Jump to content


Photo

Mercedes and paint-stripping


  • Please log in to reply
744 replies to this topic

#51 Brun

Brun
  • Member

  • 511 posts
  • Joined: April 02

Posted 15 September 2003 - 10:10

Originally posted by Holger Merten
Brun, do you believe, they saved the paint bills from the 30s. :rotfl:


Holger, they're Germans. You should see the NSKK archives, for example... bills for everything :eek: I really wouldn't be surprised to find some paper in an archive mentioning 1300 Reichsmarks for 'Farbe'... :cool:

Advertisement

#52 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 16 September 2003 - 01:00

I'm still puzzled by the fact that nobody came up with how/why AIACR allowed the change. I must second Uechtel's suggestion for grounds for approval- if I were German trying to present my case (why should they allow me to change to silver), I would most certainly use heraldics where white is represented by*, or synonimous with, silver...

* actually, I don't think there is white in heraldics- only silver, which is then interpreted also as white

Am I safe in assuming, paint stripping or no paint stripping, that it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that AU raced in silver before the MB? Could it be the case, hypotetically speaking, that they either preferred siver and asked for ONS's approval (upon which, ONS saw it as a way to go, since car would look more 'spectacular'), or that ONS had the idea of switch in their mind and used AU as their test mules (for AIACR and public reaction)? In that scenario, MB, as 'first' German team of the time would be spared possible consequences (if people didn't like it or AIACR stomping their foot)...

#53 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 48,867 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 23 December 2003 - 20:48

Just a little something from Top Gear this week...Jeremy Clarkson mentioned that the paint on the 1970s Mercedes SLs weighed 20 kilos. So maybe the paint stripping story may be true? On a GP car it may have had comparable weight...

#54 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 65,415 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 24 December 2003 - 00:54

Originally posted by ensign14
Just a little something from Top Gear this week...Jeremy Clarkson mentioned that the paint on the 1970s Mercedes SLs weighed 20 kilos. So maybe the paint stripping story may be true? On a GP car it may have had comparable weight...


Maybe that's before the paint was applied?

Most of that weight would be evaporated away, surely? 20kgs is an awful lot of weight...

#55 Holger Merten

Holger Merten
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 15 January 2004 - 07:33

I'll agree Ray. Good idea to bring up this thread once again. Although I'll tried to get out more of that story with some TNF Members via e-mail or private contacts. Unfortunetly we don't came clother to the point. I also tried to get the Auto Union Archiv in the boat. But the response was very, very, very.....nothing.

Anyway, to bring something new, here is a picture to continue our discussion:
Posted Image

#56 hans stuck

hans stuck
  • Member

  • 91 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 15 January 2004 - 10:51

Interesting...For the record, I have a recording of Mercedes' Uhlenhaut confirming the Neubauer's paint scrapping story. http://dair.pair.com...ercedesLP-5.jpg

#57 Holger Merten

Holger Merten
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 15 January 2004 - 11:08

Originally posted by hans stuck
Interesting...For the record, I have a recording of Mercedes' Uhlenhaut confirming the Neubauer's paint scrapping story. http://dair.pair.com...ercedesLP-5.jpg


If you want to believe that.... :eek:

#58 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 65,415 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 15 January 2004 - 11:39

You know, what really is evidenced by this thread, this place is just too full of AU experts...

Why don't we have a balance, a measure of Mercedes introverts as well? I mean, if Brun or Holger or Michael were to devote as much time going through the M-B archives as they do through the AU ones, we'd have the answer to this long ago...

Especially if they are Germans... and record everything... there would be a job card for the mechanics involved with their hours duly marked on it and the materials used for the scraping... wouldn't there?

#59 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 17 January 2004 - 13:07

First of all, I'm no AU expert as Ray may believe, but frankly spoken, I have some problems with the way the Daimler-Chrysler PR department is handling the "silver arrow story". They indeed neither "invented" the silver colour, nor the wording "silver arrows".

The topic of the "PST" (paint scratching tale) has been followed up internally by some of the German speaking TNF members, not because we wanted to exclude others from the discussion, but due to the simple fact that using our mother language is much more easy for us. You should consider that writing down a longer text in English takes about 3 to 4 times longer than in German - at least for me.
The preliminary results of this discussion I have put online here

The text is in German, and I have to mention that this is not the final version, only a kind of a concept. However, I will try to translate the whole thing into English language hereafter.

Eifelrennen Nürburgring early June 1934, the night from Saturday to Sunday, hectic acitivity in the Mercedes pits, because all mechanics are fully busy grinding and scratching the white paint from the new grand prix cars from Stuttgart, in order to eliminate the one kilogram of overweight which is necessary to reach the magical 750 kg limit, and which was the reason that the technical officials refused race participation of the W25's.

Who does not know this story? Published countless times, and repeated by reputable journalists and authors over and over again, it has became a vital part of the legendary German racing history of the 30's.

But did it really happen like this? Where are the roots, who can confirm it, and which contemporary reports do we have? And which indications, arguments, and proofs are speaking against it? Did an event really took place, only because it has been reported over decades? This question I would like to follow up in this article.

Let's start with the origin, or better said the most likely origin. The first mentioning known to me can be found in the memoirs of Alfred Neubauer, the legendary Mercedes race director, published under the title "Speed was my life" (German original "Männer, Frauen und Motoren") in 1959. Let us listen to him:
(Not the wording of the original English version, but my personal translation from German to English)

"The evening before the race the cars had been weighted - and found too heavy. Only 750 kgs the "silver arrows" are allowed to weigh - without fuel, cooling water, oil, and tyres. But as the mechanics push the first car to the scale, it shows 751 kilograms. What to do? Tomorrow is race day, I cannot give order to remove vital parts, everything is calculated up to the gram. "What about one of your famous tricks?", said Brauchitsch. "Otherwise we are the lacqered ones…" (German wording for "otherwise we are the fools"). "Lacqered?" I asked, and at the same moment it made click. "Of course - the lacquer, the paint, that's the solution!" The whole night the mechanics scrubbed the white paint from our silver arrows, and as they are put on the weighing scale again the next morning - the weight was exactly 750 kilograms.

Hmm, why is Neubauer calling the race cars already before the paint removal action "silver arrows"? And even some pages earlier, recalling the Monza tests in February, Neubauer talks about "our new silver arrow", and also during the tests on the AVUS one week before the Nürburgring the W25 was already a "silver arrow"…!

"Speed was my life" in a rather fascinating way mirrors the motorsport world of the 20', 30's, and 50's. Alfred Neubauer, who during all of his life was always a perfect story teller, is presenting here himself at its best, and Harvey T. Rowe has perfectly managed to put the single episodes onto paper. It is surely one of the most fascinating books I ever red. But exactly this is the problem - it's a story book (Geschichtenbuch), and no history book (Geschichtsbuch).

If one has good knowledge of the motorsport historic details of the period, then repeatedly in Neubauer's memoirs items can be found which are not in full accordance with the proven facts. Whereof surely the allegedly lottery cheating at Tripolis 1933 is the most recognizable. Not only that the incident in such a way never has taken place, but Louis Chiron, quoted by Neubauer various times, was not present that year, and Governor Italo Balbo surely was not able to start the race, because he took over this position only in January 1934. And last but not least - also Alfred Neubauer was not present at Tripolis in 1933.

By all who know him Alfred Neubauer always was described as a phantastic entertainer and story teller, and that his tales do not become boring, he developed and extended them constantly. And in the end we are confronted with fairy tales like the Tripolis lottery, and - probably - also the paint scratching at the Nürburgring.

What about other contemporary witnesses? What does the often quoted Manfred von Brauchitch has to tell? His first book "Kampf um Meter und Sekunden" has been published already in 1953, years earlier than Neubauer's "Männer, Frauen und Motoren". In the chapter "Sieg" he describes in detail his first victory as Mercedes works driver at the 1934 Eifelrennen, but no word at all about weight problems of the racing cars, and about a nightly paint scratching action.
Only in his second book "Ohne Kampf kein Sieg", published 1964, he takes over Neubauer's description:

….. Still looking for somebody owning the book, in order to quote the exact text …..

This story will follow von Brauchitsch for the rest of his life, and in the end he was not only convinced that it is true, he even believed that he and not Neubauer had the alleged idea of removing the paint. Here an extract from a TV interview from the 90's:
“Now you start with that scratching, with that fat guy who scratched the paint. I was present, and could tell you something else ..., we both had that idea, but the paunch liked to brag of it, but let him do so!”

Alfred Neubauer and Manfred von Brauchitsch are always quoted as contemporary witnesses for the story, but the reliability of both must be heavily doubted. Before Neubauer's memoirs from 1959, for 25 years no single written word can be found about the "PST", and von Brauchitsch obviously has simply copied Neubauer.

But there is another witness of the era, namely the Mercedes race mechanic Eugen Reichle, who in an interview (Motor-Klassik 2/94) has said:

"The cars never had been painted white, so there was no paint to grind off. They simply had let us drive like that."

As this statement obviously does not fit into actual interpretation of history, it seems to have been simply forgotten, even at its original source. One has to read in "Motor Klassik 11/01" the article "Silberschmuck" by Clauspeter Becker. Oh, by the way, the "Eifelrennen" was on June 3, and not on July 10…!

Is this now fickleness, or journalistic freedom? Because the same magazine in edition 4/03 published an obituray on the late Manfred von Brauchitsch, author Eberhard Reuss, which says

"Strange only, that none of the contemporary writers and reporters has spotted somewhat of this myth, no single word about the "birth of the silver arrows. Nowhere."
And again one year later Claupeter Becker in his book "Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows" reconfirms again the paint scratching, and even goes one step further:
"At this stage (Eifelrennen, MM) the Auto Union cars were still all in white, but it was not long before silver was adopted by both teams as the new racing color for German cars - though with silver paint covering the bare aluminium, of course".
Bad research, or a morally obligation towards the title of the book…?

The international race colours at that time had not only been a sign of a certain national pride, but also had been part of the AIACR sporting regulations for international race events. If therefore over night the new and long-awaited race cars from Stuttgart would have lost their national white, would this had not been worth mentioned somewhere in the contemporary press? And also the - provisionally - exclusion of the Mercedes race cars at their debut race due to a single kilogram would have caused a cry of indignation in the press, or? Well, let's have a look.


(The thumbnails can be clicked for download the full pages)

Thus no word about a surprising colour change at Mercedes, and also nothing about a threat for disqualification on Saturday. Both the Auto Unions as also the Mercedes' are described as "silver-glossy", and that in a way as if this colour had been the most normal thing on world for both teams. Unfortunately the photos are strongly retouched, so they are unsuitable for proving the exact colour of the cars.

(More articles for download)

Silver-shining race cars, aluminium bodies flashing in the sun - obviously for nobody a surprise. So it is very likely that the "new colour" has been introduced already before the Eifelrennen.

To be continued, lack of time, sorry!

Advertisement

#60 Holger Merten

Holger Merten
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 17 January 2004 - 13:32

Well done Michael, thanks for your effort to bring our results from our mother language in a translated form back on TNF. :up:

#61 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,858 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 17 January 2004 - 15:36

Originally posted by Ray Bell
You know, what really is evidenced by this thread, this place is just too full of AU experts...

Why don't we have a balance, a measure of Mercedes introverts as well? I mean, if Brun or Holger or Michael were to devote as much time going through the M-B archives as they do through the AU ones, we'd have the answer to this long ago...

Especially if they are Germans... and record everything... there would be a job card for the mechanics involved with their hours duly marked on it and the materials used for the scraping... wouldn't there?


Karl Ludvigsen posted early on this thread. I think he qualifies, even if his opinion differs from the consensus.

#62 hans stuck

hans stuck
  • Member

  • 91 posts
  • Joined: November 03

Posted 17 January 2004 - 16:52

Michael...Uhlenhaut confirms the paint scratching...says "we" were up all night removing the beautiful white paint or something to that effect...I'll check for the actual quote. These statements place him as an eye witness. What do we know about Uhlenhaut's whereabouts circa Eifel 1934? This could be a definitive statement from one of the actual paint removers.

#63 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,551 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 17 January 2004 - 17:04

Hmm - I think we do know that the youthful Rudolf Uhlenhaut was NOT attached to the Mercedes-Benz racing department at the time of their debut in the 1934 EifelRennen... Interesting, however, that the Mercedes-Benz Museum's W25 bodywork should have been presented for recent filming in bare-metal form. Perhaps they know as little as we do - or lend less questioning credence to the Neubauer story?

DCN

#64 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 17 January 2004 - 17:19

If Uhlenhaut says "we", then in fact it is untrue, as he joined Daimler-Benz only in 1936. So much about eyewitness...! MvB, who in fact was present, remembers the story only after it has been published in Neubauer's memoirs, and Hermann Lang, who may have been part of the crew as early as 1934, stands against Eugen Reichle, also one of the mechanics, who said that the cars had not not white.

My impression is that the story fitted very well into the Mercedes philosophy after it has been unearthed in 1959, and till today they are doing everything to keep it alive...

More translation lateron.

#65 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,551 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 17 January 2004 - 17:36

Mechanic Reichle's recollection may be provably misleading since if my recollection is correct I posted a shot here on TNF which seemed to show a prototype W25 painted white...and bearing a road registration number plate - this shot being published pre-war in the Stuck/Burgaller book I think?

DCN

#66 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 17 January 2004 - 17:44

That's correct, at least the prototype at a certain stage was painted white. The photo you mention can can be seen here http://axos.nl/retro...feile/index.htm plus some other version of the same picture, all 3 obviously heavily retouched...!

I translated up to now only a very small part of my article, much more to follow. However, the translation only makes sense together with the corresponding pictures, so everybody my feel free to visit my homepage,

#67 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 17 January 2004 - 17:47

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

#68 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 17 January 2004 - 18:45

Translation continued

The photo left shows the W25 of Manfred von Brauchitsch at the start of the Eifelrennen. The bodywork has a rather high-gloss finish, which may result in the conclusion that either it is high-class paintwork, or polished aluminium. Surely this shows no vehicle of which the paint has been removed in a rather fast and forced action, no scratches, no dents, and no residues of filler and paint.
Remark: the original photo, which was available some time ago in a very high resolution on the Mercedes-Benz homepage shows the perfect finish much better than this scan.

Other doubters of the "PSR" state that the W25's never had been white, but from the beginning the bodywork was plain aluminium, on which later for optical reasons a metallic-silver paint was applied. Well, that's not correct for sure.


(3 pictures which can be zoomed)

The first photo shows the W25 prototype after completion in February 1934, in the background all Daimler-Benz employees who had been involved in the project. The one in the middle probably is a press photo from the same time. However, it is very likely that this picture is retouched, firstly because I have available 2 other versions (picture 2 - picture 3, can be zoomed), and secondly the dark upholstery of the seat is not identical with the first picture. The photo on the right shows Manfred von Brauchitsch during test drives at the AVUS in May 1934. More to this later.

End February 1934 the team travelled with the prototype to Monza for testing. Acc. to Ludvigsen the car was painted white, Manfred von Brauchitsch however talks about "silver-glossy", and also Alfred Neubauer talks already about a "silver arrow", and an "elegant alloy body". The car was damaged after a tyre failure, and went back to Untertürkheim for repair. In March they went again to Monza to continue the tests, where also a stretch of autostrada between Milan and Varese was used.


(Picture)

There exists another photo from this testing phase, which reportedly has been taken at the Nürburgring on the way from the team's accomodation to the track. Unfortunately the quality is rather bad, and a zoom is not available. But it seems that the car is silver with white wheels. For sure this photo can have been taken earliest in April/May 1934, because it is already the final race version with the headrest.

A rather important status has also the photo right (can be zoomed by clicking). It shows a bare-metal alloy bodywork with white painted wheels, and is often presented as proof of the Nürburgring paint stripping story. The oiled tyres and the background paravent however lead to the conclusion that this is a professional studio photograph, also the perfect quality supports this.

The white painted wheels are interesting, they may lead to the conclusion that the whole car once was white, and that the removal of the paint from the spokes may have been too complex. Most probably this photo shows again the prototype, because the later models had two slits on the left side of the cockpit bodywork. Also on the picture of van Brauchitsch during the AVUS tests these slits are missing, so it's most probably the prototype too. At the AVUS (May 24-27) obviously it was white, and if the paint was not removed during the Eifelrennen weekend one week later, this transaction must have taken place in the week between both events.


(2 pictures which can be zoomed)

Here we have 2 further photos taken during the training for the AVUS race. The upper shows Manfred von Brauchitsch, the lower Luigi Fagioli. Clearly visible are the venting slits for the cockpit. Obviously 2 different cars are shown, because the dents on the exhaust heat cover are different. Although the quality of the photos is rather good, I'm unable to make any statement concerning the colour - white or silver? But if silver, then most probably no bare metal, but paintwork. Such paint we could not compare with our modern high-gloss metallic lacquers (which strange enough are used also for restoration of the Mercedes-Benz race cars), as high-gloss paints with metallic effects had been unknown then. The whole thing would have looked more like a high-quality furnace enamel.

Into this category of AVUS pictures belongs also that with the M25 shown further above. The "Continental" banner proves that also this has been taken at AVUS. The details confirm that this must be the prototype, which then clearly was still painted white.

Caracciola, "Caracciola Mercedes Grand Prix Ace", published in London
1955, page 102:
"...Next morning we met at six at the Avus. The others were already there when I arrived, Neubauer, Niebel and the mechanics. The car was there too, small and white, it looked fast; a single seater as I had always imagined it."

The conclusions from all these details can only be that either the Mercedes cars got their silver colour between the AVUS and the Eifelrennen, or that 2 cars had been silver already at the AVUS. And Neubauer's "PST" finally should be positioned at the correct place - the world of fairy tales.

Continued

#69 Holger Merten

Holger Merten
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 17 January 2004 - 19:03

Originally posted by Doug Nye
[BInteresting, however, that the Mercedes-Benz Museum's W25 bodywork should have been presented for recent filming in bare-metal form.
DCN [/B]


That remembers me of some pictures I have seen today in the International press shop. It was an english magazine with a review of an film maker. And I saw that picture wich was taken in the late 50s or early 60s with the W25. Ohhh by the way this story was a review by Doug. :blush: And when I saw thîs story I thought the same. Why this bare metal for 1934 after the war?

#70 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Administrator

  • 33,942 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 17 January 2004 - 21:49

Originally posted by Doug Nye
Mechanic Reichle's recollection may be provably misleading since if my recollection is correct I posted a shot here on TNF which seemed to show a prototype W25 painted white...and bearing a road registration number plate - this shot being published pre-war in the Stuck/Burgaller book I think?

DCN

Doug, if you scroll back up to post #87 in this thread, you'll see I established a possible first publication date for that photo: it cannot be later than March 1934, since it was published in Motor Kritik issue 1934/6.

#71 Holger Merten

Holger Merten
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 17 January 2004 - 22:22

Originally posted by Vitesse2

Doug, if you scroll back up to post #87 in this thread, you'll see I established a possible first publication date for that photo: it cannot be later than March 1934, since it was published in Motor Kritik issue 1934/6.

Sorry Richard, s**t happens, and this won't prove the situation at the Ring in 1934, would it?


BTW: >>Don't misssunderstand me, perhaps there was a possibility of a white MB or an AU before the Avus race. But the question is, which colour did they use for the races, and AU used bare metal - call it Silver.

#72 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 18 January 2004 - 09:09

Translation continued

In connection with Neubauer's "PST" (paint stripping/scratching tale) it is very often said that the Auto Union race cars at that moment still had been white, and that they followed the new "race silver" of Mercedes only after the Eifelrennen. Well, such statements are simply untrue, which can be proven by various reports and pictures. To be exactly, in fact there was only one white Auto Union, which was the prototype of the P-wagen at its first test run on the Nürburgring in autumn 1933 (here to be seen with race director Willy Walb).

(picture)

Ludwig Sebastian, "Hinter dröhnenden Motoren", page 16:
"...on 11 January 1934 Berlin reported good weather. Immediately we prepared everything, and in the same night we rolled with our transporter to Berlin. The foggy morning of January 12 saw us at the AVUS. In front of a group of invited guests the first ever race car of the Auto Union was ready to go. Some minutes later the silver-shining miracle shoots along with 250 km's. All of us were surprised about the safe roadholding of the car at this speed."

(2 pictures)

Hans Stuck with the P-wagen during the record runs on the AVUS in March 1934, undoubtly the car is silver. See also a quote from the newspaper "Berliner Zeitung" dated 7.3.1934:
Like a torpedo on wheels the dim-silvery, crouched, sleek steel body shoots towards the AVUS north bend. Throttle back, braking, shifting to lower gear. With 100 kilometers per hour into the bend, then accelerating with smoking tyres. Hans Stuck in his Auto Union race car hunting for a new world record."

(picture)

8-18.5.1934 - automobile exhibition at Berlin, Stuck's record car is shown at the stall of the NSKK. The silver colour - obviously bare Dural aluminium - becomes even clearer if one compares it with the Mercedes Gordon-Bennett car.

(3 pictures)

Eifelrennen 1934, the P-wagen of August Momberger. Left an article from the magazine "Motor-Kritik" no. 11/1934. Clearly visible the difference in contrast between the car and the white race overall. On the photo in the middle it can be spotted clearly that the car is silver-coloured, the section zoom shows that it is bare aluminium, because bolts and rivets are not painted over.

(picture)

Once again Momberger's Auto Union, on the weighbridge at the Nürburgring Eifelrennen. Undoubtly silver…
Obviously the Auto Union team was more imaginative than the competion, the car is weighted with tyres, and after that a set of rubbers is deducted from the determined car weight.


(picture)

Hans Stuck, also at the Eifelrennen. And also silver-coloured. This is a post card, stamped on 14.7.34, the Saturday of the German Grand Prix. Therefore it is excluded that the picture has been taken during the GP, where Stuck also had race number 1.

Already in the contemporary press reports about the Eifelrennen any surprise reactions concerning the new German race colour "silver" are missing. How about one week earlier at the AVUS? Hereafter a preview as well as a race report, both published in the German edition of the "Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung".


Edition Berlin - No. unknown - May 1934 - preview to AVUS race (4 pages)

Edition Berlin - No. unknown - May 1934 - report about AVUS race (9 pages)

Despite very detailed reports absolutely no hint towards the colour of the German race cars. The colour of the Mercedes-Benz no. 2 and 3. therefore remains a mystery, whereas the silver of the Auto Unions at least is proven by photos. And also here not the slightest astonishment by the author about the livery of the Zwickau race cars which principally was controverse to the regulations.

May be that the organizers did not adhere to the AIACR colour regulations that stringent as we always estimated. As example, the MG "Magic" of Bobby Kohlrausch, which he acquired in England just before the event, was brought to the grid still in British green. Or may be the colour question was clarified long before the race between the Auto Union and the officials of ONS resp. AIACR. In heraldics white is the secondary colour for silver, may be in this the unproblematic acceptance of silver instead of white has its roots.

As summary it can be stated that the Auto Union race cars during all public appearances in the first half year of 1934 had been silver-coloured, which may lead to the conclusion of a bare Dural aluminium bodywork. The cars of the Stuttgart competition - resp. at least the prototype - had been still white during the AVUS event. After the silver of the AU's obviously remained uncriticized by the race officials at Berlin, it seems that Mercedes-Benz copied this rather dynamic looking finish.


To be continued

#73 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 48,867 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 18 January 2004 - 09:19

Are we reaching to a slightly different conclusion? That they tested the cars unpainted and never bothered painting the cars because that would have added weight? Or because they looked so good 'naked'?

#74 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 18 January 2004 - 09:55

The chapter about the Auto Unions has a "that" conclusion, but no "why" conclusion. I believe that I have proven that the AU's did not copy the silver from Mercedes-Benz as often stated, but the other way round. During testing etc. very often race cars appear unpainted, but important ist that the AU's had been silver (unpainted) during the official race appearances at Berlin and Nürburgring. The "why" ist still open, whether for weight or optical reasons, or may be both. Still hope that Brun some day will unearth something in the AU archive which clarifies this point.

#75 uechtel

uechtel
  • Member

  • 1,802 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 18 January 2004 - 11:35

Also the expression "silver arrow" seems to be older. Kitschigin´s book about the avus (published in 1972) contains excerpts of the broadcast of the 1932 Avus race, when Brauchitsch won with the aforementioned unpainted SSKL streamliner:

"...Ladies and Gentlemen, the roaring applause indicates it...von Brauchitsch leads from Caracciola! This is a surprise, Ladies and Gentlemen...now the silver arrow appears, the heavy, bulky car of Manfred von Brauchitsch, the streamliner, wonderful to see it entering into the last turn..."

Of course the book is only a secondary source and Kitschigin does not tell where he´s got that words from. So we have to be careful about this, but at least it is a trace.

#76 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,551 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 18 January 2004 - 14:36

Posted Image
1

Posted Image
2

Posted Image
3

Repros from original period Daimler-Benz prints thanks to Geoffrey Goddard show the W25's debut in the 1934 EifelRennen. Note the tonal contrast between car body colour and mechanics and driver's white overalls - note also apparent visible evidence of aluminium panel 'working' around those multi-curvature front suspension fairings - the ball-peen hammer and/or panel-basher's dolly have apparently been at work. For such texture evidence to appear to have been captured on film in this way it seems probable to me that these panels were indeed in bare metal at this event, not covered by paint, nor filler, nor primer. Whether in fact they had EVER been painted on the particular subject car then becomes the pressing question... As does the other option that they were painted initially but that the paint was stripped off BEFORE the trip to the Eifel race - or (as Neubauer seems to have inferred) they were painted initially but it was stripped off AT the Eifel race.

No answers here then - beyond apparent visual confirmation that the cars did run in bare metal finish upon their debut as already described.
DCN

#77 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 19 January 2004 - 21:49

Posted Image

Very interesting pictures indeed, which differ slightly but nevertheless significantly from the one I have, and which I have posted above again for comparison.

Doug's 2nd picture is identical with that above, but much more detailed. The body surface looks less glossy, and far away from the rather perfect finish the car on the photo above seems to have. The first photo from Doug is even more surprising, because here the car obviously seems to have a bare aluminium bodywork..!

Frankly spoken, with these new photos it seems that I have lost one of my main arguments, namely that the MvB car at the Eifelrennen had a rather perfect finish, which makes the paint scratching tale unlikely. But as Doug says, the appearance of the W25's at the Nürburgring in bare metal does not automatically confirm the "PST". It is proven that the AU's at the AVUS had been raced in bare metal, and therefore it may well be that MB copied this, especially under consideration of saved weight. It still surprises me that none of the contemporary race reports mentions a single word of any surprising over-night colour change of the Mercedes cars, and also no word about the threating disqualification on Saturday.

#78 Holger Merten

Holger Merten
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 20 January 2004 - 08:06

Doug, this new old picture, brings a new focus on the theme. As Michael wrote, this picture was one of the most important arguements to not believe in the story MB started in bare metal at the Eifelrennen. I’m working on that story, since 13 years. And it’s interesting that all new old pictures of the MB press department just show pictures of very well finished silver cars.

What we now have to look for is the reason why. Why did MB change from white to silver.
And why did the organizers of the GPF in France accept the new German race colors?

#79 oldtimer

oldtimer
  • Member

  • 1,291 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 20 January 2004 - 22:40

Compare Doug's pictures 1 & 2 with particular attention to the contrast between body work and the exhaust pipe. Picture 1 shows a glossy exhaust pipe.

Seems to me we have to be very careful about drawing conclusions from old b & w photos.

Advertisement

#80 GIGLEUX

GIGLEUX
  • Member

  • 1,519 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 22 January 2004 - 12:00

Posted Image

Maybe better than the one in post 18 of this thread. Caption is: "The Mercedes racing car which is due to appear for the first time in a race the 27 of may on Avus circuit, doing a last test".

#81 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 22 January 2004 - 12:48

Jean Maurice, I have this photo in the article on my server, I have disclosed the link when I started the English translation. Here it is:

Posted Image

It shows the prototype during the tests on the AVUS a few days before the race, which in my opinion clearly is white. However, the version of the photo posted by you clearly is retouched, so most probably unsuitable for clear proof.

#82 Holger Merten

Holger Merten
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 22 January 2004 - 13:02

Originally posted by Michael Müller
It shows the prototype during the tests on the AVUS a few days before the race, which in my opinion clearly is white. However, the version of the photo posted by you clearly is retouched, so most probably unsuitable for clear proof.


Yeep.

#83 GIGLEUX

GIGLEUX
  • Member

  • 1,519 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 22 January 2004 - 13:08

Michael, of course you are right; it's also why I began my caption by "maybe".

#84 Hans Etzrodt

Hans Etzrodt
  • Member

  • 3,188 posts
  • Joined: July 00

Posted 22 January 2004 - 17:05

The picture in post 127 is also retouched, or at least the R/R wheel is. :cool:

#85 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 22 January 2004 - 19:47

Since Doug posted the Goddard pictures, I started to doubt on this particular photo. It's from the Mercedes-Benz archive, as can be seen from the number at the bottom right. About 2 or 3 years ago this picture was available for download from the MB server in an extremely high resolution, if I remember right about 3 MB or so. At this photo the glossy surface could be seen even better than on the small version. One of the Goddard pictures is an extract from the same photo, but the other one in my opinion seems to show a bare aluminium surface.

Could it be that MB PR department is a victim of their own activities? Is it possible that the somewhat shabby-looking bodywork didn't fit into Untertürkheim's quality philosophy? And is it therefore possible that the photo was retouched in order to show a glossy, shining "silver arrow"? If so, they possibly killed their own legend...! By the way, the large photo was removed from the server aroud the time when the first articles had been published which doubted the "PST". Coincidence?

#86 Holger Merten

Holger Merten
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 22 January 2004 - 21:23

Michael. If so, it fit's perfect in that entertainment reality entainment show desaster on Tv. It mustn't be real, it just have to look like reality. Afterwards we wrote our own PR-stories. Fairy tales for people who are underentertaint. That's not history. But it will be history.

#87 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,551 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 23 January 2004 - 20:39

Geoff has located another intriguing photograph in his archive which I append below. The whole frame of this pic absolutely confirms that this was taken from the outside of the Nurburging Startplatz - and it shows what appears to be von Brauchitsch at speed in a W25 during trials or testing - he is passing a totally deserted section of the Nurburgring pits. I have not used the whole frame of this photograph for other reasons, but believe me - it IS the Nurburgring.

Note the difference in tone between the body colour and what one could perhaps be forgiven for believing were silver - or at least pale grey? - wheels. Note also the similarity in tone between the body colour and the driver's overalls - which presumably were standard white. The exhaust pipe appears to have been plated. The original photograph is dated '1934'.

Posted Image

Hmmmmm..... was this late trial pre-EifelRennen, or early practice for the race itself ... or what?

DCN

#88 Jonas

Jonas
  • Member

  • 221 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 23 January 2004 - 21:21

Hm, isn't it a 1936 type W25 that is shown? Or am I mistaken? Isn't the grille and the rear-end different from the earlier types? Don't recognise the exhaust pipe like this from the later models, though..
Sorry if I'm way off. It's been a long day..

#89 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 23 January 2004 - 21:28

I'm quite sure that this is the 1936 version of the W25, with the oval grille and the the additional cooling vents at the front. No doubt that the cars had been silver in 1936, so this photo clearly shows once again how difficult it is to define white and silver on b/w pictures.

#90 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 23 January 2004 - 21:29

Oops, Jonas was faster...

#91 oldtimer

oldtimer
  • Member

  • 1,291 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 23 January 2004 - 21:31

Thanks for posting a fine shot Doug, but it poses other questions such as model type, as noted by Jonas, and 'plated exhaust'. See my earlier post about the 'glossy' exhaust and the way it highlights difficulties in assigning colour based on contrast in old b&w photos.

#92 Holger Merten

Holger Merten
  • Member

  • 1,836 posts
  • Joined: June 02

Posted 23 January 2004 - 22:12

Too late....

#93 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,551 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 23 January 2004 - 23:28

Hmm - comprehensively seduced by '1934' date on print! Perhaps then this car when photographed may not yet have been finish-painted but may have been in pale matte primer. This low-res repro is less convincing than the original which does look very white, but on the majority of the provenly silver-car pix we hold the body panelling is a visibly darker tone than the driver's white overalls, which is not the case here.
DCN

#94 Pavel Lifintsev

Pavel Lifintsev
  • Member

  • 143 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 24 January 2004 - 01:06

Posted Image

Almost identical picture appears in the George C. Monkhouse' well-known book 'Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix 1934-1955'. Caption says it's Hermann Lang testing previous year W25B with lower and longer body. Shot was taken early 1936 at Nuerburgring.

Originally posted by Doug Nye
This low-res repro is less convincing than the original which does look very white, but on the majority of the provenly silver-car pix we hold the body panelling is a visibly darker tone than the driver's white overalls, which is not the case here.

:) What's amazing that in the Monkhouse' book the car clearly looks silver and the contrast between darker body panels and white driver's overall is obvious!

#95 Hans Etzrodt

Hans Etzrodt
  • Member

  • 3,188 posts
  • Joined: July 00

Posted 24 January 2004 - 05:20

Originally posted by Doug Nye

Posted Image

Hmmmmm..... was this late trial pre-EifelRennen, or early practice for the race itself ... or what?

DCN

The same pic appears on p49 of MOTORACES, Monkhouse's first book from 1937 with the text referring to ”Brauchitsch in an old-type Mercédès, passing the pits during one of the many practice laps which he did early in 1936 when trying out some new “Continental” racing-tyres.”

The same picture appears also on p176 in the third edition (1964) of GRAND PRIX RACING Facts and Figures by George Monkhouse with a caption, ”Manfred von Brauchitsch… …passing the pits during practice at the Nurburg Ring in a 1935 8-cylinder 4-litre 430 B.H.P. Mercedes, which was almost identical in appearance to the original 1934 car.”

Obviously, this fine shot displays MvB in an early 1936 version of the W25 Mercedes-Benz, as already pointed out by Jonas and Michael.

...and the car was silver!

#96 Michael Müller

Michael Müller
  • Member

  • 1,179 posts
  • Joined: November 00

Posted 24 January 2004 - 07:22

White or silver...?

Posted Image

Posted Image

#97 Hans Etzrodt

Hans Etzrodt
  • Member

  • 3,188 posts
  • Joined: July 00

Posted 24 January 2004 - 08:17

Michael, who is the mysterious admirer of Caracciola? She stands opposite Neubauer, looking down at the left front tire. ;)

Oh, ...the car at Klausen was silver, better to be seen in the side shot below.

#98 GIGLEUX

GIGLEUX
  • Member

  • 1,519 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 24 January 2004 - 09:06

Very nice woman, Hans; but if still alive she'ld be in his nineties and something so we have to be cool!!!

#99 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 9,551 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 24 January 2004 - 09:53

Clunk!

The impetuosity of youth - Geoff was so pleased to have unearthed the shot I swallowed it whole.

The similar shot mentioned by .ru has a ladder in the background and is plainly Lang, whereas this shot - as Hans affirms is plainly Brauchitsch. The woman with Caracciola in that lovely startline shot is his ill-fated first wife Charly...

DCN

Advertisement

#100 GIGLEUX

GIGLEUX
  • Member

  • 1,519 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 24 January 2004 - 10:06

Hum, are you sure Doug? Poor Charly met her death, buried by an avalanche, during the winter
1933-1934 (I haven't my notes with me) and Klausen hill-climb was on August 5 1934.