Mention the words “Rudi” and “Mercedes” and what comes to mind? Chances are good it will be images of famed driver Rudolf Caracciola wheeling a giant prewar SSK or W154 “Silver Arrow” around some exotic circuit, like the Nürburgring or Tripoli. Yet, there was another Rudi at Mercedes-Benz who arguably contributed far more to the performance and prestige of the brand, over a much longer period of time. That Rudi was Rudolf Uhlenhaut.
Born in London, in 1906, to German parents, Rudolf Uhlenhaut was first fascinated by the mechanical marvel of the steam locomotive. As a result, he enrolled at Munich University to study mechanical engineering. By the time he graduated in 1931, however, Uhlenhaut had fallen under the spell of the automobile and so went straight to work for Mercedes-Benz in their experimental department devoted to road cars.
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