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The Birth of the Silver Arrows

The International Eifel Race of 3 June 1934 marked both the first start and the first victory of the new Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow with the designation W 25.

This first appearance by a Mercedes-Benz ‘Silver Arrow’ began an unrivalled series of successes achieved by the W 25 and subsequent Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows in the years up to 1939. Mercedes-Benz followed up on these outstanding successes, initially in the 1952 season with racing sports cars and then with two Formula One World Championship titles in succession from 1954.

Triumph in the Eifel

The start had actually been planned for 13:00, after two motorcycle races, however bad weather delayed the start for the racing cars until 15:00. Mercedes-Benz was represented by two vehicles: von Brauchitsch in car No. 20 and Fagioli at the wheel of No. 22. The full line-up featured 44 vehicles. Fagioli and von Brauchitsch took an early lead in the W 25, followed by Hans Stuck (Auto Union) and Louis Chiron (Alfa Romeo). With Fagioli having been forced to retire on the 14th and penultimate lap, von Brauchitsch took the victory for Mercedes-Benz, followed by Stuck and Chiron.

The Rise of the Silver Arrows

For Manfred von Brauchitsch, victory in the Eifel Race was the only win of 1934. The success of the W 25, which competed in Grand Prix races until 1936, was instead dominated by Rudolf Caracciola. In the 1935 season, Caracciola won a total of six Grand Prix races, with Fagioli achieving a further three victories. In 1935, Caracciola became European Champion, having already clinched the German Championship. When Auto Union racing cars proved dominant in the 1936 Grand Prix season, Mercedes-Benz developed the new W 125 Silver Arrow for 1937: the final year of the 750-kilogram formula. It was with this car that Caracciola once again took the European Championship.

Over the subsequent years and decades, the success story of the Silver Arrows was continued by numerous Mercedes-Benz racing cars. During the classic era of the Silver Arrows, these legendary cars included the W 154 3-litre racing car (1938 – 1939), the W 165 1.5-litre racing car (1939 Tripoli Grand Prix), the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194, 1952), the W 196 R 2.5-litre Formula One racing car (1954 and 1955), and the 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S, 1955).