Posts Tagged ‘Karl Kling’

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(GP Library)

The 1952 German Grand Prix was won by Alberto Ascari’s Ferrari 500, a fairly predictable result in 1952/3…

 

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The dominant F2 GP 1952/3 combo of Ascari and Ferrari 500, on his way to a Nurburgring 1952 victory. Teammates Farina and Fischer were 2nd/3rd in similar Fazz 500’s (GP Library)

A huge field of cars contested the sportscar supporting event, after a spirited dice pre-War Mercedes GP ace Hans Hermann #21 won from post-War Mercedes GP driver Karl Kling #24 both driving the Benz W194 300 SL heading into the North Curve (below).

The 300SL Coupe won the LeMans 24 Hours that June, Lang shared the drive with Fritz Riess, the win important in a series of steps which took the company back into GP racing in 1954. And in putting into production a road-going variant of the 300SL!

Click here for my article on the 300SL; https://primotipo.com/2014/05/15/i-like-the-smell-of-leather/

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(unattributed)

 

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Start of the sportscar race, i’ll take any help you have with car/driver combinations; #21 Hermann, #24 Kling excepted! (GP Library)

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Top Down; Victory ceremony with Hermann and Klings cars in shot. No idea in 300SL!. #23 Theo Helfrich in 300SL, the ‘slight’ frame of Benz famous team-manager Neubauer readily evident (GP Library)

Credit…

GP Library

Tailpiece: 300SL Coupe Beauty…

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Famously it was Max Hoffman, the New York based importer of VW at the time who insisted the 300SL W194 racer be ‘productionised’, selling like hotcakes given its beauty and technical specifications, the Americans taking circa 80% of the 1400 cars built. This car has Klings #24, clearly he raced the Sporty rather than the Coupe. Nurburgring 1952 (GP Library)

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merc staub

(Max Staub)

Mercedes Benz returned to Grand Prix racing with a vengeance at Reims in 1954, here Fangio leads Karl Kling in the W196 Streamliners…

Mercedes had a habit of re-entering racing in the French Grand Prix every twenty odd years, when doing so bringing new standards of engineering excellence with them.

In 1914 the 4 cylinder SOHC 4483cc engined Mercedes 18/100 of Sailer, Lautenschlager, Salzer, Pilette, and Wagner crushed the opposition at Lyon just before The Great War. The course was 37.6 Km long, 20 laps of it took the winner Christian Lautenschlager 7 hours 8 minutes!

1914

Three of the 1914 French GP winning Mercedes team cars at Unterturkheim post event. L>R #28 Lautenschlager 1st, #39 Salzer 3rd, #40 Wagner 2nd. (unattributed)

In 1934 Auto Union and Mercedes came to Monthlery with cars which would largely sweep the board until War again intervened.

Although on that day an Alfa Romeo triumphed, Louis Chiron won in a Scuderia Ferrari Alfa P3 from Achille Varzi similarly mounted, the three 2.9 litre supercharged straight-8 Mercedes W25s of Rudi Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Luigi Fagioli retiring with a variety of maladies.

1934

1934 French GP, Montlhery. Rudy Caracciola Mercedes W25 DNF, from Avhille Varzi Alfa P3/Tipo B, 2nd. (unattributed)

And so it was that Mercedes returned to racing after a break of fifteen years at Reims on the weekend of July 4th 1954, forty years after Lyon and twenty after Monthlery…

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JM Fangio, Mercedes Benz W196, Reims victor 1954. (Jesse Alexander Archive)

 

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The W196 was a triumph of complex engineering, the 2.5 litre straight eight cylinder car had a swag of new features.

Direct injection of fuel into the cylinders for more precise ignition of the incoming fuel charge was the first of many, the engine lay on its side 20 degrees from the horizontal to allow a lower bonnet line and the driveshaft to pass beside the driver rather than have him sitting on it.

Desmodromic or mechanical operation of the valves allowed higher rpm than the valve springs of the day could handle, four wheel independent suspension using a new type of swing axle at the rear, inboard brakes front and rear to lower unsprung weight and a streamlined all enveloping body helped the car to be quicker thru ze air.

The very experienced pre-war engineering team of Dr Fritz Nallinger and Rudy Uhlenhaut were in control of the conception, design, development and testing of the new car.

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Reims 1954 paddock shot. #18 Fangio and #22 Hans Hermann Mercedes W196 Streamliners being prepared for the race. Open bodies used from Nurburgring 1954 onwards, Streamliner body about 60 pounds heavier than the ‘Nurburg’ slipper/open wheeler bodies. (unattributed)

The purpose of this article is not to write in detail about a car which has had everything written about it, rather the words are a support to the wonderful painting and cutaways originally published in that splendid annual, Automobile Year, in this case in the 1955 edition.

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(Automobile Year)

In his Automobile Year technical review of the 1954 season noted journalist/Le Mans Winner/GP driver Paul Frere explains in great detail the technical advances of the car, but also makes clear that in his view all of the Benz victories that season were scored by Fangio, in that the cars speed was in large part a factor of Fangio’s dominance as a driver rather than it being a function of the cars outright pace- JMF and Alberto Ascari were the standout drivers at the time.

The W196 won four of five 1954 races entered, impressive with a new car, Frere also makes it clear that the development potential of the car was obvious and was subsequently reinforced in their 1955 season!

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French GP Start; #18 Fangio, #20 Kling Benz W196, #10 Alberto Ascari Maser 250F #2 Gonzalez Ferrari 553, #12 Marimon Maser 250F, #46 Prince Bira Maser 250F, #22 Hans Hermann Benz W196, #6 Hawthorn Ferrari 553, #4 Maurice Trintignant Ferrari 625, #34 Robert Manzon Ferrari 625, #14 Luigi Villoresi Maser 250F. (unattributed)

At Reims Fangio was on pole with his young German teammate Karl Kling alongside and Alberto Ascari in a factory Maserati 250F.

Alberto and Onofre Marimon were ‘loaned’ to Maserati by Gianni Lancia given his new D50 GP car was still not raceworthy and the drivers were otherwise unemployed for the weekend.

Ascari’s race was over on lap 1 due to either gearbox or engine failure depending upon the report you read, this left Fangio and Kling to run away with the race. Hawthorn and Marimon scrapped for third before the Argentinian stopped for a plug change and dropped to the back of the field.

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Fangio left, and Kling Mercedes W196 well clear of Ascari’s Maser 250F shortly after the start. (unattributed)

Pre-war Thai driver Prince Bira drove a great race in a customer 250F dropping to fourth having run out of fuel and losing time switching to his auxiliary tank, and his third place, so Robert Manzon was third in a Ferrari 625.

Hans Herrman in the other W196 took fastest lap early in the race before over-revving the engine and leaving its telltale at 9100rpm!

So, a dominant Mercedes start to a run which sadly only lasted until the end of the 1955 season before their modern era return and the dominance of 2014/5…

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Fangio, Thillois Hairpin, Reims 1954. MB W196. (unattributed)

Etcetera…

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(unattributed)

Front row prior to the Reims start. Fangio, Kling taking a sideways glance, and Ascari’s new but somehow antiquated looking 250F in the company of the Mercedes Streamliners whilst Hawthorn fiddles with his goggles on row three.

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(Automobile Year)

 

Fangio’s car being ministered to between sessions, what stands out is the quality of the Streamliner’s build and finish and the enormous inboard brake drums both front and rear- JMF’s seat has been removed allowing a peek at the rear units.

The straight-8 Type 32 Gordini was the last Grand Prix car fitted with an engine of this layout but the W196 was the last successful one- the compact nature of Vittorio Jano’s 2.5 litre V8 engined 1954/5 Lancia D50 was a reminder of the advantages of engines in Vee formation and was highly influential as such.

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(Automobile Year)

Nice cross section of the W196 cylinder head and operation of its desmodromic valve gear.

Tailpiece…

(unattributed)

Majestic and atmospheric Reims as JMF takes his position on the grid.

Credits…

Max Staub, Automobile Year, Jesse Alexander Archive, Getty Images- Maurice Jarnoux

Finito…