Auto Union Typ A Rennlimousine (“Typ Lucca”) #4 – Minichamps

1934 Auto Union Typ A Rennlimousine (“Typ Lucca”) #4
Pilot: Bernd Rosemeyer
Team: Auto Union 
Race: DNF AVUS-Rennen 1935 
Minichamps - 410354004 (diecast)

Published 05/19/23

Born in Lingen, Germany, on October 14th, 1909, Bernd Rosemeyer began his involvement with motorsports as a teenager. His father owned a car and motorcycle garage and repair shop, where young Bernd helped out. One thing led to another, and soon he was competing in motorcycle races. And he was good, signing with Zündapp in 1931. Then came contracts with BMW, NSU and DKW. That’s when, in late 1934, he caught the eye of Willy Walb, Auto Union’s team manager. Rosemeyer had never raced an automobile before, yet that could be an advantage. Since Auto Union’s cars were totally out of the norm, Rosemeyer would not have to “relearn” how to drive. The Typ A, being rear-engined, demanded a type of handling totally different from front-engined cars. Therefore, with no previous bias towards regular cars, Rosemeyer had an advantage learning the unique handling of the Auto Unions.

Different from the Lucca Rekordwagen, the AVUS Rennlimousine had opened wheels.

However, Bernd Rosemeyer was far from being an “experienced” automobile pilot. So Walb, when he invited him to the team in 1934, wanted Rosemeyer to start slowly. In early 1935, Walb hinted that maybe Rosemeyer could drive at the V Internationales AVUS-Rennen, scheduled for late May. At the time, Rosemeyer practically lived at the factory, with a child-like enthusiasm about everything Grand Prix-related. If the legend is correct, in February of 1935 Rosemeyer went to Auto Union’s board to ask permission to race. From that point on he started pesking Willy Walb. Every single day, he wrote on Walb’s calendar “91 days to AVUS and Rosemeyer will race”, “90 days to AVUS and Rosemeyer will race”, and so on. If by pressure from the board, or because Rosemeyer was actually ready or maybe just because he was driving Walb mad, Rosemeyer got a pilot spot for AVUS.

Powering Rennlimousine #4 was a 4.9 l V16, bigger than the original Typ A’s 4.3 engine.

AVUS, or Automobil-Verkehrs- und Übungsstraße (“Automobile Traffic and Training Road”), is a public road in Berlin, opened in 1921. The project was for a test track for Germany’s automobile industry and also a race track for motorsports. AVUS was quite unusual, since it was two long straights joined at each end by large-radius curves. Moreover, the two curves had a 43º (!!) banking, allowing absurd speeds. Not what I would call a “beginner’s” track, but what the hey…😳 Auto Union arrived at Berlin with five cars. Two 1934 Typ A, transformed into Rennlimousine (“Typ Lucca”), and two new 1935 Typ B Grand Prix cars with closed front suspension. The fifth was a spare car, with the regular open front suspension. Being the new guy, Rosemeyer couldn’t choose his car, so he got the Rennlimousine #4 (chassis #76003).

The aerodynamic aluminum body of the Rennlimousine weighed 120 kg. Auto Union only produced two bodies.

The 1935 AVUS-Rennen occurred on May 26, 1935. Though composed of three heats, for the first time in a German race, practice times decided the starting positions. Rennlimousine #4 started in second, right behind his teammate Hans Stuck (piloting the Typ B #1). Stuck took off, with Rosemeyer on his heels. On the third lap, Luigi Fagioli’s W25 caught up to the Rennlimousine #4 and a duel for second began. On the fourth lap, however, Rosemeyer had a puncture at 130 km/h in the Nordschleife. As inexperienced as he was, Rosemeyer forced his tires too much, and one (catastrophically) gave up early. Fortunately he managed to stop the car without incident, however he was out of the race. In the end, Fagioli’s Mercedes came in first, and the best Auto Union was Achille Varzi’s Typ B in third.

Two Rennlimousine, one a record holder the other a DNFer. Yet, both fantastic models.

I think you could say that Bernd Rosemeyer’s Grand Prix debut was a disaster. After all, he didn’t complete four laps, and abandoned the race because he didn’t mind his equipment. Nonetheless, just three weeks later, he finished in second (to the great Rudolf Caracciola) at Nürburgring. The more he drove, the better he got, and by 1936 he won the European Championship. Sadly, he died too early at 28, in January of 1938 😥. Without a doubt, Bernd Rosemeyer was one of the greatest drivers of the Golden Era of Grand Prix racing.

For the Rennlimousine, Minichamps used a different mold than the one for the Rekordwagen. There are LOTS of differences.

Rosemeyer is also one of my racing heroes, and to my delight, earlier this year Minichamps released his Rennlimousine in 1:43. At first glance it may look like the Rekordwagen without wheel covers, yet there is a myriad of different details between them. A gem of a model, with a fantastic attention to details – just perfect 🤗! I’m over the moon about it, and it definitively holds a special place in the W-143 Garage.

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