1935 Auto Union Typ Lucca
Pilot: Hans Stuck
Team: Auto Union
Race: 1935 land speed record attempt
Minichamps - 410352000 (diecast)
In 1933, with the ascent to power of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, the motorization of Germany became a priority. And following the wave of enthusiasm with the new regime, one month later Mercedes-Benz decided to get back to racing. Unfortunately though, top-level racing wasn’t cheap, even back then. So Daimler`s top brass got in touch with the Transport Ministry and secured a government sponsorship for their racing program. Fresh out of the oven Auto Union accordingly saw the benefits of this. World-class racing generated good publicity, so they also asked for a slice of the pie.
With direct influence from Ferdinand Porsche himself, and with Adolf Hitler’s blessing, the government agreed to divide the money between both manufacturers. With that, Auto Union also got into the game. But what to do if you want to race but don’t have a race car? You buy one. So Auto Union bought Porsche’s designing firm and his “P-Wagen” project. And that’s how Auto Union’s racing program started.
With Porsche at the head of the new racing department, Auto Union produced their first Grand Prix car, the Typ A. It was a direct descendant from the P-Wagen and had, for the period, some unusual characteristics.
LUWerner on W143:
Porsche’s P-Wagen had a lot of novel ideas for a race car of that era. The engine was a V16 (at 45º) that displaced 4360 cm³ with SOHC and 32 valves. Supercharged by a Roots supercharger, it developed 295 hp. But the big deal was its location at the rear, and not at the front as was the norm. The fuel tank located directly behind the driver allowed a constant front-rear weight distribution as the fuel was used. This location is used in modern open-wheel racing cars for the same reason.
The chassis was a (very) stiff ladder chassis, and a very stiff suspension was used. Because of this design, the car’s turning angle changed as the momentum of the centrally mounted engine increased on the chassis. And that caused oversteer, meaning that the car was a beast to drive. Rare was the pilot who was able to master it.
The Typ A won three GP races and quite a few hill climb races in 1934. However, to face Mercedes-Benz W25 in the 1935 Grand Prix season, the car would need further development. So in late 1934 Porsche started working on its replacement, the Typ B. Furthermore, Auto Union also wanted to attempt land speed records, like Mercedes-Benz. Thus, in early 1935, a Typ A (not a Typ B) received the modifications for record attempts. Auto Union’s idea was to use a streamlined body covering a regular Typ A chassis and engine. To make the car more aerodynamic it also had an aircraft-type all-enveloping cockpit. And it also counted on aerodynamic fairings behind the wheels, with the rear wheels being totally closed.
In 1935 this Rekordwagen broke the International Class C (3 to 5 liters) record for the flying mile. With Hans Stuck on the wheel, it achieved an outstanding 320.267 km/h. That shattered Caracciola’s earlier record aboard the W25 Rennlimousine in late December 1934. The record attempt took place at the Florence-Viareggio Autoestrada near, Lucca, Italy. As a result, the new car became known as the Typ Lucca.
That day the W25 Rennlimousine lost the C Class record, though it kept the title of ugliest Silberpfeil. Come on, I love my Silberpfeile, but that W25 is plain darn ugly. But I digress, back to the Luca. In 1:43 terms the Typ Lucca is a terrific model from the chaps at Paul’s. They recreated the car very well in scale. Even so, taking into consideration the subject matter, I doubt it will be a much popular model. So if you’re not into LSR cars or Silberpfeile this is probably not for you.