TNF members are well aware of him. Sorry if I've been misleading in the Title, it is my first thread on these forums after all.

 

EC



#12 kayemod

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 13:20

I think i'll change the Title to simply "Rudolf Uhlenhaut.. The Genius" as the replies so far all seem to indicate that TNF members are well aware of him. Sorry if I've been misleading in the Title, it is my first thread on these forums after all.

 

EC

 

No harm done, but I'm sure a search would reveal several existing threads on Rudolf Uhlenhaut. As far as his name being unknown to many present-day racing or "Effwun" fanboys is concerned, that's no surprise at all, in most cases their "knowledge" of the sport is wafer thin and superficial, I was talking to one the other day who didn't know who Ayrton Senna was, I didn't press him on the true greats like Juan Manuel and Sir Stirling. I suspect that Uhlenhaut's name wouldn't have meant anything to an ordinary person in the street back in the time when he was active, but let's be honest, if you stopped an average person today and asked them to name one or two personalities from the 30's, 40's & 50's, most would struggle to get beyond Adolf Hitler and Winston Churchill, maybe Glen Miller as well if you were lucky. Some on TNF on the other hand could name most of the grid from Donington 1939, and probably their practice times as well...



#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 14:08

Some on TNF on the other hand could name most of the grid from Donington 1939, and probably their practice times as well...

If you're referring to the 1939 Donington GP then I suspect all of us could :p



#14 kayemod

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 14:19

If you're referring to the 1939 Donington GP then I suspect all of us could :p

 

I think even my late mum could have done that, she was at the 39GP, she had a bit of a thing going for Riley Driver Percy Maclure, and waved at him each time he came round. Not sure if she was too interested in those noisy silver things though, they just seemed to be getting in her Percy's way.



#15 Tim Murray

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 15:10

The 1939 Donington GP was scheduled for 30th September, but had to be cancelled for obvious reasons.



#16 David McKinney

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 15:31

I think V2 was joking...

And Kayemod didn't say anything about the Donington GP in Post 12 - I presumed he was referring to the Empire Trophy, or perhaps the Nuffield Trophy :)

#17 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 15:51

I think V2 was joking...

And Kayemod didn't say anything about the Donington GP in Post 12 - I presumed he was referring to the Empire Trophy, or perhaps the Nuffield Trophy :)

I don't think there were any noisy silver things in those. Not even the Multi-Union.



#18 Rudernst

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 16:58

First, I am and have always been an Uhlenhaut fan, he was a great engineer and driver very methodical and intelligent.

 

Buuut: I do wonder if "his" cars were particularly innovative, at fist glance I would say no at least for the pre war cars.

They were all either:

 - conventional (engine in front),

 - current state of the art at the time (move to all round independent suspension, as many of their competitors did at roughly the same time)

 - or positively ancient (welded engine block construction as per Daimler tradition and as per Edwardian (!) aircraft practice

 

Yes, a Mercedes W25 looked very modern especially compared to a Bugatti or an SSK but there were no breakthroughs under the skin in the Colin Chapman sense. And anyway M-B top brass would not really have contenounced risky flights of fancy.   

 

The real innovators in pre war GP racing were Auto Union who had much less state money at their disposal and built innovative and unusual cars and they paid the price having been less successful then M-B.

 

 

The pre war M-B Silver Arrows in my opionion were fairly conventional but well engineered cars that were developed methodically with a very large budget.

Very German and very Mercedes way to do it

 

The post war W196 featured desmodromic valve actuation, that was innovative at least in execution. I am not sure which role Uhlenhaut played in that particular decision. Again, the rest of the car seems to me well executed and integrated but where was the Innovation ?

The full wheel fairings of the W196 in ist first guise were unconventional and turned out not to be such a great idea.

 

aand the air brake of the Le Mans SLR was at least unusual, maybe innovative, but not such a great idea either, the real Innovation were disc brakes and they were developed elsewhere.

 

I am actually not sure if Uhlenhaut saw himself as an innovator

or wanted to be that at least not as an aim in itself.

He was very competitive and wanted to do what it took.

 

Uhlenhaut:

a good driver = yes

a very good and clever engineer = yes

a genius = hmm.. (really ? in the Einstein sense ??)

 

Rudernst


Edited by Rudernst, 13 November 2013 - 17:12.


#19 David McKinney

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 17:14

I don't think there were any noisy silver things in those. Not even the Multi-Union.

I specifically mentioned Post 12, which doesn't refer to noisy silver things :)

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#20 Charlieman

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 18:59

I guess the way in which i have written the Thread Title is not the best, please accept my apologies. I know that those of us who are interested in the history of motorsport and racing history will know about his presence and achievements, but I just feel that Its a shame that the wider public are not made more aware of what he did for the sport by the general media. By that I mean the likes of the TV broadcasters who seem to always go on about the spirit of Ferrari and Lotus...

 

Do not apologise much -- you have not caused any mischief and allow us to talk about cars which we love.

 

The thing about Ferrari and Lotus... and Porsche and Bugatti... is that the founder's name became associated with a particular brand. All four marques have been embarrassed by a dreadful car design but we forgive the marques owing to the gems that they delivered.

 

Rudolf Uhlenhaut was a startlingly good engineer and driver, but (apparently) not a marketing man. There is no Uhlenhaut brand and I'd be appalled if Mercedes Benz applied his name to a commercial project. But it would be nice to see his name, and others associated with Mercedes Benz racing history, carried on a current F1 car.

 

---

2% or 4% slower than the fastest racing driver in the world? The consideration is whether Uhlenhaut, as a test engineer, could provide appropriate feedback. Yeah, he could challenge the car, not just warm up the gearbox.



#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 20:11

I haven't done this for years, but it's most appropriate now...

 

Quoting from Stirling Moss in The Design and Behaviour of the Racing Car:

 

Another man (after discussing Neubauer) who was a tower of strength on another plane was Rudi Uhlenhaut. He could drive any of the cars nearly as fast as we could, his experience went back to 1936  and in those days his performances merited a regular place in the team. But they thought he was too valuable as an engineer to be risked in a possible accident and how right they were.

 

Apart from his great influence on the design and performance of the cars it was he who would do everything to see that the driver had the sort of car he wanted. After practice, for example, I would be asked if the gear ratios suited me and in the rare case that they did not they would immediately be changed.

 

When in my very first race of the season in South America I thought the brake pedal pressure was too high, it was Uhlenhaut who between one afternoon and the following morning went and bought a vacuum servo from a local Chrysler agent and had it fitted up for my next practice.

 

I sometimes regret that I did not ask for square wheels because I have an uncanny feeling that within twenty-four hours I would have been asked to drive a car with them.

 

Pomeroy's comments in the same book reveal:

 

(I went) on the B.B.C. air saying that in (my) opinion, formed after lying somewhat dangerously on (my) stomach on a number of corners, deficiencies in road holding might be fatal to Mercedes-Benz' hopes. And so it proved.

 

Although (I) did not express it publicly, it was (my) private opinion that the swing-axle system of the German cars was giving them excessive oversteer, and it was not until later that (I) learned from Uhlenhaut that this was a fine example of reaching the right conclusion for the wrong reasons.

 

In fact, as Uhlenhaut was careful to point out, Mercedes-Benz at the time were just as much in the grip of the understeer theory as everyone else and, knowing that a rear swing-axle tended to promote oversteer, they had leaned over backwards to achieve the contrary effect. Leaned over so far, in fact, that the drivers, feeling that they were not going to get round the corners at all, and would give a last despairing pull on the steering wheel and at the same time stamp on the accelerator so as to induce a rear wheel skid. In this fashion they got the oversteer they needed, but only with a lot of effort and at some peril.

 

Moss added:

 

With Uhlenhaut's capacity as a designer, a development engineer and a driver, I felt that something would be done about this before I got into the cars for the 1955 season. Something certainly had.

 

Uhlenhaut had devised a new steering test in which concentric rings were painted on the skid pad. Whereas hitherto the target had been to set the car up so as to get maximum speed on one ring, the test now was that one could pass from the chosen diameter inwards to one of smaller radius and outwards to one of larger radius without, so as to speak, upsetting the applecart.

 

This, really, describes Uhlenhaut's ability to transfer a driving problem to a measurable engineering solution. All of this done in an era, and with a style of car, that wasn't within any reach of the kind of chassis adjustability that we've known since the early sixties. Design was done on the drawing board and translated into solidly engineered pieces that carried little or no adjustability.

 

Then there were the trials at the Nurburgring, which took place on July 26, 1955...

 

Two different wheelbase-length cars were used, the 'Monaco' 85" cars and the regular 87.5" cars. And yes, Fangio was quickest in both. Speedy's reminder about Fangio's lack of 'ring experience may well have applied to 1954, but he had a bit more by the time of this test:

 

Fangio......  87.5" car - 9:38.8; 85" car - 9:33.3

Moss........  87.5" car - 9:41.2; 85" car - 9:35.7

Kling.........  87.5" car - 9:47.0; 85" car - 9:49.0

Uhlenhaut.  87.5" car - 9:51.8; 85" car - 9:55.6

 

Obviously he was not driving into the rarefied atmosphere of Fangio and Moss, and one can readily explain his position slightly slower than Kling because he wasn't out there driving the cars as far or as fast or as regularly. But was he also, perhaps, a little older? Maybe he was even driving with a view to be more clinically analytical, too?



#22 ensign14

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 23:13

Uhlenhaut was listed as the reserve Merc driver for the 1955 British Grand Prix, was he ever put down for any other race entries?



#23 Simon Davis

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 23:56

Uhlenhaut was listed as the reserve Merc driver for the 1955 British Grand Prix, was he ever put down for any other race entries?

According to the black books:- 1954 German GP; 1954 Italian GP; 1955 Monaco GP.



#24 Catalina Park

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 02:15

The Shell movie for the 1955 Belgian GP describes him as Mercedes engineer and reserve driver.

See... http://youtu.be/rAiKovUL8FM?t=7m35s


Edited by Catalina Park, 14 November 2013 - 02:20.


#25 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 07:24

Uhlenhaut would often try the cars during practice but I would be very surprised if he was ever entered as a reserve driver. Did he have a racing licence? It is possible that some races required that anybody driving in practice should be nominated in advance but that's not the same as being a reserve driver. Things were certainly more relaxed in those days but Grand Prix organisers were reluctant to accept entries from drivers with no experience, as shown by BRM's attempt to enter Ken Richardson for the 1951 Italian Grand Prix.

#26 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 07:44

First, I am and have always been an Uhlenhaut fan, he was a great engineer and driver very methodical and intelligent.
 
Buuut: I do wonder if "his" cars were particularly innovative, at fist glance I would say no at least for the pre war cars.
They were all either:
 - conventional (engine in front),
 - current state of the art at the time (move to all round independent suspension, as many of their competitors did at roughly the same time)
 - or positively ancient (welded engine block construction as per Daimler tradition and as per Edwardian (!) aircraft practice
 
Yes, a Mercedes W25 looked very modern especially compared to a Bugatti or an SSK but there were no breakthroughs under the skin in the Colin Chapman sense. And anyway M-B top brass would not really have contenounced risky flights of fancy.   
 
The real innovators in pre war GP racing were Auto Union who had much less state money at their disposal and built innovative and unusual cars and they paid the price having been less successful then M-B.
 
 
The pre war M-B Silver Arrows in my opionion were fairly conventional but well engineered cars that were developed methodically with a very large budget.
Very German and very Mercedes way to do it
 
The post war W196 featured desmodromic valve actuation, that was innovative at least in execution. I am not sure which role Uhlenhaut played in that particular decision. Again, the rest of the car seems to me well executed and integrated but where was the Innovation ?
The full wheel fairings of the W196 in ist first guise were unconventional and turned out not to be such a great idea.
 
aand the air brake of the Le Mans SLR was at least unusual, maybe innovative, but not such a great idea either, the real Innovation were disc brakes and they were developed elsewhere.
 
I am actually not sure if Uhlenhaut saw himself as an innovator
or wanted to be that at least not as an aim in itself.
He was very competitive and wanted to do what it took.
 
Uhlenhaut:
a good driver = yes
a very good and clever engineer = yes
a genius = hmm.. (really ? in the Einstein sense ??)
 
Rudernst

The W25 was before Uhlenhaut's time, of course. He joined the racing department for the 1937 season and was responsible for many of the innovations of the W125. I'm not sure which of Mercedes' competitors introduced independent suspension at roughly the same time. Auto-Union, of course, but everybody else followed Mercedes' lead.

It is often said that Auto-Union were the real innovators in the 1930s but this is unfair to Daimler-Benz. The Mercedes cars directed the architecture of Grand Prix cars for the next 25 years. With some unsuccessful exceptions, the Auto-Union configuration was not followed by anyone. You can see the influence of the W125 in the Vanwall, but nobody would claim that the Cooper T45 followed the Auto-Union.

#27 bradbury west

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 16:08

I have no desire to get embroiled in this topic, but I understood RU to be chief engineer, not one of the MB designers. I believe they had a rather large design dept. I suspect RU's. task was to make them work successfully, not design them. Chapman, Bradley et al had a different function, as would someone like Jano.
Defending ACBC, it is worth pointing out that he was a successful racer, esp in the 8 & 9 here and in Europe, plus he was invited to drive the Vanwall at Reims, stepping up into the big time, and he kept Hawthorn honest in an identical 3.4 Jaguar at Silverstone. Who knows how w ell he might have done had he pursued a racing career.
Roger Lund

#28 bradbury west

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 17:43

I have no wish to take this off at an OT tangent, and as a recognised non-engineer my view is probably considered of little merit, but I have always considered the front suspension on the W25, as a specific device, to be wonderfully innovative, and a considerable achievement to produce. It's attraction might be that it simply feeds one of my mechanical interests.
There are no doubt other examples but, thanks to Bill Boddy, my earliest sample of that is the Douglas light car of 1919-ish but that was only at the rear. Unless anyone knows better with other examples pre W25. I am familiar with the large pre war but post W25 MB saloons and cabriolets, so innovative is a word which I would attribute.
Roger Lund

Edited by bradbury west, 14 November 2013 - 22:57.


#29 kayemod

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 17:44

I have no desire to get embroiled in this topic, but I understood RU to be chief engineer, not one of the MB designers.
 

 

Rudolf Uhlenhaut's first job title at Mercedes was Racing Service Manager. He later took over from Dr Hans Niebel as Chief Designer, a title he held until his retirement in rhe early 1970s, though whether he actually did much pencil-in-hand designing is something we'll probably never know. Colin Chapman was very similar, although a competent draughtsman, his only output that I saw consisted of detailed and very neat freehand sketches, and surely the passage of time has flattered his driving ability to some extent. He was a very competent club racer, and seems to have managed reasonable pace in his sole Vanwall outing, but let's not get carried away, and yes, I was driven by him on several occasions, though only at frightening pace in road cars. I'm sure I've said this before, but to me as a very junior engineer at Lotus, he was an inspiration to work with, in practical terms one of the cleverest men I've ever known, and I have no doubt that Rudolf Uhlenhaut was at least as gifted, possibly even more.



#30 Allan Lupton

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 18:37

Rudolf Uhlenhaut's first job title at Mercedes was Racing Service Manager. He later took over from Dr Hans Niebel as Chief Designer, a title he held until his retirement in rhe early 1970s, though whether he actually did much pencil-in-hand designing is something we'll probably never know.

Yes, and it might be worth explaining to those that don't know that although a Chief Designer in an engineering design organisation has the overall responsibility that does not mean he designs every detail of everything. There is a team of specialists who have to convince the Chief that what they propose is best and he has to try and resolve any conflicting requirements.

As an example, when scheming W196 I expect that someone in the powerplant group worried that spring-return valves might have resonance problems at the rotational speeds envisaged and came up with a particular version of desmodromic valve gear, which the CE accepted as worth the effort, once the production engineer had worked out how they were going to grind the closing cams (which would have required very small diameter grinding wheels).


Edited by Allan Lupton, 14 November 2013 - 18:38.


#31 Roger Clark

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 00:09

From late 1936 Uhlenhaut was head of the Rennabteilung which was part of the Experimental Department which was responsible for the building, testing and preparation of the racing cars. The cars were then handed over to the racing team under Alfred Neubauer. Before 1937 nobody from the Experimental Department attended the races but this was recognised as a weakness in the reviews following the failures of 1936 and Uhlenhaut usually, if not always, accompanied the team.

The actual design was done by the Daimler-Benz drawing office but Uhlenhaut must have had a considerable influence. He was quoted as saying: "They usually produced what I wanted" and his testing at the end of 1936 clearly influenced the design of the W125. Cameron Earl said that during 1937, Uhlenhaut had three engineers working on engine development for the new formula. There would have been many more in the drawing office, of course.

Before the war, Uhlenhaut reported to Max Sailer, the Technical Director, who had driven for Mercedes before the First World War.


The valve gear of the M196 was the work of Hans Gassmann, chief engine designer. Karl Ludvigsen describes how the idea came to him on the trolley bus home from work. He made some sketches on the back of an envelope that he happened to have in his pocket. The next morning he showed the envelope to his colleagues and said: " this is how we will do it".

#32 Roger Clark

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 00:11

Defending ACBC, it is worth pointing out that ..... he kept Hawthorn honest in an identical 3.4 Jaguar at Silverstone.
Roger Lund

When was that?

#33 RogerFrench

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 03:48

When was that?


Wasn't the famous Chapman and Jaguar race against Jack Sears in, I think, 1960?

#34 Roger Clark

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 05:55

Yes, at the Grand Prix meeting.

#35 ensign14

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 06:44

Wasn't the famous Chapman and Jaguar race against Jack Sears in, I think, 1960?

 

Couldn't have been 1960...



#36 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 08:49

Once again drawing on The Design and Behaviour of the Racing Car, it's apparent that the initial designs included light valve springs to finally close the valves...

 

But these broke, yet they found that the valves still sealed due to gas pressures, so the springs were simply left out.



#37 David McKinney

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 10:07

Wasn't the famous Chapman and Jaguar race against Jack Sears in, I think, 1960?

Yes, at the British GP meeting, Chapman in a Coombs entry winning from Sears (Equipe Endeavour)

#38 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 18:49

I think it's interesting that Mercedes-Benz kept up a tradition of having highly skilled drivers in a position of authority in their engineering departments...

 

Sailer, Uhlenhaut, I guess others have followed? What about their rallying times in the sixties?



#39 Michael Ferner

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 19:19

I think it's interesting that Mercedes-Benz kept up a tradition of having highly skilled drivers in a position of authority in their engineering departments...
 
Sailer, Uhlenhaut, I guess others have followed? What about their rallying times in the sixties?


The name Erich Waxberger (or similar) keeps bumping around in my head (ouch, that hurts!). Don't know if he was a driver, though.

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#40 David McKinney

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 20:09

Erich Waxenberger

#41 Tim Murray

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 20:35

It would appear that Waxenberger was no slouch behind the wheel, and managed to sneak into the odd race or two when his Mercedes bosses weren't looking:

 

http://www.m-100.cc/...axenberger.html



#42 David McKinney

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 22:24

I thought I remembered him as a co-driver in the 1980 NZ Rally, but can't put my hand on my records at the moment

#43 Ray Bell

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 10:26

I meant the sixties era rallying...

 

Bohringer, Rosquist etc. Though the crew that put together the '74 and '77 Marathon cars were probably under the same leadership.



#44 Angus Lamont

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 01:27

Erich Waxenburger, partnered by Sir Albert Poon, also won the first Macau Guia 101 race held on 18 May 1969. They were driving a Mercedes 300SEL 6.3 and completed the 384 miles in a shade under 6 hours.