By: Herman Lang . 2003 REPRINT -
Racing The Silver Arrows is the story of how the silver cars of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union — funded, in part, by the Nazis— dominated the Grand Prix scene during the later half of the 19305. In order to tell this fascinating tale in a manner never attempted before, author Chris Nixon has done a magnificent job of research, which meant interviewing that remarkable era's principal survivors to obtain a highly readable and personal insight into the period. He also borrowed photographs from their albums, enabling him to illustrate this book with much previously unpublished material.
The men and machines of Mercedes-Benz. and Auto Union provided such stirring racing in the 19305 that the period has become recognised as The Golden Age of Grand Prix racing, arid this is the first hook to chronicle fully the battle between the two companies on the circuits, autohahnen and mountain climbs of Europe in the years leading up to World War H.
Each year, from 1934 through to1939, is dealt with separately and contains two memoirs from people closely connected with that particular racing season —people such as Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Elly Beinhorn Rosemeyer, Dr Ferry Porsche, Erica Seaman and Hermann Lang (the 1939 European Champion), who also wrote the foreword. Then. there are in-depth profiles of the other principal personalities, including Rudolf Caracciola, Tazio Nuvolari, Alfred Neubauer, Bernd Rosemeyer, Achille Varzi and Dick Seaman. There are also intriguing sidelights on some of the wives and girlfriends — women who played a very important (and in one case disastrous) role in the life and career of their menfolk. Each year is concluded with a report of one of the season's most important Grands Prix from either The Autocar or The Motor, a review of the year in pictures and a description of some of the circuits then in use.
There is also a chapter entitled Racing and the Nazis. This examines in detail — and for the first time -- the way in which the Nazi Party used Grand Prix racing and record-breaking for propaganda purposes, once Adolf Hitler had set things in motion in 1933, with the offer of a financial subsidy (albeit a pretty small one) to any German car manufacturer which would go motor racing. As Hitler expected, the investment paid off handsomely, and from 1935 German cars dominated the Grand Prix scene almost completely, until Der fuihrer decided to go after bigger, more sinister, prizes.
Chris Nixon's writing, the personal reminiscences, contemporary race reports and a wealth of remarkable photographs (many from the Daimler-Benz Archly) combine to make this more than a mere motoring book. Instead, Racing The Silver Arrows describes the people and their period in history all too often ignored because of the tragic events that followed, and fills a gap in motor racing literature that had lain open for 45 years.