Where: A5 Frankfurt-Darmstadt Autobahn
Car used: Jaguar XJ Supersport (not a streamlined Mercedes)
"There are more interesting sections of Autobahn on which you can get your speed hit in Germany, the flat, arrow straight A5 that heads south out of Frankfurt not big on the scenery. But there's a reason for it being a Dream Drive."
Why it's a dream drive:
"With a lack of suitable natural terrain like the beaches of Pendine or the salt beds of Bonneville but a hunger to demonstrate the technological might of the Nazi-sponsored land-speed and racing cars the Germans acted with typical logic and built their own venue for running record cars. Obviously it needed to be straight and flat and that's why this particular section of Autobahn is both of those things and the scene for both triumph and tragedy at the altar of speed.
"In January 1938 on this very piece of road Rudolf Caracciola in a streamlined Mercedes set a record of 272mph that still stands as the fastest recorded speed on a public road. That was the triumph. The tragedy followed when his arch Auto Union rival and German racing hero Bernd Rosemeyer had his go at beating it immediately afterwards and was killed when his car lifted up and smashed into a bridge at over 200mph.
a174mph Jaguar XJ remains a Dream Drive, especially with most of the locals running into their 155mph limiters."
Highlights and lowlights:
"Frankfurt is Germany's business capital and not big on laughs or scenery. And the A5 is the main route south to Mannheim, Stuttgart and other industrial centres. So it's busy. And probably not somewhere you'd choose to go on holiday per se. But there are other attractions, as you'll see."
"Carry on south and branch off onto the parallel A67 at Darmstadt and before long you'll reach Hockenheim. So if you're en route to a DTM round or similar the Rosemeyer memorial in the lay-by on the A5 is an easy stop, if only to pay your respects.
"Just past Hockenheim is the Technik Museum Speyer, home to an amazing collection of boats, planes, trains, cars and ... a space shuttle. And if that doesn't satisfy your appetite for boys' toys you can carry on a bit further to the sister museum in Sinsheim, which has an amazing car collection plus a Concorde on the roof. And a Tupelov Concordski too. The only place in the world you can see both together."
Follow the route here.
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