Send this page to a friend!
Fill in the form bellow

your name:
your email:
friend name:
friend email:
your comments:


Christopher Bruce2012-08-14 16:51:43

Audi Purchases Auto Union Type D Twin-supercharger

Audi finally owns the three surviving Auto Union Silver Arrows

AudiAudiAudiGermany, 1909 > present83 models
8323 photos
27 videos
now owns the three surviving pre-war grand prix cars that were taken by the Soviet Union following World War 2. It took 73 years for this car to return to Audi's ownership. Audi has known about the car since 1991. 

The Type DType DAuto-Union Type DGermany, 1938 > 19395 photos
was Auto Union'sAuto-UnionAuto-UnionGermany, 1932 > 19647 models
12 photos
final racecar, and its final race was at the Belgrade Grand Prix in 1939. Germany had invaded Poland two days earlier, and the Auto Union grand prix cars were packed away in Zwickau, Germany. When the war was over, Russia confiscated the cars as part of war reparations and to study their technology. 

In 1970, an American car collector named Paul Karassik began researching what happened to the Auto Union Silver Arrows. Karassik was born in the current Serbia and watched the 1939 Belgrade Grand Prix. He was inspired to find the cars of his youth. It also meant that he spoke fluent Russian, and his wife spoke fluent German. 

Karassik was able to find two Auto Union Type Ds, and by 1990 he was able to transport them back to Florida. Both of the cars needed new bodies, but the engines, chassis, axles and gearboxes were there. One car was rebuilt with a 1938 Type D body and the other as a 1939 Type D. Both cars debuted to the public at the Eifel Classic at the Nürburgring on October 1, 1994.

Karassik retained the ownership of both cars but allowed Audi to display the 1938 car, and it bought the car in 1998. He sold the 1939 car in 1999.

Now, Audi has finally purchased the other car. There was a third Type C/DType CAuto-Union Type CGermany, 1936 > present3 photos
grand prix car that Karassik did not find, but Audi also purchased. It now owns all three cars. 

The Goodwood Revival is hosting a race for pre-war grand prix cars featuring the Silver Arrows from Audi and MercedesMercedes-BenzMercedes-BenzGermany, 1924 > present197 models
9899 photos
33 videos
. Other period grand prix cars will also be in the race. 

The Silver Arrows 1934-1955

On May 27, 1934 the German racing cars that soon became known as the “Silver Arrows” entered their first race on the Avus racetrack in Berlin. Neither Auto Union, nor Mercedes-Benz won this race, but they began to dominate international Grand Prix racing until the outbreak of the WWII in 1939. While Auto Union merged into the Audi brand, Mercedes made another memorable comeback to the racetrack in the 1950s.

Auto-Union Type A, 1934

The Type A 16-cylinder car that started at the Avus race in Berlin in 1934 was the first Auto Union Silver Arrow. The mid-engined racing car was designed by Ferdinand Porsche. With Hans Stuck at the steering wheel, it celebrated the first successes for the Auto Union racing department. Winning most races, it became the unofficial European Champion, a title that was only acknowledged by the sport authorities in 1935.

Mercedes-Benz W 25, 1934

The W 25 made its debut at the International Eifel Race on the Nürburgring in 1934 after it had missed the Avus race in Berlin due to technical problems. The mechanically supercharged 3.4-litre in-line eight-cylinder engine produced 354 bhp. It the 1934 season, the W 25 was victorious at the Eifelrennen, Coppa Acerbo, the Spanish and Italian GP. In 1935, the W25 became European Champion.

Auto-Union Type B, 1935

The Type B had its engine capacity increased to deliver 375 bhp for the 1935 season. Achille Varzi won the Tunis Grand Prix and the Coppa Acerbo. Stuck won the Italian Grand Prix and took several hill-climb victories, winning the European Mountain Championship while shooting-star Bernd Rosemeyer won the Czech Grand Prix.

Auto-Union Type C, 1936/37

In 1936, the 16-cylinder Auto Union Type C was tuned to deliver 520 bhp. With this power-boost, Bernd Rosemeyer managed to win all the titles there were: European champion, German road racing champion and German hill-climbing champion

Type C Record Car, 1937/38

Based on the Type C, Auto Union developed a streamlined car to attempt speed records. Rosemeyer at the wheel of the Type C, became the first person to break the 400 km/h barrier on a public road. In 1938, he attempted to reach the 456 km/h in the Streamliner record car with a 16-cylinder engine at 545 hp. But the car was carried off track at 440 km/h and Rosmayer crashed fatally.

Mercedes-Benz W125, 1937

The new 600 bhp-strong Mercedes Silver Arrow, based on an entirely new design, had its debut in 1937 at the Tripoli Grand Prix and took the victory with Hermann Lang at the wheel. Rudolf Caracciola then drove to three victories in five races and won another European Championship. After three years of using the W 25, Mercedes launched the W 125 - a move that turned the tide in favour of Mercedes.

Auto-Union Type D, 1938/39

In 1938 the racing formula was changed and Robert Eberan von Eberhorst lead development of the new D Type. The 3-liter 16-cylinder-power unit made 485hp. Tazio Nuvolari won the 1938 Grand Prix races in Monza and Donington in this car and Hans Stuck became hillclimb champion. In 1939, the D Type won the Yugoslavia Grand Prix in Belgrade and the French Grand Prix.

Mercedes-Benz W154, 1939

In 1938, the W 154 was the new Gran Prix car from Mercedes. The V12 engine achieved an output of 468 hp and the W 154 gave the team its greatest number of victories of the era. Mercedes-Benz won almost all major competitions that season and in 1939, the last season before the outbreak of WWII, the drivers Brauchitsch, Caracciola, and Lang were able to continue the winning spree.

Mercedes-Benz W165, 1939

The W 165 was developed by Mercedes-Benz in less than eight months to accommodate new rules which had been changed at short notice in 1939. The new 1.5-litre M 165 V8 unit produced 254 hp. The design of the frame and suspension was based on the three-litre W 154. In 1939, two W 165 took a double win in Tripoli with Hermann Lang being first, followed by Rudolf Caracciola in second place.

Mercedes-Benz W196, 1954

After WWII, only Mercedes returned to the formula races and only very briefly. In 1954, the driver duo of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss dominated the season with their W 196s, taking 9 victories in 12 races. Also in 1955, the silver arrows started into a promising season, and as the championship was shortened to 6 races after the Le Mans desaster, Fangio took the title once again with 4 victories.

Mercedes 300 SLR, 1955

Derived from the W 196 Gran Prix race car, the 300 SLR became a legend. It competed in the sportscar championship in 1955 and with Stirling Moss at the wheel, won the Mille Miglia; Fangio took the trophy at the Nürburgring. It also raced at the tragic Le Mans race which ended in a fatal accident involving the 300 SLR driven by Pierre Levegh. Levegh and 82 bystanders were killed, leading Mercedes to withdraw from motorsport entirely.

Type DType D
V 12 (60º vee)
182 cu in
Top Speed
193 mph
5, Manual
Maximum power
485 hp @ 7000 rpm
Single Seater
Fuel consumption (combined)
annual ownership cost




publish your news and scoops

more about Auto-Union