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Auto Union Type D Auction


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#1 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 05:02

One of the recreated Type D Auto-Union's will be auctioned by Christie's at Rétromobile 2007 on 17 February 2007 in Paris.

According to the Christie's website , "the centerpiece of the sale will be a 1939 Auto Union D-Type, thought to be one of only two in existence and one of the most important cars in motor-racing history. This car won the 1939 Belgrade Grand Prix at the hands of Tazio Nuvolari and may be considered to be among the most important cars ever to appear at auction."

According to Reuters, "auctioneers expect (this example) to fetch about 6 million pounds ($11.9 million)."

Which of the Type D cars is this one?

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#2 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 06:23

Nuvolari drove car #76011 with frame #26 and engine #26. This car had been assigned originally to HP Müller but was driven in a special practice session and in the race by Tazio Nuvolari. He had arrived late by train but in time for Saturday practice.

Car No. 76010 had originally been assigned to Nuvolari. But since he did not show up at the practice days and his arrival was not assured, car #76010 was given to Müller because this car had a bit more powerful engine.

#3 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 07:01

The beginning with entry and practice out of my 1939 Belgrade City Race story, written eight years ago.

September 3, 1939: The second Belgrade City Race in Yugoslavia was run despite the fact that WW II had already started. Nuvolari on Auto Union won the brief 81.3 mph battle between only five cars over this bumpy city circuit. Von Brauchitsch took the lead right at the start, only to lose it to Müller's Auto Union after a spin on lap 16. When Müller encountered tire problems on lap 30, Nuvolari inherited the lead, never to lose it again. Lang retired due to injury early in the race, when a stone smashed his goggles. Such was the pace of the 50 lap race, that three drivers beat Brauchitsch's fastest practice time. The cause for the unusual tire problems may have been the strong grip on the small cobblestones in conjunction with the cars jumping high over the bumps. The cars from Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz had been evenly matched.

The international political atmosphere was extremely tense. A heavily armored Nazi Germany had seized Austria on 12 March of 1938, followed half a year later by the occupation of Czechoslovakia on 3 October. Gasoline had been rationed in Germany in early August of 1939. Per car, only five liters of fuel were issued at a tank stop. The stress and uncertainty of the times were felt even at the Swiss Grand Prix, two weeks prior to the Belgrade race. Headlines in the newspapers raised the fear of a looming war. Then, early morning of September 1, German troops had marched into Poland, starting World War II. Two days later, when the Belgrade race was run, both Britain and France were at war with Germany.

The Belgrade City Race was held in honor of the birthday of the young King Peter II. The 2.794 km road circuit, at the Sava and Danube river junction in Belgrade, encircled a little mountain, crowned by the huge old Turkish fortress Kalemegdan. The course had eight right hand turns, one fast left kink and no straight worth mentioning, to do passing maneuvers. For the most part, the cobblestone streets were narrow and bumpy, causing the cars to briefly lift off the ground and jump through the air. The drivers also had to cope with tram lines on this rather short circuit, a bit longer than Pau but shorter than Monaco. The 50 lap race lasted just over an hour and with only five cars at the start, the event gave the impression of a demonstration run instead a grand prix. A Yugoslavian Grand Prix it was not. (Contemporary magazines like AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Motor und Sport as well as books by Herzog, Kirchberg, Tragatsch and others refer to this race as the Belgrade City Park Race or Belgrade Grand Prix. Therefore, this event will not be adopted here as the Yugoslavian Grand Prix, as it is incorrectly referred to in many publications after WW II.)

Entry:
Travel was not easy in these times of political tension and uncertainty. Somehow the German teams made it to Yugoslavia, a three day trip from Germany over Vienna and Budapest to Belgrade. Mercedes-Benz arrived with only two cars and a large tanker truck filled with fuel. Team manager Alfred Neubauer was accompanied by Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Walter Bäumer as reserve. According to Neubauer, Rudolf Caracciola did not race because his leg had become worse again. Rudi also planned to drive only at the most important grand prix races in the future. Auto Union had H.P. Müller, Tazio Nuvolari, Hans Stuck and Ulrich Bigalke as reserve driver. Why they needed four drivers for two cars had probably something to do with the uncertainty of these times. The only local entry came from Bosko Milenkovic with a 2.3-liter Bugatti T51, at least four years old. It had not been an easy decision for the Mercedes-Benz team to travel to Belgrade in times like these. Probably for the same reason, the expected Alfa Romeos and Maseratis did not show up.

Practice:
The first practice session on Thursday, August 31, was from four to six in the afternoon. Because of the political uncertainty, the atmosphere in Belgrade was very tense. Lang drove car W154-8 and did 19 laps, the fastest in 1m16.2s. Brauchitsch's best time with car W154-16 was 1m17.3s after 17 laps. Both cars were equipped with the altered fuel supply system introduced at the Swiss Grand Prix, to eliminate plug and piston ring problems they were plagued with in France and Germany. Only one Auto Union practiced, driven by Müller. His fastest out of 16 laps was 1m18.3s with car 76011. Wild rumors about German troops at the Polish border and a possible war persisted all evening.

The following morning, the fears turned to reality. The Belgrade newspapers sold special editions: "Germany at war with Poland." In all this excitement, a lot of foreign visitors left the hotels for their home destinations. The German teams were now undecided whether to race or immediately drive back to Germany. The organizers asked them to stay. Declining to start would have been a great financial loss for the promoter. The two hour practice started again at 4 PM. Lang improved his time to 1m15.4s after 10 laps, whereas von Brauchisch's best was 1m18.4s out of 10 laps. Müller practiced again with car 76011, the fastest time of 1m18.2s. He pitted after 13 laps because oil and water temperatures were at 105 degrees Celsius instead the 95 desired. Air and ground temperatures were 30 and 40 degrees respectively. Müller did another seven laps without the front hood, resulting in a faster time of 1m17.2s. However, the temperatures remained the same. Since Nuvolari had not yet shown up, reserve driver Bigalke took out the second car, 76010, his best time was 1m37.0s. After five laps, he returned to the pits with fuel feed problems. Since a quick check revealed nothing, Müller drove the car for nine laps, his fastest at 1m16.8s. The German preferred car 76010, with the stronger roller-bearing engine revving at 7200 rpm. It had been destined for Nuvolari, but since the Italian's arrival was still uncertain, the car was now assigned to Müller. Later, after changing the final drive ratio on his five-speed transaxle, Müller was able to use third gear only, for the entire circuit.

Saturday morning, Nuvolari and Stuck finally arrived in the capital with the same train. Since Auto Union had only two cars, the faster practice time was to decide between Stuck and Müller to start next to Nuvolari. After some discussion, Stuck was asked to abstain from practice and the race. The reasoning was, that Müller, with 45 laps already well familiarized with the circuit, would try anything to outdo Stuck's time. Stuck on the other hand, would have requested an equal amount of laps to approach Müller's best time. Therefore, the engine would already have been stressed with higher rpm's during practice and this was not acceptable.

At 12:00 noon, the promoters had allowed a special practice session for Nuvolari. At the end of ten laps, his best time with car 76011 was 1m20.2s. After another six laps he was down to 1m17.2s. At the official training between 4:00 and 6:00 PM, lap times tumbled further. Both Mercedes-Benz cars were fastest again. Manfred von Brauchitsch did 1m14.2s and Lang could only improve to 1m15.0s. He promptly wanted to go out again to beat von Brauchitsch's time, but Neubauer objected, since Lang already occupied the front row. Within another six laps, Nuvolari bettered his time to 1m16.3s. His car had the weaker plain bearing engine, revving only at 6800 rpm. He then took his Auto Union out again for two five lap stints, to scrubb in two sets of tires. Müller got stranded with fuel feed problems, after having done six laps. Practice was interrupted to tow the Auto Union back to the pits. After the faulty carburetor was repaired, Müller did another seven laps and lowered his time to 1m15.2s.

#4 RA Historian

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 15:17

Ask a question, get an answer........

Wow, what a complete description. Thanks, Hans.

#5 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 15:27

My thanks for the information Hans. Your research always amazes me.

As #76011 is shown to be the most original of the Karrasik Type D cars, this example should bring a record value.

I only hope that the new owner will allow the public to see #76011 running on occasion.

#6 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 21:49

The race report of my 1939 Belgrade City Race story.

Race:
The 50,000 spectators, aware that Germany had attacked Poland two days ago, knew since this Sunday morning, that Great Britain and France in support of Poland, were at war with Germany. The helpless German teams felt not inclined to race. After all, Alfred Neubauer returned from the German embassy with the news that they were going to race. In spite of all this, three races for motorcycles and four for sports cars were run since the morning, with the grand prix car battle crowning the day's events in the late afternoon. The cars lined up as follows:
[b]2			 6

		 Lang	  v. Brauchitsch[/b]

	(Mercedes-Benz)	  (Mercedes-Benz)

	   1m15.0s			  1m14.2s



				   [b]8

				Müller[/b]

			 (Auto Union)

			   1m15.2s



		  [b]4					12

	  Nuvolari		 Milenkovic[/b]

	 (Auto Union)		 (Bugatti)

	   1m16.3s
At 4:45 PM, the race was on. Lang wanted to do a really quick start but had rear-wheel shatter, enabling von Brauchitsch to shoot into the lead. A furious Lang tried to pass, only to be pushed onto the pavement. For the first six laps the order remained the same: von Brauchitsch, Lang, Nuvolari, Müller, and Milenkovic. Brauchitsch was driving very wild, with Lang glued to his tail, looking for a chance to pass. Neubauer waved his house-flag, but Manfred maintained his wild stile. On lap seven, Brauchitsch had taken one of the corners too fast, his car slid to the edge of the road and on acceleration, threw up dirt and stones. One stone shattered the wind-screen of Lang's Mercedes and both glasses of his goggles. Lang, momentarily blinded by the impact, ran off the road but recovered. He pulled into the pits with a bleeding eye. Dr. Gläser, the German team doctor, pulled the glass splinters out of both eyes. Bäumer, in the meantime, was ordered into Lang's car, which had fallen back two laps. He pulled out of the pits just before the leading Mercedes came by and hindered an angry Brauchitsch.

Still driving spectacular and needlessly going ever faster, von Brauchitsch led Müller, who had gone by Nuvolari, followed by Bäumer, now three laps back. On lap 15, von Brauchitsch established a new lap record of 1m14.0s. He was 13.8 seconds ahead of Müller who had Nuvolari glued to his tail. On lap 16, Brauchitsch had taken a right-hand uphill turn too fast, spinning his car around and stalling the engine in the process. The car faced the wrong way and he was able to re-start by letting his car roll downhill in the wrong direction. This was a rules violation, a maneuver not noticed by any of the officials. The moment Brauchitsch turned his car around, the Auto Union tandem arrived in hot pursuit. Both of them avoided collision with the Mercedes, performing exceptional run-around maneuvers.

Müller was now the new leader from lap 16 to 29, five seconds ahead of Nuvolari and eight ahead of Brauchitsch. Trying desperately to catch up with the Auto Unions, Brauchitsch spun again, and Bäumer in Lang's car went by. When Manfred caught up again with the other Mercedes, he tried to pass. Since Bäumer did not immediately move over, Brauchitsch pressured him so much that the reserve driver went into the straw bales. On lap 22, Müller equaled Brauchitsch's lap record of 1m14.0s.

On lap 30, Müller had a large portion of the left rear tire breaker fly away and lost time to get back to the pits. Nuvolari was now the new leader, five seconds ahead of von Brauchitsch. With no obstructions ahead, Nuvolari equaled the lap record set by Brauchitsch, who had to stop on lap 36 with totally destroyed rear tires. Nuvolari's advantage increased therefore to 50 seconds, until he also had to stop for new tires on lap 39. After refueling and tire change in only 26 seconds, the mechanics push-started the Auto Union instead of using a portable starter. This was an obvious rule violation and Mercedes-Benz team manager, Neubauer, wanted to protest. But Wilhelm Sebastian from Auto Union, pointed to von Brauchitsch's illegal maneuver. Nuvolari kept his lead, always eight to six seconds ahead of the Mercedes.

After just 64 minutes it was all over, with Nuvolari 7.6 seconds clear of von Brauchitsch and 30.6 seconds ahead of Müller. Milenkovic, driving 19 laps behind, was flagged off. The Prince Regent, Paul, presented Nuvolari with the cup of King Peter II. It was to be Auto Union's last grand prix victory and also the last grand prix of 1939 for the 3-liter supercharged formula, which carried on until after the war in 1946. The Belgrade City Park Race had concluded the era of The Golden Thirties.

[u]Results[/u]:

Kalemegdan Park, Belgrade: 50 laps x 1.736 mi (2.794 km) = 86.810 mi (139.700 km)



[b]Pos.	No.	Driver			Car					Engine			Laps	Time / Status[/b]

1	4	T. Nuvolari	Auto Union	Typ D	3.0  V-12	50	1h04m03.80s

2	6	M.v.Brauchitsch	Mercedes-Benz	W154	3.0  V-12	50	1h04m11.40s

3	8	H.P. Müller	Auto Union	Typ D	3.0  V-12	50	1h04m34.40s

4	12	B. Milenkovic	Bugatti 	T51	2.3  S-8	31	1h04m27.20s

DNF	2	H.Lang/W.Bäumer	Mercedes-Benz	W154	3.0  V-12	17	Crash by Bäumer

DNS	8T	U. Bigalke	Auto Union	Typ D	3.0  V-12	-	Reserve driver

DNS		H. Stuck	Auto Union	Typ D	3.0  V-12	-	Did not practice

DNS	10	W. Bäumer	Mercedes-Benz	W154	3.0  V-12	-	Shared car #2

DNS	14	R. Sommer	Alfa Romeo	308	3.0  S-8	-	Did not show up

DNS	16				Alfa Romeo	308	3.0  S-8	-	Did not show up

DNS	18	L. Villoresi	Maserati	8CTF	3.0  S-8	-	Did not show up

DNS	20	P. Pietsch	Maserati	8CTF	3.0  S-8	-	Did not show up



Winner's average speed: Tazio Nuvolari (Auto Union) 1h04m03.80s = 81.304 mph (130.839 km/h)

Fastest lap: Müller, Nuvolari, v. Brauchitsch all in 1m14.0s = 84.463 mph (135.924 km/h)

Weather: warm, sunny


#7 olav glasius

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 21:32

I have seen the car many times,it belongs to a friend of mine,who
had a 180 car collection and now brings it back to about 20.
This is the most original one in existence,restored by
Crostwaithe and Gardiner,it is also once demonstrated at
Goodwood.from this collection came my GP Bugatti type 54,
that belonged to Prince Lobkowicz,who killed himself at the
age of 25 with this car, on the first corner of the German GP,
held 1932 at the Avus track in Berlin
The D type is the absolute top of GP cars together with
the Mercedes W 125, W154.

#8 Holger Merten

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 22:08

Olav, we are talking about one of the, let's say two Typ D Auto Unions from the Karassiks, this is the one which was sold in the 90s, the "other" one, a 1938 AU Typ D is now in the Audi Collection.

BTW: Hans, thanks for the short summary, professionel as expected.  ;)

#9 olav glasius

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 22:28

The Audi one was also restored at Crostwaithe,they also built
as you know many replica s , In fact they are building one now
for a VW director,they are also building at the moment
5 Mercedes W 125 for Tom Wheatcroft (Owner of Donington)

#10 RA Historian

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 03:29

I just have to say that the wealth of information presented on this thread in the past several days is just amazing. My thanks to Hans, Olav, and the others who are giving us this fantastic amount of info. Great stuff!

#11 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 06:46

Originally posted by Holger Merten
Olav, we are talking about one of the, let's say two Typ D Auto Unions from the Karassiks, this is the one which was sold in the 90s, the "other" one, a 1938 AU Typ D is now in the Audi Collection...

Holger - several years ago one Auto Union D-Typ was sold to a Japanese collector with very deep pockets. What happened to that car? :confused:

#12 Holger Merten

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 07:06

Yes Hans, this one was sold in 1990, it was the car, which came from the east in the 90s. It was not a Japanese, but a Korean (or Taiwanese) collector. The problem was, that he couldn't import that car to his country, don't ask me why (import regulations?), and the car is still standing in a hall near Frankfurt/M, Germany. And that for 14 years.

#13 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 08:20

This is incredible - Holger.

I heard that Bernhard Eckstein has bought or will buy also an Auto Union Typ D. It really puzzles me how many D-Types are really now in existance. If Crostwaithe and Gardiner is indeed starting a small assembly line for this magnificent machine, I might as well place my order too. ;)

#14 Ren de Boer

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 09:06

When I visited C&G for a feature story in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" earlier this year, they had a nearly-ready Type C which was commissioned by Bernhard Eckstein, who allegedly had obtained special permission from Audi to have one built. This car was also on display on their stand at the Historic Racing Show in Stoneleigh. I am not quite sure whether B.E. also has a Type D.

#15 Holger Merten

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 13:31

Originally posted by René de Boer special permission from Audi to have one built.




Ah, you need a permission to build a replica? :lol: And when do you get the permission? :confused:

BTW: Sorry and who is Bernhard Eckstein?

#16 Ren de Boer

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 15:47

I am affraid I cannot afford one in 100 years... And it is Audi who gives these permissions, as they are the rightholders to the design and technology of the Auto Union cars.

And Bernhard Eckstein is a nickname for somebody quite important in Formula 1, Mr. Charles Bernhard Ecclestone, who also happens to have a considerable collection of Grand Prix cars.

#17 Dutchy

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 15:51

So where does the Brazilian owned car fit into all this ? (the fellow's name escapes me for the moment). I thought that was one of the ex Karassik cars.

#18 Tmeranda

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 17:46

I have CMC’s magnificent 1/18th scale model of this car and it is among the most detailed in my collection. Try as I may, however, I cannot understand the engine layout/plumbing. It appears to have two vertical superchargers fed by 3 single barrel carbs. These are mounted at the rear of the engine, but the fuel charge appears to be introduced to the cylinders from a plenum that runs from the front of the engine rearward. How does the supercharged fuel/ air mixture get from the rear mounted superchargers to the front of the plenum only to be rerouted again rearward?

#19 olav glasius

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 17:47

the current owner of the car on auction,has a Brazilian passport
but lives in Monaco,Spain,Brazil and Costa Rica.
These cars were in England at a very secured place,
as friend/fellow collector and buyer if have seen this treasure cove.
But now already many beautiful cars have gone among them
a beautiful teardrop Talbot Lago.The D type is far more
original then the one Audi has,he picked the best one.
Crostwaithe made 12 replicas. Mr.GP has only one as far as
I know.

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#20 Peter Morley

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:15

Originally posted by René de Boer
I am affraid I cannot afford one in 100 years... And it is Audi who gives these permissions, as they are the rightholders to the design and technology of the Auto Union cars.

And Bernhard Eckstein is a nickname for somebody quite important in Formula 1, Mr. Charles Bernhard Ecclestone, who also happens to have a considerable collection of Grand Prix cars.


There are very few cars who's design & technology are protected (and the laws on such vary from country to country so they offer very little design protection anyway, technology has more protection).

Audi have paid for (e.g. own) the patterns etc that C&G use to make Auto-Unions, so it is upto them to decide who is allowed to have parts.

If someone else wanted to make a bunch of Auto-Unions, and was prepared to stump up enough money to do so then they could do so (as with Bugatti replicas, Mercedes W154 replicas etc).

Apparently BCE bought the early Auto-Union that appeared in Scotland a few years ago (a V-16 reported in MotorSport and discussed on this forum). C&G are restoring that car for him rather than just building a replica - apparently Audi are happy to supply A-U parts to A-U owners but not replicas, so if you did find substantial remains they would help.

#21 Peter Morley

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:21

Originally posted by Dutchy
So where does the Brazilian owned car fit into all this ? (the fellow's name escapes me for the moment). I thought that was one of the ex Karassik cars.


There are 3 'real' D-types being discussed.

The first one is the car that Colin Crabbe/Neil Corner found many years ago, and got running, apparently sold to Korea, but still in Germany.

The Karassik's found the remains of two cars, both were rebuilt by C&G.
The better of the two was sold to Olav's friend (A.K.) and is now coming up for auction.
The other one was sold to Audi.

#22 Dutchy

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:23

Thank you - I had forgotten about the Crabbe/Corner car. That's the one that was found in the Czech Republic by Count Hubertus Donhoff in 1976 isn't it.

#23 Peter Morley

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:29

Originally posted by Dutchy
Thank you - I had forgotten about the Crabbe/Corner car. That's the one that was found in the Czech Republic by Count Hubertus Donhoff in 1976 isn't it.


That's it, I'd forgotten who found it.

I think they found the car first and the engine later, and then told the story about finding an engine that had been left behind at the Donington GP (rather than smuggled out of Eastern Europe!)!

I do remember meeting someone (who someone on this forum (Twinny?) used to work with) who told me a story about driving an E-type to Eastern Europe with gold hidden inside the sills, to pay for one of the silver arrows, but I don't remember if it was an A-U or Mercedes.

#24 jcbc3

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 17:46

so now it is completely withdrawn from sale:

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#25 olav glasius

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 17:59

it is not always exactly as someone writes.
Audi made a claim just before the auction,
strange because they knew for a long time
about its sale. when the two cars came for
sale they picked the cheapest one and left
the other one to the todays seller.
Anyway,the auctionhouse had to withdraw it
for a short period. Everything is proved now
and the car was again for sale now as a tender
sale, the period is closed and so the car is
probably sold by now.
olav glasius

#26 jcbc3

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 18:36

But did it, or did it not, win the Belgrade GP?

#27 oldtimer

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 21:48

Originally posted by Dutchy
Thank you - I had forgotten about the Crabbe/Corner car. That's the one that was found in the Czech Republic by Count Hubertus Donhoff in 1976 isn't it.


Also the car track tested by Phil Hill for Road & Track. During which, I believe, the engine let go, with zero publicity.

#28 David Birchall

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 22:30

That would be this car:
I photographed it at Colin Crabbe's emporium "The Complete Automobilist" in 1980. Colin Crabbe took a photo of me sitting in the car and made me promise not to publish it--since I can no longer find the photo this will have to do.

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#29 Ren de Boer

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 10:34

Originally posted by olav glasius
Everything is proved now
and the car was again for sale now as a tender
sale, the period is closed and so the car is
probably sold by now.
olav glasius


Actually, from what I have understood, it isn't. There were no bids...

#30 Peter Morley

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 10:49

Originally posted by René de Boer
Actually, from what I have understood, it isn't. There were no bids...


Not surprising really.
Everyone knows who owns the car, so why contact him through an auction house and let them take a huge %.