How the “Silver Arrow” legend was born

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How the “Silver Arrow” legend was born

75 years ago, one of the most dramatic chapters in the whole of motor sport history began. On May 27, 1934 the German racing cars that were soon to acquire the nickname “Silver Arrow” were entered for their first race, on the Avus racetrack in Berlin. Although neither Auto Union, the company from which Audi in its present-day form developed later, nor Mercedes Benz won that event, it was not long before these two manufacturers began to dominate international Grand Prix racing, a situation that prevailed until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. It seems almost incredible today, but by 1936 the Auto Union racing cars were reaching speeds of up to 380 kilometres an hour on the long straights of the Avus circuit – truly, the birth of a legend.

The racing cars bearing the four-ring emblem were entered for the race to be held on Berlin’s Avus circuit on May 27, 1934. Driven by Hans Stuck, August Momberger and Hermann Prince zu Leiningen, this was their first appearance in competition. They were given a striking silver paint finish, but possibly their most remarkable feature was that the engine was located behind the driver. 1934 was the first motor racing season in which the designers had to comply with a new formula: the cars were limited to a total dry weight of 750 kilograms, but the engines could be of any size and there was no restriction on the type of fuel.


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