Note 114

Mercedes-Benz W125 in sound and motion


     The exhaust noise of the W125 added to the moving car drawing was recorded in June 1958* when Mercedes-Benz brought one and a W154/M163 to Oulton Park for an exhibition during the VSCC Seaman Trophy meeting. This was their tribute to Dick Seaman who drove for them in 1937 -1939 and won the 1938 German Grand Prix but died after a crash when leading the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix in the rain.

The cars were driven in turn for 6 laps each at restrained RPM by Peter Collins and Tony Brooks. Collins had raced for Mercedes in 1955 when he co-drove with Stirling Moss to win the Targa Florio and the Sports Car Championship with a rather-battered 300SLR. He had experience of high-power cars with the V16 BRM and the V12 Thinwall Ferrari. Brooks did not have that experience. An illustration of Brooks in action with the W125 is shown below.

In practice Collins in the W125 lapped at 84.5 MPH on a damp track. (Motor Sport August 1958). For comparison, a 1½ litre ERA, R5B, driven by Bill Moss lapped in a (short, dry) race at 82.4 MPH (DASO 449: Racing an Historic Car; P.Hull; 1960).

Sadly, Collins died only five weeks later after crashing his Ferrari at the Nurburgring while in pursuit of Brooks leading the German Grand Prix in a Vanwall.

Some idea of what the W125 might have done at Oulton if run at racing RPM in the dry can be gathered by looking at the speed when von Brauchitsch put the type on Pole at Donington in 1937. He achieved 86.9 MPH (his style is shown in a picture below), where a 1½L ERA, R10B driven by Peter Whitehead, did 74.0 (DASO 776). Assuming that the ERAs were in a similar tune and with tyres of similar performance up to 1958, it could be deduced by scaling that the W125 at Oulton might have lapped at:

                                   86.9 x (82.4/74.0) = 96.8 MPH.

*Sound Stories. LP551. Stanley Schofield Productions Ltd. 1960.       


Tony Brooks Brauchitsch

 Tony Brooks at Oulton Park, 1958. DST

                     V. Brauchitsch at Donington, 1937. DASO 776




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