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Old Avus crash photo


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#1 27neil

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 12:14

I remember seeing a photograph of a crash at, i think, the Avus track in the mid fifties. The photo depicts the driver kneeling on the floor looking over his shoulder seeing his car flying over his head. I can't recall the name of the driver but was hoping somebody could perhaps post a copy of the photo on here. Can anyone help??

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#2 Gary C

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 12:18

isn't that Monza???

#3 27neil

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 12:20

Could well be, i thought it was Avus, but i'm probably wrong. From what i can recall the car has one of its wheels breaking off in the photo.

#4 Mark Ballard

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 12:29

It was Hans Hermann at Avus.
http://www.users.tot...ley/history.htm

#5 27neil

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 12:40

:up:

Thanks Mark, that's great.

#6 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 13:56

There's a good piece of newsreel footage of this accident too. Hermann slides along on his knees for a few yards then calmly stands up and walks away. Apparently the BRM's brakes failed.

#7 David Beard

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 17:39

Originally posted by Eric McLoughlin
There's a good piece of newsreel footage of this accident too. Hermann slides along on his knees for a few yards then calmly stands up and walks away. Apparently the BRM's brakes failed.


I think there is a photo of the shunt on the wall in the Donington museum...behind the recreated car.

#8 Slyder

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 18:01

there's even a video of that crash.

Try finding it at http://tbk.fameflame.dk

#9 TODave2

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 18:55

That looks like an excellent resource, shame it's been offline since Sept :(

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 21:09

There are at least two different pics of that crash posted on TNF threads somewhere...

Put 'crash' and 'Avus' into search and I daresay you'll find them.

#11 Michael Müller

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 14:21

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#12 McRonalds

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 14:59

What about an AVUS crash picture from 1921? We had a discussion about the AVUS years 1921-1926 in a German forum and I found this picture in my archive. It's from 1921 but I have no idea which car it is.

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#13 Tweddell

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 17:27

The Hermann BRM crash, caused by missing brakes, was at Solitude.

#14 David McKinney

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 19:18

I wouldn't bet on it ;)

#15 Don Capps

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 19:32

Originally posted by David McKinney
I wouldn't bet on it ;)


I'm with David on this one!

#16 Barry Boor

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 19:33

The Hermann BRM crash, caused by missing brakes, was at Solitude.



Absolutely NOT, Tweddell. However, I am very interested in what makes you think it was. :)

From my own point of view, I have never quite been able to make these pictures out. The crash seems to be at the end of a long straight and the road seems to be leaving the picture to the left. Avus was an anti-clockwise circuit so it has always puzzled me how the BRM comes to be in the position that it is.

Can anyone solve a 42 year-old question?

#17 Bladrian

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 19:38

Originally posted by David McKinney
I wouldn't bet on it ;)


Neither would I. Avus 1959 was the race where the finger of God touched a very lucky Hans .... ;)

#18 Don Capps

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 19:40

During the second heat, Hans Herrmann provided the subject for one of the most spectacular racing photographs ever taken. As he approached the Sudkurve at about 300 kmph, he discovered that he had no brakes. After vainly trying to scrub off speed by downshifting, the BRM hit the hay bales and executed a series of flips that totalled the car. Fortunately, Herrmann was thrown from the car on the first flip and suffered only minor injuries, mostly bruises.



#19 Barry Boor

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 19:48

I remember the circumstances, Don, and I suppose it is simply that you cannot quite see the road turning left (to our right as we look). It must be just behind the man at the extreme right edge of the photo.

Or is it that the road bent right before turning into the big loop that took it back up the other side of the autobahn? This would explain it. It's just that I thought I remembered seeing cars turning left through a very tight hairpin at the south end of the AVUS.

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#20 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 20:02

From the Motor Sport report: "This large radius hairpin (the South Curve) necessitates negotiating a gentle right-hand curve on the approach, which is amde all the more difficult as it is in the braking area". Presumably Hermann's accident happened on the right-hander described.

Perhaps this shows where it happened.

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#21 Holger Merten

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 20:18

Originally posted by Tweddell
The Hermann BRM crash, caused by missing brakes, was at Solitude.


As Don wrote, Hans Herman had no brakes and it was at Avus. I have the Hans Herrmann biografie and on p. 130, there is a copy of germany's "famous" Newspaper Bild . And there on the frontpage are all the pictures Michael posted in this thread with the article Don wrote in his quote. It was on 2august 1959 and the pictures are from the famous fotograph Julius Weitmann.

Hermann raced seven times between 1956 and 1969 at Solitude but without an accident.

Herrmann had an accident in the training at Monaco 1954 on Mercedes, cause of problems with the brakes. Tweedell, may you mean this event?

#22 David Beard

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 20:28

Originally posted by Roger Clark
From the Motor Sport report: "This large radius hairpin (the South Curve) necessitates negotiating a gentle right-hand curve on the approach, which is amde all the more difficult as it is in the braking area". Presumably Hermann's accident happened on the right-hander described.

Perhaps this shows where it happened.


I wonder if those straw bales across the entrance to the "straight on" bit of track launched the car?

#23 Roger Clark

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 20:32

It looks as though the crash photographs were taken from the outside of the hairpin. This was a favourite place for photographers. The straw bales in the first picture mark the inside of the corner. If Hermann had travelled a little further he would have been back onto the track at the hairpin; if he had veered slightly to his left he would have been on the return straight.

Incidentally, i don't think it's true that Hermann had no brakes; the front ones had failed, so he had one left!

#24 Don Capps

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 20:54

First, Roger is correct about the location of the accident. Second, the one brake left was not quite up to the task of properly slowing that puppy down, so...BAM!!!...into the haybales across the "chute" into the South Curve -- as David correctly surmised -- went the BRM with Our Hans.

#25 David Beard

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 21:20

Originally posted by Roger Clark
Incidentally, i don't think it's true that Hermann had no brakes; the front ones had failed, so he had one left!


Very subtle, Roger :cool:

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 21:37

Strange, that front brake failure...

Usually BRMs lost the sole rear brake due to vibrations cracking the line. Right, Doug?

#27 Holger Merten

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 22:08

Originally posted by Roger Clark
It looks as though the crash photographs were taken from the outside of the hairpin. This was a favourite place for photographers. The straw bales in the first picture mark the inside of the corner. If Hermann had travelled a little further he would have been back onto the track at the hairpin; if he had veered slightly to his left he would have been on the return straight.

Incidentally, i don't think it's true that Hermann had no brakes; the front ones had failed, so he had one left!


Herrmann himself discribes it like that:

"I'm driving with full speed down to the Südkehre feeling that I have no brakes- 250 m before the curve.Driving with a speed of about 280 kmh to the Südkehre , it feels like getting more speed. (...) I decided to drive straight into the straw balls (not to injure the people), and get one of them between the wheels. They are wet and heavy because of the rain, it's like driving against a wall. The car raises into the air, I think I'll die....and I felt that I was throughn out of the car. I see the car, the track, the air, the spectators, the car, the air, the track, the spe.....and than the moment .. you are still alive. Silence. And I'd realized, I could walk away. Afterwards, when I saw the pictures in the newspapers, I thought, Hans, for myself you are dead."

It was a flight about 70m through the air, than 60m on the track, but Hans was the lucky man, just stayed two weeks in hospital, to start three weeks later at a hillclimb in switzerland (Kloster-Davos) on Porsche.And he won.

#28 Barry Boor

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Posted 14 January 2003 - 22:51

Thanks, everybody - especially Roger for that picture which explains the situation perfectly.

As stated, if the car had gone much further it would have run right across the hairpin. That could have been very nasty for anyone going through the corner at the wrong moment.

#29 prettyface

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 04:23

Originally posted by Barry Boor
As stated, if the car had gone much further it would have run right across the hairpin. That could have been very nasty for anyone going through the corner at the wrong moment.



I've always been curious of where that car ended up. I mean, it's clearly carrying a lot of energy approaching the haybales that define the inner edge of the hairpin; did it sommersault above it? Stopped before or by the bales?

Also, did the stands surround the whole of the hairpin, or were the tarmac bits that crossed it clear of spectators? I've never seen pictures that show this area, and surely that's where the car was headed to if it had crossed the hairpin. I'm inclined to think it must have been clear, except for the photographers of course; and that this must have been one of the reasons Hermann decided to ram the haybales. Probably he was expecting to continue down the Autobahn?

#30 fines

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Posted 15 January 2003 - 18:06

Originally posted by Holger Merten
I have the Hans Herrmann biografie and on p. 130, there is a copy of germany's "famous" Newspaper Bild

So that's what it is... I always believed it to be a comic! :rolleyes:

#31 David Beard

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 17:59

From "Behind the Scenes of Motor Racing" by Ken Gregory.....

"Hans Herrmann did fairly well in the first heat with the Partnership B.R.M., finishing eighth behind Bonnier's works?prepared car. In the second heat, unfortunately, he had brake failure which resulted in his entering the 55 m.p.h. South Turn at something like 140 m.p.h. plus.

The car charged through some straw bales, turning over six or seven times end over end. Hans was very luckily thrown out and suffered superficial injuries only, but the B.R.M. bowled along the road like a mad thing and was completely and utterly destroyed in one of the most spectacular accidents ever to happen in Grand Prix racing………..

When we got back to England, we sat down and carefully considered the future as it concerned Stirling, the British Racing Partnership, and the B.R.M. Without doubt, the latest failure of the car, when Herrmann was driving it at Avus, was disturbing. The cause was traced to the fracture of a brake pipe on one of the front chassis members, which again resulted in the total failure of the front brakes.

As I have already written, this in my view was an inherent and serious fault in the B.R.M., attributable chiefly to the almost sonic vibration transmitted from the engine to every component on the chassis. Similar disc brakes are used on a multitude of other cars with complete and impressive efficiency, only B.R.M. experiencing trouble with them"

And did anyone else spot that bloke in the photo running from his abandoned chair?

#32 Barry Boor

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 18:59

Looking at the longer distance photo of the crash again, it all appears to make sense now. The line of straw bales nearest the photographer are, I guess the inside edge of the apex of the hairpin, so the BRM wasn't far off crossing the track but there appear to be no other cars in the vicinity.

It would appear that there were only another 7 or 8 cars still running at the time of Herrmann's crash so there was always a fair chance that there would be no other car involved.

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 11:51

Originally posted by David Beard
.....And did anyone else spot that bloke in the photo running from his abandoned chair?


Well I didn't... but on reconsidering the pic, he's got to be glad he was looking the right way!

Must have been an official observer or something... the chair looks pretty 'official' anyway!

#34 Eric McLoughlin

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 15:28

I've been noticing that chair for years. No hiding behind chain link fences in those days.

#35 uechtel

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 23:18

Originally posted by McRonalds
What about an AVUS crash picture from 1921? We had a discussion about the AVUS years 1921-1926 in a German forum and I found this picture in my archive. It's from 1921 but I have no idea which car it is.


A German forum? Did not discover such a thing so far! Can you tell me more about that and give me its address, please?

#36 Marcor

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 23:53

Yes, the address please even if I have a little basic knowledge of German. I've recently tried to read a 1938 German newspaper and I had some problems to decipher the language as it was written in Gothic...

If some pictures of 1921 are posted in this Forum, It must interest me for sure.

#37 McRonalds

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 14:21

@Uechtel & Marcor,
for all interested in this theme (Racing in Germany in the 20ties), try this link. There's a huge discussion going on there for about half a year and most of the people discussing there are members of TNF. All others feel invited to visit it (there are a lot of historic pictures, mostly AVUS, there) - but of course it's in German.

I don't know how such a special theme found it's way into that forum - it's rather a theme for TNF. Maybe if we are far enough I will transfer some difficult questions to TNF.

#38 uechtel

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 15:21

thank you! I´ll take an immediate look...

#39 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 14:47

Originally posted by McRonalds
@Uechtel & Marcor,
for all interested in this theme (Racing in Germany in the 20ties), try this link. There's a huge discussion going on there for about half a year and most of the people discussing there are members of TNF. All others feel invited to visit it (there are a lot of historic pictures, mostly AVUS, there) - but of course it's in German.

Very interesting indeed! A German forum with such a discussion going on - but, of course, it's just coincidence that the posters over there use the same nick names as some of the posters here ;) :D

I haven't delved to deep so far, but having noticed Michael's query re Steuer-PS:

Ich bin auch noch einmal der Sache mit den Steuer-PS nachgegangen, und habe den Ursprung herausgefunden. Das Steuergesetz wurde vom deutschen Reichstag 1906 verabschiedet, und nach folgender Formel berechnet:
0,3 x d2 x h x i.
d = Zylinderdurchmesser in cm, h = Hub in m, i = Zylinderzahl.

(snip)

Im Gegensatz zu den internationalen Hubraumeinteilungen war in Deutschland zumindest Anfang der 20er Jahre eine Einteilung der Wettbewerbs-Kategorien nach Steuer-PS üblich, angefangen von 4 PS bis hin zu 10 PS. Eine direkte Umrechnung in Hubraum habe ich nicht geschafft (vielleicht haben wir einen Mathematiker unter uns, der diese Frage lösen kann), aber ungefähr dürften diese PS-Klassen den folgenden Hubraumklassen entsprechen:
4 PS = 1050 ccm
5 PS = 1300 ccm
6 PS = 1500 ccm
8 PS = 2100 ccm
10 PS = 2600 ccm

... and glancing through the thread I don't believe this simple mathematical problem to have been solved, so here comes:

P=0.012 * C/pi

and, correspondingly:

C=250/3 * P * pi

(where P is Steuer-PS and C the engine displacement in cm²)

So you get:

4 PS = 1,047 cm²
5 PS = 1,309 cm²
6 PS = 1,571 cm2
8 PS = 2,094 cm²
and 10 PS = 2,618 cm²

So your estimations were pretty much spot on! :clap:

But I'd like to add another question re Rated Horsepower, as used in very early car designations. This formula must have been similar, but it's not identical as far as I can find out. Also the different RAC Rating. Anyone know more about that?

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#40 McRonalds

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 17:28

In Werner Oswalds 'Deutsche Autos - 1920-1945' you can find the following equation, after which car taxes were raised in Germany from 1906 until 1928:

Steuer-PS (4-stroke-engines) = 0,30 x i x d2 x s
Steuer-PS (2-stroke-engines) = 0,45 x i x d2 x s

i = number of cylinders
d2 = cylinder diameter
s = cylinder stroke

So the result means that 1 Steuer-PS corresponds to 261,8-ccm (4-stroke-engine) or 175,5-ccm (2-stroke-engine). The Steuer-PS has nothing to do with the real horsepower of the car, for example a car with 6/30 PS (around 1.500-ccm) has 6 Steuer-PS and 30 Brems-PS. And it's getting more complicated if a supercharger was used; a Mercedes-Benz 500 K for example has the indication 20/100/160 PS.

After 1928 the following equation was used:

Steuer-Hubraum = 0,00078 x i x d2 x s

#41 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 17:46

Okay, a little web search revealed the RAC formula:

HP = d² * n / 2.5

where d is bore in inches and n the number of cylinders.

Now can anyone point me in the direction of the "continental" formula? Or was it that every manufacturer used his own formula to rate his engines??? :confused:

#42 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 18:18

Originally posted by McRonalds
After 1928 the following equation was used:

Steuer-Hubraum = 0,00078 x i x d2 x s

... which, btw, is just a convenient rounding of the expression pi/4 used when calculating engine displacement. pi/4 ~ 0.7854, clean out the dimension and you have the above formula. :)

#43 Michael Müller

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 22:03

Originally posted by fines
- but, of course, it's just coincidence that the posters over there use the same nick names as some of the posters here ;) :D

My "nick name" is shown in my passport too ...

#44 fines

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 15:53

MY GOD, and he's nicked your avatar, too!!!! :eek:

[never mind, just kidding ;)]

#45 Holger Merten

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 18:59

Seems that some of the TNFlers found another "warm home".;)

#46 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 21:20

Need we fear that they'll drag more of their ilk in here to join us?

Where are we going to put them?

#47 McRonalds

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Posted 20 January 2003 - 22:15

@Ray:
We had one or another fine discussion there. Of course that German forum is no replacment for TNF, but an all German special thread like 'Racing in Germany in the 20ties' is in good hands there. Some folks over there are really clever and I'm not sure if one or another isn't already member of TNF (maybe with another nickname - to speak with Fines' words). At least most of them take a regular look to TNF. :cool: