1938 Mercedes-Benz W154 Pilot: Hermann Lang Team: Mercedes-Benz Race: 1st place in the 1938 Tripoli GP Spark - S1032 (resin)
Created in 1933, the Italian National Lottery was built around the Corsa dei Milioni, aka as the Tripoli Grand Prix, raced on the Mellaha circuit in the Italian colony of Tripolitania (currently Libya). Tickets were pretty cheap and sold easily. A week before the race, an initial lottery draw produced 30 lucky winners. These winners then drew another ticket corresponding to a driver on the 30-strong starting grid. So for the lottery to work, there had to be at least 30 cars in the race.
That meant that for the 1938 Tripoli GP, to get enough cars for the lottery, voiturettes and GP cars had to race together. Mixing big and small cars always has a potential for problems, and trouble started right at the beginning. When the light turned green there was voiturettes already rolling behind the GP cars, almost producing a pile-up on the first corner. On the 8th lap an Alfa 312, trying to avoid a slower Maserati voiturette, braked too hard and lost control. It ran straight into a house and the pilot died immediately. Five laps later a new accident happened, again between a GP and a voiturette car. The Maserati voiturette pilot died the next morning from his injuries.
With Auto Union absent from the race (their cars weren’t ready in time), Mercedes arrived with three W154. Piloted by Hermann Lang (#46), Manfred von Brauchitsch (#44) and Rudolf Caracciola (#26). Both von Brauchitsch and Caracciola had engine gremlins, but Lang managed first place, his first win for Mercedes. But even with engine issues, von Brauchitsch and Caracciola stilled managed second and third places respectively. You can see a video here (6’16”) made by Mercedes showing the preparations for the race. Without Auto Union around Mercedes dominated, and though race results were not spectacular, Spark’s W154 #46 is nothing but. Beautifully recreated in scale, I just love everything about it. So for the Silberpfeil collector, a fantastic acquisition.
To my utter frustration, the seller “forgot” to mention that on my W154 #46 the windshield glass was missing 😤. So I had to make a new one out of clear acrylic plastic. A bit frustrating, but in the end the job came out quite satisfactory.