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History DKW 1
August Horch 1
1873 NSU History
Bernd Rosemeyer
2015 Vienna Motor Symposium

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1913 Wanderer 5/12
1913 Horch 8

Bernd Rosemeyer

He was a star that rose in a very short time, shone bright, bright and sudden and unexpected burned. Protagonists were the National Socialist German Reich and Auto Union just now founded. Not at all phases involved directly but full of emotional sympathy, Ferdinand Porsche.

He is considered the inventor of this type of race car, although it has given usually already all in automotive engineering. Porsche even awarded the special role, actually two competitors to have supplied with the necessary technical material, Auto Union and Daimler Benz.

These were the counterparties of the thirties, after the Motorsport in Germany has experienced an unprecedented impulse with significant subsidies by the Nazi government. By the way, Ferdinand Porsche also had his hand in the game in subsidies for the Auto Union.

The ascension of Bernd Rosemeyer took place from the motorcycle class. DKW was after all a world leader in this field and tried to retain its dominance by racing success. Rosemeyer changed from the 500 cc to a mid-engine racing car. The just now started his equally brilliant career with 16 cylinders, almost 220 kW (300 HP) at only 4500 RPM and 7:1 compression ratio in 1934.

But Rosemeyer wins already with the initial version in his first year of racing the Grand Prix in Masaryk near Brno 1935. Earlier in June, he finished second just after Caracciola at the Eifel race on the Nürburgring. The victory over three Alfas gave a sign for the further progress of the racing history.

Blue gray eyes and blond hair, the dream of a man at that time. Unfortunately, it was the last race of the season. But it helped him to meet his future wife, Elly Beinhorn, which was as aviatrix more famous than he. Both were the perfect couple, idols, especially for the youth.

Rosemeyer also displayed a special responsiveness in everyday life. As if he had to hurry because he had to live at this time for only two and a half years. With his chic Horch Coupe he tried to win for himself the initially very reserved acting Beinhorn and however does not give up.

His race car had in fact not changed its rated speed, but its displacement increased to six liters and its performance also by compressor to over 380 kW (520 HP) for the racing season 1936. It has been the year of Auto Union and Bernd Rosemeyer. He has after seven GP victories over Mercedes - the others anyway were irrelevant - won the European Championship, which in practice was equated a World Cup.

He married Elly Beinhorn and both had a son, who later became professor of orthopedic surgery. Gradually, his wife had discovered Rosemeyer's talents and realized the enormous problems in professional racing driver. Without specially great respect for one of the first women with pilot's licence and her solo flight around the world, he also acquired the licence.

It's the little things that make Beinhorn's descriptions of the time so interesting. For example, that a race car driver clinked glasses only with juice on his first GP win and looked that he came to bed on time. Regarding his driving skills he was probably significantly superior to others even in normal road traffic, but not always completely accident free. And the fact that a Horch had a far better radio than the Mercedes.

More importantly the consideration of the time. 1936 also had rich people no television, because it has just been invented. Race was followed on the radio with continuous music interruption. Or the were visited. However, there was no other mass event of this kind except in politics. 350,000 were at the Grand Prix of Germany 1936.

Actually, an experienced aviatrix should be used to some. In their attempt in three continents to start/alight during 24 hours already dangerous situations arose. In a fog/rain area with a sports machine without radio transceiver to hope for a happy landing for an hour, this already set standards. To hope for one hour in a fog/rain area with a sports machine without radio transceiver on a happy landing, this already set standards.

Remarkably, what respect one had for crossing the Mediterranean (though not the shortest). Flights with commercial aircrafts, for example, to South Africa lasted 10 days with a lot of luck. If you had bad luck, sometimes a week was needed to start again somewhere during the rainy season.

It is said Rosemeyer had been lucky enough to be able to change immediately from the motorcycle on the race car with rear respectively mid-sized engine. Those coming from conventional front engine, initially complained after a change. Tyres will probably be a problem for all time, there was much more fuel on board than it is today and the measures for the subsequent improvement of driving characteristics were very limited.

Also the race tracks were much more uncertain. And concerning the clothing of the racers (there are very few female racers), one could only dream of, eg, fire protection. Nevertheless, the cars were not much slower than today. Bloody hands, where a steering tugged at every bump were not rare, blackened faces outside the racing spectacles normal.

For this were needed practical people who could not allow themselves to be impressed too much by the all too frequent deaths of racing colleagues. As a reward waved a 'faster' life, even off the track, far detached from that of the normal population. When Rosemeyer had his pilot's license, he landed eg (illegally) at the Nürburgring next to the race track.

The record runs has raised high expectations. They were the same vehicles, provided only with a more streamlined cladding. Rosemeyer is the first person who is fast on a normal road about 400 km/h. But Mercedes countered, Caracciola made more than 430 km/h. Time was short, because each time with a certain forerun and appropriate licenses the highway had to be blocked.

So it came to a showdown, as Rosemeyer wanted to counter. Actually, it was too gusty, but the next car show was in sight, until then, there was no more way. So he drove nevertheless. It was still the sample at which he crashed. There must have been more than 400 km/h when crosswind pressed him with the left side of the wheel on the green intermediate strip.

At that time there were no side planks, which would have perhaps saved him. But unfortunately a pillar of the next highway bridge at the the car threatened to smash. Rosemeyer pulled it to the right, obviously too much. Before it completely turned across, it tilted over the left front wheel. It overturned several times and the vehicle's shell separated from the chassis.

The driver was found dead, catapulted out of the car. Uncle Doctor (Porsche), as he has been always called by Rosemeyer, probably belonged to the heavily affected because the racer was like a son for him. He was no longer responsible for this project since the beginning of the year. The body with which Rosemeyer crashed, was allegedly discarded by Porsche with the regard to too large crosswind sensitivity.

Porsche worked again for the opposite side (Daimler Benz) and was responsible for a much larger project, a vehicle with aircraft engine (T 80). Thus Rosemeyer would have survived and broken the record, that would have been by no means the end of the power struggle between two companies.

So however the resistance of Auto Union seemed broken. Among others, also the son gave Audi after intensive investigations, however, a joint guilt for the events which in the end added up to the accusation untested constructions have used in this test run for lack of time. 12/13