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Mille Miglia 1940 ? Huschke von Hanstein


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#1 Michael Müller

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 14:30

It seems to be common knowledge that Huschke von Hanstein with Walter Bäumer as co-driver had won this event with the famous BMW 328 Touring Superleggera coupé.
Thomas Aichele in his Hanstein biography “Der Rennbaron” recalls von Hanstein as follows (translated from German) :
After the first fuel stop Bäumer by all means wanted to drive, but Hühnlein desperately asked him to stay on the passenger seat. “We are aware that you can drive as fast as von Hanstein, but he can handle the car perfectly, and treats it in a very special manner. He presses the clutch pedal always from sloping left. You sit somewhat different, and may be you push it more from the right. So possibly these lightweight parts could brake, if the load is not always the same. We don’t want to take any risk by a driver change”.
And later:
Sportsman von Hanstein stopped 30 km before the finish, walked around the car, opened the passenger door, and offered Bäumer the steering wheel, in order to let him cross the finish line.

In the 1962 published book “Im weissen Overall” Helmut Sohre writes about the 1940 Mille Miglia (translated from German) :
“During the war in 1940 on insistance of Germany a substitute race was organized, in order to demonstrate that despite the unpleasant circumstances life goes on as usual, and that the sport is still alive. This happened on special request of Reichsführer SS, and he also ordered a watchdog in uniform to participate (he means von Hanstein). All others were wearing civilian clothes, even Korpsführer Hühnlein.
Winner was the young BMW driver Bäumer, who shortly afterwards was killed in an accident. Co-driver is Huschke von Hanstein, who was allowed for a short time to take over the wheel – so big was the superiority of the BMW.”

The “Rennbaron” biography reports about quarrels between the NSKK and the SS about the drivers nomination, and finally von Hanstein was entered by the SS, whereas the others by the NSKK. Already as early as 1938 von Hanstein was official SS driver, with his competition BMW 328 not only showing the SS logo (as did his overall), but also the registration plate was “SS-333”.

Comparing the career of both, Bäumer and von Hanstein, my believe is that Walter Bäumer was the better and more experienced driver, so it should be logical that he would have been main driver of car # 70. Von Hanstein’s explanation about the clutch pedal in my view is pure nonsense, and that he gratefully hands over the wheel to Bäumer shortly before the finish …?!

So my question is – who was the real winner of the 1940 Mille Miglia, Walter Bäumer or Huschke von Hanstein? Bäumer died in 1941, so if he really was the main driver, he had no chance to defy his position in later years.

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#2 Leif Snellman

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 18:03

Here comes an answer from Walter Bäumer (Junior)

"as we all know, v. Hanstein was a very good self-promoter -in later years!!
The truth is a mixture of both aspects discussed (in TNF)

v.Hanstein was the main driver and had lots of experience with the BMW 328 in
numerous german hillclimbs etc.
Walter Baumer has experience with small cars (AUSTIN sportscars and AUSTIN
kompressor monoposti to MERCEDES GP-cars).
v. Hanstein was nominated as the official driver in that 1940 MM. My uncle
was nominated as his co-driver! Walter was very disapointed with this
-political!!- decision but accepted. We wanted to do racing -and there was no
anymore racing in 1940!

v. Hanstein drove very well. My father Werner Baumer was the "manager" of his
brother Walter but was NOT present in that race. He told me shortly before
his death in 1972 that Walter took over the drivers seat after v. Hanstein
became tired. So Walter drove the last 3 or 4 laps of that race and saw the
chequered flag.

But v. Hanstein was member of the SS which wanted to establish a kind of
"SS-drivers-squadron" (v. Hanstein was the only member!!!) and so the
officials in Berlin called the Baron as the official winner which my uncle
had to accept. It was a very good race for BMW taking great final positions
in that race with drivers which were all NSKK-members (eceptional Count
Lurani who was getting a seat to satisfy the Italians!).

But it makes me very proud to see that Walter Baumer (he was in the NSKK) was
the only team-member who didn`t wear any NSKK-stickers or Nazi-logos on his
overall in this race (as in all of his earlier races with AUSTIN and MB!!).
For me this is the real victory!!"

Best
Walter


#3 Michael Müller

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 19:34

I expected something like this, although the confirmation that von Hanstein indeed was entered as 1st driver comes somewhat like a surprise to me.
Discussed in TNF? Seems I have missed something, anybody able to link the corresponding thread?

There are other stories about von Hanstein which make the character of this man somewhat doubtful, like the press release in May 1962 (von Hanstein was not only race manager, but also director of PR department) claiming 2nd place in the 1961 driver's WC for Dan Gurney, after Phil Hill and breakeven with Moss.
And by the way, does anybody know why he was member of the "Club International des Anciens Pilotes de Grand Prix"??

#4 McRonalds

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 22:06

Nice picture of the winning car of the MM '40 just passing the finishing line. In the background you can see the lap charts and the one guy is just about to put up the times of lap nine. Winning car #70 made the following lap times:
lap 3: 2:57:32
lap 4: 3:54:24
lap 5: 4:52:34
lap 6: 5:52:29
lap 7: 6:50:37
lap 8: 7:52:24
lap 9:

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#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 22:12

Originally posted by Michael Müller
And by the way, does anybody know why he was member of the "Club International des Anciens Pilotes de Grand Prix"??


That always baffled me too.

Do I detect a whiff of creative rewriting of history here?

#6 Felix Muelas

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 22:15

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Do I detect a whiff of creative rewriting of history here?

Richard : :lol:

Do I detect that Michael is nor precisely a fan of Huschke von Hanstein?
;)
Felix

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 22:27

Just in case anyone misunderstands, I was referring to a rewrite by von Hanstein, not Michael. But I do agree with you Felix - I don't think Michael is Huschke's greatest fan ...

#8 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 22:44

Originally posted by Michael Müller
And by the way, does anybody know why he was member of the "Club International des Anciens Pilotes de Grand Prix"??


Now hang on just one moment - The Baron was qualified relatively handsomely for the Ancient Pilots' club by his victory in that 1940 Mille Miglia - emasculated though it might have been - he also drove extensively postwar , he was very well known and generally well liked by the 1950s-into-60s establishment of leading drivers, and while race director at Porsche he provided gainful employment for many of them...

When it came to membership of a retired sporting gentlemen's drinking society then, The Baron seems to have been absolutely eminently well-qualified. What's the problem? :confused:

DCN

#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 23:12

Okay, correct me if I'm wrong Doug, but weren't all the other blue blazers ex-GP drivers? HvH never ran in a GP, even if he did have a reasonable record in sports cars.

#10 Michael Müller

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Posted 22 January 2003 - 23:40

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Okay, correct me if I'm wrong Doug, but weren't all the other blue blazers ex-GP drivers? HvH never ran in a GP, even if he did have a reasonable record in sports cars.

This was exactly the background of my question. Between "retired sporting gentlemen" and "Grand Prix drivers" there seems to be a difference.

#11 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 00:33

Tobias Aichele, is his "Huschke von Hanstein The Racing Baron", wrote:
"Membership (in the Club International des Anciens Pilotes de Grand Prix - that is what the crest shows) was strictly limited to former race drivers with suitable career histories. Besides F1 drivers, it also admitted Mille Miglia and Le Mans winners. As such, Huschke...attended every annual meeting, always held in conjunction with some spectacular event. Often, this was the Monaco F1 race; at other times they were guests of Enzo Ferrari or Giovanni Agnelli in Italy. Louis Chiron served as president for many years, followed by Baron Toulo de Graffenried, but the 'real mover and shaker was Maria Teresa de Filippis'...Prince Louis Napoleon and...Bernard Cahier...played an important social role; the latter owned a chalet in Villars-sur-Ollon, where he welcomed as guests old campaigners as well as the younger generation of Formula 1 pilots."

The above is a post from Raillart on a similar thread from last summer.

I obviously have no idea where the anti-Hushcke feelings stem from - but let me go on record as one Michael who knew, liked and admired the man.

Incidentally, in von Hanstein's account of the race he says that he turned the wheel over to Baumer 20 k's from the finish line (which differs from other versions on this thread). Also as he tells the story it was Alfred Neubauer who overcame von Hanstein's insistence that Baumer drive earlier.

I see no reason not to take this at face value and instead of using the race to run down von Hanstein's character, I would suggest that it illustrates a very honorable and sporting side of the man (turning the car over to Baumer to drive to the finish line despite pressure to the contrary).

I also feel that the example used to further impugn von Hanstein's character - the business about the press release - is very weak. It seems to me that Moss and Gurney were equal 3rd with 21 points - but if there was a tie breaker it should have gone to Moss on the basis of two wins. So he got it wrong. But it would take a lot of evidence to convince me that he was trying to fool anyone. We all make mistakes. If this is the best indicator of some character failing I am afraid the detractors will have to do better than that!

#12 Marcor

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 01:06

Prince Louis Napoleon was also a driver, not in GP however !

see the link: http://www.atlasf1.c...&threadid=12322

#13 Michael Müller

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 07:27

Moss and Gurney were equal third, and not second. Von Trips did not count anymore ...

#14 Patrick Italiano

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 14:32

Originally posted by Mike Argetsinger
We all make mistakes. If this is the best indicator of some character failing I am afraid the detractors will have to do better than that!


I hate to have to raise the point made by Baumer's nephew who contrasts his uncle's and V. Hanstein's positions:


v. Hanstein was member of the SS which wanted to establish a kind of
"SS-drivers-squadron" (v. Hanstein was the only member!!!)

versus


Walter Baumer (he was in the NSKK) was
the only team-member who didn`t wear any NSKK-stickers or Nazi-logos on his
overall


You may think that it makes no difference. If so, I leave it to you and don't want to argue on that kind of matters in TNF.
But I can't help saying that it makes a difference to me.

#15 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 23 January 2003 - 16:02

Nice bit of selective editing of my comments you have done there Patrick. Just the kind of trick that those you profess to abhor may have pulled in their day. I would caution any third party reading this thread to read my comments in full before rushing to judgement.

Through your editing trick you have assumed the high moral ground and chosen to infer a point of view on my part that I find distasteful. Nonetheless you have your point of view - although I am unconvinced that you and Michael M. have sufficient evidence for your condemnation of von Hanstein.

I will stick to my previous statment that I knew the man and remember him as a fine person.

#16 Ian McKean

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 00:12

Don't want to get involved in discussions about von Hanstein's character, but this thread makes me realise that I have no idea about a question that has lurked in the back of my mind for some time. Why and how did Walter Baumer get involved in racing Austins? Seems strange for a German to race British cars in Britain so often in the mid-thirties.

#17 Marcor

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 00:22

I remember an article about Walter Baumer and his British connection in Motosport or Classic & Sports car, quite recently...

#18 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 07:10

The reason Walter Bäumer received works assistance from the Austin was due to his many class victories in the 750 cc class and this assured good advertising for Austin. Remember that Walter Bäumer started racing in 1928 on a 750 cc 2-cyl NSU bike. In 1929, he won 12 times and placed six times second. After having fallen off his bike, he decided in 1930 to race on four wheels, winning with a 743 cc Dixi. The following year he changed to a specially tuned 750 cc BMW but was still unable to beat his opponent Bobby Kohlrausch and therefore he obtained an Austin sports car. His brother, Werner, who also raced 750 cc cars a few times between 1930 and 1936, was less successful. From 1932 to 1935, Walter won many mountain climbs with an Austin 747 cc racing car and sports car and received some Austin works assistance. He was one of the most successful German private drivers and became king in the little class winning many circuit races and more mountain climbs. In 1935, he raced also a MG K3 Magnette. The next year, with a 747 cc Austin 7 s/c racer, he won the 750cc class at Shelsley Walsh hill climb and 750 cc class at the Freiburg mountain race where he was faster than the winner of the 1500 cc class. He participated successfully in the 1936 driver tests with the Mercedes-Benz racing team, which led to a place as reserve driver for the following year.

The reason the Austin factory invited him to race at Shelsley Walsh was simple. He was the fastest 750 cc driver around and they paid him to come to England to beat people like Kohlrausch (MG), Hadley or Goodacre (Austin). As far as I know, he raced in England only once. Which other races did he attend in England?

#19 ensign14

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 07:36

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
Which other races did he attend in England?

Donington GP 1938. :smoking:

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#20 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 21:24

OK - on the passing point about the Ancient Pilots club - just don't take their chosen title too literally - they could, and did, permit anyone they chose to join - they chose the Baron. He was a member. Regardless. Pretty much the way in which Hermann Lang 'was' 1939 European Champion. Regardless...

DCN

#21 Ian McKean

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 00:35

I think Walter Baumer competed at Shelsley quite a few times. I shall look up my source book tomorrow and post more information.

Those 750 s/c Austins were extremely fast, very little slower than ERA's up Shelsley. I think I'm right in saying that they retained a two bearing crankshaft, in spite of their extra power. I am not surprised that he could be quicker than the winner of the 1500 class at Freiburg. Hadley was pretty quick as well, probably as fast as Baumer at Shelsley IIRC. The lovely Kay Petre was not much slower.

I like the way Hans writes "the Austin", just like a Brummie! It always amuses me the way the old motor company names survive in Birmingham and Cowley. In 1970 I joined the British Motor Corporation (I think). It had been formed from the Austin Motor Company (hence "the Austin") and Morris Motors. It metamorphosed through British Motor Holdings (BMH), British Leyland Motor Company (BLMC), British Leyland (BL), Austin Rover Group (ARG), and then plain Rover, and maybe a few more that I've forgotten. But still the Morris Motors Athletic and Social Club puts out teams in Oxford's local sports events nearly fifty years after Morris Motors, the company, disappeared.

#22 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 08:23

Originally posted by Ian McKean
.....Hans writes "the Austin", just like a Brummie! .....

:blush: Sorry, my mistake. My text in the first draft used to read "the Austin factory" and in an effort to remove unnecessary words, I took away "factory" but unintentionally left the word "the", which I had meant to take away as well. :blush:

#23 Ian McKean

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 15:17

A bit more about 750 c.c. Austins and Walter Baumer at Shelsley Walsh, taken from C.A.N. May's excellent book.

Saturday May 18th 1935
Pat Driscoll 43.4
Walter Baumer He was second but I cannot find his time.

Both Driscoll and Baumer were driving the new single seater supercharged cars, but on their first runs both were slower than Charles Goodacre's older two-seater Ulster type Austin. Perhaps it was a bit damp on the first runs for some competitors, since Mays in the 2-litre ERA improved from 41.0 to 39.6 seconds on his second run.

September 28th 1935
Interestingly, Bobby Kohlrausch competed at this event and won the 750 cc racing class in the "Magic Midget". This was the first specially-built racing-car ever to be constructed by the MG Car Company Ltd for Geoge Eyston in 1931. It achieved 128 m.p.h at Monthlery and was uprated again with a Q-type engine the original two-bearing engine, before being sold to Kohlrausch. Over 130 m.p.h. seems a fantastic speed for a 750 c.c. car in 1935. His time was reported in the text (my source is C.A.N. May's book "Shelsley Walsh") as 43.4 but on the results on the follwing page as 46.4 seconds. May mentions Driscoll achieving 46.0 in the Austin (so the 43.4 secinds must be correct).

No mention of Baumer at that meeting.

June 5th 1936
Baumer reappears at this meeting and put up an excellent time in the 750 Austin; 42.6 seconds. This not only won the class, but was unbeaten until Mays did 41.6 in the 1.5-litre ERA. Thereafter the rain came down, one of the disasters of motor sporting history, since Hans Stuck was driving his Auto-Union and could only do 45.2 seconds.

September 6th 1936
No mention of Baumer. The best 750 was Charles Goodacre in 45.48 seconds in vile weather conditions.

June 5th 1937
H.L. "Bert" Hadley 40.83
W Baumer 42.31
Both Hadley and Baumer were driving the o.h.v. Austins. Goodacre (42.86) and Kay Petre in side-valve models were a little slower. Hadley's time was tremendous for a 750 and even Baumer, nearly two seconds slower, set fifth best time of the day. F.T.D. was a new record by Mays at 39.09 in the 1.5-litre ERA. The importance of Shelsley in those days is shown by the presence of Lord Austin. Hadley was a mechanic at "the Austin" and an ex-trials driver before taking up racing and speed events.

That seems to have been Baumer's last appearance at Shelsley. Hadley eventually got down to 40.05 seconds (at the September 10th 1938 meeting), and Goodacre did a 40.70 to win the class at the September 17th 1937 meeting, when Hadley's clutch expired on his second run.

To put this into perspective, I think I am right in saying that only Mays in the ERA, A.F.P. Fane in the 1.5-litre Frazer-Nash and Whitney Straight in the 3-litre Maserati ever climbed Shelsley faster before the war. A stupendous performance for a 750 and one can believe C.A.N. May's statement that Hadley saw over 9,000 r.p.m. on the rev-counter. Another stupendous achievement for a 750, particularly if they still used the two-bearing crank, as I think they did!