avus 2 cars

The 1937 Avus-Rennen is one of ‘those races meetings’ I suspect most of us would have rather liked to attend, these photos are of Hermann Lang’s Mercedes W25 during testing the week before on 22 May 1937…

His car is a 1936 speed record chassis rebuilt with a long wheelbase and the ‘standard’ 5.7 litre straight-8 fitted to the W125 GP cars that season.

The ‘final’ race of the meeting was the fastest race ever until the Monza 500 in 1958, Rosemeyer’s Auto Union fastest practice lap, 176.7mph and the fastest race lap, in two of the heats 171.74mph by Rosemeyer and Lang!

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Hermann Lang testing his Mercedes W25 modified 1936 speed record car the week before the 1937 race (ullstein bild)

The Germans didn’t race at Avus during 1936, they were rebuilding Berlins fastest circuit in the world into something even quicker with the addition of the ‘Nordschleife’ and massive ‘wall of death’ banking at 44 degrees. Avus was built in 1921 and used for racing until 1998 when it was absorbed fully into Germany’s road network as autobahn # 115.

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Rosemeyer and friends AU Type C (Max Ehlert)

The 1937 race was a Formula Libre event which 300000-400000 spectators attended, what a spectacle it must have been. Such was the level of national prestige involved the German teams went all out to win building special cars and testing them in three sessions before the meeting itself.

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Rosemeyer on the Avus banking, Auto Union Type C Streamliner, Hasse or von Delius in AU C Type then Seaman W125 (Ullstein Bild)

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AU’s were all Type C V16’s, 2 streamliners (Rosemeyer and Fagioli) and 2 open wheelers (von Delius and Hasse)

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Non German cars also rans! Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Tipo 12C-36 of Nuvolari, Brivio and Farina withdrawn before the race

Because of concerns about tyre life, such was the weight, speed of the cars and tyre technology of the day, the 30 May event was split into 2 heats of 7 laps and a final of 8 laps comprising the first 4 placegetters from each heat.

The heats were won by Rudy Caracciola and Manfred von Brauchitsch in ‘Benz W125 and W25K-DAB(5.6V12) respectively, the final by Hermann Lang’s Mercedes W25K-M125. All these cars were ‘Stromlinien’ (Streamliners), single-seaters with all-enveloping bodywork.

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Caracciola this side in Mercedes W125 and Rosemeyer Auto Union Type C (Ullstein Bild)

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Rosemeyer #31 and von Delius AU Type C’s

Kolumbus.f1 has a well researched, detailed account of this meeting, click here to read it, just scroll down the page, there are a couple of other events before you get to Avus;

http://www.kolumbus.fi/leif.snellman/gp372.htm

During practice for the meeting Lang’s car, with wheel covers fitted was doing 390kmh when trapped air under the car ‘lifted the front wheels from the ground, luckily the driver kept calm and finally managed to bring the wheels back down’…the wheel covers were removed for the race!

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Tyre technician checks out the Continental ‘slick’, big challenge keeping tyres up to these big, heavy, powerful cars. Lang’s car as per text (Ullstein Bild)

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von Delius 6 litre V16 being gently warmed up, what awesome cars

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Hermann Lang’s winning Benz W25K

Down the decades the role of ‘aerodynamic guinea pig’ has not always been conducive to drivers attainment of retirement age, Bernd Rosemeyer’s fatal Auto Union speed record attempt on 28 January 1938 an ‘in period’ case in point…

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Caracciola’s W125 Benz, Avus 1937 (Ullstein Bild)

Checkout this Avus ’37 Footage…

Etcetera…

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Caratch during testing, Northcurve Benz W125 (ullstein bild)

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Fagioli’s AU Streamliner Type C

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Love this shot for the contrast between Langs leading Streamliner W25 ahead o Dick Seaman’s openwheeler W125 ‘normal’ GP car

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Avus, Fagioli Auto Union during practice 27 May 1937 (Imagno)

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von Brauchisch’ big Benz 1936 W25 with 700bhp DAB V12 and Lang 1936 LWB speed record W25 5.7 litre Straight-8 ahead of one of von Delius or Hasse AU Type C open-wheeler 6 litre V16 (Heritage Images)

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Caratch and arch-rival Bernd, Avus ’37 (ullstein bild)

Credits…

All images not attributed by Ullstein Bild, Heinrich Hoffman, Imagno, Max Ehlert, Heritage Images, Kolumbus F1

Tailpiece: Stromlinien on display, place undisclosed 1937, am interested to know if any of you can pick the venue…

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(Heinrich Hoffman)

 

 

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