The birth of the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow took place 89 years ago. To be more exact, on the night of June 2nd, 1934.
Mercedes built two newly-designed W25 vehicles for the 1934 GP racing. They were registered to debut in the Eifel race at the Nürburgring on June 3. Mercedes was eager to become the world leader in motorsport again. The W25 was developed in accord with the 750kg regulations, a new formula that was designed to curb the ongoing strife to develop large-capacity cars by all means.
The official weighing report that came out on the afternoon of June 2 must have stunned the Mercedes racing team. Painted in white, the classic German race color, the W25s were each approximately 1 kilogram too heavy. This would disqualify them from the start line of the next day. Legend has it that Alfred Neubauer, the chief of the Mercedes racing department, came up with a remedy. “We have to remove the paint!” was his order. So the whole team set out to work feverishly throughout the night.
When the cars were checked again the next day, the weight was just right. Neubauer’s idea had saved the day. Imagine the surprise when people saw the new looks of the German racing cars that were covered in an aluminum sheen!
Both Manfred von Brauchitsch, the young daredevil German driver, and Luigi Fagioli, a cool-headed teammate from Italy, were geared up for the race. They were burning to put up a successful premiere for the shiny W25 on June 3. The audience and the press could hardly believe their eyes when they first saw the radiant silvery rockets. After Brauchitsch raced his #20 car to the championship in record time, the moniker “Silver Arrow” spread like fire.
In 1935, the European Championship was resumed, and it was won by Rudolf Caracciola in a W25. In modified form, the W25 remained in use until 1937, when it was succeeded by the Mercedes Benz W125.