Students, please take your seats. I had hoped that you would, once a-gain, fill this room with your intelligence. However, your scheduled oral presentations on maritime law, and it’s application to the case of Dearthair v. Canuckistanian Bikini Team, L.L.C. must be postponed for another day. Please adjust your syllibi accordingly. In the interim, we will discuss Nazi race cars.
In 1933, at the Berlin Motor Show, Adolf Hitler announced his intent to subsidize manufacturers for the purpose of developing a “high speed German auto industry” and awarded 500,000 Reichmarks to Mercedes-Benz, who began developing in earnest their new W25 grand prix car. At the urging of Auto Union board member, Adolf Rosenberger, Auto Union’s chairman Klaus von Oertzen met with Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, who had his own grand prix concept, the P wagen. Enter Hans Stuck, who already knew Hitler and was unable to secure a seat with the Mercedes-Benz works team. Stuck arranged to have Porsche and von Oertzen meet the Chancellor, and they convinced Hitler that, for the glory of Germany, that two German manufacturers should compete for this prize. Hitler agreed, much to the annoyance of Mercedes-Benz. For the next five years, Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz would slug it out for Grand Prix supremacy, utterly decimating all other competition in the process.
Today’s installment of Shell Films’ documentary, the History of Motor Sport, concentrates on the years 1935 to 1939, the zenith of the Silver Arrows. You’ll see Caracciola’ mastery of the W25, the meteoric ascent of Bernd Rosemeyer and Richard Seaman; the first grand prix win for Hermann Lang, sports car racing at Dundrod and LeMans, Nuvolari’s heroic win at the ’35 German Grand Prix, Wilbur Shaw at Indianapolis, Rosemeyer at the Vanderbilt Cup, Sir Malcolm Campbell at Bonneville, and much more.
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