Today marks the 75th anniversary of both the first start and the first victory of the new Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow with the designation W 25, as the famed team triumphed at the International Eifel Race held on June 3rd, 1934.
This debut race, won by Manfred von Brauchitsch, was the first of a series of successes for the various Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows that was to continue until 1939. But after the Second World War too, the determination of the brand, which belongs to Daimler AG today, to show its mettle in competition is evident through all decades, down to its current motorsport activities. In anniversary year 2009 Mercedes-Benz is having the classic Silver Arrows appear at various international events, for example, the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July 2009.
In 1934 a new formula was to take effect in Grand Prix racing. Without fuel, oil, coolant and tires the cars were allowed to weigh no more than 750 kilograms, and the body had to have a width of at least 85 centimeters. Pressed for time, Mercedes-Benz developed a completely new racing car of the W 25 series, designed as a monoposto – the days of racing with Grand Prix cars with two seats and four-seater touring cars were over. In the W 25 the combination of a slim body, a mechanically supercharged 3.4-litre in-line eight-cylinder engine, independent wheel suspension, and a transmission directly mounted on the rear axle added up to an absolute winner. The car attained top speeds of more than 250 km/h.
At the same time Mercedes-Benz decided on a new color for the body of the W 25: silver. The car’s first appearance was planned for the Avus race in Berlin in May 1934, but because of technical problems Mercedes-Benz cancelled its participation in that race. As a result the new car did not see action until a week later at the International Eifel race on the 3rd of June.
The W 25 took the start in silver livery after the racing cars were stripped of their white paint at the Nürburgring – so the legend goes – so that they weighed no more than 750 kilograms, as required by the new racing formula. Manfred von Brauchitsch drove the W 25 at an average speed of 122.5 km/h on the Nürburgring to set a new course record. The silver of the racing cars was retained for future races, and Mercedes-Benz continued its winning ways.