The Classic Days at Schloss Dyck were held on August 6 and 7 at the prestigious water castle at Jüchen in the German Rheinland, near Düsseldorf.
The ‘German Goodwood’ is a mix of concourse d’elegance and a race demonstration on the track, and it was enjoyed by more than 27,000 spectators. One of the highlights was the presence of Mercedes-Benz which celebrated its 125th anniversary with the Benz Patent Motorwagen replica.
The Stuttgart based company also honored Fangio on 100th anniversary of his birth by showing two of the famous Silberpfeile (Silver Arrows); the W 196 R Monoposto which entered in the 1954 and 1955 Formula One seasons and the Mercedes-Benz W196 S with streamlined bodywork, also known as the 300 SLR.
The Mercedes W 196 F1 in front of the Mercedes 300 SLR.
Juan Manuel Fangio was a racing driver from Argentina, who dominated the first decade of Formula One racing. He won five Formula One World Driver’s Championships and is considered by many to be the greatest driver of all time. In 1954, he transferred mid-season from Maserati to Mercedes-Benz and won immediately the first race for Germans with the W196. Fangio went on to win three more races in 1954, winning the Championship.
The success continued into the 1955 season, where the same car was used again. This legendary racing car was on display, together with the ‘658’ 300 SLR in which Fangio entered the Mille Miglia and Le Mans. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR was based on the 1954/55 Formula One car, but is perhaps most known for the involvement in the most catastrophic accident in motorsports history. French driver Pierre Levegh lost his life at the notorious 1955 Le Mans crash, killing also 83 spectators. A further 120 people were injured.
The unique Mercedes-Benz Rennabteilung Auto Transporter.
Another interesting car displayed by Mercedes was the Rennabteilung Auto Transporter – built and designed by Mercedes to be fast, very fast – even while carrying a Silver Arrow or an SLR in its bed. This unique transporter was powered by the same three-liter six-cylinder engine as the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, which provided 192 horsepower.
Believe it or not, Mercedes opted for a fast transporter for practical reasons. They wanted a transporter that could carry race cars from the factory to the track quicker in order to provide more prep time for the car’s next race. Despite its weight of 2,100kg, the transporter was able to reach a top speed of 165km/h, even when carrying a race car. This would made the transporter faster than most cars of those days. It would have been an interesting sight on the German Autobahn, being passed by truck…
Ironically, in the mid-fifties this transporter often attracted more attention on Europe’s racing tracks than the cars it carried. When Daimler-Benz withdrew from Grand Prix Racing after the 1955 Le Mans crash, however, the racing car carrier initially served as an exhibition vehicle in the USA, followed by ten years of service for Mercedes-Benz test drives. Then in 1967 the truck was sold for scrap.
Thankfully the transporter was reconstructed true to every last detail. The vehicle brings back to life the era of motor sports legends such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Karl Kling and Hans Herrmann and famous vehicles which the racing car carrier transported, such as the Mercedes-Benz W 196 Grand Prix racing car and the 300 SLR racing sports car. These are winning vehicles: In 1955, Mercedes-Benz won the Mille Miglia, Eifelrennen, Targa Florio, Formula 1 World Championship, the World Sportscar Championship, and the European Touring Car Championship.