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Flying Cars in Germany

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Some time ago, a few of you requested that I post more images from my collection of historic motor racing photographs. Since the "golden era" of most memories remains the 1960s, I shall start with these flying cars images from the notorious Nürburgring in Germany's Eifel Forest .

Although it is no longer regularly used for any major racing events, the Nürburgring was home to some of motorsports most exciting moments. One particular area of the track, Bruennchen, launched many a car at speed. Below are some flying cars at Bruennchen. When Formula 1 races were still held there, photographers jockeyed for position in the area.

Before Colin Chapman of Lotus made commercial sponsorship dollars the driving force in Formula 1, fields were thin without that sponsor money. More often than not, fields were plumped with Formula 2 cars.





Top Row: left and right – 1967 Coming and Going, Denny Hulme, Brabham Repco BT24

Center Row: left – Jackie Stewart – 1966 BRM P261. Right is Piers Courage in a Formula 2 Brabham BT26.

Bottom Row: left – 1966 Jacky Ickx, Matra MS5 Cosworth Formula 2. right – 1966 Jackie Oliver, Lotus 48 Cosworth Formula 2

Note the ditched MGC-GT in both the Stewart and Ickx photos.

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It wasn't only formula cars that took to the air at Bruennchen. Witness some of these 1960s sports racing cars in the air!



Top Row: left – Flying Burrito Brother? No, it’s Pedro Rodriguez's Ferrari 312P in 1969. To the right is a 1974 Martini Porsche 935.

Second Row: left – 1968 Porsche 908. Right is the 1969 Porsche 908-02 of Jo Siffert/Redman with Brian Redman pictured.

Third Row: left – 1969 Porsche 908-02 of Rolf Stommelen/Hans Hermann with Hermann at the wheel. Right is a 1970 Porsche 908-02 of Gerard Larousse and Helmut Marko with Marko driving.

Bottom Row: left – 1972 Alfa Romeo T33 of Rolf Stommelen. Right is the T33’s inspiration, a 1967 T2Z of Andrea d’Adamich and Nani Galli.

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post #2 of 9
Awesome, thanks!
post #3 of 9
post #4 of 9
I recall very long ago reading a story of a mid-engined Auto Union getting airborne and going end-on-end. Perhaps Full Canvas knows the details.
post #5 of 9
thought this was going to be about VTOL
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nantucket Red View Post
I recall very long ago reading a story of a mid-engined Auto Union getting airborne and going end-on-end. Perhaps Full Canvas knows the details.

Better Late Than Never!

When I dug-up this thread for reference here, I noticed your question for the first time.

There are two deadly Auto Union crashes that come to mind. In the summer of 1937, Ernst von Delius' Type C came together with Seaman's Daimler-Benz AG (Mercedes) at the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. He survived the crash only to die later that day of a blood clot much the same way that Ronnie Peterson died many hours after his crash at Monza in 1978.

Left Image - Ernst von Delius, Bernd Rosemeyer, Guiseppi Farina, 1937 Vanderbilt Cup

Right Image - Ernst von Delius before the start of his last race, the 1937 German Grand Prix at Nürburgring



Almost seventy-one years ago now, just after New Year in 1938, Bernd Rosemeyer's infamous crash occurred on a specially closed section of the autobahn outside of Frankfurt. He was attempting to set a new land speed record for the measured mile. Rosemeyer lost control of his Auto Union streamliner near the finish. Ironically, Rosemeyer didn't want to drive. He knew the car had serious flaws. But he was under army orders to drive for National Pride or else! He was a dead man as soon as he climbed into the cockpit.

Pre-event wind tunnel test results revealed serious engineering flaws in the car's structure. Nevertheless, the test results were not delivered to the Auto Union team by order of the German Army SS officials that mandated the record attempt for National Pride. The tests showed the car was literally coming apart at the seams from poor aerodynamic design and insufficiently strong materials.

The bottom photo shows the car at speed. You can clearly see the side panel deforming inward due to aerodynamic pressure. This exacerbated the already fatigued metal where engineers had over-tightened fasteners in an attempt to keep the body panels aligned at high speed.

As Rosemeyer neared the end of the third run his approximate speed was 267 m.p.h. or 430 k.p.h. The car went out of control and flipped end-over-end twice before sliding upside-down for more than twelve hundred feet along the pavement. Rosemeyer was thrown clear and killed instantly near the point where the car began its first flip.
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In the image below, SS officials are clearly visible. They made sure Rosemeyer didn't change his mind about driving.


Below, the side panel is obviously caved-in.


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post #7 of 9
This is an excellent thread.
post #8 of 9
Fantastic, Full Canvas. I'd always been under the impression that the car he was driving was the cockpit-forward torpedo shaped 16 cyl. Auto Union in which he went end-over-end. However, I was probably just a kid when I read about it.

Following a link from Wikipedia, I discovered a much more detailed account of the crash. It's amazing that they just modified the car aerodynamically by screwing 1mm aluminum sheets to it.

I found this particularly poignant:

Quote:
During the 30s the German National Socialistic regime had recognized the propaganda value of speed record attempts on "die Autobahnen", the new German highways. But by 1938 the speeds had gone up by 115 km/h in just three years and were coming close to the limits of human reaction. The road was just 8 meters wide and the track went under several bridges with central pillars. With such a speed as the German cars now reached the driver only had to turn the car one degree and he would have a wheel up in the grass in less than 1.5 seconds. The race for speed had reached what Chris Nixon calls "lunatic extremes".
Of course the drivers hated it and considered that a run demanded as much concentration as a whole Grand Prix race. In fact Bernd Rosemeyer had collapsed after a 5 km run in October 1937 and had had to be lifted out of the cockpit.

http://www.kolumbus.fi/leif.snellman/rose.htm
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nantucket Red View Post
Fantastic, Full Canvas. I'd always been under the impression that the car he was driving was the cockpit-forward torpedo shaped 16 cyl. Auto Union in which he went end-over-end. However, I was probably just a kid when I read about it.

Following a link from Wikipedia, I discovered a much more detailed account of the crash. It's amazing that they just modified the car aerodynamically by screwing 1mm aluminum sheets to it.


It truly is a small world. Thank you for the reference. Your link provided a missing photo (that I shamelessly copied) for my overflowing archives. It is interesting as source material and to see that someone was inspired to actually write an entire engineering paper on the event.

On one of my many visits to Strasbourg, Marie-Therese (see first paragraph of the main article after both prologues) took me to a little junk shop where I purchased a large cache of motoring photos. If my hazy memory is correct, it was 1976ish. The Rosemeyer photos were amongst the inventory.

The backs of my photos are stamped, Duetsches Motor Arkiv. I was told that the photos came from the Schlumpf brothers' collection in nearby Mulhouse. After the union people broke into the building housing the then-abandoned Schlumpf brothers' collection, quite a number of small items were liberated only to become available from area merchants. Your link shows I was not the only person to have access to the Rosemeyer photos. However, it seems the Zana-Snellman document you discovered has a photo (below) that was not in my collection. That image makes it look as if someone hammered the car with a big mallet.




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