From the moment the new rules for the Tripoli event were confirmed in September 1938, Mercedes set to work on a new car to tackle the desert duel.
The hard work, effort and dedication came to fruition with the W 165 - a stunning Silver beast, which was ready to be tested out as early as April 1939 by drivers Rudolf Caracciola and Hermann Lang at the Hockenheimring.
With a striking resemblance to its Grand Prix-racing big brother, the W 165 looked remarkably like a scaled down version of the W 154. Powered by an angry 1.5-litre supercharged V8 engine, it proved to be an impressive piece of kit - even more so when considering the tight timeframe to turn this racing machine around.
And so, it was ready for action at the Tripoli Grand Prix, primed and prepped to handle the heat of the Libyan desert. Maserati’s Luigi Villoresi qualified at the front of the pack after setting the pace in practice, but Lang - known for being a Tripoli specialist, having won the event in 1937 and 1939 - was right behind him and moved into the lead at the start.