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1937: Auto Union speed record attempts


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#1 Holger Merten

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 10:47

In the last October week, Auto Union and Mercedes Benz held their Speed Record attempts in the "Rekordwoche" on the "Autobahn" between Frankfurt and Darmstadt.

Auto Union started with the streamlined Typ C and Bernd Rosemeyer in class B (5000 - 8000cc). and C (3000 - 5000cc). Does anybody has pictures of the different cars of the B/C class. The only picture I have is in Cancellieri/DeAgostini/Schröder: "Auto Union - Die grossen Rennen 1934 -1939" on page 108. They look the same, seems the cars just had two different engines?

My question is: Which engine did Auto Union use in class C? Was it the Auto Union Typ A 4.358 cc-engine ( from 1934) in a Typ C streamline-body? Does anybody have other pictures and information’s on it?

Leif, sure I had a look on www.kolumbus.fi/leif.snellmann.reco.htm, but I'm looking for technical data to compare the cars. Did they have the same body, what was changed between the June and the October cars? Which engine did Auto Union use?

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#2 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 10:59

I have this picture, posted previously, but nothing more than the picture...

It was in a bunch of pictures handed over to Campbell McLaren at the beginning of the war by the Australian representative of Auto Union.

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#3 Holger Merten

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 11:07

Thanks Ray, which one is it? 4.3 cc or 6.0 cc? And by the way, who was the australian represantive of Auto Union before 1939?

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 11:17

Like I said, I know nothing more, though I might find out the guy's name at a later date...

Of all the Auto Union pics he was given, there were no names, dates or places on any.

#5 oldtimer

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 20:47

OT, but I'm amazed at the ground clearance of that streamliner, particularly at thr front

#6 Holger Merten

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 20:50

Sorry for my " Inglisch", , what does it mean?

#7 oldtimer

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 20:59

OT is North American shorthand for 'off topic'. Do not apologise about your English, Holger; I am English, and it has taken me 2 years or so to understand most of the shorthand used on TNF ( the nostalgia forum)

#8 Holger Merten

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 21:01

That makes things es. (easier). :lol:

#9 Holger Merten

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 21:03

OT, yes the front was always a problem for the streamlined cars of AU and MB, cause they had "natural" bodies, remember the problems MB had 1937 (and also in Le Mans 1999).

#10 dretceterini

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 21:27

The car in the photo looks a lot like a larger version of the streamelined GP car. How many variations on this bodywork were there?

#11 Holger Merten

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 22:05

Originally posted by dretceterini
The car in the photo looks a lot like a larger version of the streamelined GP car. How many variations on this bodywork were there?

That's the question. :confused:

How many variations? With which engine? And with which technical data? And only for 1937?

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 22:24

Originally posted by dretceterini
The car in the photo looks a lot like a larger version of the streamelined GP car. How many variations on this bodywork were there?


While I have no real idea at all, I think there was a streamlined car for Avus in 1934, wasn't there? And this car, which I don't think is the same as the car in which Rosemeyer died.

So that seems to be a starting point for the count... three?

#13 uechtel

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 23:42

No, it certainly wasn´t the same car:

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#14 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 November 2002 - 23:58

And this one from 1939 ...
http://photos.groups.....rc=gr&.view=t

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 00:02

Vitesse, I can never access pics you link from Yahoo...

I have no idea why either...

#16 oldtimer

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 00:47

Originally posted by Holger Merten
OT, yes the front was always a problem for the streamlined cars of AU and MB, cause they had "natural" bodies, remember the problems MB had 1937 (and also in Le Mans 1999).


Partly answering my own question, the AU chassis tubes were curved upwards at the front to accomodate the front crossmember and front suspension. If the radiator was located by the cross member, that would account for the high nose of the AU cars. Presumably, there were no chassis alterations for the streamliners, so perhaps the streamliners also had radiators that were relatively high off the ground.

#17 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 11:37

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Vitesse, I can never access pics you link from Yahoo...

I have no idea why either...


Okay, for your delectation and lifted off the Dutch Racing History Group site, a picture originally posted by Paul Hooft:

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Taken on a demo run at Zandvoort, Summer 1939

#18 Holger Merten

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 11:50

WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW.

Sure? In 1939, in Zandvoort? Who is driver? And which event/race?

#19 Vitesse2

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 11:59

Just a demonstration run, by Hans Stuck. TNF member paulhooft may be able to tell you more.

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#20 Maranello Man

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 12:22

Originally posted by uechtel
No, it certainly wasn´t the same car:

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THis looks like the car pictured in Chris Nixons "Rosemeyer"...except it was shown from the rear end taken on Rosemeyers last record run.

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 12:31

Yes, that's why euchtel posted it... to show the difference and confirm that it wasn't when I suggested that I didn't think they were...

I remember well the reflections in the pic of the slab sided car, I think that pic's in Neubauer's book... with reflections of pine trees that apparently some thought showed that the bodywork was defective and probably a cause of the crash.

#22 Viss1

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 12:55

Originally posted by Ray Bell
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The bank angle of that road is impressive.

#23 Holger Merten

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 12:55

Vitesse 2 pic shows the 1937 "Rekordwoche" and AVUS version, the pic from uechtel shows the 1938 Speed record attempt car in which Rosemeyer died on the "Autobahn".

Between October 1937 and January 1938 Auto Union made many test to optimize the aerodynamic-package for the High Speed test, as you cann see in the other pic.

They were affraid the car could be lifted up, like Caracciolas car did in the 1937 "Rekordwoche". After the discussions in the press about Rosemeyers death Eberan-Eberhorst led rebuilt one new body, to show that there were only reflections under special light situations.

There was also one more streamlined body for the 1939 season on the Typ D chassis, but the drivers had some troubles in the test. So they never raced.

#24 Brun

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 12:56

Just a demonstration run, by Hans Stuck. TNF member paulhooft may be able to tell you more.



Or Brun :)

Hans Stuck raced a streamliner at Zandvoort allright. The Dutch AU representative asked Zwickau to send one of their cars for a demo on the new Zandvoort circuit. Have to look up the exact date at home, I believe it was somewhere around June 1939.

There are wonderful pictures of this run in the Chemnitz archives, I saw them. Tried to copy them, but the result was terrible :

Among the guests present to witness the runs was Prince Bernhard, husband to Princess Juliana, who was Queen of the Netherlands until 1980.

#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 13:05

Originally posted by Viss1
The bank angle of that road is impressive.


Must have been a camera with a focal plane shutter that worked vertically...

#26 dretceterini

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 13:22

I believe that there are at least 5 different body variations similar to the GP streamliner. In addition, there are a number of other body variations like the Rosemeyer car strictly for LSR. There are also at least 3 or 4 different variations of what looks like a "standard" open wheeled GP car, but with wheel pontoons in the front and/or the rear..

#27 Holger Merten

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 13:58

Originally posted by dretceterini
(...) LSR (...)

:confused:

SR= Speed record, but L may Land?

#28 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 14:00

Correct...

Land Speed Record.

#29 Holger Merten

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 14:10

Originally posted by dretceterini
I believe that there are at least 5 different body variations similar to the GP streamliner. In addition, there are a number of other body variations like the Rosemeyer car strictly for LSR. There are also at least 3 or 4 different variations of what looks like a "standard" open wheeled GP car, but with wheel pontoons in the front and/or the rear..


A short list of the different bodies just out of my brain, without the sources:
Typ A
# Long tail
# short tail
# highspeed
# standard
# hillclimber

Typ B
# highspeed
# standard
# Lucca with different fronts
# hillclimber

Typ C
# highspeed
# standard
# Streamliner 1937
# Streamliner 1938
# hillclimber
Typ D
# Body 1938
# Body 1939
# Streamliner
# hillclimber (?)

Please complete:

#30 Viss1

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 18:01

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Must have been a camera with a focal plane shutter that worked vertically...

Actually, I am impressed by the shutter/film speed the photographer must have used - he avoided the "speed lean" (?term) common to fast-moving pics of the day. But I was referring to the angle of the spectators and markers, which indicates that the road must have been built with a major bank (ie. the people are actually standing on a level surface - it's the car that's at an angle).

#31 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 19:11

No - absolutely not so - don't be misled into believing that the photograph is a true representation of the scene. Look at the visible portion of the AU's road wheels - they show the same focal plane shutter distortion as affects the images of the 'vertical' spectators. Long before the days of Adobe Photoshop the camera could already lie...

DCN

#32 Holger Merten

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Posted 04 November 2002 - 19:21

Yes Doug and public relations, some called it propaganda, was known already. So who knows, if it wasn't a PR-picture?

#33 Racer.Demon

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Posted 05 November 2002 - 15:40

Originally posted by Brun


Hans Stuck raced a streamliner at Zandvoort allright. The Dutch AU representative asked Zwickau to send one of their cars for a demo on the new Zandvoort circuit. Have to look up the exact date at home, I believe it was somewhere around June 1939.

There are wonderful pictures of this run in the Chemnitz archives, I saw them. Tried to copy them, but the result was terrible

Among the guests present to witness the runs was Prince Bernhard, husband to Princess Juliana, who was Queen of the Netherlands until 1980.


June 3, 1939, the Zandvoort Prize, on the temporary 8-shaped street circuit south of the later permanent track.

This is taken from De Auto of June 8, 1939:

"After this [a touring-car event between Fords and Delahayes] a demonstration was given by Hans Stuck, using the specially built speed-record Auto Union racing car that reached amazing speeds of over 400 kph on the Autobahn. During the car's preparation Prince Bernhard could not resist sliding behind the steering wheel himself. It was an interesting sensation watching this phenomenal speed machine at work here on the Zandvoort circuit, flapping around in this tiny birdcage like an eagle with its wings clipped."

Mercedes-Benz also showed up with Manfred von Brauchitsch, a fact more known due the fact that there is a picture around. So Brun, how about tagging that HP scanner that we have lying about along on your second trip to Chemnitz?;)

#34 Vincenzo Lancia

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Posted 05 November 2002 - 18:33

Off topic, but could'nt resist pointing out the similarities between this
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and the Audi TT, - the wing lines are almost identical :)

#35 Holger Merten

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Posted 05 November 2002 - 19:09

To find an own and typical Audi Design language, the Design team looked back into Auto Union history.

Starting in Frankfurt 1991 with the quattro spyder by Erwin Himmel, a friend of mine. who now has an own Design Studio in Barcelona, he was former Design director of the Design Center Europe (Audi/VW/Seat) at Sitges near Barcelona:
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Follwed the same year in Tokyo by the Avus quattro from Martin Smith (the new design dirctor of Opel (GM-Germany))
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Later on the TT/TTS design studies in 1995 (evrybody nows them)

and now - the from Porsche inspired never realized Typ 22 from 1934 - but seventy years later realized by Audi :| :
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An today Audi want's to find the new front design in the history of the Auto Union Silverarrows: A Look for the new A6 with the front design of an Auto Union racing car.


If this could be the future?

#36 Vincenzo Lancia

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Posted 05 November 2002 - 19:38

Holger, thanks for the follow up pictures :)

In my opinon Audi has a really qualified and well blended way of combining present and past...

But I guess it's a matter of taste :rolleyes:

#37 Holger Merten

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Posted 05 November 2002 - 20:47

Right Vincezo, as I like Audi since my early Matchbox years, working there and so on... today they have a design problem. But as you said, it's a matter of taste and/but I have two Audis at home.

#38 Viss1

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 13:02

Originally posted by Vincenzo Lancia
and the Audi TT, - the wing lines are almost identical :)

I thought the same thing. Aside from the canopy, that strikes me as a very modern design.

#39 McRonalds

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 21:19

There's a book about the AUs, published in the GDR in the early eighties, with a large(!) chapter (about 20 pages) about the record braking AUs during the thirties. Of course it's much too hard for me to translate thar cahapter, but if anyone is interested; It's called 'Grand-Prix-Report - Auto Union' 1934-1939. I recently bought it - and I think it's easy to get in Germany.

Here are some pictures from the record-breaker Bernd Rosemeyer raced in 1938. The first two are from a model (take a look at the inverted aerofoil section behind the rear axle - looks like an early form of ground effect car). The third is the famous picture that has been discussed shortly after Rosemeyers crash - some people thought there was a large dent in one side of the car - but actually it was only a reflection. The last one shows the wreck.

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#40 Holger Merten

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Posted 06 November 2002 - 21:51

Yes, Mc Ronalds, thats the innovative spirit I like Auto Union for. This car is a ground effect car, what may was the reason of Rosemeyers death. But the car is filled with futuristic ideas, also with the direct optics on the rear wheels.

Nevertheless, it's the last car of Rosemeyer and the ultimative end of a story. And nobody knows, why Rosemeyer started at that day. Cause, he was a professional, and for me it's not only a story of "he'd liked to start". I think, "He had to start". May from his own point of view, may from the pressure of AU. :confused:


But Eberan did a great job in this car, with had not so much power, than the MB, but such as "effective".

#41 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 12:53

Originally posted by dretceterini
The car in the photo looks a lot like a larger version of the streamelined GP car. How many variations on this bodywork were there?

Posted Image

After some studyings: three.

The Avus streamliner, the 1937 record breaker and the 1938 version. Without knowing if there were variations between the 4.3 L and the 6.0 L?

#42 aldo

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 13:07

I just enteerd this Thread following Holger's advice. It's great. Let's keep it going.
As soon as I'm over with my story on Rosemeyer for the 65th anniversary of his death, I'll have a look at photos and data of the 1937 streamliner to see if I can contribute something on engine, setting, body variations etc.
By the way, there were two 1937 streamlined bodies (they fit on the GP chassis). One was modified for January 28, 1938 runs and wrecked. The other one, as confirmed by the Zandvoort photo, was used for some demo runs and for Motor Shows (e.g., Berlin 1939). It disappeared in the USSR.
Aldo

#43 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 13:16

Originally posted by aldo
I It disappeared in the USSR.
Aldo


UNFORTUNETLY! Lost forever.

And a replica could't be a substitute.

#44 Brun

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 14:00

Originally posted by aldo
I just enteerd this Thread following Holger's advice. It's great. Let's keep it going.
As soon as I'm over with my story on Rosemeyer for the 65th anniversary of his death, I'll have a look at photos and data of the 1937 streamliner to see if I can contribute something on engine, setting, body variations etc.
By the way, there were two 1937 streamlined bodies (they fit on the GP chassis). One was modified for January 28, 1938 runs and wrecked. The other one, as confirmed by the Zandvoort photo, was used for some demo runs and for Motor Shows (e.g., Berlin 1939). It disappeared in the USSR.
Aldo


Other sources claim that there were more bodies. If for example the recent article in Germany's Oldtimer Markt magazine is correct, at least three streamliners came to Russia. The article is a German adaption of a Russian source. Together with Rosemeyer's wreck, that would make four.

Ah well, AU's stock has always been a mystery. Every source and historian mentions a different number. Some say 13, others say 18 or even 20 cars were transported to Russia. A definitive number has never been established. Would be a cool new task for TNF, I'd say :)

#45 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 14:26

Yes Brun, that's correct with those different numbers. But don't forget the two streamlined Typ D?

BTW: where did you find mysterious Typ E for your new avatar under your name? :lol:

#46 Brun

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 15:14

Originally posted by Holger Merten
BTW: where did you find mysterious Typ E for your new avatar under your name? :lol:


Well, Holger, my absence here since November was because driving the Typ E home from Argentina took some time. It's in my garage now, a little dirty though. Tried to clean it, but the darn thing didn't fit in the car wash. Not to mention the fact that it's got no roof :

#47 Leif Snellman

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 16:08

Originally posted by Brun
Other sources claim that there were more bodies. If for example the recent article in Germany's Oldtimer Markt magazine is correct, at least three streamliners came to Russia.

That probably includes the Type D streamliners. There was at least two of them. As far as I know there were only two Type C streamliners. Both were at AVUS and both were at the Rekordwoche, where one had a 6.0 litre engine and one had a 4.4 litre engine. Then the later one built (Fagioli's Avus car) was rebuilt for 1938 and destroyed on January 28th.

#48 Jonas

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 23:11

I know this is slightly OT but I couldn't resist agreeing with Brun; it would be really interesting to work out how many cars ACTUALLY were transferred. I do, on the other hand, realize that I might not be the first one to think that =)
Anyway, I read a russian article a while ago (a link from another thread) that claimed that 14 cars (mostly AU:s, but also a few others, for instance an A-R 8C 2.9) were brought to Russia by Stalin's son, Vasilij, in 1945. It also said that all (or at least most of) the cars remained untouched until the early 60's!! In all those years there must have been at least SOME kind of documentation..

I suppose I'm not the only one ever to have felt like going to Russia and have a look in old garages and barns over there..

#49 Mark Beckman

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Posted 25 January 2003 - 13:37

Helalua, a real picture of Avus thats not just the Nth or Sth curves, thanks McRonalds ;)

Anymore ?

#50 Holger Merten

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 07:00

Originally posted by Leif Snellman

That probably includes the Type D streamliners. There was at least two of them. As far as I know there were only two Type C streamliners. Both were at AVUS and both were at the Rekordwoche, where one had a 6.0 litre engine and one had a 4.4 litre engine. Then the later one built (Fagioli's Avus car) was rebuilt for 1938 and destroyed on January 28th.


Yes Leif, I agree completly. But don't forget, while counting the bodies, that AU rebuilt the 1938 streamline body to show, that there were reflections at the side of the car. Brun posted it in the Rosemeyer thread:"Under certain angles, the polished aluminium gives a weird, shiny, wobbly appearance, even when it's completely intact." So here we have one more body?