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THE LAST SHOW of the Silverarrows


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#1 Holger Merten

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 08:58

September 3rd 1939 was officially the last start of the impressing silver arrows of AU and MB. We had several threads here on TNF, where we discussed eventually another start of one of the teams later. There were rumours of a hillclimb in Romania in 1940. And that Hans Stuck should have raced there? :drunk:

I’d like to know if Septmber 1939 was definitely the last "official" run of AU and/or MB?

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#2 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 16:21

Yes!

#3 karlcars

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 16:29

Absolutely not. Often forgotten is that a team of three W154 Mercedes went to Argentina in the beginning of 1951 to compete in two races at Buenos Aires. This was an official Daimler-Benz entry with drivers Kling, Lang and Fangio. In both races they were beaten by Gonzalez in a Ferrari.

Yours truly has researched these races extensively and exhaustively -- including interviews with Kling and Gonzalez -- and plans to write about them at length very soon.

#4 Don Capps

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 16:33

Originally posted by karlcars
Absolutely not. Often forgotten is that a team of three W154 Mercedes went to Argentina in the beginning of 1951 to compete in two races at Buenos Aires. This was an official Daimler-Benz entry with drivers Kling, Lang and Fangio. In both races they were beaten by Gonzalez in a Ferrari.

Yours truly has researched these races extensively and exhaustively -- including interviews with Kling and Gonzalez -- and plans to write about them at length very soon.


Beaten to the punch..... :rotfl:

#5 Gary C

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 17:03

this sounds REALLY interesting, Karl. I had never heard of this before!

#6 scags

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 17:26

according to w. Robert Nitske, in Mercedes Benz 300 sl, they test ed at The Nurbergring, without breaking 10 min. When Caracciola complained about tired cars, Neubauer blamed the drivers. In the race, Lang, Kling, and Fangio drove for MB, at Costanera. Froilian Gonzales won both races, at a speed of 62.45 and 62.21.

#7 Don Capps

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 17:55

This adventure into the Argentine served as something of a wakeup call for Daimler-Benz AG. Any thoughts of using a revised W165 for the remaining two or three seasons of the current GP formula went out the window. Plus, when the new GP formula was announced, they realized that they would have to a very careful effort.

Reading the contemporary accounts, it is not difficult to see why Gonzalez was praised to the heavens. Looking forward to seeing more of what Karl has to say about this event.

#8 panzani

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 18:05

En el terreno deportivo, el año había comenzado con varias proezas. Con una Ferrari particular, el 18 de enero y el 24 de febrero, José Froilán González lograba imponerse en la Costanera Norte a las Mercedes de preguerra del “Chueco” y los alemanes Hermann Lang y Karl Kling, llamando así la atención del “Commendatore”, que meses más tarde lo llamaría para integrar la escuadra oficial del “Cavallino”. Y un día después de la segunda victoria del “Cabezón”, se inauguraban en Buenos Aires los primeros y únicos Juegos Panamericanos ganados por la Argentina.


Free translation:
The year (1951) has begun with some feats in the sports arena. With a particular Ferrari, in the 18 of January and the 24 of February, Jose Froilán González managed to prevail in the North Costanera to the pre-war Mercedes of Chueco and the Germans Hermann Lang and Karl Kling, calling therefore the attention of the Commendatore, that months later would call him to integrate the official square of the Cavallino. And a day after the second victory of Cabezón, the first and only Pan-American Games gained by Argentina were inaugurated in Buenos Aires.

Source .

#9 Ron Scoma

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 19:16

Originally posted by karlcars
Absolutely not. Often forgotten is that a team of three W154 Mercedes went to Argentina in the beginning of 1951 to compete in two races at Buenos Aires. This was an official Daimler-Benz entry with drivers Kling, Lang and Fangio. In both races they were beaten by Gonzalez in a Ferrari.

Yours truly has researched these races extensively and exhaustively -- including interviews with Kling and Gonzalez -- and plans to write about them at length very soon.


Karl:

Was that the year Peron invited the SCCA to attend?

Kind Regards,

Ron Scoma

#10 dretceterini

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 21:07

Wasn't there also a post war attempt at Indy with a modified 154/163??

#11 conjohn

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 21:16

Danny Kladis tried to qualify a W154 (with a Jaguar engine!!) at Indy in 1957.

#12 Vitesse2

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 21:56

Originally posted by dretceterini
Wasn't there also a post war attempt at Indy with a modified 154/163??


Not an official DB entry, Stu. Presumably you're thinking either of the Don Lee Special W154, which emerged rather mysteriously from Czechoslovakia and first ran in 1947 or Caracciola's abortive attempt to run a W165 in 1946, which was essentially defeated by bureaucracy, but was a private entry by him with the tacit backing of D-B's Swiss agents.

The Don Lee car is the one conjohn is referring to ... much-modified by then of course.

#13 VAR1016

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 22:27

Originally posted by Don Capps
This adventure into the Argentine served as something of a wakeup call for Daimler-Benz AG. Any thoughts of using a revised W165 for the remaining two or three seasons of the current GP formula went out the window. Plus, when the new GP formula was announced, they realized that they would have to a very careful effort.


My understanding was that Mercedes-Benz had decided to manufacture five new W165s. I also understand (from where I cannot remember) that some development carried on into the early 1940s and that very substantial power outputs were achieved. Bearing in miind Alfa-Romeo's development of the 158 engine, I would have imagined that with the enormous resources available, that M-B could have bettered Alfa's achievement with the W165 as a basis.

I think that when M-B saw how the Alfas were beaten by the more fuel-efficient Ferraris, that it was then that the project was aborted. And as you say, the new formula was just around the corner so to speak.

#14 Michael Müller

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 23:33

Originally posted by Don Capps
Reading the contemporary accounts, it is not difficult to see why Gonzalez was praised to the heavens.

The crowd going crazy after Gonzalez overtook Lang in the Mercedes...

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#15 Brun

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 23:50

Ha! Interesting thread. Carry on, please :cool:

#16 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 23:55

Originally posted by karlcars
Absolutely not. Often forgotten is that a team of three W154 Mercedes went to Argentina in the beginning of 1951 to compete in two races at Buenos Aires...

Karl - of course I knew about Mercedes' infamous 1951 escapade to South America. I interpreted Holger's question in reference to pre-war racing, although he did not say so specifically. :confused:

Holger - what races were you looking for and in which time frame?

#17 GIGLEUX

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 23:58

Posted Image
24th of February 1951. Start of the Gran Premio Evita Peron at Buenos Aires: from right to left n.2 Fangio n.4 Lang n.6 Kling.

Posted Image
Always during the Gran Premio Evita Peron, Gonzales ready to overtake Kling

#18 dretceterini

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 02:39

Thanks...

I was refering to the W165 effort, and thought it was factory backed...

A post war battle between the Alfa 158/159s and the W165s would have been fantastic....

#19 Arturo Pereira

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 02:56

Spanish briefing about those 2 races in Argentina in that 1951 visit

http://www.jmfangio....p1951baires.htm

http://www.jmfangio....1951baires2.htm

:)

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#20 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 08:37

Yes Brun, I started an interesting thread. I asked myself in which period will it end.

Especially, because my question aimed less or more at the period of 1939 and 1940.  ;)

#21 karlcars

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 09:24

The low winning averages of the two races show how difficult the circuit was for the big Mercedes cars.

Yes, not long after this the SCCA drivers were invited down, but they raced on a quite different circuit.

Many thanks for the great Fangio page references. I'm absorbing everything I can on these races!

The decision not to go ahead with building new V8 W165s was taken after the 1951 German Grand Prix, where it was obvious that both Alfa and Ferrari had reached a new high level of competitiveness. Also, it was unclear whether the then-current Formula 1 would continue -- as indeed it didn't.

However, Mercedes WAS preparing a design for a new supercharged 1.5-litre V12 for the existing Formula 1. At last I have seen the drawings for some parts of this engine, the M195, which will appear in my new book on V12-engined cars for Haynes.

#22 Jonas

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 09:54

I remember reading in a thread not too long ago (tried to find it in a haste, but couldn't. I'll try more later) that there were several engine components such as new crankcases made after the war. Although I can't remember if it said it was for the W154s or the W165s.

I got really interested to learn more about this, but nothing more was told.

So first of all, is this true or not; were major engine components for any of the pre-war cars made also after WWII?

#23 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 10:16

Many parts were built by C & G for the restoration of the AUs or for building up AU-replicas.;)

#24 Jonas

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 11:46

All right, all right... :)

Added criteria: Have the MB factory built any major engine components for the pre-war racing cars after the war but still in a time when the cars where meant to be raced (i.e. not for maintaining demonstartion run cars..)?

#25 karlcars

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 12:00

To the best of my knowledge such ancillaries as superchargers and carburettors were manufactured after the war, prior to the 1951 race, but no major components such as crankcases or blocks. They had a fair amount of material available and did the best they could with that.

You will note -- interestingly -- that the noses of the 1939 cars were modified for the 1951 race. Their air-inlet apertures are less wide.

Often overlooked, BTW, is the fact that the W165 won the Tripoli race in 1939 with only one Roots-type supercharger. Only thereafter was its two-stage supercharging developed in preparation for the 1940 season. It would be interesting to speculate how the W165 two-stage would have fared in 1940 against the T158 Alfettas that did race that year.

#26 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 12:16

Originally posted by karlcars
To the best of my knowledge such ancillaries as superchargers and carburettors were manufactured after the war, prior to the 1951 race, but no major components such as crankcases or blocks. They had a fair amount of material available and did the best they could with that.

You will note -- interestingly -- that the noses of the 1939 cars were modified for the 1951 race. Their air-inlet apertures are less wide.

Often overlooked, BTW, is the fact that the W165 won the Tripoli race in 1939 with only one Roots-type supercharger. Only thereafter was its two-stage supercharging developed in preparation for the 1940 season. It would be interesting to speculate how the W165 two-stage would have fared in 1940 against the T158 Alfettas that did race that year.


I'm not the MB specialist as you are Karl, but according to my information about the start in 1951 you are right: there was a lot of material available and the team could use it. But no major components were manufactured - As we know, compared to other racing cars - the silver arrows were very expensive. And I don't believe that the board of directors would have allowed Neubauer to start a production of new prototype material for this "test drive".

#27 VAR1016

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 16:02

Well it may have won at Buenos Aires, but that Ferrari was bloody ugly wasn't it?

I'm looking forward to this thread developing; can anyone remember where I might have read about the further development of the W165 in the early 1940s?

PdeRL

#28 Michael Müller

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 16:34

Originally posted by VAR1016 Well it may have won at Buenos Aires, but that Ferrari was bloody ugly wasn't it?


WHAT...??? Posted Image


Posted Image

#29 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 16:42

I think Michael has another opinion, but this forum is running under democratic rules, isn't it?

#30 Michael Müller

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 16:58

Sure... :wave:

#31 Kerb Bouncer

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 17:10

Back to the original question (how unoriginal of me :lol: )

When did MB last race as a team in 1939, or during the war in 1940?

I don't think the Ferrari was that ugly, but it had a higher frontal area than the MB team cars. Was the Gonzales car running on bigger tires as well? I found it hard to tell with the posted pictures.

Mike

#32 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 17:35

Thanks for bringing back the thread on track, Kerb. This brings up to me the question, if the Prague MB didn't race in romania or somewhere else in the east after September 1939. And did AU or MB showed there cars later on, for example in Berlin for any Hühnlein-events. Didn't Brun found a picture in the BMW archive, which shows the german cars for a propaganda event in 1939? Brun?

#33 VAR1016

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 21:56

Originally posted by Michael Müller


WHAT...??? Posted Image


Posted Image


Yes; definitely plug-ugly compared with its contemporaries: Alfa 158, V-16 BRM, Talbot-Lago

PdeRL

#34 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 22:23

I dunno about plug-ugly, but I do think it's brutal-looking compared to the Alfetta. The Talbot was ugly though ....

#35 VAR1016

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 22:36

It's extraordinary, that Ferrari could make mouth-watering-looking sports-cars (especially the 290mm/860 Monza) but the GP efforts in the 50s were dreadful.

Look for example how Ferrari destroyed the appearance of the beautiful Lancia D50 - culminating in the horrible 801. The 555 Squalo wasn't much cop although probably the least offensive of the period.

We had to wait for the Sharknose in 1961 before things improved.

PdeRL

#36 Brun

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 23:00

Originally posted by Holger Merten
Thanks for bringing back the thread on track, Kerb. This brings up to me the question, if the Prague MB didn't race in romania or somewhere else in the east after September 1939. And did AU or MB showed there cars later on, for example in Berlin for any Hühnlein-events. Didn't Brun found a picture in the BMW archive, which shows the german cars for a propaganda event in 1939? Brun?


No, that was a Berlin Motorshow, earlier in the 1930s.

#37 Henk

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 23:17

Originally posted by Vitesse2
……the Don Lee Special W154, which emerged rather mysteriously from Czechoslovakia and first ran in 1947……

http://www.artemisim...asp?id=imsc4032
http://www.artemisim...asp?id=imsc4095

An remarkable sidetrack of Silberpfeil history.
But what actually is the mystery behind the car?

#38 Holger Merten

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 23:53

Originally posted by Brun


No, that was a Berlin Motorshow, earlier in the 1930s.

1938?

#39 Frank S

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 00:22

Originally posted by Henk

http://www.artemisim...asp?id=imsc4032
http://www.artemisim...asp?id=imsc4095

An remarkable sidetrack of Silberpfeil history.
But what actually is the mystery behind the car?


On sale for $15.71
http://store.yahoo.c...rbenin5001.html

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#40 Ralliart

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 02:48

Just to clarify - at the end of the quote in Panzani's message re: the Pan American Games - the Pan Am Games are a track & field (athletics) competition. The first Pan Am Games were held 25 Feb.-8 March '51 at River Plate Athletic Club Stadium in Buenos Aires. In '55 they were held in Mexico City, in '59 in Chicago, etc. The Monkhouse book goes into detail about the '51 South American races (I don't have it at my fingertips) and I believe that Fangio had a hand in the configuration of the circuits (which were twisty and not particularly advantageous for the MBs).

#41 Jonas

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 09:36

Originally posted by Henk

http://www.artemisim...asp?id=imsc4032
http://www.artemisim...asp?id=imsc4095

An remarkable sidetrack of Silberpfeil history.
But what actually is the mystery behind the car?


I find this incredibly intriguing as well. Apparently this car was one of two cars stored in first Poland and then Czech Republic. This car was sold to the US immediately after the war and the other one ended up at the National Technical Museum of Prague, where it still sits today.

See this thread, particularly post 17:
http://forums.atlasf...&highlight=w165

I would love to learn more of the story how it ended up in the States! How did it do there? Obviously they got it running, but how well? It's not the easiest thing to get a W154 running properly I would think..

What about the subsequent history? Is this car back with MB today?

And another thing: Couldn't the MB factory make legal claims of these two cars after the war. It should be obvious who were the rightful owners..

#42 Ron Scoma

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 11:52

Originally posted by Jonas
Originally posted by Henk
And another thing: Couldn't the MB factory make legal claims of these two cars after the war. It should be obvious who were the rightful owners.. [/B]


I think the political climate after the war would have precluded any German company from making any claim for anything a reality.
Besides, unlike 99.999% of us on this list, MB had more important things to worry about than some old out of date racing cars.
Cheers,

Ron

#43 karlcars

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 12:14

I've lost my 'thread' here.

To which Monkhouse book are you referring, Ralliart?

#44 Jonas

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 13:12

Originally posted by Ron Scoma
MB had more important things to worry about than some old out of date racing cars.

Yes, I thought about this. They must have had a lot to think about building everything up again after the war. But still..
And I wouldn't know about the "out of date" part. Obviously the cars were up to date enough in 1951 to make official entries in races..

#45 Tim Murray

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 16:10

Originally posted by karlcars
I've lost my 'thread' here.

To which Monkhouse book are you referring, Ralliart?

I assume the book referred to is Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Racing 1934-1955 which has several pages covering the 1951 races and includes the story that Fangio (thinking he would be driving an Alfa Romeo) may have worked out a slow course with the organisers to put the Mercedes at a disadvantage, and then accepted the invitation to drive one of them.

#46 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 16:16

Originally posted by Ralliart
The Monkhouse book goes into detail about the '51 South American races (I don't have it at my fingertips)

Originally posted by karlcars
To which Monkhouse book are you referring, Ralliart?

Karl, I am sure that Ralliart is referring to GM's "Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Racing 1934-1955", White Mouse, 1984. There is some good information and photos of the MB Argentine campaign on pages 147 - 150.

Originally posted by Jonas
I would love to learn more of the story how it ended up in the States! How did it do there? Obviously they got it running, but how well? It's not the easiest thing to get a W154 running properly I would think..

The car in question was shipped to England in 1947 by R.C. Rowland and then shipped to the U.S. on the 'Queen Mary' having been purchased by Don Lee of Los Angeles for $25,000. Lee gave Mal Ord the job of preparing the car for the 1947 Indianapolis 500. With much difficulty, Ord managed to replace the many missing components of the car with some assistance from Unterturkheim.

During the race, driver Duke Nalon worked up to 4th place before retiring with a burnt piston after completing 300 miles despite running on part-throttle.

Don Lee entered the car again in 1948 with Chet Miller as driver but the car suffered major overheating problems in qualifying and during the race, retiring again after covering 390 miles finishing in 20th place.

Lee sold the car to driver Joel Thorne in 1949 who replaced the 12 cylinder engine with a 4.5 litre six-cylinder Sparks-Thorne unit thus requiring an ugly bulge on the hood/bonnet and radiator modifications. Regardless, the modified car failed to qualify for the race.

#47 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 16:22

Tim, you answered the question while I was composing my long response. We agree on the source. :)

#48 Tim Murray

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 16:43

Sorry Dennis. I know how frustrating it is when you go to a lot of effort and then find that someone's beaten you to it. : However, it's far better to have two answers saying the same thing than none.

#49 D-Type

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Posted 11 March 2004 - 23:18

Originally posted by Tim Murray
Sorry Dennis. I know how frustrating it is when you go to a lot of effort and then find that someone's beaten you to it. : However, it's far better to have two answers saying the same thing than none.

I agree that two is better than none, but it's more fun when you have two answers saying different things. Provided of course that it isn't on a serious issue.

#50 Mihai

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 14:43

To Karl:

I recommend you a book called ‘Classic Racing Cars. Grand Prix and Indy’ by David Hodges (Regency House Publishing Ltd., 1995). The book has two chapters dedicated to MB and one for AU. The pre-war MB chapter says ‘In 1947 one car was entered privately for the Indianapolis 500. This car ran as high as fourth before retiring, and it ran again in 1948, when its complexities defeated its American crew ’.

Also, you should know that www.media.daimlerchrysler.com has a superb hi-res pic with Kling in the Argentine 1951 campaign. It is copyright free, so you could use it in your book. If you’re not yet registered on this official web site and you’re not in the mood to complete the registration I’ll send you my account.