(Editor’s notice: Because the thirty ninth historic re-enactment, aka the modern-day 1000 Miglia 2021, will get prepared for its run from June 16-19, Mercedes-Benz remembers the 1931 and fifth Mille Miglia, the primary to be one by a non-Italian entry. Mercedes notes the victory was “an necessary motorsports success for Mercedes-Benz in economically troublesome instances.)
What a stunning victory: The massive and, regardless of quite a few weight-saving measures, nonetheless heavy Mercedes-Benz SSKL (W 06 RS) with Rudolf Caracciola on the wheel was not thought of to be a favouite in view of the Italian competitors within the fifth Mille Miglia on April 12-13, 1931. And but, the workforce from Stuttgart mastered the 1,635-kilometer route from Brescia to Rome and again quicker than all of the native heroes: Caracciola and his co-driver, Wilhelm Sebastian, crossed the ending line after 16 hours, 10 minutes and 10 seconds.
Their common velocity was 101.6 km/h, which alone was a sensation. No driver earlier than them had ever achieved a mean of greater than 100 km/h. And, to prime all of it, Caracciola was the primary non-Italian driver to win the Mille Miglia.
The unique Mille Miglia race was held from 1927 to 1957. Since 1977, it has been a regularity drive for historic autos and right now, because the 1000 Miglia, it is likely one of the world’s hottest occasions for traditional automobiles.
Mille Miglia 1931: At least 151 groups registered for the street race. The route was from Brescia by way of Parma to Bologna, from there over the Apennines to Florence after which from Siena to Rome. The return route was by way of Perugia and Macerata to the Adriatic Sea and by way of Rimini, Bologna and Verona again to Brescia.
The Italian groups had a house benefit by way of route information and in addition by way of provide.
“The route was nearly paved with spare components shops,” mentioned Rudolf Caracciola on reflection, “we, then again, needed to economize.”
Mercedes-Benz race director Alfred Neubauer was solely in a position to arrange 4 shops alongside the path to assist the Caracciola/Sebastian workforce, which was entered as a personal workforce.
The automotive: Formally, the racing sports activities automotive was nonetheless referred to as “SSK Mannequin 1931” at the moment. The automotive was not designated SSKL (“Tremendous-Sport-Kurz-Leicht” – tremendous, sports activities, brief, gentle) till 1932, when it grew to become the fourth and final mannequin within the legendary S mannequin collection, of which solely 4 had been constructed – completely for racing.
With great effort, the workforce headed by improvement director Dr Hans Nibel succeeded in conserving the racing automotive, which was under no circumstances state-of-the-art any extra, aggressive. Through the use of a thinner-walled body development and including quite a few drilled holes, the unladen weight was decreased by 125 kilograms to 1,352 kilograms. The six-cylinder 7,069cc engine was additionally totally reworked. With the Roots supercharger activated, it produced 221 kW (300 hp) and its prime velocity was 235 km/h.
The race itself: Caracciola/Sebastian hit the monitor at 3: 12 p.m. on 12 April 1931. The roads had been slim and crossed mountain passes so it was solely towards the tip of the race that Caracciola was in a position to drive at full throttle for a lot of kilometers. It was an awesome achievement for the marginally constructed racing driver to maneuver the heavy Mercedes-Benz rapidly and seemingly effortlessly.
He himself mentioned: “For sixteen hours I sat on the wheel, for sixteen hours we thundered alongside the size and breadth of Italy, feeling our manner via the evening by the beam of the headlights, driving into the blinding gentle of the spring morning… for sixteen hours I had no thought what our place was within the huge subject of a number of hundred automobiles.”
Caracciola commented on the second of return to Brescia: “On the ending line, Alfred Neubauer was utterly out of his thoughts and was performing a very loopy dance. What on earth was happening? At first, I didn’t understand what had occurred, not but, however slowly it dawned on me: I had gained the Mille Miglia.”
Behind him, 31 Italian-built automobiles reached the end earlier than a Graham-Paige (an American) automotive got here in in thirty second place.
1931 was a troublesome yr: The collapse of the New York Inventory Change in October 1929 had dramatic penalties for the world economic system, together with the automotive business. In Germany, automobile manufacturing plummeted from 139,869 autos in 1929 to 88,435 autos the next yr after which to 64,377 models in 1931. The turnover of the then Daimler-Benz AG additionally fell by about half to RM 68.8 million.
The Board of Administration took acceptable motion: in view of the financial state of affairs, the Board stopped improvement of the brand new “1931 mannequin racing automotive” in 1930. Regardless of successful the European hill-climb championship in 1930, works driver Caracciola was dismissed. Nonetheless, race director Alfred Neubauer succeeded in reaching an settlement with him that supplied for pared-down manufacturing facility assist and the availability of an SSKL. In return, Caracciola undertook “to work completely for Daimler-Benz in races and sporting occasions throughout the 1931 sporting yr.”
The 1931 racing program turned out to be extra modest than deliberate, however nonetheless led to eleven victories from eleven begins and the workforce defended their title of “European hill-climb champion.”
Rudolf Caracciola: The Mercedes-Benz works driver was the star of the primary Silver Arrow period within the Thirties. He was topped European Grand Prix champion in 1935, 1937 and 1938, a title that – by way of sporting status – is corresponding to the System One World Championship, which was established in 1950. He additionally grew to become European hill-climb champion 3 times in a Mercedes-Benz. Caracciola was born on January, 30, 1901 in Remagen and died on September, 28,1959 on the age of solely 58.
A thousand Italian miles: Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson held a Mille Miglia document for eternity. Of their Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W 196 S), they lined the well-known 1955 street race in 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds in 1957. Their common velocity of 157.65 km/h has not been surpassed since.
1957 was the final yr the unique Mille Miglia was held as a street race – a number of severe accidents resulted in it being cancelled. Nonetheless, 20 years later, it skilled a resurrection as a regularity race and has since loved nice reputation amongst individuals and the general public alike. Any automobiles whose fashions participated within the unique Mille Miglia between 1927 and 1957 are entitled to take part.
At right now’s 1000 Miglia occasions, greater than 400 historic autos normally participate, and lots of lots of of 1000’s of spectators observe the race alongside the route. As a International Automotive Associate, Mercedes-Benz frequently helps the occasion by supplying well-known traditional automobiles and well-known racing drivers.
Within the eyes of the press: In its Subject 9/1931, the famend Allgemeine Automobil Zeitung commented on Caracciola’s success within the fashion of the time:
“In newspapers issued by the German Reich, we’ve learn of a hit of the German vehicle business. With respect, we really feel that such a generalization is misplaced right here. It was a hit for Mercedes-Benz, which shouldn’t be credited to the German motorcar business as an entire, as a result of, other than Mercedes-Benz, there is no such thing as a motorcar model in the entire of Germany that might participate in such a significant worldwide race… Assume what you’ll concerning the races, they nonetheless quantity to the absolute best promoting for the successful model, which unfold all around the world only some hours after the race.”