A trip back in time to the Silver Arrows era with a Mercedes W125 at the 'ring
Is there a sight more evocative than a 1930s Silver Arrow thundering around the Nurburgring? Hard to think of one, Mick Walsh at Classic & Sports Car the brave/lucky individual tasked with taking this priceless Mercedes W125 around the Nordschleife and snapped here by Tony Baker. OK, it's old school. But 600hp horsepower driving 750kg, fed on an exotic brew of methyl alcohol, benzol, ethyl alcohol and regular gasoline is suitably awe inspiring now, let alone 80-odd years ago.
You can read the full story of Walsh's drive in this month's Classic & Sports Car and it's suitably epic, Walsh telling us the car was surprisingly approachable given due respect. And if you want a further taste of what he experienced this Shell promotional film, narrated by Graham Hill and featuring Mercedes Silver Arrows team driver Hermann Lang, is well worth a look.
The other half of the Silver Arrows equation is also in the news today too, Audi announcing that it's bought back an Auto Union Type D - one of two reassembled from parts recovered from behind the Iron Curtain and rebuilt in the early 90s. You can read the full story over at Classic & Sports Car too.
And if you want to see these monsters in action you need to get yourself to the Goodwood Revival in September where a very special re-enactment will take place featuring cars from both Mercedes and Auto Union. See our earlier story for more.
And Thank you Pitman304... In the picture you posted (which I didn't see earlier when viewed on my mobile), The two chaps at the top left are me and by father. I'm in the blue shirt.
Autozaf08 Jun 2013
After many many years, I have just been reunited with the pictures I took at Silverstone in August 1990 of the crash between the Mercedes and the Riley. I'm trying to get in touch with Barrie again to show him the action shots before posting them online.
The Riley came around Copse ahead of the Mercedes on the second lap I think it was and put the power down a bit to soon. The result was that the Riley went sideways and once perpendicular to the original direction of travel, flipped into the air and landed on the bonnet of the Mercedes who was coming through from behind. I was just putting my camera away at the time and so only managed to get pictures after the Riley had rolled off the Mercedes and bounced into the air again. Barrie Gillies was not strapped into the car and in one of the pictures I have, he is out of the car, and both he and the car are in mid air, him upside down.
I did catch up with him once between the event and now, but only to tell him I had the pictures but did not know where.
Right... Time to Google the chap again.
pitman30401 Feb 2013
M-B used to have a strict rule about only (ex-) F1 drivers would be allowed to drive their museum Silver Arrows. Not sure Mick Walsh and his flat cap fall into this category!
I remember seeing the slightly later and freshly restored W154 owned by Neil Corner take on a classic Grand Prix grid at Silverstone about 20 years ago. The Merc started last (it was a surprise entry and hadn't actually qualified) and by half way round lap 1 was up to mid-field until some over-excited idiot (Barrie Gillies) spun his sh!tty Riley and T-Boned the priceless Merc. We never even saw it come round for a second lap. AFAIK it was never raced again.
Earl'Dingleberry13 Aug 2012
With skinny wheels, rubbish brakes, and the driver wearing a cotton coverall and some leather brogues.
And downforce only by gravity.
DJRC13 Aug 2012
Great commentary by Hill: so blasé about spinning off!
I recall reading a great piece on the Nurburgring and Fangio racing it like a man possessed, this is from his Wiki page;
"In 1957 Fangio returned to Maserati, who were still using the same iconic 250F which Fangio had driven at the start of 1954. Fangio started the season with a hat-trick of wins in Argentina, Monaco and France, before retiring with engine problems in Britain. At the next race, the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring circuit, Fangio needed to extend his lead by six points to claim the title with two races to spare. From pole position Fangio dropped to third behind the Ferraris of Hawthorn and Collins but managed to get past both by the end of the third lap. Fangio had started with half-full tanks since he expected that he would need new tyres half-way through the race. In the event Fangio pitted on lap 13 with a 30-second lead, but a disastrous stop left him back in third place and 50 seconds behind Collins and Hawthorn. Fangio came into his own, setting one fastest lap after another, culminating in a record-breaking time on lap 20 a full eleven seconds faster than the best the Ferraris could do. On the penultimate lap Fangio got back past both Collins and Hawthorn, and held on to take the win by just over three seconds. With Musso finishing down in fourth place, Fangio claimed his fifth title. This performance is often regarded as the greatest drive in Formula One history, and it was to be Fangio's last win"
We're on ph and we have to use wiki to describe the '57 Ring race and treating it as just something you once recall reading about????