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Rosemeyer's death 65 years ago


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#1 Brun

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 12:33

Got this press statement from Audi:

Ingolstadt, 17 January 2003

Bernd Rosemeyer killed in an accident 65 years ago

Bernd Rosemeyer, one of the most exceptional racing drivers in German motor racing history, died 65 years ago. The then 28-year old was killed in a world record attempt on 28 January 1938 when his Auto Union Streamliner rolled over several times at some 440 km/h on the Frankfurt to Darmstadt autobahn. AUDI AG, as the traditional successor to Auto Union AG Chemnitz, will lay a wreath in memory of the famous racing driver at the site of the accident on the present-day A5 between Frankfurt and Heidelberg (in the direction of Darmstadt, commemorative stone at the first car park after the Langen-Mörfelden exit).

The news of his death shocked the public at the time. Bernd Rosemeyer was seen as the motor racing idol of his day. As a 25-year old, the former motorcycle rider joined Auto Union's racing department in 1935 and made his debut on 26 May in the AVUS race in Berlin. In the very first year, after several places on the winner's rostrum, Rosemeyer won the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix in Brünn. 1936, however, was to be Bernd Rosemeyer's year in the legendary Silver Arrow era. In the Auto Union 16-cylinder Type C he won all possible titles: European champion, German road racing champion and German hill-climbing champion. Even in 1937, when Rosemeyer was no longer able to compete on equal terms against the top Mercedes drivers such as Caracciola, Lang or von Brauchitsch, this did nothing to detract from his position as a superstar of his time. Bernd Rosemeyer was viewed as a genius in the racing car cockpit and delighted hundreds of thousands of fans throughout the world with his exceptionally courageous driving style.

In October 1937, Bernd Rosemeyer set several world records on the Frankfurt to Darmstadt autobahn. He was the first person to exceed the 400 km/h limit on a normal road. For the record attempts in January 1938, Auto Union took a modified, Streamliner record car with a 16-cylinder engine (6.5-litre, 545 hp) to the starting line. The theoretical top speed was 456 km/h. During the record attempt, Rosemeyer's car was caught by a gust of wind at a speed of almost 440 km/h. The car careered off the road and rolled over several times. Auto Union AG Chemnitz never took any further part in record attempts after this.

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#2 Holger Merten

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 12:39

Brun, you opend that thread 5 min before me. Well done.

#3 Bernd

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 12:46

It's good to see Audi remember the most rapid of Germans.

#4 Gary C

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 13:20

'It's good to see Audi remember the most rapid of Germans'
It's good to see that Audi remember one of their own, something, I think, is sadly lacking here in the UK. See Doug's thread about getting the sports hall named after Mike Hawthorn, et al!

#5 holiday

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 13:53

Audi :up:
Rosemeyer :up: :up: :up:

#6 Jimmy Piget

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Posted 17 January 2003 - 23:24

Is Elly Beinhorn Rosemeyer still alive ?
Or, if not, when did she die ?

#7 Tim Murray

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 00:37

Some googling shows that she was still going strong on her 95th birthday in May 2002, and there is nothing to suggest that she is not still alive.

#8 aldo

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 09:51

As far as know, Elli is still alive. Since many, many years she doesn't like neither to talk nor be interviewed on Rosemeyer's years.
About lies on Rosemeyer's death, it's highly possible that the offical version of the wind gut as the trigger of the accident is one of those. I'm finalizing an in-depth research on the fact, based on what I do reasonably figure out as nearly everything still available on the accident, as first-hand reports, i.e. articles, witness statements, internal AU memos and drafts. What was written after the accident looks like one of the best engineered deceivements in the history of motor racing.

#9 Bladrian

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 10:06

Originally posted by Bernd
It's good to see Audi remember the most rapid of Germans.


As a non-German, I find myself amazed at the lack of respect paid to truly the most rapid of Germans....

Since 1950, thirty-seven Germans have competed in the Grand Epreuves - and only one has ever been world champion. But he has been world champion five times.

Instead of praise, in the forums I mostly find schadenfreude when the best German driver has bad fortune. Why is this?

#10 Tim Murray

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 10:07

It sounds as if your research is not yet finished, but - what have you concluded so far?

#11 Tim Murray

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 10:11

Originally posted by Tim Murray
It sounds as if your research is not yet finished, but - what have you concluded so far?

Sorry - Adrian got in ahead of me. My question concerns aldo's research into Rosemeyer's death.

#12 Bladrian

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Posted 18 January 2003 - 11:08

At the risk of sounding morbid, I would also want to know what exactly happened. I can NOT imagine driving at 400 km/h on the tyres of the day. With the suspensions of the day. With the steering of the day. That could only have been a truly frightening experience.

#13 dmj

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 01:06

I know it is sometning no one will ever be able to measure... but in my humble opinion Bernd seems to be the most gifted driver ever. I don't have anything but my feelings to support that, however. It is nice to know that Audi remembers and cares. Maybe it will even motivate me to buy Maisto 1/18 model of their Le Mans winner, to make company to already purchased model of concept car - you'll guess it! - Audi Rosemeyer.

#14 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 09:53

Originally posted by aldo
.....About lies on Rosemeyer's death, it's highly possible that the offical version of the wind gut as the trigger of the accident is one of those. I'm finalizing an in-depth research on the fact, based on what I do reasonably figure out as nearly everything still available on the accident, as first-hand reports, i.e. articles, witness statements, internal AU memos and drafts. What was written after the accident looks like one of the best engineered deceivements in the history of motor racing.

Aldo, first of all a friendly "Salute". May you enjoy TNF as much as we do.

As far as I remember, there were two studies made about Rosemeyer's accident. When will you release your study or is it going to be an article in an Italian magazine? Maybe we are going to see a translation?

#15 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 12:08

Originally posted by Bladrian


As a non-German, I find myself amazed at the lack of respect paid to truly the most rapid of Germans....

Since 1950, thirty-seven Germans have competed in the Grand Epreuves - and only one has ever been world champion. But he has been world champion five times.

Instead of praise, in the forums I mostly find schadenfreude when the best German driver has bad fortune. Why is this?

Because Michael Schumacher is such an unpleasant person - at least that's my answer as a German, obviously I can't speak for all of my Landsleute. Anyway, I'm not particularly interested in national pride and such dumbstuff. In fact, I think Germany is a land full of arrogant failures, but again, that's just my opinion.

Aldo, I join the queue waiting for the results of your investigations!!

#16 Vitesse2

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 13:24

Originally posted by fines

Aldo, I join the queue waiting for the results of your investigations!!


No pushing please ..... :)

#17 scheivlak

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 13:28

Originally posted by Bladrian
At the risk of sounding morbid, I would also want to know what exactly happened. I can NOT imagine driving at 400 km/h on the tyres of the day. With the suspensions of the day. With the steering of the day. That could only have been a truly frightening experience.


Caracciola writes about this quite extensively in his autobiography. Just before Rosemeyer's attempt he set the record at 432, 692 km/h (427something in one direction, 437 in the other) with the Mercedes car. He writes that he really had to "aim" through the narrow gates of the motorway viaducts and about the strange experience that his car was faster than his brain could work. After the run it was impossible to brake because of the certainty of a puncture. He just had to remove his foot from the throttle and let it run to a standstill 3 kms further.
It looks rather frightening to me. Still, the first thing Rudolf said after his attempt was that they should come back the next day with another gearing because the car was perfect and could run even faster.
Immediately after that, still that same morning, the news came that Auto Union would try to break the record before lunchtime, so they could have the headlines at the radio news bulletins.
According to Caracciola's autobiography, he was on the spot. He is congratulated with his record by Rosemeyer just before Bernd steps into his car, and Rudolf wishes him well. He writes about his worries concerning the wind at that moment - the speed record cars of those days were very unstable aerodynamically.

But I guess Aldo knows a lot more.....

#18 paulhooft

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 16:33

I am sure most of you know that Elly Rosemeyer Beinhorn wrote the well known book
Mein Mann der Rennfahrer in 1938.
The book is now a classic.
Later it was translated and reworked by her and Chris Nixon as Rosemeyer A New Biography
The book is a must have!
The orininal edition in German was a Bestseller ( what is that in German?)
back in the late 30's and early forties, even if Rosemeyer is believed to be not that a political figure..
He was big propaganda and the book includes some additional pages with many big.. words from Nazi Creatures Like A.H. and many other names that make your hair raise!!...
Brrrr..
So skip those pages please..
Paul Hooft

#19 Bladrian

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 16:40

Originally posted by fines

Because Michael Schumacher is such an unpleasant person - at least that's my answer as a German, obviously I can't speak for all of my Landsleute. Anyway, I'm not particularly interested in national pride and such dumbstuff. In fact, I think Germany is a land full of arrogant failures, but again, that's just my opinion.


I must confess to being a bit gobsmacked, here. Rosemeyer's connections to the Nazi party and 'Onkel Adi' don't bother you - but Michael Schumacher is 'such an unpleasant person'? Weird.

And I've always thought Michael to be a thoroughly pleasant person, myself .... :|

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#20 paulhooft

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 18:31

But for his accident in Monza 1961,
the German Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips,
could well have been World Champion in 1961...
because not even the genial, I believe he is that because of what he achieved :
Sir Stirling Moss,
could hold the Ferrari's
that year..
Paul Hooft

#21 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 18:34

Originally posted by paulhooft
The orininal edition in German was a Bestseller ( what is that in German?)

Bestseller :)

[although, originally it used to be a Verkaufsschlager :(]

Originally posted by Bladrian
And I've always thought Michael to be a thoroughly pleasant person, myself ....

Well, chacun a son gout, I guess... I wouldn't want him to marry my daughter!

[If I had one, that is! :lol: :rotfl:]

#22 Dennis David

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 19:06

I must confess to being a bit gobsmacked, here. Rosemeyer's connections to the Nazi party and 'Onkel Adi' don't bother you - but Michael Schumacher is 'such an unpleasant person'? Weird.



I don’t want this to go unanswered. Any awards, appointments, etc bestowed upon Rosemeyer by the Nazis were a reflection of their desire to make use of his popularity and were NOT based on his political leanings of which he was completely innocent. A more apolitical individual has yet to be born.

#23 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 19:08

Hmm. I don't think you could possibly be apolitical in Germany in the Thirties... :

#24 Dennis David

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 19:14

Maybe in denial is more accurate ;)

#25 Bladrian

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 20:04

Originally posted by fines
Hmm. I don't think you could possibly be apolitical in Germany in the Thirties... :


"May the thought that he fell fighting for Germany's reputation lessen your grief." Adolf Hitler's eulogy on the driver in question, addressed to the German nation.

Befehl ist befehl, hmmm? ...........

Right - Herr Sardonicus has unceremoniously been shoved into the wings, and off stage. Of COURSE that was said tongue-in-cheek. Rosemeyer had no more control over what the press of the day said about him than - well, Michael Schumacher has over what the tabloids of today print about him. Time for a re-examination of the German champion's virtues, possibly, Michael? ;)

#26 fines

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Posted 19 January 2003 - 21:36

I don't read tabloids.

#27 aldo

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 10:00

For the few who are interested in it, my draft on Rosemeyer accident is about ready. I plan to publish it on January 28, as a tribute to him.
It's a 15-page Word document, a technical background without too much literature: I did it using only original sources, i.e. AU files, 1938 German dailies and magazines, photos, books only from the concerned persons.
It's long, therefore I don't know how to publish it here: definitely not in the Forum. I'd rather suggest that interested people e-mail me his/her address. I'll e-mail the file in the early morning of January 28.
Wanna get a taste of my personal explanation of the accident?
"In short: the fate of Rosemeyer was written on the wall when the body of his Stromlinienwagen collapsed. The SW wind through the clearing could either have added that extra load on a body already blowing apart or be uninfluential. The car was travelling beyond its dynamic and mechanical envelope, bound to destroy itself, even without the side wind. It wasn't designed and engineered to withstand the stresses of an untried speed."
Aldo Zana
aldo.zana@agenpress.com

#28 Brun

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 10:50

Originally posted by aldo
"In short: the fate of Rosemeyer was written on the wall when the body of his Stromlinienwagen collapsed. The SW wind through the clearing could either have added that extra load on a body already blowing apart or be uninfluential. The car was travelling beyond its dynamic and mechanical envelope, bound to destroy itself, even without the side wind. It wasn't designed and engineered to withstand the stresses of an untried speed."


Somewhere in the back of my head, I remember reading testimonies of people who said that the metal of the car's body was visibly distorted when it passed by. Later it was shown that this was an optical illusion. Under certain angles, the polished aluminium gives a weird, shiny, wobbly appearance, even when it's completely intact.

I'd be very interested to read your story, I'll send you my e-mail. Where do you publish it?

#29 Leif Snellman

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 17:47

Originally posted by aldo
"In short: the fate of Rosemeyer was written on the wall when the body of his Stromlinienwagen collapsed. The SW wind through the clearing could either have added that extra load on a body already blowing apart or be uninfluential. The car was travelling beyond its dynamic and mechanical envelope, bound to destroy itself, even without the side wind. It wasn't designed and engineered to withstand the stresses of an untried speed."


Well, my own theory is this:
The Auto union raced by Rosemeyer on 28 january was a totally new design with a revolutional bodywork. Completed with panels that came close to the ground and channelled the air creating a vacuum, this was in fact the first wing car, built almost 40 years before the Lotus 78.

Now, Rosemeyer was aware of the fact that there was side winds blowing on part of the road.
My guess is that the left wheel(s) of the car was/were pushed on to the grass and that the vacuum disappeared for a moment from under the car. making the car highly instable. When Rosemeyer tried to correct he overreacted and the catastrophe happened. We nowadays have some idea how cars can behave if they lose the grip such as when they lose a rear wing or get a sudden pressure change under the body. So I guess that Rosemeyer's Auto Union should have behaved something like the Mercedes-Benz cars at Le Mans 1999.

#30 Marc

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 18:24

Originally posted by Jimmy Piget
Is Elly Beinhorn Rosemeyer still alive ?
Or, if not, when did she die ?


I think she is alive ...
http://www.ctie.mona...e/beinhorn.html

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#31 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 07:27

Well, my own theory is this:
The Auto union raced by Rosemeyer on 28 january was a totally new design with a revolutional bodywork. Completed with panels that came close to the ground and channelled the air creating a vacuum, this was in fact the first wing car, built almost 40 years before the Lotus 78.

Now, Rosemeyer was aware of the fact that there was side winds blowing on part of the road.
My guess is that the left wheel(s) of the car was/were pushed on to the grass and that the vacuum disappeared for a moment from under the car. making the car highly instable. When Rosemeyer tried to correct he overreacted and the catastrophe happened. We nowadays have some idea how cars can behave if they lose the grip such as when they lose a rear wing or get a sudden pressure change under the body. So I guess that Rosemeyer's Auto Union should have behaved something like the Mercedes-Benz cars at Le Mans 1999.



Leif, this is an interesting theorie, espacially the idea to compare Rosemeyers accident with the MB troubles at Le Mans. And you could be right. After Rosemeyers successful records of 1937, AU did not suspect anything from a new record week Rekordwoche , which took place on urge of MB then in the January. And AU did not have enough time, in order to test the body carefully in the wind tunnel.

Parallel to it AU also still had to develop the Typ E. And like always AU was not in the schedule. And then they heard they had to build a new and better record car?

Perhaps, this is a good explanation, must go back into the details at home. Thanks Leif, interesting.

#32 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 07:29



I'd be very interested to read your story, I'll send you my e-mail. Where do you publish it?



Me too Aldo, so in a few minutes you got my mail.

#33 paulhooft

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 10:08

If possible can it be publish in this group?
or a link be made?
Paul Hooft

#34 Vrba

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 10:29

Does anyone have a picture of 1938 Auto-Union record breaker?
I saw quite a few pics of Caracciola's Mercedes but never the Auto-Union.

Hrvoje

#35 Brun

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 10:33

Originally posted by Vrba
Does anyone have a picture of 1938 Auto-Union record breaker?
I saw quite a few pics of Caracciola's Mercedes but never the Auto-Union.

Hrvoje


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#36 Vrba

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 10:45

Originally posted by Brun


Posted Image


Isn't this a 1937 Avusrennen streamliner?

Hrvoje

#37 Leif Snellman

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 10:51

Yes, thats the Avus car. The 1938 record breaker was totally different.

#38 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 11:03

Isn't this a 1937 Avusrennen streamliner?



Definitly Avus streamliner.

The 1938 recordbreaker had a more characteristic body with panels going down to the ground. The 1938 streamliner based upon the 1937 recordbreaker, which was a modified Avus streamliner.

This picture was taken a the Grand Prix de L´Age d`Or in Montlhéry at 24./25.6.2000.

#39 Leif Snellman

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 11:08

Originally posted by Brun
Where do you publish it?


Aldo has asked me if I my web site is available . Yes, It will be an great honour for me to have his article published there. :D

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#40 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 11:11

Great Leif, I think you read the article already.

#41 Leif Snellman

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 11:16

No! I'm as excited and full of expectation as you are. :lol:

#42 Brun

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 11:37

Originally posted by Holger Merten


Definitly Avus streamliner.

The 1938 recordbreaker had a more characteristic body with panels going down to the ground. The 1938 streamliner based upon the 1937 recordbreaker, which was a modified Avus streamliner.

This picture was taken a the Grand Prix de L´Age d`Or in Montlhéry at 24./25.6.2000.


You're so right of course, should have paid more attention :blush:

I believe this link shows a small picture, from the rear.

Must have a picture of the recordbreaker, but I can't remember where.

#43 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 11:42

@Brun
I could imagine, that you will be ashamed. Didn't you read the press release word by word, it's just right to the picture.;)


@Leif

How long does it take? at 2pm, at 2.30pm, at 3pm, at?????, or tomorrow, or after the weekend?

I'm also excited and full of expectation..... :wave:

#44 aldo

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 12:00

About the color photo of the streamliner.
It's better to add that this is the replica ordered by Audi in the UK. The body was shown at Goodwood Festival of Speed and then the complete car was run around Monthlery, as correctly stated. It's now in the Audi Museum in Ingolstad: its presence alone is worth the visit there, yet the whole Museum and the building are top class.
Thye replica was first shown with a striking polished aluminum body. It's has been later silver painted using the customary, foolish laquer, destroying the appearence of historic cars.
The replica could be different from 1937 Stromlininewagen because there were two of them and some changes to the body have been made between Avus and the two 1937 record outings.
The 1938 record car was the second 1937 streamliner built, with add-ons to the body and many other changes under the body.
Some good photos of the 1938 car and of the wreck are in Chris Nixon's Auto Union Album. The photos of the last run have been published by my friends and colleagues Cesare De Agostini and Gianni Cancellieri in their pioneering book on AU racing cars.
I have prints from the originals taken on Jan 28 and at the AU plant on the surviving streamliner with the upper fairings added.
Aldo

#45 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 12:36

Aldo, I'm very interested in those pictures. Cause I'm working on my 2. part of the AU racing despt. article for 8W. And some more pictures could help me to understand the standing of the dept. AND to understand the differencies between the cars from AVUS tot he 1937 recordbreaker and the 1938 car.

Perhaps you can send me some scanns or you can post them in this Auto Union Streamliner thread which was used, by all, who were interested in the AU streamliner history.

#46 Leif Snellman

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 12:52

Originally posted by Holger Merten
[BHow long does it take? at 2pm, at 2.30pm, at 3pm, at?????, or tomorrow, or after the weekend?
[/B]

As I understand it, on the correct day, Tuesday, 28th January.

Yes, Dennis David has the correct picture. Five others in the series plus a picture after the crash can be found in Elly Beinhorn's "Bernd Rosemeyer - mein mann der Rennfahrer".

#47 Leif Snellman

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 12:59

Posted Image
1937 car
Posted Image
1938 car

#48 Holger Merten

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 13:10

Originally posted by Leif Snellman

As I understand it, on the correct day, Tuesday, 28th January.


Okay, I have to wait, to wait, to wait, to wait, to wait. Thanks Leif, do you have any ideas of differencies in the 1937 recordbreaker bodies, I brought it up today again in the other streamliner thread, once again?

#49 holiday

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 15:37

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Doesn't exactly look as if Audi were as caring for Rosemeyer's grave as they were for the use of his name in their public relation release.


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Same is true with Delius. In his case a small group of enthusiasts asked Audi for a small amount of money to take care of his grave. They didn't even get a reply from Audi.


Both Rosemeyer and Delius are btw buried on the same cemetry, Waldfriedhof Berlin-Dahlem, Germany.


Pics ADDED January 30th:

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This photo depicts the entrance stone of the Waldfriedhof Dahlem.

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This pic shows the family tomb of the Delius after taking care of.

#50 fines

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Posted 24 January 2003 - 15:55

Originally posted by holiday
Both Rosemeyer and Delius are btw buried on the same cemetry, Waldfriedhof Berlin-Dahlem, Germany.

... and Ernst-Günther Burggaller, too!