Motorsports Monday Special: Racing to Sell – The ‘Silberpfeil’: Part 6

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Start of the 1939 German Grand Prix with Auto Union Type D and Mercedes-Benz W154 M163s – their last meeting in the nation of their birth

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!…

Motorsports Monday Special: Racing to Sell – The ‘Silberpfeil’: Part 4

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A 1935 Auto Union Type B Streamliner used for both records and the annual Avus race in Berlin

This past weekend weekend we saw a bit of hubris and bad strategy lead to Mercedes-Benz losing to Ferrari in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Despite the massive investment and seemingly pedantic attention to detail, the same problems existed in the 1930s for the company. Increasingly Mercedes-Benz needed to differentiate itself from Auto Union by undertaking extreme efforts. These efforts were not always profitable; indeed, one could argue that – as we saw last week – since they were already having difficulty delivering cars thanks to raw material shortages, undertaking new forms of racing and record-breaking might have seemed ill-conceived for the company. However, still at stake was preferential treatment from the government, especially when it came to lucrative military contracts. As such, Mercedes-Benz undertook some unlikely projects to not only gain international prestige for the Daimler-Benz model range, but indeed to curry favor with the government.

Link to Part 1

Link to Part 2

Link To Part 3

FOUR : PUSHING THE LIMITS – THE GOVERNMENT GOES RACING

Motorsports Monday Special: Racing to Sell – The ‘Silberpfeil’: Part 3

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A Mercedes-Benz W125 leads an Auto Union Type C – the height of power for these Grand Prix cars in 1937

As we’ve seen in the last two parts, both the motivation and need was present for a concerted racing effort by the Germans. The promise of political and economic support from the government only sweetened the deal for both Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. What resulted, as we’ll see, redefined what it meant to go racing – not only for Germany, but for the world.

Link to Part 1

Link to Part 2

THREE : REDEFINING AUTOMOBILE RACING

In theory, the successful plan worked perfectly for all involved. The two car companies would gain international prestige for themselves while boosting domestic car sales through promotion of their abilities, while the government – their fairly public backer – gained support for the entire automobile industry, cash flow for the country through increases in sales and exports, and international prestige for Germany as a whole as well as promoting the modernity and advanced state of German technology. In practice, however, there was a drawback to the plan for the two companies. The problem derived from the rules and competing against one another for the same prize.

The rules presented a problem because in an attempt to quell every increasing speeds, the AIACR had established the 750kg maximum weight rule based on 1932 technology, believing that in order to go fast the car must be larger and heavier. This had certainly been the case in the past, whereby under free racing regulations constructors had merely installed two racing engines into the car and combined their efforts – with resulting staggering speed. However, under the new racing rules both Daimler-Benz and Auto-Union developed cars that met the requirements, yet provided even more powerful engines. The result was incredible speed, speed that had never been seen before at this level.…

1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTR

The late 1970s and early 1980s were a trans-formative time for Porsche. After a long string of successes with the Porsche 911 and 917 on the race track, they were moving into new territory with a series of front engined cars. Not only were these cars appearing on the race track, though; Porsche intended the 928 and 924 to be the replacements for its aging 911/912 lineup. The result was a special time for water-cooled fans, as Porsche spent a considerable amount of time and resources in between the end of the 917 project and the beginning of the new 956 project on the front engined 924. In order to tie the model to performance and wins on the track, Porsche undertook an ambitious racing schedule, entering the 924 in everything from showroom production-based “D-Production” in SCCA to the World Rally Championship and Le Mans. The resulting lineup of impressive turbocharged 924s have become legendary, but ultimately they’re much more rare to come across than their 911/934/935 counterparts. Still, in the early 1980s they were cutting edge – 2,000 lbs, 400+ horsepower and massive flares hiding 935-spec BBS center-lock magnesium wheels. Sound awesome? You better believe it:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Porsche 924 Carrera GTR on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 1985 Audi Quattro Rally Car

Few motorsport images are quite as evocative as the legendary period of Group B; flying machines spitting stones and belching flames as they skirted trees and rocks at breakneck speeds with crowds only inches away. The ever more powerful cars hurtled their drivers in increasingly lighter and more delicate evolutions of cars towards immovable objects – an act which is some cultures would probably be akin to ritualistic suicide. By 1985 the writing was on the wall; it was a deadly sport that needed to be reigned in. But perhaps more than any other period, this is the time that rally fans and motorsports fans in general identify as one of the most memorable and important periods in racing history. Obviously, the big winner of the period from a reputation standpoint was Audi. The car that helped to define and end the period of wild turbocharged excess, the Quattro has obviously been the spawn of many replicas, such as this one for sale today in England:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Audi Quattro “Group B” Rally Car on eBay

Motorsport Monday: 2007 BMW M Coupe

The E86 Z4 was a fairly radical departure from the E36/8 that it replaced. In many ways, the Z3 was born out of a series of spare parts and in some ways almost seemed an afterthought. It wasn’t as innovated as the Z1 and while the original M Coupe has become a fan favorite, the Z3 just overall seemed the odd-man out in the BMW lineup. On top of that, the design just overall hasn’t aged particularly well in my mind. But in 2002, the redesigned Anders Warming penned E85 Z4 roadster launched. It was bigger in every dimension, with cutting edge new styling that managed to incorporate both round and angular designs into one fluid package that somehow worked well. Over a decade on, it still looks quite new to me – one of the best tests of the staying power of a design. Also one of the best tests is that it was somewhat controversial at the time, but by 2006 and the launch of the M models most critics were convinced that it was a nice package. The addition of the stellar S54 powertrain certainly didn’t hurt, and with just 1,800 examples of the new Coupe design in the U.S., it was guaranteed classic status. But that hasn’t stopped some from converting the coveted Coupes into race cars, such as this Fall-Line Motorsports built wide body:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 BMW M Coupe on Race-Cars.com

Motorsports Monday: 2007 Porsche 911GT3 RS

One of my favorite aspects about the Porsche brand is they have never been timid with color. Even to this day, you are able to tailor your Porsche specifically to your preferences via the Porsche Exclusive program, giving you the option of having one special Porsche. This orange 911GT3 RS is not the result of a Porsche Exclusive order, but is fetching nonetheless. This example for sale has over $60,000 in upgrades and while it appears to be a dedicated race machine, it is still street legal. It comes with a lot of extras, including a custom trailer, representing quite a deal for the next owner, especially if you consider what the entry cost is to a new 911 these days.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Porsche 911GT3 RS on Rennlist

Motorsports Monday: 2000 BMW M Coupe LS2 Swap – REVISIT

The wild LS2-swapped M Coupe has popped back up on eBay, now with a substantially lowered price to $36,500. There’s a lot of custom engineering that you’re getting for free at that price, and it all looks very well executed. I originally incorrectly believed the car was vinyl wrapped but was corrected by the seller that it is in fact painted matte orange. I love the audacity of the build and it’s just not possible to get more speed for less money in the German car world. This is one really cool setup for a track car and much more unique than the typical M3 or Porsche Turbos!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW M Coupe LS2 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site September 15, 2014:

Motorsports Monday: 1993 BMW 318i Dinan-Built Racecar – REVISIT

After failing to sell back in June when I originally wrote it up, the semi-mystery “Dinan-built” 318i racer is back up for sale. There is no more information offered this time around and the car is once again a reserve auction; I’d guess that the seller hasn’t changed their $28,000 expectation and this car will continue to be a hard sell – but it’s pretty cool to check out! What would you pay?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 BMW 318i Dinan Race Car on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site June 30, 2014:

Obviously we write up a lot of cars at this site, and we see our fair share of cars from dealers with a real gap in information provided that we’d like to see. Often times, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to which cars get no description or why; they can be a 300SL Gullwing for multiple millions of dollars right to a first generation GTi. Despite the range of value, one thing unites these cars; there are enthusiasts who love to see them, and buyers who would really like to know more about the car. Today’s car is no exception; a 1993 BMW 318i, this would generally be a forgotten charm right now. The E36, while a great car in its own right, isn’t in favor the way the E30 is and consequently larger engined variants are plentiful, and more importantly cheap. So what is interesting about this economy car turned racer? Well, it’s a claimed Dinan built car, and for a time in the 1990s BMW handed Dinan the keys to build some pretty wild semi-factory backed racers – so they’re well versed. But the mystery isn’t solved there:…

Motorsports Monday: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC VR6

For a long time, enthusiasts have claimed that you need to have rear wheel drive to enjoy a car’s dynamic abilities or have a successful race car. However, while limited in their application, front-drivers have a very long and successful track record dating back to the 1960s. Let’s not forget the Mini, SAABs and even some early Audi rally efforts which used front-drive platforms and were winners. In touring cars, Audi ran Coupe GTs and front-drive 4000s in Group 5 and later Volkswagen took the idea of the performance hatchback to their Golf platform in the GTi. Wildly popular as a budget racer since new, the Golf’s basic layout and platform evolved into the Volkswagen coupes – both Scirocco and later Corrado. While the early Sciroccos also gained much success in SCCA racing in the 1970s and early 1980s, the Corrado introduced a new level of performance with the VR6 engine. While the torque-laden application would seem on the surface to be a bad match for a front driver, the Corrado when properly set up is truly an impressive car and massively quick – a great alternative to the E36 chassis, for example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Volkswagen Corrado SLC VR6 on eBay