Bobby Kohlrausch and his ‘Magic Midget’ ‘EX127’ during the 1934 ‘IV Internationales Avus-Rennen’ Voiturette race on 27 May, he is getting a leg massage to address the cramp he suffered…
‘In a long, arduous life’ Kohl Rausch achieved Standing and Flying Mile class records in the car of 93.4 and 140.6 mph in 1932′. Kohlrausch didn’t get the best from the car that weekend despite being favoured to win the unofficial 800cc class with the fastest car in the world of its size. Starting from the third row, he pitted after 5 laps complaining of cramp. The race was won by Pierre Veyron’s Bugatti T51A.
A vast crowd turned up to see the Silver Arrows make their race debut in the Grand Prix event, the crowd doubly disappointed when Mercedes withdrew their cars after fuel pump troubles in practice. The Hans Stuck driven Auto Union Type A convincingly led the race by 85 seconds until lap 12 only for clutch problems to intervene. He retired the car allowing Guy Moll to win in a Scuderia Ferrari Alfa P3/Tipo B, not what the punters came to see at all, a story for another time…
The ‘EX127’ single seater, oblique or off-centre transmission car was designed as a record breaker rather than a circuit racer. After a great deal of trying with a good deal of misfortune the car finally broke the 120mph barrier, achieving 120.56mph in George Eyston’s hands at Montlhery in December 1932.
This was going to be a ‘quickie’ around the pictures at the articles outset but as usual my inquisitiveness got the better of me, this time stimulated by my friend Patrick Ryan, an enthusiast of considerable knowledge who identified the shot below as Bobby K rather than Goldie Gardner, I was not even close!
Kohlraush was born to affluent parents in Eisenach in 1904, he raced motorcycles from around the time he was apprenticed to the local Dixi car factory. His folks, concerned about his safety, bought him a BMW roadster to get him off ‘bikes. Soon he was competing, initially at the Kesselberg Hillclimb and soon the Nurburgring. So quick was the BMW Wartburg roadster that Bobby was offered an experimental engine by the works, he reputedly won 27 races so equipped in 1930/3.
His Austin 7 ‘Rubber Duck’ was a record breaker which was also raced by BK, he soon switched to ‘EX127’ which he bought off George Eyston. Equipped with a ‘Q Type’ engine the car did 130mph and later 140mph on the Frankfurt Autobahn. He raced the car at the Avus in 1934/5, the Nurburgring and various hillclimbs.
His performances were impressive enough to be offered a ride as a cadet or test driver with Auto Union in 1935, although he does not appear to have raced one of the awesome, V16 mid-engined beasties.
He contested the Voiturette Swiss GP ‘Prix de Berne’ on 25 August 1935, having engine troubles and retiring on lap 14, Dick Seaman took a good win in his ERA B Type.
In 1937 EX127 was bought by Mercedes Benz, some say perhaps on Hitler’s orders. Dyno tests revealed 115bhp@7000rpm or 153.3bhp per litre. A 3 litre engines implied output is 460bhp which became the benchmark for the M154 engine, the M163 achieved the target in 1939.
Post-war Bobby raced on in East Germany in the 750cc LTE Juwel built by Ferdi Lehder Bobby renamed the ‘GvB’, a pretty front-engined car in which he contested the 1950 German F3 Championship. His intention to supercharge the 500cc BMW engine and race it as an F2 car was never realised, he died of a heart attack enroute to a hillclimb at Schauinsland on 9 August 1953.
Zoltan Glass, Triple M Register, Patrick Ryan, historicracing.com, Getty Images, Imagno, Ullstein Bild, Willy Pragher, Science & Society Picture Library
Tailpiece: George Eyston in the Magic Midget EX127 outside the Abingdon factory…