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#151 Henk

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 11:50

Originally posted by Holger Merten
Komenda designed the bodywork for the first Auto Union racing car made from a special corrosion-resistant aluminium alloy, which did not have to be painted.

This part of the story seems to make sense.
At least when you read magnesium instead of aluminium.

Posted Image
Racing successes with Elektronmetall
and Hydronalium the light metals of
I.G. Farbenindustrie ……


For construction of lightweight chassis, engines and bodywork, Auto Union and Daimler-Benz could largely profit from the development and production of light-metal alloys by the IG Farbenindustrie chemical cartel.

In Germany, resources of aluminium ore (bauxite) are limited. Magnesium can be produced from purely German raw materials. With increasing demand for light metals, German chemical industry was therefore challenged to develop magnesium alloys that could substitute aluminium-based products. In the 1920s and 1930s this became one of the key activities of IG Farbenindustrie.

Magnesium can be alloyed with several other metals; the most common are aluminium, manganese and zinc. A family of magnesium-aluminum alloys, marketed as Elektronmetall (or elektron) found a wide range of applications in German industry. Elektron of the early 1930s was composed of 94-95% magnesium, 2.5-3% aluminium, 2.5% zinc, and 0.5% manganese. Zinc is added for strength, manganese gives hardness and increased corrosion resistance. Growing military requirements considerably supported the use of elektron. There was a marked increase in demand owing to mass-production of incendiary bombs.

Elektron has a silvery-white colour, somewhat brighter than that of aluminium alloys such as duralumin. The metal takes a high polish. But on exposure to moist air, unprotected surfaces will soon develop a dull lustre as a result of oxidation. Like in aluminium alloys, formation of a surface oxide film will ****** further corrosion. The corrosion resistance of the alloys is dependent upon the porosity of this protective film. Under normal atmospheric conditions, corrosion resistance of elektron is better than that of duralumin.

Because of a very low porosity of its oxide film, hydronalium has an even larger corrosion resistance. Hydronalium comprises a family of aluminium alloys with a relatively high magnesium component (3-12%, vs. 0.5-1% in duralumin). Duralumin contains about 4% copper, which also was in short supply in Germany. With the aid of state subsidies, IG Farbenindustrie and the DVL (Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt) started joint research into the development of hydronalium in which copper was substituted by zinc. When war broke out, Erhard Milch, director of air armament, ordered that airplane construction had to switch to the use of copper-free hydronalium.

I assume that AU literature may give information about the nature of the light metal used for the A-type.

I don’t think that hydronalium was already applied in racing cars of 1934. But also with bodywork of elektron, there would be no urgent need to provide the A-type with a protective paint layer.

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#152 VAR1016

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 12:29

Many thanks Henk for this fascinating information.

It is well known that nothing stimulates science more than war - or at least warlike purposes, and the story of these development illustrates, I feel, the point very well. One could take the story further and point to the Henry Wiggins company's development of the "super-alloys" (Inconel, Nimonic and so on) for jet engine applications.

I suppose that the main developments in metal alloys since the Second World War have been largely concerned with the uses of titanium and perhaps beryllium, together with the use of rare earths in magnets.

PdeRL

#153 Holger Merten

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 08:14

Henk, your picture shows a poster with a 1937 AU Typ C. Perhaps by that time AU used parts made of magnesium. All I know is that the bodies of the early years (1933 - 1936) were made of aluminium. I have several pictures showing talented handymen in the race department working on the finish of the aluminium bodies:
Posted Image

Is magnesium also so "easy" to handle?

#154 Michael Müller

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 09:24

To be exactly, they used DURAL, an aluminium alloy invented by "Dürener Aluminiumwerke", hence the name.

#155 Wolf

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 10:32

Originally posted by Michael Müller
To be exactly, they used DURAL, an aluminium alloy invented by "Dürener Aluminiumwerke", hence the name.


I hate to nit-pick, but dural alloy was invented by a man from my town, inventor David Scwartz (dural is sometimes called Schwartz aluminium). Incidentaly, after his premature death, plans for his air-ship* (for use in which he invented that alloy) were bought from his widow by one count Zeppelin; and the rest is 'history' (that kind of ship later came to be known as Zeppelin).

* it went down because of error on propeller, and financial difficulties prevented him from making a new one

#156 Michael Müller

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 11:03

Well, in fact David Schwartz was the inventor of the airship with metal frame, but he has nothing to do with DURAL. He used standard aluminium produced by the Carl Berg aluminium plant at Lüdenscheid (Germany).
DURAL (aluminium alloyed with small quantities of copper, manganese, magnesium, and silicone) was invented in 1906 by Alfred Wilm, an engineer at “Dürener Metallwerke”.

#157 Wolf

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 14:35

Michael, his airship was made out of aluminium, but the claim I've heard/read ( http://www.hr/darko/etf/et22.html#schw ) is that he came up with it during construction of the 2nd one (never built). The disparity between those claims shouldn't be too hard to resolve- since Schwartz's claim should be cca 10 years prior to Wilm's (Schwartz died in 1897). When I get the chance I'll look into it. :)

#158 Michael Müller

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 14:50

Frankly spoken, I doubt this. Schwartz was a timber merchant without any metallurgical knowledge, concerning the aluminium he needed be relied fully on the Carl Berg factory. As far I know Berg backed the airship also financially, because he considered this idea as a new and prospective market for his aluminium. If any special aluminium alloy used or intended to be used for one of Schwartz's airships, then such invention surely would have come from Carl Berg. And as the Berg company filed no complaint against the DURAL patent of Dürener Metallwerke (both German companies) I believe there is no reason to doubt the origin of the invention. Even the brand clearly confirms the origin, DURener ALuminium.

#159 Henk

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 21:40

According to ‘Audi UK’:

1934 With a supercharged, 45-degree, V16 engine behind the driver and ahead of the rear axle, rear-mounted gearbox, twin-parallel tube chassis and lightweight elektron alloy body (the A-type had doped fabric side panels) the Auto Union was the first successful mid-engined Grand Prix car.

http://www.audi.co.u...sport/union.jsp

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#160 Silversurfer

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 21:21

Hi folks,

l reviewed this facsinating thread!

Great job especially from Michael Müller and Holger Merten BUT after reading all the pros and cons it seems to me that there is still no proven, documented evidence that the Neubauer/v. Brauchitsch story is really untrue!

Is it not proven that Neubauer told in an interview directly after the race was finished:

"Unmenschliches haben unsere Monteure und Helfer, aber auch sicher die der anderen Teilnehmer geleistet und der Dank gebührt ihnen, ..." -> "Unhuman things did our mechanics and helpers, so surly did those of the other participants and the thanks appertain to them, ..."?

Was this maybe his reaction of what they achieved in their nightshift?

Did you ever ask yourself where the W25 of von Brauchitsch was standing at the 2nd of June 1934 in the night before the Eifelrennen?

Check the German journal "sport auto" Nr. 11/2004!

On page 81 is a very interesting photo which shows 2 W25, the Mercedes crew while training for a pitstop and Neubauer watching them. Unfortunately this photo is quite small so it's impossible to say something about the colour of the cars but the place is clearly identifiable.

I'm not convinced that the 'paint scratching legend' is a modern myth and will try to gather some evidence for that!

Cheers

The Silversurfer

#161 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 23:18

Originally posted by Silversurfer
...I'm not convinced that the 'paint scratching legend' is a modern myth and will try to gather some evidence for that!...

The 'paint scratching legend' surfaced in Alfred Neubauer’s book and is nothing but a nice entertaining tale. For that reason and no other it is kept alive by the Daimler-Chrysler Tradition people or at least it is not being denied. After Neubauer, his account has been told and retold numerous times by many journalists and writers who lack the skill or desire for serious research, so they buy the story and some even embellish Neubauer’s tale with their own yarn. When serious writers confirm the Neubauer fiction in their writings it just becomes very disappointing and sad, since these are people who otherwise have done serious and wonderful work. One wonders why top writers cannot look through this delusion and won’t distance themselves from controversial statements like these but rather stick steadfastly to this fictitious statement.

A comparison could be made with the story about the 1939 European Champion. This story is full of controversy because there never was an officially nominated 1939 European Champion by the legal authority.

#162 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 23:52

Neubauer even partially discounts the story himself - on the same page, he discusses Mercedes' abortive trip to Avus, referring to the cars which were scheduled to run as "Silver Arrows", a week previous to the alleged paint scratching.

Silversurfer: if you can find any pre-1959 reference to it, I and many others will be very surprised (not to mention impressed!) To save you looking, there's nothing in Caracciola's autobiography about it. Nor in von Brauchitsch's!

#163 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 23:57

Originally posted by Vitesse2
...Silversurfer: if you can find any pre-1959 reference to it, I and many others will be very surprised (not to mention impressed!) To save you looking, there's nothing in Caracciola's autobiography about it. Nor in von Brauchitsch's!

Richard, is it not bedtime??? :rolleyes:

...and Silversurfer, I looked through all German Magazines of 1934 and there is no evindence found to support Neubauer's story.

#164 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 00:04

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
Richard, is it not bedtime??? :rolleyes:

zzzzzzz ..... huh? ...... er ...... yeah ...... :yawn: :yawn:

:)

#165 Michael Müller

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 00:11

:wave:

#166 Wolf

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 00:17

Hans, even more apt comparison would be his Tripoli story... As amusing as it is, it's been perpetuated- I've first encountered it in Moss' "All But My Life". It smelled fishy*, but I put it aside until I saw Don's great article. (And we all know how many times that article, which deals with even more serious matter, was printed and reprinted :rolleyes: ). No M-B cover up there- it's just that people don't care or are too inert...

* why'd they all try to fall aside to allow Varzi win, when they've already pooled their tickets/prizes (finishing order makes no difference to them, except for pride)- was the first thing that caught my untrained eye...

#167 uechtel

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 15:49

Originally posted by Silversurfer
Hi folks,

l reviewed this facsinating thread!

Great job especially from Michael Müller and Holger Merten BUT after reading all the pros and cons it seems to me that there is still no proven, documented evidence that the Neubauer/v. Brauchitsch story is really untrue!

Is it not proven that Neubauer told in an interview directly after the race was finished:


The problem is it is always impossible to prove, that something did not happen.

Try to prove to me, that the Pumuckl does not exist... ;)

So you can only indirectly prove that by checking the sources. There if you don´t find a single not in any contemporary report, I think it is evidence enough to assume, that the story is not true.

Of course for the supporters of the story it would be a comparatively easy thing to prove, that it is true, all what it would need would be the slightest mention in a contemporary document (and isn´t it a story that ANY newspaper would have be keen to print?).

Or does perhaps anybody have access to the AvD archives? I can´t imagine, that there was no protocol of the weighting process

#168 Silversurfer

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 21:48

Originally posted by uechtel


The problem is it is always impossible to prove, that something did not happen.

Try to prove to me, that the Pumuckl does not exist... ;)

Well, why choosing Pumuckl?

John Locke tried to prove with logic that God exists already in the 17th century ... "Thus, from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, - That there is an eternal, most powerful, and most knowing Being; which wether an one will please to call God, it matters not."

Is that a prove or what? To me it matters NOT!

Originally posted by uechtel


So you can only indirectly prove that by checking the sources. There if you don´t find a single not in any contemporary report, I think it is evidence enough to assume, that the story is not true.

Of course for the supporters of the story it would be a comparatively easy thing to prove, that it is true, all what it would need would be the slightest mention in a contemporary document (and isn´t it a story that ANY newspaper would have be keen to print?).

Or does perhaps anybody have access to the AvD archives? I can´t imagine, that there was no protocol of the weighting process

Well, I have the info that all archives became victims of the 2nd world war in 1944! Am I right?

Originally posted by Vitesse2


Silversurfer: if you can find any pre-1959 reference to it, I and many others will be very surprised (not to mention impressed!) To save you looking, there's nothing in Caracciola's autobiography about it. Nor in von Brauchitsch's!

Japs I'm through with the biographies and most of the 1934 journals/newspapers :yawn: will keep you up to date with more indepth analysis!

By the way: I'm not really interested in the truth or untruth of Neubauer's story and I definitely don't want to prove anything! For me only the WHERE (even of a myth) is important!

Cheers and good night fellows!

Silversurfer

#169 Michael Müller

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 09:16

The AvD had nothing to do with the Eifelrennen, it was normally an ADAC event. However, in 1934 there was none of the German clubs existing anymore, the official organizer was the ONS. The DMSB, which has taken over the function of the ONS some years ago informed me in writing that the complete ONS archive has been destroyed during a bombing raid on Berlin in 1944.

#170 Michael Müller

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 16:24

Originally posted by Holger Merten
That makes the Neubauerstory not more true.

That's not my intention.....

#171 uechtel

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 19:01

Originally posted by Silversurfer
[B]
Well, why choosing Pumuckl?

Because it is a striking and well-known (at least among the German speaking people) example. Could have also chosen the Osterhase instead, doesn´t matter. What I wanted to express is, that even some things, that are obvious, can not be proven. So it is wrong to conclude, as long as a statement is not disproved it is true. Otherwise I could also claim that the Pumuckl must be reality, you can´t prove the opposite and besides that, there are so many books telling his story and not a single publication against that...


John Locke tried to prove with logic that God exists already in the 17th century ... "Thus, from the consideration of ourselves, and what we infallibly find in our own constitutions, our reason leads us to the knowledge of this certain and evident truth, - That there is an eternal, most powerful, and most knowing Being; which wether an one will please to call God, it matters not."

Is that a prove or what? To me it matters NOT!

Exactly.

By the way: I'm not really interested in the truth or untruth of Neubauer's story and I definitely don't want to prove anything! For me only the WHERE (even of a myth) is important!

Ok, that´s a completely different thing and I think I understand: "This is the place where legend tells us..." - and the rest is for your own imagination.

It is always a great feeling to walk on historic ground, even if the (hi)story may be fiction.

#172 GIGLEUX

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 20:28

Silver surfer or Markus, please before I lose sleep: WHAT IS THE PUMUCKL?

#173 Michael Müller

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 20:40

Posted Image

Famous German TV star, about 15 cm high, can make himself invisible....

Very fluffy here today, indeed.... :cat:



#174 ReWind

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 20:45

http://www.pumuckl.de/
http://www.pumucklho...de/welcome.html

#175 Michael Müller

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 23:03

From one of the websites:

Pumuckl (in Hungary known as Pumukli, in Spain known as Pumuky s.t. Pumuki) is an imp. He's about 20cm tall, has red fuzzy hair, can jump very high and likes to make rhymes. He lives in a cabinet-maker's workshop in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, in southern Germany. The old cabinet maker, master Eder, is the only person who can see the imp, as Pumuckl stuck to Eder's glue pot. An imp remains visible for someone who sees it when it have stuck to something that belongs that person. This is what happens in the first story about "Pumuckl and his cabinet-maker master Eder".

And also:

Besides these German speaking countries, we were told that Pumuckl could be seen on TV in France, Spain, Greece, Brazil, Israel and China.

So, Jean-Maurice, what are you doing in your leisure time....?


+++ FLUFF ALARM +++ FLUFF ALARM +++ FLUFF ALARM +++ FLUFF ALARM +++

#176 Silversurfer

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 23:33

I have a dream:

Reanimating holy ground! :)

Posted Image

P.S.: I never liked Pumuckl!

#177 Eugen

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 08:30

Racing successes with Elektronmetall


Key activities of IG Farbenindustrie in the 1940s...

#178 Holger Merten

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 10:43

Originally posted by Silversurfer
I have a dream:

Reanimating holy ground! :)

Posted Image

P.S.: I never liked Pumuckl!


A wonderful dream, although I never stayed in the "Altes Forsthaus", I always pass the street through Nürburg, when I'm at the Ring. With the Altes Fahrerlager, one piece which survived the times. Good luck.

#179 uechtel

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Posted 27 January 2005 - 17:09

Originally posted by GIGLEUX
Silver surfer or Markus, please before I lose sleep: WHAT IS THE PUMUCKL?


Jean-Maurice, sorry for having gotten a little bit local...

I have to admit I liked this figure very much for a long time. With its naive innocence it opened a quite interesting views to "standard" situations in life. Only in the recent years it seems to have drifted a little bit into the direction of commerce, like so many other things.

But now let´s quickly stop fluffing around and turn our attention to the more serious issues again. ;)

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#180 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 04:38

Originally posted by Silversurfer
...By the way: I'm not really interested in the truth or untruth of Neubauer's story and I definitely don't want to prove anything! For me only the WHERE (even of a myth) is important!...

The following little story should make you think, Silverspoon.



A man was flying from Seattle to San Francisco.

Unexpectedly, the plane stopped in Sacramento along the way. The
flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if the
passengers wanted to get off the aircraft, the plane would re-board in
50 minutes.

Everybody got off the plane except one gentleman who was blind.

The man had noticed him as he walked by and could tell the
gentleman was blind because his seeing eye dog lay quietly
underneath the seats in front of him throughout the entire flight.

He could also tell he had flown this very flight before because the pilot
approached him, and calling him by name, said, "Keith, we're in
Sacramento for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch
your legs?"

The blind man replied, "No thanks, but maybe my dog would like to
stretch his legs."

Picture this:

All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they
looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with a Seeing Eye dog!

The pilot was even wearing sunglasses. People scattered. They not
only tried to change planes, but they were trying to change airlines!

True story... Have a great day and remember... things aren't always as
they appear.

#181 Ray Bell

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 05:04

True story?

At least we've reached the end of the fluff!

#182 Silversurfer

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 21:56

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
The following little story should make you think, Silverspoon.


Well, I guess I'm simply too stupid to understand your metaphors ;)

#183 Silversurfer

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Posted 30 January 2005 - 22:07

Originally posted by Eugen

Key activities of IG Farbenindustrie in the 1940s...


Good to keep in mind what happend and how the industry utilised it!

Just came from Poland. It was great to see how Poles, Russians, and Germans were remembering this dark time in Oswiecim ... together now! :)

#184 Audi quattro

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 10:41

Originally posted by Holger Merten

And as I wrote in this thread, the interesting thing is, why were AU and MB allowed to race in silver, instead of white? And did AU ever think about a white Type A? Or not.... [/B]



Grand-Prix-Report Auto Union 1934-1939 (1e edition) Page 13 picture on the bottom right side (last picture of the page).

This is a white Auto Union tested on the Nürburgring (13 November 1933?)
But why did they change them to Silver?

#185 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 22:21

It's difficult to know how much work (if any) had been done by the Porsche-Büro on that original P-Wagen, so they may have decided to paint it white. However, that is an interesting picture, in that the car does indeed appear to be white, as do the wheels. But Kirchberg's caption mentions only the nose section, describing it as "blankpolierte" (polished bare metal) - from the depth and clarity of the reflection, it looks much more like chrome. But there are some significant differences between that one and the Avus car shown above it: it might be the same chassis underneath, but it appears to be a completely different body.

#186 Vitesse2

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 12:20

Yesterday, I came across another "paint removal to save weight" story. It was a more or less throwaway line in a Discovery TV programme in their Ultimate Cars series. Allegedly, the original Willys Jeep prototype was overweight when measured up against the US Army specification for which it was built. The implication was "substantially overweight", since they apparently built a new aluminium chassis to replace the steel one! Even then, it was said to be too heavy, so after removing various other extraneous bits the final touch was to paint it with only one layer of paint: that was apparently the clincher. All sounded a bit far-fetched and of course no sources quoted.

Hmmmm ....

#187 Audi quattro

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 12:36

It was the first time I saw this picture of a white Auto Union (I bought this book on the day I posted the replay).
It does not appear to be in any other book I own.

Do you know other pictures of the test at the Nürburgring in November 1933?
The car with the polished nose look different from the car with Willy Walb beside it.

#188 TonyKaye

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 20:20

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.

#189 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 01:04

Tony - superbly written and explained in detail. Thank you for representing the other side. How disenchanting. :up:

#190 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 11:06

A persuasive case there, Tony.

But it still doesn't explain why this story - if true - lay dormant for fully 25 years, by which time not only von Brauchitsch and Caracciola, but also Lang, had published autobiographies.

You've rightly pointed out that Manfred makes no mention of it in "Kampf um Meter und Sekunden" and nor does Rudi in his post-war books (there was another published in German in 1939, the title of which escapes me). But nor does Lang in "Grand Prix Driver". And although admittedly he was with AU by 1934, Ludwig Sebastian makes no mention of this in his book either.

Those three MB men were at the centre of this story, but it's interesting to consider that by the time "Männer, Frauen und Motoren" was published they were in effect "scattered to the winds". Caracciola was either dead or dying, von Brauchitsch was in the DDR and persona non grata in West Germany and only Lang was available to corroborate the tale. Did he make any comment about it before "Racing the Silver Arrows"?

By the time Chris Nixon interviewed Lang he was an old man. Some of his testimony regarding the 1939 European Championship races has been shown - right here on TNF - to be at variance with both accurate contemporary reports and even his own autobiographies. Some of it is just plain wrong. I'm still of the opinion that he had rearranged some events to fit how he wished to be remembered and it may be that some of his other stories may not stand up to close analysis.

#191 Tim Murray

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 19:30

Originally posted by TonyKaye
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.


Agreed absolutely. But there are many other instances in Neubauer's book where his version of events differs from accepted wisdom. OTTOMH I can think of two examples - his accounts of Tripoli 1936 and Donington 1938 - which are demonstrably inaccurate, and he was present at both those races.

I'll continue to keep an open mind, but it does strike me that if there were not at least some truth to the story, no-one in their right mind would have made it up - would they?
:confused:

#192 Holger Merten

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 20:35

Mhhhh.

#193 D-Type

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 21:36

Does anybody know how much the paint + filler would have weighed? The Auto Union quote on post 193 or so says 2.5 kg. Is that correct?

#194 oldtimer

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 21:52

And I thought the Atlas F1 Court had been closed...

Then again, this is not an F1 situation.

Thanks, and well done Tony.

#195 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 17:05

It's a great story, even if I am not convinced that it is true. But the funny thing about it, is that it is sometimes used when motor journalists want to tell the story on how and why silver became a coulor connected to cars and motorsport. And they always tend to omit the fact that the Auto-Union silver/metal cars made their debut one week before. And that a silver/metal Mercedes already had won a big race two years before the Eifelrennen '34. But that would have ruined a good story... :)

#196 Holger Merten

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 19:59

Good or bad story, that's not the question, if we quote Carracciola, Neubauer or M. v. Brauchitsch, everything won't get in a serios direction. What we are looking for are facts. Neubauers book tells the story with a distance of more than 20 years, Brauchitsch continous with the story, and if Carracciola discusses "white painted cars" in his book, i won't bid on that. Whre ist the real story, which shows us the situation in 1934. Fact is, Auto Union arrives for the Avus race with silver "painted" cars. The rest is a fairy tale and merketing of the MB marketing department.

#197 Hugo Boecker

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 12:06

compare the colour with the white Bugattis on top of the page
Posted Image

#198 Tomas Karlsson

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 13:50

This has become a very long discussion, but I haven't found any explination to why the high-thecnology company of Mercedes-Benz didn't have any control over the cars weight before they were supposedly painted and sent to Nürburgring... Something they seem to be proud of 75 years later :lol:

#199 Otto Grabe

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 08:00

Originally posted by Holger Merten
What we are looking for are facts.


Posted Image Posted Image

Maybe one should see it from a different angle. Compare the photos and they tell us a (the) story: The weight limit was at 750 kg without fluids (with brake fluid) and without tyres. IMO with one more year of experience the cars of 1935 were much more near the limit then the year before. So they had to get the tyres off for scrutineering. In 1934 it was evidently not necessary.

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#200 Wolf

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 10:59

Hey guys, has anybody tried asking Paul Pietsch? He was at that race and later drove for A-U (and I can imagine they were keeping one eye on Mercedes), so it's not unreasonable to assume he might have seen or remembers something... Methinks it's worth a shot- esp. as he isn't getting any younger (like everybody else).