Streamliners – Daimler-Benz Through the Decades – Page Four
The streamliners reappeared at Monza for Fangio and Kling, with Herrmann in a conventional car. Fangio again disappeared into the distance to win, with Herrmann fourth, while Kling crashed when an oil pipe broke and squirted oil in his face as he entered the Lesmo curve. In September there was the Grosser Preis von Berlin, a non-championship round, at the daunting banked Avus circuit. Three streamliners appeared and Fangio, Herrmann and Kling led a fairly small grid. They were much faster than anyone else, though a heroic Jean Behra latched onto the pack, passed Fangio and even held second place for one lap before the poor Gordini gave up. Kling won his only F1 race.
Stirling Moss joined Fangio, Kling and Herrmann for 1955 and they swept virtually all before them. The streamlined cars only ran at Monza, where Taruffi joined Fangio, Moss and Kling. Mercedes had by this time announced that they were leaving racing. Fangio led Taruffi home, with Castellotti 3rd in a Ferrari and Behra 4th in a streamlined Maserati 250F. This was the last race for the grand prix cars.
Of course, the lessons that had been learned in the development of the W196R had been successfully applied elsewhere, mainly in the further development of the 300SL but especially in the 300SLR. This car was very much based on the grand prix car and Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson had their historic Mille Miglia victory in a 300SLR. The cars were also dominating the Le Mans 24 Hour before Levegh’s terrible crash forced the cars’ withdrawal, and contributed to the Mercedes-Benz decision to retire from racing and concentrate on production cars. They would, however, return.
In later years, as aerodynamic knowledge and experience increased, streamlining remained an element in the production of a rapid overall package. The C111 project was an example of Mercedes continuing with their record braking tradition, as were experiments with production cars such as the 190E. However, it would be the streamlined W196R that would remain in the memory of most motorsport fans, especially those who saw those great cars at work.