Mercedes-Benz W154 Silver Arrows

Silver Arrows at the Goodwood Revival 2012

Silver Arrows at the 2012 Goodwood Revival – Mercedes-Benz W 154, 1939

In September 1936, the AIACR laid down the Grand Prix formula that was to apply from 1938. The key points were a maximum displacement of 3 litres for mechanically supercharged engines and 4.5 litres for naturally aspirated engines, and weight from a minimum of 400 kilograms to a maximum of 850 kilograms, according to displacement. These specifications necessitated a completely new car, so the 1937 season was still in full swing when the Mercedes-Benz designers developed their car for the next racing season. The V12 engine of the new W 154 was run on the test bench from January 1938. During the races, drivers of the car had more than 468 hp (344 kW) at their disposal.

The W 154 Silver Arrow was indeed able to outdo the exploits of its predecessors, giving the Mercedes-Benz racing department its greatest number of victories during this era. The first race of the new season ended in disappointment, however. On the twisting circuit in Pau, France, the car was unable to display its full potential and was set back by a refueling stop. But things rapidly improved thereafter. Mercedes-Benz won almost all major competitions that season and in 1939, the final racing season before the Second World War, Brauchitsch, Caracciola, and Lang repeated their triumphs of the previous year in the W 154.

Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows
Mercedes-Benz W 154 and W 125 Silver Arrows (photo: Tim Scott)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows (photo: Tim Scott)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows (photo: Tim Scott)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows (photo: Tim Scott)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 in period
Double victory at the Pau Grand Prix, April 8, 1939. The winner Hermann Lang in a Mercedes-Benz W 154. Manfred von Brauchitsch finished second. (photo: Daimler AG)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 in period
International Eifel race on the Nurburgring, May 21, 1939. Rudolf Caracciola (Start number 12) finished in third place in a Mercedes-Benz racing car W 154. (photo: Daimler AG)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 in period
Swiss Grand Prix, August 20, 1939. The winner Hermann Lang (start number 16) in a Mercedes-benz W 154. (photo: Daimler AG)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows (photo: Julien Mahiels)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows (photo: Julien Mahiels)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows (photo: Julien Mahiels)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows (photo: Julien Mahiels)
Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows
Pair of Mercedes-Benz W 154 Silver Arrows (photo: Julien Mahiels)

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  1. As David Hinshaw says, “Great photo gallery and history of these awesome machines. Thanks to all involved for putting this together!” Good also to see Stuck (senior!) in hill-climbing and also Luigi Fagioli who always seemed to be overshadowed by Caracciola and Seaman in pre-war racing and by Fangio and Farina in 1950-1951. A driver who deserves to be remembered more than he is. An article for your site, maybe?