by R. M. Clarke
For Mercedes, the heritage of motor racing successes can be traced back to 1908, when Christian Lautenschlager won the French Grand Prix. In 1914, Mercedes cars powered by 4.5-litre engines with four valves per cylinder and overhead camshafts finished first, second and third in the same race, Lautenschlager again taking the chequered flag. The following year Ralph De Palma drove one of the Grand Prix cars to victory in the Indianapolis 500.
Meanwhile, the Blitzen Benz set a Land Speed Record of 141mph at Daytona Beach in 1911, a speed which would not be bettered until 1922. And the Benz RH Tropfenwagen Grand Prix car of 1923 futuristically featured a mid-engined layout, streamlined body, plus independent rear suspension and inboard rear brakes.
Therefore, when the two car makers came together in 1926, both had plenty of experience with building competition machinery so it is no surprise that Mercedes-Benz were able to produce some of the most powerful racing cars ever seen up until then. Rudolf Caracciola enjoyed a great season in 1931 which started when he drove a Mercedes SSKL to an epic victory in the Mille Miglia. From 1934 onwards Grand Prix events were dominated by the Silver Arrows rivalry between the supercharged 8-cylinder Mercedes W25/W125 cars and those of Auto Union.
This title is a portfolio of motoring articles compiled from leading international magazines covering Mercedes-Benz cars from 1926 to 1939. Reported on are the legendary supercharged SSK, SSKL, 500K and 540K sports roadsters, together with a selection of sedans, coupes, convertibles, limousines, GP racing cars and six-wheelers. Includes road tests, model introductions, race reports and classic historical salons.
Brooklands Books Ltd "Road Test" books provide a wide range and collection of road tests, comparison tests, new model introductions, long term tests, and other articles taken from the world's leading motoring magazines. The regular Road Test series contain 100 pages with approximately 200 illustrations.
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