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Mercedes and paint-stripping


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#651 B Squared

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 13:28

Actually, there is an "article" that has been written, but given the yawning lack of interest when it was suggested to several publications, it is still sitting on the shelf.


Possibly now the time is right to re-introduce the "article" to these publications, being that Mercedes have brought the subject to the forefront. Brian

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#652 Rob

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 14:12

It the sort of story far more attuned to Motor Sport or Vintage Motorsport rather than Autosport. Indeed, Autosport would be one of the last places I would expect it to appear, this not being the sort of thing that would be best rendered within the few words that would be allocated, to say nothing of having to be written for their target audience.


I only suggested Autosport because it is more mainstream and would get the message out to more people. Now that we have a Mercedes works team again, Autosport might be interested in looking at their heritage.

#653 Doug Nye

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 15:50

Posted Image


Upon delivery for the 1934 EifelRennen the three new works team W25s - seen here at the team's Forsthaus HQ for the Nurburgring events - were in unpainted, bare metal 'pre-stripped' finish, as immediately apparent from the large-size rendition of this image. No 21 was what became the 'spare car', notionally listed for Caracciola in the EifelRennen but unraced in his enforced absence since he was still convalescing after injury and illness combined. Note the fared rearview mirrors, absent in the alleged 'white W25' photo(s) at the Nurburgring. I have found no other instance of a W25 numbered '21' appearing at the Nurburgring in period - which alone identifies this shot as having been taken at the Eifel race, 1934.

This pic - as published at the start of this legend's 'noisy period' a few years ago by the Süddeutsche Zeitung - has been posted here previously, by Dr Ernst, and I have to admit it bothers me, if what one hears and reads is true, that factions within the wider world of M-B now seem set upon seeking to perpetuate the paint-scraping myth by colourful interpretation of inferior-quality photography in face of the evidence provided by this kind of high-quality contemporary evidence. Note the white-painted rear wheel on the right-hand W25 here. Either a steel-rim wheel protectively painted or (just possibly) a wheel left in white while the car to which it is attached has just been entirely stripped of paint - i.e. at some juncture prior to this EifelRennen trip.

I understand from Joseph that this photograph was taken by race mechanic Reichle, one of Caracciola's crew (as previously mentioned in this thread). This appears to have been the ONLY shot he took - or kept - from the 1934 EifelRennen, whereas his album included a number taken at the subsequent German GP meeting. Either Reichle had no time to take more than this one shot at the Eifel race because he was hard at work, or quite probably he and his fellow Caracciola-car team-mates were sent home after it had been decided (as early as Wednesday afternoon) that Caracciola would not be driving that weekend. Were the cars sprayed white, then scraped back to bare metal again, over the 48 hours or so subsequent to this photo? I would not have thought so. It does NOT make racing sense. And Neubauer was a racer...as were the majority predominantly ex-Benz engineers responsible for the W25s' design, production and deployment.

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 27 January 2010 - 20:18.


#654 Holger Merten

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 21:31

Eugen Reichele, MB race mechanic said in an interview with german classic car magazin Motor Klassik in 1994 that the cars were never painted white, and they they could drive in silver without any problems.

I have to add the the there is a term in the regulations of the 1934 Eifelrennen, that you couldn't no remove the numbers on the cars you have received after the training sessions and which were fixed the day before the race. If, and I say if MB would have scratched off the paint during the night, they bought cars to the starting grid without numbers! Unfortunately we never saw a picture of this embarassing situation.

And how would Reichle get this picture with silver cars and numbers on the body?



#655 Otto Grabe

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 06:58

Eugen Reichele, MB race mechanic said in an interview with german classic car magazin Motor Klassik in 1994 that the cars were never painted white...


If I remember right this interview, Reichle was the (or one of) man to paint the numbers on the cars. There is a picture in the article.

#656 Rob

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 14:08

There is an article in this week's Autosport which debunks the myth.

I'm slightly shocked, I must say! But pleased.

#657 D-Type

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 14:57

There is an article in this week's Autosport which debunks the myth.

I'm slightly shocked, I must say! But pleased.

So, someone from Autosport must lurk on here (or drink with someone who does?)

#658 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 17:54

There is an article in this week's Autosport which debunks the myth.

I'm slightly shocked, I must say! But pleased.



Did they think to entitle the article, "Mercedes Bends History"?


#659 jsfernst

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 22:01

Awaiting a photo of the Mercedes team with paint scrapers in hand. :rotfl:

So am I but no luck so far.

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#660 Doug Nye

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 22:51

:lol: :up: I like your style...

DCN

#661 jsfernst

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 23:00

Well, not sure if this is the proper place to have this discussion -- or that there are many who even want to have this discussion, but let me start with stating unequivocally that I cannot in any way, shape or agree with this statement: "All the good research has been done and there are no more hard questions left." On the contrary, I feel that we have yet to even begin to scratch the surface when it comes to the history of automobile racing. There are no end of questions and issues and topics which cry out to be given their due with proper research as well as considered thought and discussion.

Nor do I find myself in agreement with this statement: "The Nostalgia Forum has become a victim of its own success." I am not sure that it really has been a success in many ways even if successful in some areas. If anything, TNF is less a "a victim of its own success" and more a victim of its own complacency and a general lack of attention for items smacking of "academic" or "scholarly" interest. Indeed, I would suggest that reaching back to the very beginning of TNF back in November of 1999, that about seventy-five percent -- at least -- of the threads and their contents could disappear with no loss being suffered to The Record of the history of automobile racing.

Having said that, however, it should be noted that is merely the nature of the beast known as an internet forum. That as much as "only" twenty-five percent might be deemed worthy of retention is a remarkably high percentage, an extraordinary percentage when you think about. A worthy reflection on the many valuable and priceless contributions that have been made to this enterprise. One need only to examine the annual listing of the doctoral dissertations in history to grasp this idea.

It is not, of course, all doom and gloom despite an inclination to view things through the "half empty" portion of the glass. Fortunately, there are those who continue to plug away and enrich us with the fruits of their research and considered thoughts.

While La nostalgie n'est plus qu'elle était ("Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be") seems to be taken as some form of perjorative by some, that is also an appropriate thought because in some ways TNF must be considered as a success -- even if a qualified one -- simply because it has changed the idea, the notion, the whole concept, of how an internet forum can make real contributions to the discussion of various topics and subjects related to an area of history which might otherwise never get their moment of consideration before a broader audience, if you will.

I do not spare myself from any of my criticisms voiced above. I often have problems treating this as anything but just another internet forum, simply one that happens to have a lot more history on it than others. Worse of all, I have allowed myself to become discouraged when topic or subjects I find interesting seem to sink like a stone when the lack of interest expressed is such as to be almost sad at times. Also, like others, a certain complacency has set in: why bother? no one cares? just make the usual inane remarks on the bubba threads and save your brain cells for your other work.... Indeed, it is often more a case of just marking time here until something else comes along that is more aligned with my original -- and obviously misplaced -- aspirations for TNF.

At any rate, this is one of the very best examples of TNF living up to its promise and doing what I hoped it would do. However, there are still many other topics, some related to this one, still needing attention....

Don’s post has been in the back of my mind for some time and now, after a recent exchange I had with Doug, I think I know why.
The quality of this thread depends a lot on how we deal with history or at least with a story history has left us behind. The most thought provoking post to me was Tony Kaye’s somewhere on page six because he was looking for a story line and the logic behind the story. This set me off thinking about the incident at the Eifelrace and no matter what it is, true, false, or a figment of imagination, it is or would be a story of imminent failure.
Myths usually are about extreme human efforts or they glorify specific traits representative of desirable or undesirable human activities. No matter, the incident at the Eifelrace hardly qualifies. Maybe two cars were painted white, turned out to be overweight and had to be scraped clean, again. Big deal, one would think; yet a big enough deal to keep us posting for 18 pages.
The first half of the story has not been discussed much: Why would anyone want to paint the cars white in the first place? The second part of the story has been massively dismissed. Here I would like to suggest that we have lost sight of the story itself under all the evidence and opinions which have been exchanged. Thus this: I think the story is a bad one in the first place and Doug says as much when wanting to save Neubauer’s reputation as a “racer” in his last post. It would have made a lot of sense to forget the whole story.
Yet, in 1955 Ernst Rosemann brings it up. I assume he did it because he wanted to enlarge his reputation as an insider and maybe he had a hunch that people would look at the story from a very different angle as indeed they did: People did not think that the paint scraping bit was a perfectly silly because unnecessarily self-inflicted incident. To the contrary: the story was (well, almost) as good as Ulysses` wooden horse; what a clever thing to do!
Thanks to this forum I think to have gotten a much better grip of the story and the way we deal with history.
Oh, having said this and looking at the story from this angle: Would or could anyone make it up? I don’t think so.


#662 David McKinney

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 07:37

I've been following this thread closely since it started, and have no wish to do it all again now. But the answers to a couple of questions you ask are, I'm sure, buried in there somewhere

Why would anyone want to paint the cars white in the first place?

Because that was Germany's national racing colour, and a requirement of the international rules. I think it was only after both AU and MB appeared in silver in 1934 that silver became an acceptable alternative

Would or could anyone make it up?

Answer is that it's a good story! Some writers do that sort of thing - not changing important truths, but throwing in an embellishment to brighten up the story. And there is the precedent - buried somewhere in the thread - of something similar actually happening earlier in history



#663 ensign14

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 09:58

It's not as if Neubauer didn't have previous for making stuff up...

#664 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 10:00

Because that was Germany's national racing colour, and a requirement of the international rules. I think it was only after both AU and MB appeared in silver in 1934 that silver became an acceptable alternative

But there is a precedent for silver MBs, David. It is known that von Brauchitsch's "Flying Cucumber" SSKL streamliner was silver in previous years at the Avus. Of course, we don't know (or do we?) what the regs for those races said. Were they run under AIACR rules or AvD ones which might not have specified International colours? As the Avusrennen appeared on the CSI's International calendar, I'd have thought the former.

Answer is that it's a good story! Some writers do that sort of thing - not changing important truths, but throwing in an embellishment to brighten up the story. And there is the precedent - buried somewhere in the thread - of something similar actually happening earlier in history

The thought did occur to me last night that Neubauer and Rosemann might have cooked the whole thing up some time in the early 50s over a couple of steins at the Oktoberfest :drunk:


#665 jsfernst

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 19:50

But there is a precedent for silver MBs, David. It is known that von Brauchitsch's "Flying Cucumber" SSKL streamliner was silver in previous years at the Avus. Of course, we don't know (or do we?) what the regs for those races said. Were they run under AIACR rules or AvD ones which might not have specified International colours? As the Avusrennen appeared on the CSI's International calendar, I'd have thought the former.

The thought did occur to me last night that Neubauer and Rosemann might have cooked the whole thing up some time in the early 50s over a couple of steins at the Oktoberfest :drunk:

The Oktoberfest would imply Munich; I'd bet on the Cannstatter Wasen half a mile away from his office.

Edited by jsfernst, 29 January 2010 - 19:52.


#666 Rob

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 21:40

During qualifying for the Bahrain GP on the BBC, there was a feature on Mercedes-Benz.

Jake Humphrey presented the paint scraping story as fact. Can't say I'm surprised, but I wish the Beeb had at least checked the facts first.

#667 Holger Merten

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 22:11

Ohhh, no doubt about it. Norbert Haug presented the story as a fact in German TV, when they presented the not prepared cars four weeks ago. That's why they needed this Zoltan Glass picture. To tell the truth. Paint scratching marketing gag I would say.

Just can cry, that a company like Mercedes needs to use such tricks.

#668 West3

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 00:40

News Flash!

A recent search of Mercedes factory photographic archives has revealed previously undiscovered, conclusive proof of the birth of the "Silver Arrows"... :stoned:


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#669 David McKinney

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 06:53

:lol: :lol: :lol:

#670 Rob

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 16:13

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"At the 1934 Eifelrennen, Mercedes-Benz turned up in bare metal. At scrutineering, it was pointed out that the cars were not painted in the German racing colours. In a flash of inspiration, team manager Alfred Neubauer suggested that the mechanics coat the cars in white paint, thus beginning the White Elephants legend..."

#671 Option1

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 17:19

Just to say this thread is one of the reasons I love TNF!

Neil

#672 Michael Müller

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Posted 14 March 2010 - 22:14

( so says historian Dr. Ernst)

Within the department "Communications" Dr. Josef Ernst is in charge for the Public Relation of the Heritage Department. And that's exactly what you are discussing here - PR!

As some of you may know I invested a lot of research work into this topic already years ago, and latest when Eberhard Reuss discovered the fact that the Eifelrennen was Formula Libre the file for me is closed. Everything what needs to be said has been said, I'm not in the mood to repeat it over and over again.

I would have cancelled my subscription of "Mercedes Motor Klassik", but I get it automatically together with a club membership, so since that article in question I dump it unread in our recycling paper basket.


#673 Cardenas

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 11:32

historicracing.com todays facebook update is about Luigi fagioli, read it here


1934 Eifelrennen part:


"The next race, the Eifelrennen, gave the team a taste of what was to come. This race is famous as the birthplace of the Silver Arrows legend. However Alfred Neubauer's explanation in his book "Männer, Frauen und Motoren", stating that the cars were stripped of their paint to get below the 750 kg weight limit was incorrect, since the 1934 race was run to Formula Libre regulations and there were no weight limits. "




:clap: :)

Edited by Cardenas, 26 May 2010 - 11:32.


#674 David McKinney

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 14:09

That'll be because historicracing.com is run by a TNFer :up:

#675 DCapps

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 15:39

Recently, I gave a lecture to a group of undergraduates at a small university in Florida. It was intended to provide the students with an opportunity to see how historians work. I wanted to pose a question and work our way through it, hopefully being able to develop some interpretations by the end of the class. I wanted to incorporate four items into the presentation. One was artifacts and politics, using the general ideas from Langdon Winner ("Do Artifacts Have Politics?") and Bernward Joerges ("Do Politics Have Artefacts?) as starting points. Second, I wanted to include the history of technology in the discussion. Third, I also wished to include cultural history. And, fourth, I wanted what has now become known as "alternative facts" to be an element. Thus, after some thought, I decided to use automotive history and sport history as the second and third elements in the presentation, partly given that I am now retired and can indulge myself a bit. Making the 1934 Eifelrennen as the issue to be discussed was then actually more of a short hop than a leap. Neubauer's Dilemma: Artifacts, Politics & Alternative Facts, was how I entitled the talk.

 

I also wished to incorporate three points that I tend to use when discussing what has now become known as "Alternative Facts."

 

First, Scott's Law: When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

Second, Blaine's Corollary: I was misinformed.

And, third, Jacket's Corollary: It is practically impossible to kill a myth of this kind once it has become  widespread and perhaps reprinted in other books all over the world.

 

The question that was posed and then discussed was: What was "Neubauer's Dilemma?" I used the announcement of the Mercedes-Benz GP/F1 team from 25 January 2010 and the current information provided by the Mercedes-Benz Museum for the W25.

 

2010 F1 team announcement:

     The event opened with a welcome speech by Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars before Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg presented the new Silver Arrows livery for the 2010 season on last year’s car. The team’s 2010 car, the MGP W01, will make its track debut at the first Formula 1 test in Valencia on Monday, February 1.

     The legacy of the Silver Arrows goes back to the 1934 Eifelrennen when, on the evening before the event, the white paint was sanded off the Mercedes W25 race cars to meet the weight regulations of 750kg formula and the silver colour of the aluminium surface of the car appeared. This season, with the return of the Silver Arrows, the MGP W01 will shine in silver combined with a flow of iridescent silver shading. On the nose and on other parts of the car traces of black carbon fibre visible are visible.

 

Mercedes-Benz Museum on the W25:

     The W 25 was the original Silver Arrow. Originally painted white, it arrived at the Nürburgring for its first race one kilogram too heavy for the 750-kg (1,650-pound) formula. The mechanics sanded down the paintwork in order to reduce its weight, exposing the bare, shining silver colour of its body. Suitably relieved, the team was able to line up at the start with the W 25. The car went on to win the race and later picked up its nickname Silver Arrow.

 

We then proceeded to go through the material from the Daimler archives that had been presented during the July 2007 symposium that Mercedes-Benz held at the Classic Center in Fellbach. The students were provided all the photographs to examine of the W25s from the roll out in December 1933 up through the Eifelrennen in June 1934. The photos were grouped as they had been at the symposium: roll out; Berlin auto show in January; testing at Monza in March; presentation to the press in March; testing at the Nuerburgring in April; the AVUS race on May; and, the Eifelrennen in June. In addition, the photos of the Mercedes-Benz racing machines from 1924 and the streamliner SSKL of 1932 were also included.

 

The issues regarding black & white photographs from this era was discussed as were the arguments presented supporting the Neubauer version of things* as well as those casting doubt upon that possibility.

 

We also looked at the conclusions that Mercedes-Benz provided from the 2007 symposium:

 

•First, the connection between the alleged stripping of white paint off two Mercedes-Benz W25 at the 1934 Eifelrennen has nothing to do with the birth of the “Silver Arrows” (Silberpfeil), a term not widely used until 1938.
•Second, the paint stripping tale is a very good story which took on a life of its own after Alfred Neubauer first mentioned in the 1950s and remains so, even if there might be reasons to cast doubt upon it.

 

The interpretation that resulted from this discussion was that there appears to be sufficient and substantial reasons to cast very serious doubt upon Neubauer having his dilemma at the Eifelrennen. Indeed, as was pointed out numerous times during the discussion, there were W25s that were clearly silver prior to the Eifelrennen in June. In other words, it seems quite clear that the Neubauer story clearly falls into the category of Alternative Facts.

 

 

* As at the 2007 M-B symposium, the defense of the Neubauer version of the story was that provided by Tony Kaye in this thread. As a matter of curiosity, I contacted Tony yesterday to see if he still stood by his stance that the story provided by Neubauer was true and he is still very much convinced that it is the truth. Indeed, he seemed a bit quite dismayed that so many appear to not accept his contention that it is true.



#676 DCapps

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 15:12

After some due consideration, I have added to the corollaries of Scott's Law the statement made by US Representative Earl Landgrebe (Republican-Indiana) during the Watergate investigations of 1973/1974 after the Nixon tape recordings and other evidence were released: "Don't confuse me with the facts."

 

Landgrebe’s Corollary: Don’t confuse me with the facts.



#677 Charlieman

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 11:51

Apologies if I missed anything in the previous contributions. I have a query for experts on body construction: Bearing in mind technology of the early 1930s and previous M-B practices, would M-B have constructed a body differently if they knew it would be painted or left in raw metal?

 

My suspicion is that they'd construct a body with joins in different places for the two types. If a body was designed to be left in raw metal, considerable attention would be applied to seams and fillers. Whether painted or bare, I'd expect construction of the first body to be different from later ones, and the second to be more like the third than the first, as the build process is optimised; unless the first body was built purely as a prototype and scrapped before the cars were shown to the public. I'd expect the body builder to use shadow cast by the wheels and suspension to hide or distract from seams, like a make-up artist creates highlights and hollows.



#678 DCapps

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 20:56

FYI: It appears that there were six W25s built for the 1934 season. The prototype, "W25/1" (86120), was used in both the 1934 and 1935 seasons, beginning with the DNS at the AVUS event. It was used at Monza, won at San Sebastian, second at Brno, and used for the record events at the end of the season. It was pressed into service for several events during 1935 as well, the AVUS event, the German GP, and as the "T-Car" at a few as well.



#679 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 21:39

Can anyone please direct me to the Tony Kaye post in question?

It's said to be on page 6, but the makeup of the forum has changed since then and page numbers no longer apply. A post number would be good, or even quote it here?

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#680 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 21:57

...Whether painted or bare, I'd expect construction of the first body to be different from later ones, and the second to be more like the third than the first, as the build process is optimised; unless the first body was built purely as a prototype and scrapped before the cars were shown to the public. I'd expect the body builder to use shadow cast by the wheels and suspension to hide or distract from seams, like a make-up artist creates highlights and hollows.

 

Are you serious?  On a works racing car?  In that era?

 

DCN



#681 Vitesse2

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 21:58

Can anyone please direct me to the Tony Kaye post in question?

It's said to be on page 6, but the makeup of the forum has changed since then and page numbers no longer apply. A post number would be good, or even quote it here?

Post 189, Ray.



#682 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 22:53

Thanks, Speedy...

That would be page 4 on my setup, page 8 if you have 25 posts per page (I think that's an option).

It used to also be possible to search a particular thread to find things, I don't think you can do that now.

aking it a bit easier, here's Tony's post again:

THE NOSTALGIA FORUM VERSUS ALFRED NEUBAUER AND THE PAINT STRIPPING INCIDENT

In the trial of Alfred Neubauer and his Paint Stripping account we have so far heard the case for the Prosecution. It is now time to put forward the case for the Defense.

First, we must itemise the Prosecution’s main arguments:-

1. There is no contemporary evidence to support the paint stripping incident.
2. The mechanic Eugen Reichle testified that the cars were already silver when they left the factory.
3. Alfred Neubauer is an unreliable witness, a mere story teller.
4. Due to its timing, Manfred von Brauchitsch’ testimony is also unreliable.
5. Rudolf Uhlenhaut must be ignored because he was not a Mercedes employee in 1934.
6. Various B&W photos suggest that the cars were not white prior to the race.
7. It is a ploy of the Mercedes-Benz PR department to add hype to the Silver Arrows legend.

Let’s examine this evidence in more detail.

NO CONTEMPORARY EVIDENCE

The Prosecution claims that it is impossible to prove that an event did not occur, thereby freeing themselves of the obligation to provide such evidence. But this is not true. There are several quite mundane pieces of evidence, which, if found would cast grave doubts about the paint stripping incident. For instance a contemporary journal might have reported that “Fagioli looked impressive in practice in his silver Mercedes” or “At the scrutineering the Auto Unions weighed 740 kg and the Mercedes 745 kg.” So it would not be impossible to disprove the incident, it is merely that no such evidence has been forthcoming.

We must not judge the lack of contemporary corroborative evidence in relation to today’s racing journalism. There are now magazines devoted solely to Grand Prix racing which outline every nuance of every practice session and race. Today it would be impossible for the paint stripping incident and subsequent change of color to be ignored. It would be a headline story.

But racing journalism was very different in the thirties. We can take Motor und Sport’s report of the 1934 EifelRennen as a good example. Including photographs, the report amounted to a five pages. The 750 kg event also included two classes for 1500cc and 800cc cars. On the same day there were three motorcycle races each of which was divided into several classes. All of these events had to be covered within those five pages. The race with which we are concerned was squeezed into the equivalent of a paltry two and a half columns of text; small wonder that there was no reference to anything which took place before the race itself. It must be added that there was no pre-race reporting for the motorbikes and voiturettes either.

So the lack of evidence, which the prosecution finds so damning, is precisely what one would expect in the thirties. The fact that magazines did not provide space for pre-race action cannot be used as evidence that the incident did not occur. Presumably the Prosecution would not claim that the absence of practice lap times in the ‘Motor und Sport’ report meant that Alfred Neubauer also lied when he stated that his cars took part in practice.

So, the fact that the paint stripping episode was not mentioned in contemporary reports, proves absolutely nothing – other than that race reports in the 1930’s were far less detailed than those of 2006.

EUGEN REICHLE

In isolation, the testimony of mechanic Eugen Reichle is crucial. He stated that "The cars had never been painted white, so there was no paint to grind off.” We know that the first part of this statement is untrue. The early prototype without the headrest was definitely white. For example, "...Next morning we met at six at the Avus. ……. The car was there too, small and white, it looked fast; a single seater as I had always imagined it." (Source Rudolf Caracciola ‘Caracciola Mercedes Grand Prix Ace’ 1955.)

We must conclude from this that Reichle’s failure to remember the paint stripping at the Eifel race may be equally flawed. It would be interesting to know if he was present at the Nurburgring in June 1934.

In contrast, Luigi Fagioli’s chief mechanic, Hermann Lang, was not only present, but he would have been one of those who had to work through the night scraping the paint off the cars. His testimony, which will be dealt with in detail later, is completely contradictory to Reichle’s. He remembered scraping off all that white paint only too well.

ALFRED NEUBAUER

The first known record of the paint stripping incident appeared in Alfred Neubauer’s book ‘Männer, Frauen und Motoren, which was published in 1959. The Prosecution’s case has centred upon debunking this work and its author, since all subsequent references could then be said to be mere reiterations and therefore equally spurious. The heart of their argument is that Alfred Neubauer was nothing more than a raconteur, a story teller “who never let the facts get in the way of a good story”.

The primary example of his claimed unreliability is his completely erroneous description of the 1933 Tripoli Grand Prix. We will never know for sure how that chapter came to be written, but there is a far more plausible explanation.

If he had attended the race, he could be accused of creating fiction, but he was elsewhere at the time. It is quite possible that someone else passed the story on to Neubauer and that his only crime was in going to print without attempting to check the facts. One imagines that if he had created the tale himself, he would at least have checked on the driver line-up and would not have included Louis Chiron. If, on the other hand, he was told of the affair by someone else, he would have repeated the story as told, including such an obvious error.

The Prosecution has drawn the conclusion that, because one chapter in Alfred Neubauer’s book has subsequently proved to be nonsense, we must treat the whole book, including the paint stripping episode, as similar nonsense. When Count Giovanni Lurani wrote his biography of Tazio Nuvolari, he placed the death of Giorgio Nuvolari just before the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup, though he actually died a year later. Such an error makes one more careful when reading the rest of his book, but no-one would suggest that it renders the book complete rubbish from cover to cover – far from it. In a similar vein, Neubauer’s Tripoli Race report cannot be used as evidence that the EifelRennen paint stripping was an imaginary occurrence.

Besides that, there is one vital difference between the two reports. Neubauer was not present at Tripoli, so his version was bound to be second-hand, but he was present at the Nurburgring, where he was the principal of the team concerned.

MANFRED VON BRAUCHITSCH

Manfred von Brauchitsch’s book ‘Ohne Kampf kein Sieg’ appeared six years after Alfred Neubauer’s biography. It contains a reference to the paint stripping incident which is, apparently, broadly consistent with Neubauer’s version. The Prosecution has used this consistency as proof of collusion. In other words, Von Brauchitsch read Neubauer’s account of an incident which never occurred, liked it and included a similar version in his own book. This is an incredibly obtuse conclusion. Machiavelli would have been proud!

Surely the obvious conclusion is that the event genuinely took place, both men were party to it and described it in their own words. It’s that simple. It is quite possible that Neubauer’s reference reminded von Brauchitsch of the incident, but that’s hardly the same thing as compounding a lie. Presumably, if he had NOT mentioned the incident in the book, the Prosecution would then have used the omission as evidence that the story was an invention. They can’t have it both ways!

In 1953 Manfred von Brauchitsch wrote ‘Kampf um Meter und Sekunden’ in which he made no mention of paint stripping. The Prosecution uses this as further evidence supporting the spurious nature of the story. Yet the book is concerned very largely with the author’s driving career and omits events which would have been the primary concern of the mechanics, such as valve timing, plug gaps and …..paint stripping. No-one would conclude from these omissions that the Mercedes-Benz mechanics never changed the valve timing and never fitted new plugs. So how can the Prosecution use this as evidence that the paint stripping incident did not occur? It is just another example of the Prosecution’s perverse logic.


RUDOLF UHLENHAUT

Rudolf Uhlenhaut has always been a most respected member of the Mercedes team. In various articles and interviews he is invariably treated as a man of great integrity. Yet when he confirms that the paint stripping incident did, in fact, occur, he is suddenly treated as a charlatan. On everything else his word is accepted without question.

Nor is it true, as the Prosecution contends, that he joined Mercedes-Benz in 1936, two years after the paint stripping incident. In fact he joined the Company in 1931, immediately after leaving college and he remained at Mercedes until he retired. Even if he was not present at the Nurburgring in June 1934, during all those years he had ample access to the personnel in all capacities who were. Sooner or later the paint stripping incident was likely to have come up as an item of conversation. He didn’t need to be present to be aware of it.

The Prosecution derides his testimony (“We were up all night removing the beautiful white paint”) mainly because they believe that Uhlenhaut was not a Mercedes employee at that time. On the contrary, in his position as a carburetor specialist, it is quite possible that he did attend the 1934 EifelRennen. His statement suggests that he actually helped the mechanics with the task.

The hypocrisy of all this is that his statement is dismissed out of hand “because he was not there.” Yet what of the members of the TNF Prosecution who dismiss him with such certainty? None of them were ‘there’. And none had day to day access to those who were. The Defense maintains that there are absolutely no grounds to discredit Rudolf Uhlenhaut’s testimony.

PHOTOGRAPHS

The Prosecution has presented a large number of black and white photographs. However, by their own admission, in these shots silver can resemble white and vice versa. Different exposures, camera angles and location can affect the appearance of the cars’ bodywork. There is even one photo in which the bodywork up to the cockpit appears to be silver, but the tail section and wheels appear to be white.

To compound the unreliability of black and white photos for colour identification, there is the suggestion that the Mercedes-Benz Archives department has tampered with some of the photos in their possession to make the cars appear more ‘perfect’.

With the exception of the wheels, these photographs prove nothing and must be disregarded as unreliable evidence. Until relevant colour photos can be produced we must rely almost solely upon written and verbal evidence.

PR DEPARTMENT COMPLICITY

The Prosecution contends that the Mercedes-Benz PR department briefed Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Hermann Lang to repeat the paint stripping story. The Company took this extraordinary step because the event is supposedly an important part of the Silver Arrows legend. As a result Lang was prepared to lie to Nixon and Uhlenhaut to the radio audience. If true, it doesn’t say much for the integrity of any of the parties concerned.

The broad image that the PR department wished to convey was probably an amalgum of performance, quality and superb engineering. The Silver Arrows legend is an important part of this because it demonstrates the superiority of Mercedes cars over other manufacturers. The legend itself is all about race victories, magnificent cars and the men who drove them. The means by which the Silver Arrows became silver is of negligible importance in comparison.

So why would the Company be so determined to make Lang and Uhlenhaut compromise themselves by telling a lie? And why would they, for their part, agree to lie? The obvious explanation is that it isn’t a lie at all. When Lang and Uhlenhaut described the incident, they weren’t lying, they were merely describing what actually happened. And the PR department had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Once again, the Prosecution has failed to present a shred of evidence to support their devious contention.


CASE FOR THE DEFENSE

Having dealt with the Prosecution’s case, we will now turn to evidence which positively supports the paint stripping incident.

EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF SCRUTINEERING

Karl Ludvigsen gave extremely important testimony (from the text of ‘Quicksilver Century’) which has been almost totally ignored by the Prosecution, presumably because it lends great authenticity to the paint stripping story. Here it is in abbreviated form:-

“The official scales at the Nürburgring were unsympathetic. They showed that the new white cars were two kilogrammes over the limit. Last-minute changes had forced the weight up, like the small scoop on the right side of the cowl that led cool air to a duct down to the clutch.

At the first weigh-in, the two cars were passed as meeting the limit. But the team manager of the Scuderia Ferrari, entrants of the Alfa Romeos, on a sudden whim reached into the cockpit of one of them and pressed on the brake pedal. It flopped down to the floor. Some fluids could be omitted for the weighing, but not brake fluid. When properly topped up the cars were over the limit — and the saga of the paint and filler began. Now there was nothing, the engineers argued, that they could or would remove.”

Then “Off came all the carefully-applied paint and filler. A light coat of silver paint was sprayed on to mask imperfections. …… the cars squeaked past the weighing-in and came to the line in matte aluminium.”

Ludvigsen added “I am pretty happy with this interpretation of events from a good source.”

Unfortunately Karl Ludvigsen does not reveal his source, but there is no reason to doubt his assertion that it is reliable. The absence of brake fluid would have been blatant cheating on the part of Alfred Neubauer and Mercedes, which is possibly why everyone else has glossed over it by saying the cars were merely overweight.

One can extrapolate from this that Neubauer was aware that the cars were very slightly overweight when they left the factory and that draining the brake fluid would be enough to make them legal. It also explains why the relatively small weight saved by removing the paint and filler would accomplish the same goal.

This testimony is so overwhelmingly important to the case that, if the source were known and unanimously accepted, it would remove all doubts about the authenticity of the paint stripping incident.

WHITE WHEELS

It is impossible to determine with any certainty the colour of a car’s bodywork from a black and white photograph, but the same cannot be said of its wheels. In some photos the Mercedes racing cars had white wheels even when we can be sure, from written evidence, that the bodywork was silver.

Like so much about this case the answer is obvious and simple. When the paint was scraped off during the night before the EifelRennen, there was little time and absolutely no need to work on the wheels. The weight of the paint on the wheels would have been minimal and would not have affected the result at scrutineering. More importantly, it wasn’t the paint on the bodywork that was going to make the difference, but the filler underneath the paint. There was no filler on the wheels, so they were left white for the race. Also, as Leif Snellman pointed out, there would be no need to remove the paint from the new wheels which would be fitted during pit stops.

If the cars had been painted silver at the factory some time before the race, they would probably have attended to the wheels as well. However, it has to be admitted that the presence of white wheels on a silver car does not in itself prove the validity of the paint scraping, but it is so consistent with the episode that it adds greatly to its probability.

TESTIMONY OF HERMANN LANG

In ‘Racing the Silver Arrows’ Chris Nixon wrote, “For my previous books……I went directly to the people concerned with the team, starting with..…” the manager “……and going on to the principal drivers, designers, mechanics and their colleagues. The success of this exercise led me to try the same approach……During several trips to Germany……I found a dozen individuals who had been actively involved with Mercedes-Benz and or Auto Union, and were happy to reminisce about their racing days. Once I had typed out the Memoirs, I sent each back to the person concerned for approval.” He went to this extra step to ensure that his text was correct.

One of these was “Hermann Lang, who was present at the time in his capacity as Chief Mechanic to Luigi Fagioli. He well remembers the fuss about the cars being too heavy……” Nixon then quoted directly from his interviews with Lang. “…….the decision was taken to remove the paint and we set to work. The cars had been painted white very carefully in order to get an excellent finish, but you must remember that the bodies were of hand-beaten aluminium and so were very uneven. This meant that there was quite a lot of filler applied before the paint was sprayed on and it was probably this filler, rather than the paint, which pushed the cars over the limit. Once all this was removed the cars were covered in a very thin coat of aluminium paint and when they were weighed the next day they were just under the limit.”

Nixon wrote that Lang’s version threw some doubt on one part of Neubauer’s story. Lang “cannot recall that the idea for removing the paint came from any one person.” As Lang himself put it, “It could well have come from some of the mechanics, because we were all standing around discussing what was to be done about the extra kilo.” This merely casts doubt about the originator of the idea, but it in every other respect confirms the authenticity of the paint scraping incident, i.e. the cars were white in practice, the white paint was scraped off overnight and the cars were silver in the race.

Nixon’s conversations with Hermann Lang were obviously lengthy and highly detailed. This is proven by Lang’s memoir within the book, which is all of eleven pages long, and that, of all Nixon’s contributors, Lang was chosen to write the preface to the book. Lang must be considered the most important witness, for if the paint stripping story is true, he is the only witness who we know with certainty would have had to work through the night scraping paint. Such an activity would be etched in his memory. It seems inconceivable that in the course of his conversations with Nixon he would have told the truth about everything else but lied about this single subject – and in such elaborate detail.


SUMMATION

There are various accounts of the paint stripping incident, but they all contain the same basic ingredients. The cars were fractionally over the maximum permitted weight and unless something was done, they would fail to start. Removing the paint and, more importantly, the body filler was the solution.

"The evening before the race the cars had been weighed - and found to be too heavy. The "silver arrows" are permitted to weigh no more than 750 kilograms - without fuel, coolant, oil and tyres. But as the mechanics push the first car on to the scale, it shows 751 kilograms. What am I to do? Tomorrow is race day, I cannot give order to remove vital parts, everything is calculated to the last gram. "What about one of your famous tricks?", said Brauchitsch. "Otherwise we are the lacquered ones…" "Lacquered?" I asked, and at the same moment it came to me. "Of course - the paint, that's the solution!" The whole night the mechanics scraped the white paint from our silver arrows, and when they are put on the scale again the next morning - the weight was exactly 750 kilograms.” (Neubauer/Rowe - ‘Männer, Frauen und Motoren’ – 1959)

"We were up all night removing the beautiful white paint.” (Rudolf Uhlenhaut paraphrased)

“The official scales at the Nürburgring were unsympathetic. They showed that the new white cars were two kilogrammes over the limit. Last-minute changes had forced the weight up, like the small scoop on the right side of the cowl that led cool air to a duct down to the clutch.

At the first weigh-in, the two cars were passed as meeting the limit. But the team manager of the Scuderia Ferrari, entrants of the Alfa Romeos, on a sudden whim reached into the cockpit of one of them and pressed on the brake pedal. It flopped down to the floor. Some fluids could be omitted for the weighing, but not brake fluid. When properly topped up the cars were over the limit — and the saga of the paint and filler began. Now there was nothing, the engineers argued, that they could or would remove.”

Then “Off came all the carefully-applied paint and filler. A light coat of silver paint was sprayed on to mask imperfections. ….. the cars squeaked past the weighing-in and came to the line in matte aluminium.” (Karl Ludvigsen quoting an unidentified source – ‘Quicksilver Racing’)

“The decision was taken to remove the paint and we set to work. The cars had been painted white very carefully in order to get an excellent finish, but you must remember that the bodies were of hand-beaten aluminium and so were very uneven. This meant that there was quite a lot of filler applied before the paint was sprayed on and it was probably this filler, rather than the paint, which pushed the cars over the limit. Once all this was removed the cars were covered in a very thin coat of aluminium paint and when they were weighed the next day they were just under the limit” (Hermann Lang - Racing the Silver Arrows – Chris Nixon – 1986)

Unfortunately no precise quotation has been provided from Manfred von Brauchitsch’ book Ohne Kampf kein Zieg’.

With the exception of the dubious Eugen Reichle, the Prosecution has failed to provide any evidence whatsoever to refute the paint stripping incident. They treat Alfred Neubauer as totally unreliable due to his unfortunate Tripoli account, and describe the whole content of his book as ‘fairy tales’. How absurd!

We have the testimonies of the Mercedes team manager, the winning driver, a chief mechanic and a man who subsequently became the Company’s chief engineer. To brand their statements as complete nonsense is to portray these men as idiots, liars or charlatans. This they were not. And the Prosecution requires us to treat Chris Nixon and Karl Ludvigsen as gullible ingenues, rather than as knowledgeable and exhaustive historians, which is their universal reputation.

All the evidence points to one thing. On the evening before the 1934 EifelRennen several mechanics were busily engaged scraping the white paint off two Mercedes racing cars which would then be eligible to take part in the race.



#683 DCapps

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 00:30

Are you serious?  On a works racing car?  In that era?

 

DCN

 

I was trying to be a tad more subtle, for once...



#684 DCapps

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 19:49

Any further insight, comments, discussion or questions from others who might not have been around for the original discussion?

 

Any one agree with Tony regarding his defense of Neubauer, et. al.? After all, as Tony suggests, why would they lie? Plus, as Tony also suggests, does not all the evidence point to the paint-stripping story being true?

 

However, it does occur to me that Tony made this defense prior to the archival material being culled from the Daimler archives and presented at the 2007 symposium.



#685 Doug Nye

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 21:18

Indeed - little point in reinventing the wheel once a circular one has proved superior to a triangular original...



#686 Vitesse2

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 21:40

The case for the defence is predicated on Neubauer's implied statement that the race was being held under Formule Internationale regulations. It wasn't. So there was no need for a weigh-in. And even if there was a weigh-in it would have been before official practice. Not on the eve of the race when grid positions had already been decided.

 

And from what we can tell - given the small number of known pictures of their very brief appearance at the Avusrennen the previous weekend - any paint which might have previously been applied had already been removed. 'Paint scraping' may have occured. But if it did I would suggest that it was during a pre-season test session at the Nürburgring - before the Avusrennen. Or even at Untertürkheim - Daimler Benz must surely have possessed a weighbridge themselves?

 

But - more importantly - why did this story lie dormant for almost a quarter of a century? Nobody has yet provided documentary evidence which pre-dates Neubauer's autobiography. Lang's 1943/1952 autobiographies don't mention it. Caracciola's two autobiographies don't mention it. Von Brauchitsch's books don't mention it. Would not at least one of the well-informed insiders like Chula, Monkhouse, Walkerley, Dugdale, Fellowes, Bradley, Henry and the rest of the press corps have mentioned it? Surely Motor Sport would have included it in their never-completed story of GP racing in the 1930s?

 

Close analysis of several of Lang's statements to Nixon shows that his memory was - putting it politely - faulty at a distance of forty-plus years. I would submit that he might by then even have been suffering from some form of dementia or 'false memory syndrome'; his account of the way the 1939 EC unfolded is palpably wrong (it is at odds with his own autobiography!) and I have to wonder whether he was simply responding to prompting from Nixon rather than volunteering information. I have found evidence that Lang accompanied Neubauer on at least one of his lecture tours during the war years (the ones Caracciola refused to do) and it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that he came to rely on Neubauer's (and other people's) versions of events; again referring to the EC, after the war started, the attitude of the German-controlled press changed and it quickly became accepted that Lang was champion. Perhaps because Neubauer was going round the Reich telling people that ...



#687 Michael Ferner

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Posted 07 April 2017 - 13:04

We have the testimonies of the Mercedes team manager, the winning driver, a chief mechanic and a man who subsequently became the Company’s chief engineer. To brand their statements as complete nonsense is to portray these men as idiots, liars or charlatans.

 

​This is one notorious error. I've been called out myself for questioning Jack Brabham's testimony regarding the 1964 Indy 500, and was "accused" of calling Brabham "a liar". This, apart from being an unnecessarily emotional overloading of the argument, is disregarding the essentials of how human memory functions. It's not about being truthful or lying, it's about emotions more than anything else. We don't remember events at all, we remember how events impressed us, how they "happened to us". Do you recall what you had for lunch yesterday? Probably not, unless something important happened in connection with it. Do you remember which shirt you wore yesterday? Not likely, unless you squirted ketchup onto it or ruined it with a slosh of coffee. Yet these things happened just the other day. But I'm quite sure everybody remembers his first kiss, his wedding day (at least partly) and many other things that happened many, many years ago because these things were connected with emotions. But, at the same time, those memories are not necessarily, not even likely the same as those of your partner, and if an unpartial eye witness account existed of those "events" it would probably not agree with the memories of either of you. In short, human memory is not a reliable witness, not even in short terms, much less over long periods of time. Plus, it's extremely vulnerable to (voluntary and involuntary) manipulation - just put an emotional angle on it, and you can make yourself (and other people) remember (and forget!) almost anything.



#688 DCapps

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 03:02

We have the testimonies of the Mercedes team manager, the winning driver, a chief mechanic and a man who subsequently became the Company’s chief engineer. To brand their statements as complete nonsense is to portray these men as idiots, liars or charlatans.

 

That there is a great deal of attention within the community of professional historians now being devoted to memory studies is scarcely an accident. Oral history can be, to put it mildly, anything from a nightmare to a minefield. And then it can get worse... Proper oral history can be seen as being akin to helicopter maintenance -- lots and lots of work for the support of very brief periods of time. The literature on memory and its relation to historical studies is becoming more robust as the issue receives more and more attention. Therefore, I think that Michael lays out the fundamental parameters that pertain to memory and how its can affect how events are both perceived and then remembered/recalled over time. Think of "Telephone" or "Chinese Whispers" as possible examples of how memory works over temporal spans.

 

Thus, it is not necessarily "nonsense" to consider what Neubauer, et. al., claim, rather that, for whatever reason, a memory was created, then shared, and then became "real" to them. This despite what was claimed to happen as being patently false as the archival research certainly suggests. That it is also what could be described as a Good Story makes it a very seductive one, one that certainly could trigger the imagination, especially if repeated often enough.

 

Exactly why or what led Neubauer to, well, fabricate the story might never be known, but to suggest that the story is not a fabrication is to completely ignore the available archival material and the research and analyses conducted to develop the interpretation that it is highly unlikely (as in rather improbable) that the paint-stripping episode ever occurred.



#689 RA Historian

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 13:32

In line with the observations of Col Capps and Mr. Ferner, when a story is as good as the paint stripping tale, it captivates the imagination as it is simply too good to pass up. Hence, the mind wants to believe such a charming tale, so it does.

 

Tom



#690 D-Type

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 14:18

In line with the observations of Col Capps and Mr. Ferner, when a story is as good as the paint stripping tale, it captivates the imagination as it is simply too good to pass up. Hence, the mind wants to believe such a charming tale, so it does.

 

Tom

Very succinctly put.  It also applies to many other myths and legends such as Nuvolari turning his lights off on the Mille Miglia, BMW using secondhand stock blocks for their F1 engines, the Tripoli  GP etc



#691 Catalina Park

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 10:38

Half of Avus ending up in East Germany.

#692 Henk Vasmel

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 12:02

A few things we know for sure: Long before the race a  car was seen in white. At the Nürburgring the cars raced in silver. Do we have proof that there was more than one white car?

Looking at the available chassis numbers, the -ring cars were "2", "3" and "4". So it is possible  that these cars were Silver from the beginning (or not). "1" would have been the white car.

The first time "1" has raced is (according to my notes) Monza in September. Of course it was Silver by then. So at least one car must have been paint-stripped. This is no proof about the time it happened. 



#693 DCapps

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 15:02

A few things we know for sure: Long before the race a  car was seen in white. At the Nürburgring the cars raced in silver. Do we have proof that there was more than one white car?

Looking at the available chassis numbers, the -ring cars were "2", "3" and "4". So it is possible  that these cars were Silver from the beginning (or not). "1" would have been the white car.

The first time "1" has raced is (according to my notes) Monza in September. Of course it was Silver by then. So at least one car must have been paint-stripped. This is no proof about the time it happened. 

 

I have yet to see a photograph of "W25/1" (86120) in white.

 

The photographs taken during its roll out in December 1933 are of what clearly appears to be an unpainted car in a metallic/silver finish.

 

The photographs taken of "W25/1" at the Berlin Auto Show in early January clearly show it to be in a metallic/silver finish.

 

Indeed, all the photographs that I have from the Mercedes-Benz archives of "W25/1" show it to be silver, wherever it was was -- testing at the Nuerburgring, Monza, the press presentation or at the AVUS event.

 

So, I am not certain that I would agree with your statement: "A few things we know for sure: Long before the race a  car was seen in white."

 

Any proof to support your assertion? That is, a photograph of "W25/1" that is clearly, undeniably painted white -- at any time prior to the Eifelrennen? Or any W25 for that matter?



#694 Henk Vasmel

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 17:07

I was basing my assertion of white on the books of Pritchard and Monkhouse. They both describe a (very) early version of the car as painted white. The Monkhouse version is not valuable as proof, because it appears to be heavily doctored. Three pointed star, wheels removed license plate etc. However the Pritchard version looks  clean. So is it white. Definitely white are the oval around the D and the background of the license plate. There is a difference in color with the surrounding bodywork. this same car is again pictured on the next page, and there it appears to be either silver or just dirty. That is early '34, long before the Eifelrennen. So if ever paint has been scraped off,it would have been long before the Eifelrennen. That means that a story should have been constructed. The question remains how many "true" facts have been placed at the wrong moment to create the "compact" story we know now. Just disproving this version doesn't give proof that all components of the story are automatically false.



#695 DCapps

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 18:37

I have at least five different photographs of "W25/1" at its roll out in December 1933 that were provided from the M-B archives. They are taken from several different angles and strongly suggest that the car is some sort of metallic shade in color, silver, and not white. When viewed as a whole, not hanging an argument on a single photograph, that "W25/1" or any other W25 was ever white becomes a very difficult proposition to support.

 

As for the press presentation in March, I have at least nine photographs taken at that time. It becomes very easy to tell the retouched/doctored photographs from one another when you view all of the photos as a group. There are several versions of the same photograph, with the retouched version easily contrasted with those not retouched. It becomes very clear that the car is silver, definitely not white.

 

Any work in English -- book or article -- after the publication of the Neubauer book in 1960 that uses the paint-stripping story as gospel must be treated with, well, great caution, given that it is, to use serious academic language, complete baloney.

 

So, if the W25s were never white -- which seems to be very much the case, where did the story originate? The 2007 symposium and later tossed out several ideas and theories, with most suggesting that it is the result of an amalgam of several possible earlier instances regarding the issue of weight limits being an issue (the 1000 kg + 7 kg for having magneto from early events seeming to be a possible source). Consider, for a moment, how the 1933 Tripoli story was conjured up from just enough elements -- the lottery, the syndicate of drivers/ticket-holders -- to convince many of it (possibly) being true.



#696 Henk Vasmel

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 20:40

So, if the W25s were never white -- which seems to be very much the case, where did the story originate? The 2007 symposium and later tossed out several ideas and theories, with most suggesting that it is the result of an amalgam of several possible earlier instances regarding the issue of weight limits being an issue (the 1000 kg + 7 kg for having magneto from early events seeming to be a possible source). Consider, for a moment, how the 1933 Tripoli story was conjured up from just enough elements -- the lottery, the syndicate of drivers/ticket-holders -- to convince many of it (possibly) being true.

 

I completely agree with you that the commonly told story is a fabrication. However even then those stories are built up from components which in itself are true, but should not be coupled together in just any way. The rest (majority) of the story is embellishments. Proving that a story in itself is untrue does  not make each of the components automatically untrue. We need to tackle each story by  it's own merits.

 

It is indeed very difficult to judge the color of a car from an 80 year old picture that also went through the process of printing it in a book. Originals are much better but out of reach for amateur historians like me, and even then may prove to be unconclusive.



#697 DCapps

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 22:12

For what it might be worth, the Mercedes-Benz PR types have tried to use of a version of the following more than a few times to perpetuate this story when it comes to the photographs: Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?



#698 Charlieman

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 16:13

FYI: It appears that there were six W25s built for the 1934 season. 

Please note that my query was addressed to experts on body construction rather than observers or quantifiers. Using technology of the time, would or could a body be built differently if it was to be left unpainted? I question the first racing W25 body: if it was put together to be painted, I think it would have looked a shocker once the filler had been scraped off. Who would put in the effort for perfect shape underneath a shield of white paint? The entire point of body paint is to hide stuff up.



#699 Cavalier53

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 21:31

Without having re-read this thread from start to finish, I wonder about the practicality of paint stripping and re-spraying overnight.

 

With reference to post 683, how much effort would have been required to remove the type of paint and filler of the time with the (power?) tools available at the time - sufficiently to leave no traces when a "light coat o metallic paint" was applied. Remember metallic paint was not lightweight by itself...

 

My apologies if this aspect has been covered before!

 

Jan.



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#700 DCapps

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 14:00

Please note that my query was addressed to experts on body construction rather than observers or quantifiers. Using technology of the time, would or could a body be built differently if it was to be left unpainted? I question the first racing W25 body: if it was put together to be painted, I think it would have looked a shocker once the filler had been scraped off. Who would put in the effort for perfect shape underneath a shield of white paint? The entire point of body paint is to hide stuff up.

 

I have been waiting for the "experts" to chime in on this, but so far no takers it seems. You might wish to pose this sort of query to Dr. Gundula Tutt (she is definitely an "expert" -- her consulting company is Omnia) who might help with this grasping for straws...

 

Meanwhile.....

 

Somehow, at the GP de l'ACF, just a matter of four weeks later, the W25s managed to weigh in at 739.5 kg, Caracciola W25/5 (105195), and 737 kg, von Brauchitsch W25/4 (105194) & Fagioli W25/3 (105193); von Brauchitsch and Fagioli using the same cars they used at the Eifelrennen. Nor, apparently from all the available documentation did any of the W25 or W125 cars have difficulties making the weight at any of the events held to the 750 kg rules.

 

At the GP de l'ACF, the Auto-Union Typ 1934 machines weighed in at 740.5 kg, Stuck, and 738.5 kg, Momberger. The cars skirting the max weight were: (1) the Bugattis -- Nuvolari & Benoist, 747 kg, and Dreyfus, 749.5 kg; (2) the Maserati of Etancelin, 748.5 kg.

 

Hmmmm....


Edited by DCapps, 16 April 2017 - 14:01.