Mercedes-Benz W25 #20 – Spark

1934 Mercedes-Benz W25 
Pilot: Manfred von Brauchitsch
Team: Mercedes-Benz
Race: 1st place in the 1934 Eifel GP
Spark - B66041001 (diecast) 

Published 12/03/19

In 1933 the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR) announced a rule change for Grand Prix racing. For 1934, race cars should weigh no more than 750 kg and races would have at least 500 km. Up until then, Mercedes-Benz’ primary race car was the SSK/SSKL. It was big, heavy and thirsty for fuel, therefore was not suited for the 750 kg formula. As a result, in March of 1933 Mercedes started working on a brand new car, the W25. The W25 counted on a box section type chassis, with  cross-bracing, thoroughly drilled to save weight. The outer skin consisted of hand-formed aluminum shaped into a streamlined body.

w25 #20
The first Silberpfeil from Stuttgart.

To power the new car, Mercedes developed the M25 engine. The new power plant was nothing revolutionary, consisting of two blocks of four cylinders welded together as an inline-8. To keep the car light and competitive Mercedes opted for supercharging, using a Roots supercharger. The engine had DOHC and 32 valves and initially (M25A version), displaced 3360 cm³. Connected to the inline-8 was an advanced 4-speed aluminum gearbox, allowing full use of the engine’s 302 hp. Suspension was independent on all four corners and stopping power came from hydraulically-assisted drum brakes. The car was race ready by May 1934, and would debut at the AVUSrennen. However, due to carburetor problems Mercedes withdrew all three cars right after practice. With that, the W25 first raced on June 3rd in the VII ADAC Eifelrennen, at the Nürburgring circuit.

w25 #20
I couldn’t find out why, but rear wheels have white spokes in the model.

Mercedes’s team for the Eifel GP consisted of Manfred von Brauchitsch (W25 #20) and Luigi Fagioli (#22). And as race director, the great Alfred Neubauer. The race  was delayed for hours because of fog, rain and hail. Finally, at 3:00pm, 44 cars in three classes started off. And right on the first lap a Bugatti T35 fatally crashed, barely missing von Brauchitsch. Fagioli was in the lead, but on the second lap Neubauer ordered the faster von Brauchitsch to pass. The W25 #20 kept a comfortable lead until mid race, but when von Brauchitsch stopped for fuel, Hans Stuck passed him. When von Brauchitsch finally rejoined the race, Stuck was 87 seconds ahead. Eventually though, the Auto Union had to pit, and von Brauchitsch regained the lead. After that it was smooth sailing until the checkered flag.

w25 #20
As you can see, Neubauer’s (fairy) tale about the origin of the term Silberpfeil is well disseminated.

The W25 #20 is a grail car to the Silberpfeil collector. In scale by Spark it’s a beautiful model and comes in a special commemorative box, with a little of the car’s history. It’s quite an old release, from when Spark still offered a few models in diecast. Even so, it’s a beauty of a model, as good as their current resin ones.

w25 #20
From prototype to winner in just one year.

So what does very historically important car + special box + very low production run spell? RARE model, in capital letters. This was the first model I came upon up for auction on evilBay. But with invaluable help from Northumberland’s greatest stinker, I lucked out and managed to get it for a humane price. After all, this car was Mercedes’s first car to win a Grand Prix race. It’s a model I was certain that I would never have, because it’s so rare. Therefore, a fantastic acquisition for the Silberpfeil wing of my collection.

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