Auto Union Typ D #22 – Minichamps

1938 Auto Union Typ D 
Pilot: Tazio Nuvolari
Team: Auto Union
Race: 1st place, 1938 Italian GP
Minichamps - 400380022 (diecast)

Published 03/06/18

Since 1937 was the last year of the 750 kg formula, for the next season all GP teams would have to use new cars. The new rules announced in 1936 became known as the “3-Liter Formula”, and allowed engines up to 3 l (supercharged) or 4.5 l (normally aspirated) and the cars without fluids could weigh no more than 850 kg. To compensate for the smaller engines, both Mercedes and Auto Union used superchargers and increased engine revs, but at the cost of fuel economy. Because of this the new cars had to have huge tanks and still multiple pit stops were needed for each race. So for the new rules Auto Union developed the Typ D, which had almost the same chassis of the Typ C (upgraded with a De Dion rear suspension) but with a new engine.

Auto Union Typ D
I’ll be the first to admit it: not the most handsome of the Silberpfeile.

The new engine was a 60º V12 with 2990 cm³ that produced 420 hp, and that could rev over 10.000 rpm (during races though, it rarely went over 7000 rpm). However, Auto Union didn’t have much luck in 1937. Their best result was only a second place by Hans Stuck at the Belgian GP. The development of the Typ D started in early 1937, under Ferdinand Porsche’s supervision. After 18 months it was ready, just in time for the 1938 season. But the year started out pretty grim for the team. Porsche’s contract expired in the end of 1937 and was not renewed, so he went to work for VW. At the end of 1937 Stuck was fired (or quit, depending on who tells the story). And worst of all, Bernd Rosemeyer died in a terrible accident in January of 38.

Typ D: ugly, fast and fuel-thirsty.

The 1938 season started out bad for Auto Union and didn’t improve much. In contrast, Mercedes-Benz, with it’s W154, dominated the season. In fact, they didn’t finish in first in just one of the four European Championship races. The first win for Auto Union was the Italian GP at Monza, on September 11th. As expected, the W154s started on the lead, with Tazio Nuvolari, in the Typ D #22, in the second row. Nuvolari did a brilliant job, and slowly started gaining positions. And to make things easier, the W154s were out of luck that day, having all sorts of mishaps. By the 8th lap he was in first, and stayed there to the checkered flag. His #22 was the last remaining Typ D in the race.

Auto Union Typ D
Interesting to see how the Typ A evolved into the D.

OF COURSE I needed a Typ D in my Silberpfeil Wing. And OF COURSE I needed a car driven by the Flying Mantuan*. Therefor, choosing this model was a very simple decision. Once again, an absolute smashing job by Minichamps, just as nice as my Typ A.

* The guy was a fabulous pilot, but man, that’s an ugly dude.

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