Posted 30 August 2006 - 18:57
I am trying to update the status of the surviving W154's. I'm contemplating a comprehensive book about these cars (1938 and 1939), and about the amazing fact that nine of these have survived for 67 years!
I recently learned that The Collier Collection has obtained chassis #15 as a permanent part of their collection. I have been in contact with them and MAY be allowed to photograph the car sometime next year (for a price), after it has been refurbished. I don't know yet where they got that one.
The most recent info I have regarding disposition is mostly based on Don Capps' postings here (2001, tentative), and I'm sure things may have changed a lot since then.
I have photos of a car that was for sale by Symbolic Motor Cars in CA in 2003 ... then on loan for a while to the Petersen Museum. To me (as a designer) it has the most authentic as-raced-in-1939 nose shape of ANY survivor I've ever seen (I believe there are eight 1939 cars, and one 1938, surviving). The owner of Symbolic told me it was restored by THE FACTORY, and Symbolic sold it to a collector who shall forever remain anonymous, I believe in Romania (Joska Roman? ... Is he an authorized W154 dealer??) . I haven't yet been able to track down the chassis # of that one ... or where it came from before it got to the factory to be restored, etc.
I was never able to find a photo of either Mulhouse car until the one with the "funny" front suspension surfaced at Goodwood this year. Does anyone know anything about their second car?
Number 8 is a quandary, as it was supposedly lost in Poland. I bet it's in an old barn ... or maybe under a haystack!! Wouldn't that be a find!
Ownership of some of these seems to be very secretive; any help with my espionage would be greatly appreciated.
Wagen 6: Poland, MNA Mulhouse
Wagen 7: Romania, USA California (Arturo Keller collection) (is this the Symbolic/Petersen car?)
Wagen 9: Don Lee, Neil Corner, Czechoslovakia, Germany
Wagen 10: Czechoslovakia, Prague (Technical Museum)
Wagen 11, Works MB Stuttgart, Museum Mercedes-Benz Stuttgart
Wagen 12: Berlin, Museum Mercedes-Benz Stuttgart (the ONLY one with 1938 Bodywork; Is this no longer at the Deutsches Museum?)
Wagen 14: Works MB Stuttgart, Museum Mercedes-Benz Stuttgart
Wagen 15: Romania, Germany (private collection)
Wagen 16: Berlin, MNA Mulhouse
Posted 30 August 2006 - 20:52
Posted 30 August 2006 - 20:55
Posted 30 August 2006 - 23:27
Any views Doug??
Posted 31 August 2006 - 06:53
Vince Howlett, Victoria, B.C., Canada
Posted 31 August 2006 - 12:32
Posted 31 August 2006 - 14:30
If I remember correctly the cars had Ball or Roller bearing instead of inserted bearing! Not a good choice in any event. Keeping an engine together with ball bearing is not a job for amateurs or even for amateurs without a lot of high priced engineers standing looking over their shoulders in any event. One might study the engines in the later German tank engines made by Maybach as an example.
Posted 31 August 2006 - 19:54
Posted 03 September 2006 - 22:54
I ran into a book last year that has a lot of useful information on the W154, including a list of where the different cars are now. The list is close to your list. The book is:
Mercedes- Benz Grand Prix Cars 1934-1955
By Louis Sugahara
Mercedes-Benz Classique Car Library (www.classiquecarlibrary.com)
Originally published in Japanese 1997
The book includes a large number of line drawings showing the bodywork configuration of individual cars at specific races. The text includes quite a bit of information on the different GP cars that was new for me, and I have been following the details of the W154 for a number of years.
He mentions the heating of the oil, seen on the Joel Finn car at Monterey. The engine had a very low volume of crankcase capacity to reduce the frontal area of the engine and hence the frontal area of the car. This resulted in overheating of the oil. To keep the oil viscosity at reasonable levels with the engine running at racing speeds the oil was as thick as grease at room temperature. Every night the oil was drained from the engine and put in an oven overnight. The oil was put back in the engine and the engine warmed up with hot plugs. The cold plugs were put in the warmed up engine before the race.
All Mercedes race engines from the 1920's through 1955 had roller bearings, both crank and rod bearings. In the prewar period the roller bearings had split races and cages. The post war W196 and 300 SLR used built up cranks with the Hirth system and one piece cages and races. Most if not all of the Daimler-Benz aircraft engine in WW 2 used roller rod bearings with split cages and rods. In both race cars and aircraft the roller bearing were used because oil and bearing technology at the time was limited and the roller bearings could handle the high bearing loads better than the plain bearings available at the time. The Vandervell bearings were developed for the Merlin.
Posted 05 September 2006 - 14:54
The one that intrigues me is the photo I had NEVER seen before ... on page 212 of Karl's magnificent Quicksilver Century ... with a grille opening much like a W125 (much narrower than the oft-published March/Monza/Uhlenhaut test car).
Can anyone post a photo of the Thorne car? I have never been able to view the one posted here a few years ago.
The Collier Museum has asked me to forward any info I can round up regarding current disposition of these cars. I'd greatly appreciate it if anyone with real knowledge about this might assist me.
I'll post the most recent list I've come up with in a few days.
Thanks to all!!!!!!!
Posted 05 September 2006 - 15:35
Connected with Merritt ... I worked with Warren Fitzgerald at GM Styling. He let me drive the only Ferrari I've ever driven (or am likely to!) ... a SWB Tour d'France, around the Tech Center, probably in 2nd gear. He talked Mitchell into letting him buy it in Europe so he could drive it.
Does anybody recall the item I saw in R&T (LONG time ago) about John Bond having acquired the original nose for the W154 and then donating it to the restoration project?
Ain't the Internet beautiful!!!
Posted 05 September 2006 - 20:53
© Grand Prix Library
Posted 09 September 2006 - 03:09
Sugahara includes another photo of this W154 prototype. He credits the photo to The Autocar.
Posted 29 December 2007 - 13:37
Wagen 10 is still sat in the Technical Museum largely unrestored and in really quite poor condition - there is a picture of it in Autodrome.
Posted 29 December 2007 - 18:50
Posted 29 December 2007 - 21:57
Just read the bit about only 1/3rd of the cars they have being on show - next time I'm over there I'll arrange to visit and photograph the other 2/3rds - is suggests they rotate them but I've been going there for more than 10 years and none of the cars has moved (or shown any sign of being maintained for that matter)
Posted 29 December 2007 - 22:06
Posted 29 December 2007 - 22:29
Not suprised it being rebuilt - its a bugger to find, and really really communist in its design - it had also been basically abandoned for years - no changes and seemingly no improvements or repais in a decade - matbe since the revolution