Silver Arrows at the 2012 Goodwood Revival – Mercedes-Benz W 165, 1939
The W 165 formula racing car was developed by Mercedes-Benz in less than eight months to accommodate new rules which had been changed at short notice in 1939 for the Italian Grand Prix races organised by the Italian motorsports association. This included the prestigious Tripoli Grand Prix in Libya, then an Italian colony. These rules stipulated a maximum displacement of just 1.5 litres (rather than 3 litres).
For the new 1.5-litre engine, the engineers led by Max Sailer decided on an M 165 V8 unit producing 254 hp (187 kW). The right-hand cylinder bank of the short-stroke, 90-degree engine was positioned 18 millimeters further forward. The design of the frame and suspension was based on the three-litre W 154: an oval tubular frame with cross-members made of chromium-nickel-molybdenum steel, a De Dion rear axle with torsion bar suspension and a wishbone suspension with coil springs at the front. From the outside, the smaller Mercedes looked like its big brother, the W 154, although for reasons of space the driver in the W 165 sat slightly to the right.
Two W 165 cars raced at Tripoli, resulting in a famous double win for the marque with Hermann Lang coming first with an average speed of just under 198 km/h and Rudolf Caracciola finishing in second place.
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