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At the starting line.

The team from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre pushes the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow W 165 from the paddock tent out into the field and arrived at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019 with several historic vehicles and brand ambassadors. The mechanics know the vehicles inside out, and they also know the special requirements of the event. Their task for Mercedes-Benz Classic is to prepare the racing cars so well that they can race up the hill-climbing course and please an enthusiastic crowd. 

The event delivers historic motorsports almost close enough to touch and on a scale unrivalled by any other event. Hardly surprising that fans from all over the world flock every year to the country estate of Charles Gordon Lennox, 11th Duke of Richmond.

And at the starting line: the Mercedes-Benz W 165 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

And at the starting line: the Mercedes-Benz W 165 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

In the eyes of the public: the Mercedes-Benz W 165 is about to be started up.

In the eyes of the public: the Mercedes-Benz W 165 is about to be started up.

Owned by the factory since 1939.

Mercedes-Benz developed the Silver Arrow W 165 for one single race – the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix. This dedication was duly rewarded when Hermann Lang and Rudolf Caracciola took a one-two victory. Since then, the 1.5-litre monoposto (single-seater car) has been in exclusive factory ownership.

Mercedes-Benz Classic took a total of thirteen racing cars to Goodwood this year. Four of them took part in races: in addition to the W 165, a 300 SLR (W 196 S) from 1955, a 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II DTM touring car (W 201) from 1992 and a C 63 AMG DTM (C 205) from 2018 made spectators’ hearts beat that little bit faster. The other cars were on show in a static display to celebrate the “125 Years of Motorsports” anniversary this year – and attracted crowds of admirers like bees round a honeypot.

Expert vehicle preparation.

As did the drivers: racing drivers Ellen Lohr, Jochen Mass, Bernd Mayländer and Karl Wendlinger were also on-site.

The mechanics of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre prepared the W 165 professionally – as is always the case when their vehicles are sent out to events. “A complete service at home in Fellbach including the brake dynamometer is always part of every event preparation. Safety is the highest priority,” explains Gert Straub. One additional effect of this thoroughness is that there are usually no repairs necessary during the event, apart from minor details and maintenance work.

To the delight of the audience: the Mercedes-Benz W 165 starts up.

To the delight of the audience: the Mercedes-Benz W 165 starts up.

Just like in the 1930s: the spark plug collection for the original racing car.

Just like in the 1930s: the spark plug collection for the original racing car.

The spark plug change becomes an event in itself.

Gert Straub and the other mechanics handle these dream machines of motorcar history on a daily basis. At the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the public in the paddock also have a chance to get very close to the vehicles and are fascinated to see how the experts work. The key word is craftsmanship. When they change a wheel, for example, the knock-off centre caps are loosened with a copper hammer and not with a modern impact wrench. 

Even a simple spark plug change becomes an event in itself: just like in the 1930s, a perfectly shaped wooden box with an attractive collection of spark plugs lies on the bonnet. The spark plugs are changed in exactly the same way as they were then. To prepare for the race, warm-up plugs are fitted in the engine and these are exchanged for racing plugs shortly before the race starts.

A mobile workshop.

For every historical vehicle at Goodwood there are two mechanics. The newer the vehicles become, the more complex the equipment becomes. For a modern Formula One racing car, that equipment fills half a truck, and the team of specialists responsible for it requires a minibus. By way of comparison, the W 165 is accompanied on its travels around the globe by three large boxes of tools and special parts. Every item has its place. When the team arrive at the destination, they open it all up and can start immediately – the mechanics do not have time for sorting things out first.

The Classic Centre team also functions as vehicle experts and explains the special features of each vehicle to the drivers.

At the Goodwood Festival of Speed Esteban Ocon, Formula 1 replacement driver at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, enjoyed driving the 300 SLR (W 196 S).

Racing at breakneck speed – just like in Tripoli: Mercedes-Benz 1.5-litre racing car W 165 from 1939, here with Jochen Mass at the wheel.

Racing at breakneck speed – just like in Tripoli: Mercedes-Benz 1.5-litre racing car W 165 from 1939, here with Jochen Mass at the wheel.

A quick throttle blip, and the racing car is off.

Things are hotting up for a race on the hill-climbing course at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The fans have long noticed that the engine is about to be started and surround the car in tight ranks. The starter runs for a second or two. Vroom! The machine fires and generates the most infernal noise – just the way the fans love it. Some cover their ears, but show real joy in their faces to be so close to the car.

Then the experts from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Centre wheel the car to the starting line. Jochen Mass slips into the tight cockpit in fireproof overalls, puts on the helmet, and pulls the strap tight. A last briefing by Gert Straub, and with a kick of the accelerator the Tripoli racing car is off. Just like in 1939. This is living history from 125 years of Mercedes-Benz motorsports.

Another world premiere for the SSKL streamlined racing car.

The Mercedes-Benz SSKL streamlined racing car from 1932 is a rather special star that the mechanics have been rebuilding true to the original plans over the last months. The car was presented to the public by Mercedes-Benz Classic at Goodwood for the first time.

It was in this car that Manfred von Brauchitsch won the International Avus Race in Berlin with a new record speed – also thanks to the aerodynamically shaped bodywork, which was the first time the concept had been so consistently applied to a racing car.

Not in public since 1932: Mercedes-Benz SSKL streamlined racing car.

Not in public since 1932: Mercedes-Benz SSKL streamlined racing car.

Impressions 2019.

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

Product may vary after press date on 02.08.2019.

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

6 Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.