Recently I relayed to the group that a family member had bought a 2004 Audi S4 Avant 6-speed. It was with some excitement and trepidation that this car actually came into the family; after a long search through seemingly countless cars, my cousin finally found one that looked right. It was a silver over silver/black Alcantara 6-speed with just over 100,000 miles. 2004 isn’t the preferred year of the S4 Avant, nor does it have the reputation as being the most reliable Audi ever produced – but overall, it was priced right for what it was and he dived in. There were some exterior condition problems, though, and I offered my assistance with a detailed refresh; I thought it would help to show how you could take a reasonable but not exceptional example of a nice car and make it look pretty special. So, starting with a rather tired and tatty exterior, I dove in:
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From time to time, we like to take a break from our regular features of cars on the market to quench the thirst of those who are true petrol heads. For years, it has been a desire of mine to visit Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, as this is one of the world’s preeminent automobile factories from one of the world’s largest car manufacturers. A few months ago, I changed jobs and my new employer sent me to Germany this week for a conference in Hannover, which is about one hour east of Wolfsburg. To my surprise, one of the items on the agenda was a tour of Autostadt Wolfsburg and the Volkswagen Werk (factory). This week I celebrated my birthday and honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better present than to check this item off my bucket list.
Yesterday saw an interesting comparison in racing; in F1, Mercedes-Benz once again dominated the field with seeming ease, dictating the pace and watching the strategy of its competitors from Maranello. While truth told my focus remained squarely on the Formula 1 race, there were several other popular race series running concurrently; both wildly popular Moto GP and World Endurance Championship races were contested as well. Notably, Audi won the WEC Silverstone 6-hour contest, continuing its quite remarkable run in endurance series amidst rumors that they could be heading to Formula 1. The question posed by me in my conclusion to the investigation of the Silver Arrows period is simply if the racing was necessary? There were other options in terms of racing for both companies to explore, and indeed they could also have taken the Opel strategy in no racing at all. Did the companies choose the right route?
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our readers for the positive feedback to this feature. It’s been wonderful for me to revisit this research and have the enthusiast community enjoy it. I’d also like to thank Dan and Paul at GCFSB for not only affording me the opportunity to put this research up, but indeed for encouraging me to do so. Though they’re not likely to be paying attention I’d like to thank the Saxony State Archives in Chemnitz and the staff at the Mercedes-Benz factory archives, both of which were very welcoming and accommodating during my time there. Lastly, I’d like to thank my family who has been both encouraging and patient while I’ve spent countless hours working on this site. Without further ado, please enjoy the conclusion!
CONCLUSIONS : WAS RACING NECESSARY?
As we saw in the last few installments, Daimler-Benz and Auto Union had heavily engaged in racing – a massive investment for both, pushing the boundaries of existing technology and redefining how motor racing was to be undertaken. The question in today’s installment was who this methodical approach to racing benefited the most. Was the government’s investment in racing worthwhile? Was Auto Union’s gamble on building an unconventional race car a success? Were the extremes to which Daimler-Benz was willing to stretch its racing budget realized in results over the competition? Today we look at some of the more pragmatic reasons behind the motivations of both companies and some of the ideology behind government which helps explain the involvement of both.