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1938-39 Berlin-Rome-Berlin (merged)


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#1 Doug Nye

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 20:07

A worthy subject for research? Some startlingly futuristic developments were sparked by what could have become a very special event. As it is, sidelined by war, the event pretty much slumbers in obscurity today. Take a look.

DCN

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#2 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 21:21

The race has been mentioned in numerous earlier threads, but it's probably not a bad idea to collect it all together in one place

#3 Doug Nye

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 15:00

This was after all the event which spawned 'the first Porsche', a very special-bodied Mercedes-Benz Coupe...interesting pre-war competition Gran Turismo cars. Indeed, what WAS the earliest GT? This notion would itself require definition of a true Gran Turismo. What does define such a car? I get the feeling we know one when we see one, but truly defining what Gran Turismo or Grand Touring really means, entails or requires is rather tricky...

DCN

#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 14:57

This event notionally spawned 'the first Porsche', a very special-bodied Mercedes-Benz Coupe...interesting pre-war competition Gran Turismo cars. Indeed, what WAS the earliest GT? This notion would itself require definition of a true Gran Turismo. What does define such a car? I get the feeling we know one when we see one, but truly defining what Gran Turismo or Grand Touring really means, entails, or requires, is rather tricky...

Here's Mercedes-Benz's rather obscure and uncelebrated take on the requirement...basically, I am told, a 540K. I guess somebody will know better? The body is a further refined aerodyne related, I assume, to the 1938 Autobahnkurier.

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I believe that the car was either sold or entrusted to Dunlop Germany and survived the war in - or near - their Hanau plant. A pretty exciting proposition, I would have thought...

DCN

Edited by David McKinney, 27 April 2013 - 15:44.


#5 Nick Savage

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 15:22

Indeed, what WAS the earliest GT? This notion would itself require definition of a true Gran Turismo. What does define such a car? I get the feeling we know one when we see one, but truly defining what Gran Turismo or Grand Touring really means, entails or requires is rather tricky...

DCN


Oh ! a challenge, rather like the definition of 'what is a sports car'. This thread could run and run...

As a starter for the earliest GT, I nominate the Alfa 2900 B, specifically the Le Mans Berlinetta, but practically any of the closed non-saloon bodied cars. They possessed good looks, autostrada-eating performance, long legs and even modest luggage space. They proved their handling and brakes in competition but must have excelled at point-to-point long distance runs.

A true Gran Turismo is a coupe, with brakes, range and performance in the top 5% of all contemporary road-going cars; a GT will be at home in town-centre traffic, well-mannered and reasonably docile. The coachwork will be bespoke (up until 1960) and commissioned production design thereafter. Accomodation will be two seats, plus an occasional third to the rear, probably doubling as luggage space.

And you know one when you see one....

Tin hats on !
Nick

#6 hillsprint

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 20:07

OK, what about the so called Blue Train Bentley Speed Six from 1930

Edited by hillsprint, 21 April 2013 - 21:15.


#7 T54

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 22:10

Looks like a Paul Jaray design... worth looking into it. I had never seen those pics, thanks for posting them, I will be at the Classic Center on Monday and ask for more info.


#8 arttidesco

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 23:30

OK, what about the so called Blue Train Bentley Speed Six from 1930


Would the Rover Light Six ""Sportsman's Saloon" that Dudley Noble raced against the Blue Train in January 1930 also be a contender as an early Grand Tourer ?

#9 275 GTB-4

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 06:15

Hmmmmm thought this was supposed to be a fluff free zone lads...I, for example, have refrained for asking whether tracked vehicles might have been eligible in the 1938-39 Berlin-Rome-Berlin.

#10 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:15

Nice! It certainly looks Jaray-esque. I'd always assumed MB would have built something along these lines, but I guess this must have been prepared for the proposed 1939 race? I've seen a synopsis of the entry for 1938 and there are no big MBs in the unlimited sports car class.

Interesting to note that it doesn't carry a Stuttgart registration: Frankfurt or Kassel, probably.

#11 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:28

A worthy subject for research? Some startlingly futuristic developments were sparked by what could have become a very special event. As it is, sidelined by war, the event pretty much slumbers in obscurity today. Take a look.

DCN

Most likely not the best marketing ploy to debut a car/brand in a race on the Axis, still a real publicity idea. The Porsche 64 (Volkswagen) with a wind tunnel researched body, was ordered by the "Deutschen Arbeitsfront" (DAF) or better the National Socialist trade union's sub-organization „Kraft durch Freude“ (KdF) (power through joy). KdF arranged holidays and leisure facilities for their workers. The car was to be entered as the KdF-wagen.

Berlin-Rome
A reliability rally to celebrate the friendliness between Germany and Italy and organised as a counter to the Liege-Rome-Liege. Postponed from 1938 (likely due to the Sudetenland crisis) to the fall of 1939 (September). Then cancelled due to the outbreak of the war. Intended for 400 cars and motorcycles. It was modeled after the "2000-Kilometer-Fahrt" a reliability ride (with no stop) that was run in 1933 and 1934.

The cars would make a 1680 kilometers drive from Berlin, while the motorbikes would first join from Nürnberg to ride 1282 km.
The stops were Avus, Potsdam, Michendorf, Leipzig, Bayreuth, Nürnberg, München, Starnberg, Partenkirchen, Mittenwald, Zirlerberg, Innsbruck, Brenner, Vipiteno, Fortezza, Bolzano, Trento, Riva, Brescia, Cremona, Fiurenzuola, Parma, Berceto, Passo della Cisa, Aulla, Sarzana, Massa, Migliarino Pisano, Siena, Viterbo, Roma.
In between these stages were two special highway stages (or better races) with also target time, however: any second below the target time was a bonus point, a reason why streamlined cars were entered. The Porsche is the most known car to this event but Auto Union (Audi 920), Lancia (Aprilia Aero), BMW (328 Touring Roadster) all developed cars for this event.



#12 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 13:46

So 1938 was cancelled. Then 1939 could not be held. A 1941 event was also on the cards, but never came out. Of course all impossible due to criminal activities.
But what about the organisation, was it Adolf Hitler's idea, this race?

#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 14:11

Hühnlein, I believe, Arjan. Probably with the cooperation of Furmanik and Bonacossa as a demonstration of Axis solidarity - although it is interesting to note that it was always planned to go through Austria - even before the Anschluss.

It also seems that - like that of the Vienna GP - the cancellation of the 1939 event was quite late. This is a quote from Le Petit Journal, Montréal (Yes - Canada!), August 6th 1939, presumably sourced to DNB (my translation):

Nouvel auto-strade entre Rome-Berlin

BERLIN, 5. - Un autostrade est actuellement en construction des deux côtés de la frontière pour relier directement Berlin à Rome par le col du Brenner.

On apprend que les crédits nécessaires pour ces travaux ont été accordés pour la tranche italienne.

Du côté allemand, la liaison manque encore de Munich au Brenner mais les travaux seront, dit-on, tres activement poussés.

Dès cette année, une course automobile d'endurance de Berlin à Rome sera organisée avec la participation de voitures italiennes et allemandes.

New Motorway between Berlin and Rome

Berlin, 5. - A highway is currently under construction on both sides of the border to link Berlin directly to Rome via the Brenner Pass.

We understand that the funds necessary for this work have already been granted for the Italian section.

On the German side, the link between the Brenner and Munich is still missing, but the work, they say, will be very actively pursued.

Starting this year, an automotive endurance race from Berlin to Rome will be held with the participation of Italian and German cars.


Edited by Vitesse2, 22 April 2013 - 14:13.


#14 Ettore Jr.

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 15:01

Nice! It certainly looks Jaray-esque. I'd always assumed MB would have built something along these lines, but I guess this must have been prepared for the proposed 1939 race? I've seen a synopsis of the entry for 1938 and there are no big MBs in the unlimited sports car class.

Interesting to note that it doesn't carry a Stuttgart registration: Frankfurt or Kassel, probably.

A German fried, Oliver Kossatz, has provided this information: It is a MB 500 - no supercharger. Ralf Kisselbach's book says that it is a Sindelfingen body, made by the factory. Kisselbach states that it was a Dunlop tire test car. In the same year, Maybach built a test car for Fulda Reifenwerke, a big German tire company. The Maybach had a streamlined body by Dorr & Schreck and looked similiar. Oliver wonders where the information about the car surviving the war in - or near - their Hanua plant, comes from.
He adds that these were the cars entered in the Berlin - Rome - Berlin race:

DKW Sonderklasse
DKW Stromlinienlimousine
DKW with motorbike engine
DKW Sonderklasse, Gelaende-Sonderklasse
Wander Serienlimousine W23
Wander Stromlinienlimousine W23
Audi 920
Audi Stromlinienlimousine based on Audi 920
Horch Serienlimousine 930V
Horch Seriencabriolet 853A
Stromlinienroadster W25
Porsche Typ 64

Plenty of interesting cars there to research!

#15 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 16:23

The Maybach had a streamlined body by Dorr & Schreck and looked similiar. Oliver wonders where the information about the car surviving the war in - or near - their Hanau plant, comes from...?


Information came from the German friend who provided the copy photos. He tells me that the surviving paperwork he has seen is very sketchy. These photos have '540' ID serials in the lower left corner, as you can see, and might well be from Daimler-Benz, or from the body building division or contractor, in period. Quite a projectile, isn't it.

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 22 April 2013 - 16:28.


#16 Ettore Jr.

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 16:29

Information came from the German friend who provided the copy photos. He tells me that surviving paperwork that he has seen is very sketchy. These photos have '540' ID serials in the lower left corner, as you can see, and might well be from Daimler-Benz, or from the body builder, in period.

DCN

Oliver has corrected me on that. it is a 540, not a 500.

#17 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 16:40

... no supercharger.

No supercharger? Really? Seems unlikely, given that the standard 500K Autobahnkurier and the few known streamlined 540Ks retained them.

The streamlined Maybachs can all be seen here: http://www.maybach.de/stromlinie.htm

Having said that, I suppose it is very possible that superchargers were banned from the race, since they were not permitted under either the Italian or German national sports car rules of the time.

#18 Ettore Jr.

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 17:10

No supercharger? Really? Seems unlikely, given that the standard 500K Autobahnkurier and the few known streamlined 540Ks retained them.

The streamlined Maybachs can all be seen here: http://www.maybach.de/stromlinie.htm

Having said that, I suppose it is very possible that superchargers were banned from the race, since they were not permitted under either the Italian or German national sports car rules of the time.

Oliver has sent to me a scan from a book stating that it is an unsupercharged 540 and was used to test Dunlop tires. I can't figure out how to download the scan. He also wonders who Doug's German correspondent is, as the scene is small and he may know of him.

#19 arttidesco

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 17:13

Nice! It certainly looks Jaray-esque. I'd always assumed MB would have built something along these lines, but I guess this must have been prepared for the proposed 1939 race? I've seen a synopsis of the entry for 1938 and there are no big MBs in the unlimited sports car class.

Interesting to note that it doesn't carry a Stuttgart registration: Frankfurt or Kassel, probably.


Pre '45 German plate 'IT' = Heesen Nassau I believe, which included both of those cities.


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#20 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 19:56

Pre '45 German plate 'IT' = Heesen Nassau I believe, which included both of those cities.


And Dunlop Germany's home town of Hanau too, I believe? Is that right?

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 22 April 2013 - 19:56.


#21 Vitesse2

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 20:15

And Dunlop Germany's home town of Hanau too, I believe? Is that right?

DCN

Yes. I only picked Frankfurt and Kassel because they were the most obvious large towns. Those pre-1945 German plates are nowhere near as specific as the current ones! Useful lists here: http://www.dr-herzfe...chengeschichte/

Edited by Vitesse2, 22 April 2013 - 20:15.


#22 r.atlos

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 21:37

Before you carry on with more guess work: IT 146xxx has simply been Hanau.

#23 Doug Nye

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 22:19

Thank you.

DCN

#24 Ray Bell

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 02:59

What a wonderful car...

Just the thing for an escape to Switzerland one early September morn.

#25 T54

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 00:46

Marklin Jaray Mercedes, 1939 toy in the 1/40 scale:

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#26 uechtel

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 06:46

So I understand the car was a testbed for tyre testing (like some other contemporary streamliners) and not owned by the Mercedes factory. So maybe the title of this thread is misleading? :rolleyes:

#27 Doug Nye

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 07:46

So I understand the car was a testbed for tyre testing (like some other contemporary streamliners) and not owned by the Mercedes factory. So maybe the title of this thread is misleading? :rolleyes:


Quite possibly, but that is simply how the subject of the photographs was described to me. I hope we find out now whether right or wrong. I don't know either way...not a mainstream interest of mine...

DCN

#28 uechtel

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 12:41

Found an interesting passage on this page(text is a report about an exhibition of streamline cars at the 'Prototyp' museum at Hamburg.)

"Richtig erfolgreich schnitt “Luftzeugmeister” Jaray allerdings nicht ab, verkaufte er doch nur wenige Rechte, so an Audi oder Dixi, ergänzt um Einzelstücke diverser Hersteller wie zwei spezielle BMW 328 [...], bei Mercedes-Benz den Typ 200 oder auch den 540K Sonderaufbau für die Dunlop-Reifenwerke (Anm.: Das bekanntere "Fuldamobil" von 1938 war ein Maybach). Die von ihm vorgeschlagenen Formen fanden nicht nur kaum Akzeptanz, viele empfanden sie sogar als grotesk. Der Einfluß von Jaray auf die aerodynamische Gestaltung von Automobilkarossen war unter dem Strich aber bedeutend, selbst wenn vor dem Krieg nirgends größere Stückzahlen erreicht wurden. Auch die Grundform der Citroen DS (Design Flaminio Bertoni, erschienen im Oktober 1955) ist auf Jaray zurückzuführen."

Translation: "Jaray was exonomically never really successful, as he sold only few patent rights, like to Audi or Dixi, plus some prototypes of various makes, like tow special BMW 328, a Mercedes 200 model or also the special body 540K for the Dunlop tyre factory (Remark: The better know 'Fuldamobil' of 1938 was a Maybach [meant is another streamline testbed for the Fulda tyre company, based on a Maybach chassis]. The shapes he did suggest did not only hardly find acceptance, many people did regard them as grotesque. But Jaray´s influence on aerodynamics of automobile bodies altogether was quite important, even if there were no big production numbers until the war. Also the basic shape of the Citroen DS (design Flaminio Bertoni, appeared in Cotober 1955) can be traced back on Jaray."

So if this is the car from this thread it would mean a Jaray design, but also no mention of intended use for competition purposes.

Edited by uechtel, 24 April 2013 - 12:42.


#29 BRG

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 19:12

The cars would make a 1680 kilometers drive from Berlin, while the motorbikes would first join from Nürnberg to ride 1282 km.
The stops were Avus, Potsdam, Michendorf, Leipzig, Bayreuth, Nürnberg, München, Starnberg, Partenkirchen, Mittenwald, Zirlerberg, Innsbruck, Brenner, Vipiteno, Fortezza, Bolzano, Trento, Riva, Brescia, Cremona, Fiurenzuola, Parma, Berceto, Passo della Cisa, Aulla, Sarzana, Massa, Migliarino Pisano, Siena, Viterbo, Roma.

So only Berlin-Rome, not Berlin-Rome-Berlin?

Presumably when the route passed through the German speaking part of Italy (Alto Adige or Sud-Tirol, grabbed from Austria Hungary after WW1) the Germans would avert their eyes from this potential cause of disagreement between the two Axis powers?

#30 Vitesse2

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 20:08

The original plan was for a Berlin-Rome race in 1938, then there would be a Rome-Berlin in 1939. Presumably the idea was that it would alternate every year.

#31 uechtel

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:27

Presumably when the route passed through the German speaking part of Italy (Alto Adige or Sud-Tirol, grabbed from Austria Hungary after WW1) the Germans would avert their eyes from this potential cause of disagreement between the two Axis powers?


If there was something to gain the regime did tend to forget about such minor principles from time to time. At some time later the issue should be settled in a really "pragmatic" approach by letting the the German speaking South Tyrolian population "opt" between becoming fully Italian or moving to new settlements on "empty" soil in the East...

#32 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:27

Then I found this book that possibly contains more info on this race that not was: "Motorisierung und „Volksgemeinschaft“. "
Sub title "Das Nationalsozialistische Kraftfahrkorps (NSKK) 1931–1945" by Dorothee Hochstetter (publisher Oldenbourg, ISBN 3-486-57570-8).

I skimmed through the contents list as well as the list of persons mentioned: there is a chapter on motor sports. Anyone read it?

#33 karlcars

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 08:28

Just a note that this thread deserves attention with all the hoo-hah abouit a "Type 64" coupe being auctioned.



#34 Tim Murray

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Posted 17 May 2019 - 08:50

Here’s the Sotheby’s blurb:

https://rmsothebys.c...-type-64/776606

#35 BRG

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 18:52

If the original Volkswagen was called the Type 1. does that mean there were 63 previous Porsche types before the 64?



#36 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 May 2019 - 19:13

Porsche type numbers are a bit like BRM type numbers - they referred to design projects, which might not be complete cars. There's a partial list on Wikipedia. The original Auto Union GP car was the type 22, the KdF-wagen was the type 60, the Kubelwagen was the type 82 etc etc ...

 

https://en.wikipedia...he_type_numbers

 

ETA - more comprehensive list here:

 

https://www.kukuk.co..._typenliste.pdf