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Auto Unions in the Soviet Union


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#51 RStock

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 02:44


Egor, first of all thank you for the outstanding photos and documents you have posted.

But at the same time, my two cents about this story regarding Auto Unions being rebuilt into Soviet record cars. There's still no proof of this other than some visual similarity, and comparing pictures of various Pomogaibo's cars with streamlined Auto Unions you can note different proportions - wheelbase, similar but still different body lines and so on. I still think Mr.Alexandrov was mistaken on this fact and what we can see is a result of borrowing ideas from AU racers, but not the cars themselves. Even though I haven't read his book, I've seen a part of it which concerns Soviet racing machinery and can sadly state that there are many mistakes in photo captures alone - wrongly identified cars, years and people to name a few, which doesn't let me just believe his stories without any proof.


Egor's great information has come with need of a better translation, but I'm not complaining, I'm just glad he's doing it.

My translation of his post is that he isn't saying any specific streamliner car was built strictly to AU specs, but that we do know the Russians did use AU technology, and Egor points to some examples of AU similarities, and that it is a possibility some AU was used in a streamliner. But not that it is of certain.

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#52 Alexander M

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 13:24

Egor's great information has come with need of a better translation, but I'm not complaining, I'm just glad he's doing it.

My translation of his post is that he isn't saying any specific streamliner car was built strictly to AU specs, but that we do know the Russians did use AU technology, and Egor points to some examples of AU similarities, and that it is a possibility some AU was used in a streamliner. But not that it is of certain.


Not exactly. I have read this point of view before in Russian at another forum, and the record car of Ivan Pomogaybo (that little picture during a record run I have quoted previously) was said to be THE streamlined Auto Union with a couple of additional air scoops and cockpit cap. The difference in the nose part, according to this story, was caused by an accident when Pomogaibo smashed the AU into the wall while testing it at the plant (HZTM - they've built trains, tractors and tanks). The same was written in the same message I have quoted, but maybe the translation has confused you a bit.

Can't say I agree with this theory. I, personally, don't have enough information to say that it was not so, but I neither I have any proof. Lev Shugurov in one of his books has provided some dimensions for Pomogaibo's car (initially Dzerzhinets, then, after some modifications, Avangard): wheelbase - 2845mm, length - 5500mm, width - 1980mm, front and rear track - 1120mm and 950mm accordingly. Probably some of the Auto Union experts here could compare them with a data for what they think would be the most similar AU version?

Here is the first (1951) version of the car - Dzerzhinets, to compare the looks.

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Edited by Alexander M, 22 January 2011 - 13:27.


#53 RStock

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Posted 22 January 2011 - 18:50

Not exactly. I have read this point of view before in Russian at another forum, and the record car of Ivan Pomogaybo (that little picture during a record run I have quoted previously) was said to be THE streamlined Auto Union with a couple of additional air scoops and cockpit cap. The difference in the nose part, according to this story, was caused by an accident when Pomogaibo smashed the AU into the wall while testing it at the plant (HZTM - they've built trains, tractors and tanks). The same was written in the same message I have quoted, but maybe the translation has confused you a bit.

Can't say I agree with this theory. I, personally, don't have enough information to say that it was not so, but I neither I have any proof. Lev Shugurov in one of his books has provided some dimensions for Pomogaibo's car (initially Dzerzhinets, then, after some modifications, Avangard): wheelbase - 2845mm, length - 5500mm, width - 1980mm, front and rear track - 1120mm and 950mm accordingly. Probably some of the Auto Union experts here could compare them with a data for what they think would be the most similar AU version?

Here is the first (1951) version of the car - Dzerzhinets, to compare the looks.

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I agree it is doubtful, and I have read some of those same stories. I'm guessing if anything there was some AU design incorporated into some of the cars, perhaps. I can't recall ever hearing what happened to the AU streamliners though, maybe someone does. The photo you linked does look a bit like the early, closed cockpit AU speed record car.


#54 terry mcgrath

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 00:35


when and where was this photo taken
It looks like it appeared in a magazine or newspaper does anyone know the source

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#55 Alexey Rogachev

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 08:54

Perhaps this photo was taken at the same time:

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The car no. 71 is the BMW 328 MM, which was also brought to the Soviet Union after the war. I don't know what 100 means but the reeded roof over the house in the background makes me think this is a Baltic republic - I saw country houses like this in the ethnographic open-air museums in Riga and Tallinn.

Edited by Alexey Rogachev, 23 January 2011 - 08:58.


#56 Jean L

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 10:30

:eek: The 328 still with his Mille Miglia 1940 numbers !

#57 Doug Nye

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Posted 23 January 2011 - 15:18

Thanks Egor for revitalising this thread with such fascinating - if raw - material. One point in Post 27, the Californian AU enthusiast's name was Kerry Payne, not Gary. He had bought the Zdenek Pohl car from Czechoslovakia which was restored to runnable order by Colin Crabbe's Antique Automobiles concern. That's the 3-litre V12 car which went subsequently to Neil Corner, Charlie Lucas, Christie's, Samsung, etc...

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 23 January 2011 - 15:20.


#58 Holger Merten

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 19:04

Thanks for those interesting pictures from the USSR. When I visited Audi Tradition two years ago, I got a German translation of that NAMI Report. It is a summary of technical features, round about 30 pages. The content includes nothing new for us.


In post #31 you placed two pictures of D-types. They were taken during the war at a mine near Zwickau, where the cars were saved from bomb attacks. Both pictures show former mechanics, sitting in the cars for a snap shot. I know another picture with a C-type from 1943, in the car sits a little (priviliged) girl, may 10 years old.


Thanks for sharing all your information Egor.


#59 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 21:22

This is a fascinating thread - particularly those wartime and accident photos - remarkable.

Is it possible for a resume of which Auto Unions now exist (real and replica) and where they are ?

At the risk of starting a fire over it all, there's the curious Scottish is-it-isn't it car , the for-auction-not-for-auction ex Stuck D Type, the Riga hillclimb car, Karrasick cars and so forth and I confess I've lost track of which was which and from whence it was recovered ...




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#60 elansprint72

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 22:37

With these photo-forensic jobs a good indicator of the dates is usually the haircuts and clothing styles; I am guessing that the shot with the A-U on the ramp thingy is from the late 70s, more precisely 76-78 and the "100" shot is from a later period, perhaps early-mid 80s? My experience in this field stems from the Rock Music industry and, of course, there was a fashion time-delay back then between Western Europe and pre-Gorby Soviet Block. The location looks to be from a similar latitude.

Of course I'm often wrong.

#61 Egor

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 17:32

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Edited by Egor, 19 January 2012 - 10:59.


#62 Alexey Rogachev

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Posted 28 January 2011 - 17:43

You'll have the facts soon.

And - I haven't understood the final question. What are you looking for - "hollow lies" or the aforementioned article by Shugurov?

#63 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:02

It's amazing what you can find tucked away in someone's shed....

Posted Image

Cross my palm with sufficient silver (all major credit cards accepted) and I shall reveal all.......


#64 Nick Savage

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 10:50

Alright, Simon, a jam doughnut in the post to you - is it the conundrum previously seen in Scotland ?
Nick

http://www.simonlewi...n-c-in-shed.jpg[/img]

Cross my palm with sufficient silver (all major credit cards accepted) and I shall reveal all.......



#65 Tim Murray

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 11:06

The Scottish conundrum was (or was based on) a P-Wagen (Typ A). The exhaust and rear suspension on the one in Simon's photo indicate it to be a later model (Typ B or Typ C).

#66 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 11:28

Alright, Simon, a jam doughnut in the post to you - is it the conundrum previously seen in Scotland ?
Nick


Now I am partial to jam doughnuts as it happens , but they don't pay the mortage.....

Confirming it's not the Scottish P-Wagen however.


#67 Alexey Rogachev

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 16:30

Alexey, I eagerly want to hear the views of Paul on this issue.

Egor,

I talked to Paul on Saturday - he promised to translate into English some of his texts debunkung Alexandrov's "conspiracy theories". Before he does so, however, we can start with what we have. Here are the photos of the Kharkovs built by Vladimir Nikitin - from the 1 (1950) to the 5 (1951). In fact, there were only two cars: the Kharkov 2 was the modified Kharkov 1, and the 4 and the 5 were the later versions of the Kharkov 3. I really cannot understand which version has been claimed by Alexandrov to be a disguised Auto Union: at first, he says in was the Kharkov 1, then 3, then 2... A reasonable question appears: did Alexandrov himself know which versions of Nikitin's cars had existed in fact? I believe he didn't, for a person of sound mind could hardly say the Kharkov 1 or the Kharkov 2 to be an Auto Union...

I can post here more photos, if anyone wants to see these cars in details.

Edited: see this post for the photos.

Edited by Alexey Rogachev, 07 February 2011 - 16:57.


#68 Nick Savage

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 14:41

Simon,
I can't bear the suspense ... are you going to reveal the when/where/what of your picture ?
Yrs,
Nick
[quote name='simonlewisbooks'
Now I am partial to jam doughnuts as it happens , but they don't pay the mortage.....

Confirming it's not the Scottish P-Wagen however


#69 Tim Murray

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 14:53

Simon,
I can't bear the suspense ... are you going to reveal the when/where/what of your picture ?
Yrs,
Nick

I too am all agog. Please put us out of our misery, Simon. :wave:

#70 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 15:49

It was in effect of movie prop standard. Major mechanicals were timber lookalikes.

DCN

#71 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 16:09

Patience now chaps!

I'm awaiting the calls (and offers) from Audi and the "private collection in Switzerland" (nudge,wink..) which will enable me to live in the the style to which I would like to become accustomed..... or else pay the gas bill for this month :drunk:

Of course I am still open to other offers in the meantime :smoking:

#72 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 16:20

Patience now chaps!


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#73 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 16:31

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:rotfl:

#74 bill p

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 17:24

It's amazing what you can find tucked away in someone's shed....

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Cross my palm with sufficient silver (all major credit cards accepted) and I shall reveal all.......



Is it Rosemeyer's car after his final GP win at Donington in 1937??

#75 Tim Murray

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 19:51

Is it Rosemeyer's car after his final GP win at Donington in 1937??

It may be meant to resemble it, but some of the details are wrong. For a start, the number 5 on the fuel tank behind the cockpit is in the wrong place (too high) compared to its position in contemporary race photos.

#76 jondon

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Posted 01 February 2011 - 21:34

Perhaps this photo was taken at the same time:

Posted Image

The car no. 71 is the BMW 328 MM, which was also brought to the Soviet Union after the war. I don't know what 100 means but the reeded roof over the house in the background makes me think this is a Baltic republic - I saw country houses like this in the ethnographic open-air museums in Riga and Tallinn.


Wow! What is James May doing standing by the driver`s seat? :D :D :D

Edited by jondon, 01 February 2011 - 21:44.


#77 smarjoram

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 09:39

Is it a computer model? It looks like an artificially aged photo to me - nobody can take a picture that bad :) (apologies if it turns out to be genuine)

#78 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 09:51

It was in effect of movie prop standard. Major mechanicals were timber lookalikes.

DCN



Doug, were ANY significant genuine parts included in the Scottish car ?
Several stories (published and otherwise) indicated there were...

And as for the "filling up the engine with preservative ...." Cuprinol maybe?


#79 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 10:02

Is it a computer model?


No it's not a model, computer or otherwise...

nobody can take a picture that bad :)


Um...well yes they can,I'm sure many of us have :blush: (and no I didn't take it myself).

As for quality, I think it's probabaly better than most showing the "Lock Ness Monster" or JFK's assasination.

(apologies if it turns out to be genuine)


It' is and apologies happily accepted :wave:

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#80 Pavel Lifintsev

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 13:10

I'm still most interested in: Besides the Auto Unions, did the Soviets really get a 2.9 Alfa Romeo? And what happend to the car?

As far as I know no Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 ended up in the USSR.
I believe this rumour first appeared in 1993 through the books of Lev Shugurov, perhaps the greatest automobile historian in Russia so far. However I've never seen any confirmation of this. Most of the "important" cars that were brought to this country as "booties of war" (I don't mean Opel P4's but rather those like Mercedes 540K or Horch 853) survived to this day and their life stories are more or less documented.
To the best of my knowledge there were four Alfa Romeos amongst them, and no one of them had any racing history:
1936 6C 2300 B
1939 6C 2500 S
1939 6C 2500 SS Berlinetta
1940 6C 2500 SS
So I guess that Shugurov got it wrong. And Nikolai Alexandrov simply repeated this mistake first in his Oldtimer-Markt article and later on page 92 of the book.

As an aside you can see pretty good-looking replica of the 8C 2900 B MM Touring Spider in a museum near Moscow. It was recreated in 2006 using original chassis of 6C 2300 B model.

#81 Pavel Lifintsev

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 17:34

In the fall of 2009 I (by sheer chance) got to know Martin Schröder, co-author of one of the first (and still one of the best) books on AU racing history. He was at that time some kind of adviser at the newly opened Prototyp Museum in Hamburg. No wonder, we were soon talking about that dozen or so silver cars that disappeared in the USSR after WW2.
I was astonished when I've heard that he tends to believe all those mad stories told by Alexandrov. So I started to look for proofs of the contrary. It took me several months, many lenghty e-mails and one face-to-face meeting before I convinced Mr. Schröder that my point of view is correct.
By the way, me and Alexey already warned you on this subject here. And we haven't even seen the book writing our comments on Alexandrov! Nice to know we were right in our suggestions.
It seems now it's time to tell you all the true. So, as the song says, where do I begin?

"Dem Silber auf dem Spur", or Moment of glory for a certain man

As you might guess Peter Kirchberg did great job correcting numerous errors in original Alexandrov's manuscript. It's a pity old professor isn't expert in Soviet racing...
I don't want to mention every single mistake made by Alexandrov - there are too many of them. Alexey, if he wishes to do so, can give you some stupid caption examples.
What I'd like to point out: wrong is the whole picture of how motorsport behind the iron curtain progressed after the war!
"Strengthening the Marxist-Leninist thinking" (page 128), "military education", "manpower mobilization" (page 100) - it was all there, but only secondary.
Racecars weren't built "by order from above" (page 124) or by "the Kremlin's command" (page 122) - this is complete nonsense!
Key factor was enthusiasm. Of course Alexandrov is right at least somewhere: those people raced not for prizes, glory or money. (Although the records were rewarded with a nice sum in cash!)
Still the ideology alone wasn't enough. They had to be fully dedicated to the sport, to have petrol in the blood for making drawings after their day job, spending nights in the garage, trying every possible means (even illegal!) to obtain scarce materials like alloy steel tubes, dural, perspex or titanium. Not to mention maintaining, repairing and transporting the cars across the big country - with no sponsorship from state bodies or automobile plants.
"Patriotism" (page 128)? Oh yeah... Many drivers and designers knew, they could achieve much more in the West, if it would be allowed.
"No incentives to set a record" (page 130)? Rubbish! Wasn't it attractive for Soviets to beat a rival from Great Britain or Italy who had much more resources?

You probably remember that initially Alexandrov's book had another title - "Im Osten verschollen" (Missed in the East). Less known is the fact that old-titled copies were already printed and then destroyed after Audi protest - they thought that such ambiguous title could affect car sales. That's why the book came out in June and not in April.
But I would rather turn your attention to the old subtitle, "Abenteuerliche Suche nach den Rennwagen der Auto Union" (Adventurous search for AU racecars). What adventures does the author mean? He was mostly sitting in the dusty archives and trinking tea with former racing drivers. Maybe he was infected by paranoia of Surguchev (pages 159-160)? I don't think so. All this mistique and sensationalism is in Alexandrov's nature. Unfortunately that's not the half of the story. He's very vainglorious and egoistical. (Don't you think so being aware of how many pages he devoted to his own biography?) And his self-assertion is often based on blaming other people. Statements in his book are relatively smooth. Meanwhile on some Russian BB Alexandrov calls detailed NAMI reports "superficial" and Lev Shugurov appears in his words as "fairy tale writer".
To me diagnosis is clear: he simply hates everything Soviet...

Alexandrov's incompetence created numerous speculative theories, some of which are really wild. His claim that Vladimir Nikitin's Kharkov was just modified streamlined AU comes exactly from this area. But more on this later.
And now another example. On page 121 Alexandrov suggests a hypothesis: "the 1962 Moskvich G1-407 resembles Auto Union because its designer Shugurov dismantled, stidied and copied one of the German cars". It seems he has no idea that G1-407 (dated actually 1959) was further development of G1-405 chassis (built in 1955) with the new, more powerful engine. But Shugurov was only student back then and simply couldn't design that car.

So, enormous ignorance! What a shame that this particular man got the chance to inform western readers of the AU destiny in the USSR. And deceived so many people...

To be continued.

Edited by .ru, 02 February 2011 - 17:47.


#82 Holger Merten

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Posted 02 February 2011 - 19:05

The only thing I was looking for in the book "Dem Silber auf der Spur" was something about the way the Auto Union Silver Arrows took in USSR. At least, the intro of Kirchberg is fine... but the rest of reading for me was waste of time. I hoped the book could satisfy my claims better. But it doesn't. I was really disappointed after reading the book.

#83 Egor

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 17:23

1948 Gorky fatal crash 09.06.1946 Type D 38/39 760--
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Edited by Egor, 19 January 2012 - 11:02.


#84 Alexey Rogachev

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 19:32

I am not interested in the Soviet ideology and our motor sport in those years.

So what are you interested in, then? The Auto Unions only? Please try to grasp a simple thing: the history of the "Silver Arrows" in the USSR is inseparable from the history of Soviet motor racing in general.

#85 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 19:52

Egor: as Alexey says, the two are inseparable. You cannot write history without putting it in its true context and no matter how unpalatable you may find the Soviet years they are just as much a part of this as the Nazi regime which caused these magnificent machines to be created in the first place.

Those of us who cannot read Russian (and I think I'm too old to learn now!) must rely on "friendlier" languages like German and English, so to read a critique like .ru's is like a breath of fresh air. Like Holger, I was disappointed with "Dem Silber auf der Spur" - I just hope one day we can learn the whole (real) story!

#86 Alexey Rogachev

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 21:01

You cannot write history without putting it in its true context

The golden words indeed :up: This is precisely what I think and always try to have in mind carrying out my historical research.

Egor, you're asking us whether what is written in the book being discussed is true. The answer is that nobody knows all the truth. Too much haze is still in this story, and it would take very much time and effort to make it even a bit more transparent. So Alexandrov, who has pretensions of knowing absolutely everything of it, naturally can be took only as an unfair researcher - and he is indeed. On the contrary, the article by Lev Shugurov - the one called by Alexandrov "a fairy-tale" and "hollow lies" - is much more reliable source of information re the post-war lot of the Auto Unions.

Edited by Alexey Rogachev, 03 February 2011 - 21:06.


#87 Egor

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Posted 04 February 2011 - 04:20

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Edited by Egor, 19 January 2012 - 11:03.


#88 Nick Savage

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 10:16

I would not want to let the week start without a gentle prompt to Simon Lewis to put a few of us readers out of our misery by telling us what he knows about the AU photo he posted 10 days ago ....

Nick

#89 mikeC

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 10:59

Cross my palm with sufficient silver (all major credit cards accepted) and I shall reveal all.......


Well, I've got a silver thruppenny bit which I will donate to the cause :wave:
Come on, Simon, cough up, or we'll start sending those vultures in....

#90 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:16

Ok, you talked me into it - and Audi seem to have shown no interest :wave:



Russia? No...



Scotland ? No...



The mythical, 'smuggled' C Type ? No...



C&G's workshop? No...



"Private collection in Switzerland" ? No...



A Mine near Chemnitz in 1943? No...




A Mine near Chemnitz in 1993...........?






Sorry, no ! bill.p got it right. It is indeed Rosemeyer's car in a lock-up at Donington Park prior to the 1937 GP.

There was no computer jiggery-pokery, the image isn't great as it was snapped through a gap in the doors by an unknown photographer (who's rolls of 35mm negs I aquired some years ago at Beaulieu Autojumble , still-uncut in their original AGFA canisters.)

I'm a little surprised the rest of you chaps didn't work it out immediately , given how famous this car, driver and event are and the prominence of the race number in the photo.




#91 Tim Murray

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:43

I'm a little surprised the rest of you chaps didn't work it out immediately , given how famous this car, driver and event are and the prominence of the race number in the photo.

My first thought was indeed the Rosemeyer Donington car, but I ruled it out because, as I noted earlier, the number 5 on the fuel tank behind the cockpit is not in the same place as in contemporary race photos. They could, I suppose, have repainted it after practice ... :confused:

#92 monoposto

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:45




As Tim Murray noted earlier the placement of the number 5 is not where it was when it raced, but the photograph does show the leather engine cover strap required by the regulations for Donington.

Edited by monoposto, 07 February 2011 - 12:46.


#93 Pavel Lifintsev

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 16:48

As promised, I go on with this story. And today's topic is:

The Kharkov – a rebuilt Auto Union?

Oh, this amazing story is probably the greatest Alexandrov's hoax.
But before I'll try to debunk this myth, first I'd like to work out, what Soviet car does he actually mean? Because it's absolutely not clear from his statements.

On page 11 in his Oldtimer-Markt article he writes: "The first Kharkov, built by autodidact Nikitin and fitted with engine of Pobeda production car, strikingly resembled the streamlined Auto Union". Several results and dates quoted (November and December 1950) confirm that he really describes the earliest Nikitin's car. Then without any break Alexandrov moves to the speed shown in May 1951 and explains further that it was achieved by Kharkov 3, which mainly differed from the previous version through the more streamlined cockpit. His theory is well supported with two pictures on page 12, which apparently show the 1950 Kharkov (according to Alexandrov – a rebuilt Auto Union) and the later Kharkov 3 ("also called the Avangard").

One of these shots appears in the book as well, on page 105. And on pages 104-106 the story from Oldtimer-Markt is being told once again. Alexandrov counts Nikitin's achievements in 1950/51, "recognizes" the Kharkov as a former German racecar and expresses doubt whether it was possible "to build an Auto Union copy so quickly, almost overnight". Model indices aren't used here as he's obviously talking about slightly different variants of the same design.

Until now everything is OK. But on page 154 Alexandrov informs us that Kharkov 2 (mentioned here for the first time!) "had nothing in common with Kharkov 1" and exactly in this Kharkov 2 some parts of the streamlined Auto Union were used, if not the whole car! A bit later, on page 159 he tells something completely different: "From [Auto Union] components Nikitin has supposedly built his Kharkov 1".

A confusion? Oh yes, and very big! Fortunately it's pretty easy to untie this knot if one is familiar with Nikitin's designs.

He built his very first record car, the Kharkov, in the fall of 1950, using flat frame of pre-war GAZ M1 while both axes, steering, engine (in-line four, 2481 ccm, 70 hp) and gearbox came from written off GAZ 20 Pobeda. Bulky two-seater looked rather like an aircraft's external fuel tank and resembled neither Zvezda (page 104) nor Auto Union.

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Source: Lev Shugurov archive

Nikitin soon reworked the cabin and shortened long front-end so from now on his car became Kharkov 2. However road-holding was still far from perfect as the chassis wasn't rigid enough and the car suffered from longitudinal swinging.

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Source: Dmitriy Dashko archive

That's why in the winter of 1950/51 Nikitin started working on a brand-new design, with low streamlined body and engine placed behind the driver. He again opted for Pobeda internals – power plant, transmission, suspension, brakes, wheels, rear axle, steering... No wonder, there was practically no choice back then. It took him several months (and not "one night"!) to build the car. No local factories participated. And there certainly were no orders from the Communist Party of Ukraine (page 105) – that's just ridiculous. Of course Nikitin wasn't alone. He was helped by enthusiasts like himself – depot co-workers, students of the technical institute, members of a local automobile club and those of the voluntary sports society Trud... As far as authorities are concerned some of them expressed against involving young people in those "exotic and dangerous amusements", to say nothing of any support.

Kharkov 3 made its debut in May 1951 and in the course of later modifications got Kharkov 4 and Kharkov 5 names. On 26 October Nikitin speeded it up to 202,179 kph and became first man in the Soviet Union to pass 200 kph mark. (What's more, he also broke the record of 202,13 kph set by Benz works driver Franz Hörner near St. Petersburg... on 27 May 1913, i.e. before Socialist Revolution.) Exactly this glory moment is depicted on the title page of Knowledge is power magazine, issue 12/1951 (caption on page 155 incorrectly calls it Science and life).

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Indeed, it's quite obvious that this car was created with streamlined Auto Union in mind. At least they both look very similar. Well, borrowing good ideas is not that rare thing in motoring industry. And technical masterpieces like Silver Arrows inspired not only Soviet designers. For example, the 1938 MG EX135 clearly plays theme of the Mercedes which won the famous Avus race last year...

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Photo: Harold Clements / Getty Images

...while the 1951 Cooper T17 looks like an Auto Union scale model!

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Source: "Cooper Cars" by Doug Nye

Still was Kharkov 3 in fact just a rebuilt / camouflaged Auto Union? My answer is NO!
Take a look at the pictures below. Note different wings shape, ragged wheel arches, stretched rear-end, overall rough finish. Looks like garage-made special – too inaccurately for a product of Auto Union race department. Besides that there are only four exhaust pipes on the right side and not a single one on the left – thus no V16 inside.

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Source: Lev Shugurov archive

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Photo: Vladimir Dovgyallo

By the way, some sources identify the car on the second picture as Dzerzhinets but I'm fairly sure it actually shows Kharkov 3 with fully enveloped cockpit and wheel arches.

Another argument lies in a simple comparison of dimensions (figures for German car are given in brackets).
Length – 6200 (5520) mm
Width – 1300 (1835) mm
Height – 950 (1060) mm
Wheelbase – 3200 (2910) mm
Front/rear track – 1125/966 (1420/1420) mm

All in all Kharkov 3 was longer, narrower and somewhat lower than streamlined Auto Union. This resulted in extremely different proportions.

And last but not least. Nikitin was WW2 veteran and earned numerous awards – three orders (of the Patriotic War, of Red Star, of Glory) and three medals (For Bravery, For Combat Services and For Stalingrad's Defense). Do you really think this man would have used fascist machinery for his records? The more so, as sporting rules prohibited to race anything but Soviet-made – the fact that Alexandrov continually underlines in his book.

Let's proceed. Previously mentioned picture of the 1950 Kharkov (page 12 in article, page 105 in book) in fact shows the 1966 (!) gas turbine powered KHADI 7 – one can clearly see the huge turbine nozzle. Incidentally this car survived in Ukraine so everyone can come to Kharkov Technical University and find out that it has nothing to do with Auto Unions except for some similarity in appearance.

And what's with the Avangard? Oh, that's another nonsense created by Alexandrov. Because it was entirely different, albeit AU-similar car. It was built in 1951 by Nikitin's townsman, Ivan Pomogaibo. His car has was initially called the Dzerzhinets and then was renamed as the Avangard. You can see it on page 12 in Oldtimer-Markt article and on the following pictures.

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Source: Nikolai Markov archive

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Source: Nikolai Markov archive

In terms of design it was reminiscent of Kharkov 3. However it was equipped with the engine of GAZ 51 truck (in-line six, 2982 ccm, 150 hp) and weighed ca. 1500 kg – almost twice as much as Kharkov 3 (850 kg). On 9 November 1952 the Dzerzhinets reached 230,665 kph – and that remained its main success, despite the car was in use until 1963.

Bulky and heavy, Pomogaibo's car is a bit closer to the Auto Union when it comes to proportions. Yet you have to be very imaginative to consider the Avangard being modified Silver Arrow, don't you? And here you've got the dimensions comparison.
Length – 5500 (5520) mm
Width – 1980 (1835) mm
Height – n/a (1060) mm
Wheelbase – 2845 (2910) mm
Front/rear track – 1120/960 (1420/1420) mm

Remarkable is that Alexandrov didn't even mention the Avangard in his book. Instead in 2008 he started a thread on Russian BB where accused Pomogaibo of rebuilding the Auto Union but said not a word about Nikitin's Kharkov!

The only possible conclusion I can draw is that Alexandrov has been tangled in his own lies. This brings up the question: which components of the German cars were in fact used in Soviet racing and record cars, if any? But I will answer it in the next part.

To be continued.

Edited by Pavel Lifintsev, 06 March 2011 - 13:02.


#94 Vitesse2

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 17:41

Very interesting, Pavel. Thank you. Although I doubt Reid Railton was much influenced by Mercedes Benz when redesigning EX135: he was working with an existing chassis and it has all the hallmarks of Railton's own styling - compare Cobb's LSR car and Campbell's 1939 Bluebird WSR boat, for example.

#95 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 18:15

Doug, were ANY significant genuine parts included in the Scottish car ?
Several stories (published and otherwise) indicated there were...

And as for the "filling up the engine with preservative ...." Cuprinol maybe?


I don't honestly know, never having seen the thing in 'the flesh'. But when the owner/creator/vendor began telling me that he had acquired it through Russian contacts that he made when in the RAF on clandestine attachment in the USSR - in the 1960s/70s - I am afraid I glazed over. When the story continued with the car being smuggled out of Russia aboard a whale factory ship, and then tranferred mid-North Sea to a Scottish fishing smack, I became double-glazed. There was some connection stated or inferred between the Scottish based vendor and a background at Lotus, Hethel, helping build prototype cars and styling models, etc. There was also some talk - which I have never verified - of this person having been involved previously in assembly of look alikes of exotic cars. A Maserati Birdcage (ish) device featuring square-section (!) tubing and powered by a Lotus LV slant-4 engine was credited by some to the same source - this thing having advertised as a Birdcage in 'Exchange and Mart'. A number of greedy London dealers rushed to view it - having visions of acquiring a million-pound stock item for just five figures. Tee hee.

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 07 February 2011 - 18:30.


#96 RStock

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:51

Posted Image
Source: Dmitry Dashko archive


That thing looks like it was made out of crepe paper for the Rose Parade.

Thanks for the information Pavel!

#97 Jonas

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 08:32

Pavel,

Thank you for your most interesting postings in this thread! It is so nice to read well-presented accounts made by well-informed people who are aiming to describe history as accurately as possible, as opposed to creating dramatised scenarios that have little to do with reality.

I am very much looking forward to your next contribution regarding the Auto-Unions and if any parts of these were used in other cars.

Thank you!
Jonas

#98 simonlewisbooks

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:38

As Tim Murray noted earlier the placement of the number 5 is not where it was when it raced, but the photograph does show the leather engine cover strap required by the regulations for Donington.


So this begs a question - did they repaint, re-panel or use a different car in the race?

Here's two shots I have on file and the number is in different places....

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The lower one clearly shows a lower number and also a dent in the panel directly underneath.
Two different cars? Isn't the nose/radiator opening in the upper one different to the more familiar photos from Donington?





#99 David McKinney

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:58

The chance of one being a T-car is not beyond the bounds of possibility

Edited by David McKinney, 08 February 2011 - 10:59.


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#100 Tim Murray

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 12:05

Two different cars? Isn't the nose/radiator opening in the upper one different to the more familiar photos from Donington?

Yes indeed. However, WB in his report of the meeting (as reproduced in the Motor Sport Book of Donington) noted that during one of the practice sessions 'Auto Union had blanked off their radiators considerably, I noticed.' So, as David says, Simon's first photo above could well show a training car during practice (which would explain the lack of spectators), with blanked radiator and the number in the higher location, which would match the photo of the car in the garage.

The only other time that the Sheldon Black Book has an Auto Union with #5 is Müller at the 1937 Eifelrennen, but there his AU did not have fairings over the front suspension.