Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Lord K's Garage #170: Silver Fish, Part 3

It's been a long time since we had an Auto Union racer in our garage. Today, Silver Fish are here again!

1936 Auto Union Typ C - Hans Stuck

Mercedes-Benz domination in Grand Prix ended with the Auto Union Typ C. It took a few years to get it right, but Ferdinand Porsche's daring design with a mid-mounted V16 finally won. It claimed many victories from 1936 to 1938 until the three-liter formula was laid out for 1939.

1938 AutoUnionTyp CHorch, Audi, DKW and Wanderer created Auto Union with the help of Ferdinand Porsche and Adolf Rosenberger. Along with building passenger cars, a goal of the new company was to enter Grand Prix. They did so in 1934 with a daring mid-engined race car called the Typ A. This evolved into the slightly larger Typ B the following year and the Typ C was fitted with a much larger engine for 1936.

1937 Auto Union Typ C, Bernd Rosemeyer at Grand Prix Donington-ParkThe Typ C was a third evolution of Auto Union's racecar. It primarily competed with Mercedes-Benz but also raced against Alfa Romeo's 12C-36, the Maserati V8RI and Bugatti 59/50. Type-Cs won six victories in 1936 and made Bernt Rosermeyer world champion.

1937 Auto Union Typ C Poster

  • For 1936, the engine had grown to the full 6 litres, and was now producing 520 bhp (390 kW); in the hands of Rosemeyer and his team-mates, the Auto Union Type C dominated the racing world. Rosemeyer won the Eifelrennen, German, Swiss and Italian Grands Prix and the Coppa Acerbo (as well as second in the Hungarian Grand Prix). He was crowned European Champion (Auto Union's only win of the driver's championship), and for good measure also took the European Mountain Championship. Varzi won the Tripoli Grand Prix (and took second at the Monaco, Milan and Swiss Grands Prix). Stuck placed second in the Tripoli and German Grands Prix, and Ernst von Delius took second in the Coppa Acerbo.

1937 Auto Union Typ C, Bernd Rosemeyer, Monaco GP practice

  • In 1937, the car was basically unchanged and did surprisingly well against the new Mercedes-Benz W125, winning 5 races to the 7 of Mercedes-Benz. Rosemeyer took the Eifelrennen and Donington Grand Prix, the Coppa Acerbo, and the Vanderbilt Cup (and well as second in the Tripoli Grand Prix). Rudolf Hasse won the Belgian Grand Prix (Stuck placed second). von Delius managed second in the Avus Grand Prix. (Source: Wiki)

Ferdinand Porsche designed the Type-C and championed his mid-engine design first used on the 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen. Weight distribution was his primary motivation in this choice. The driver could sit lower with no drive shaft and the front-to-rear weight distribution was more even. Furthermore, the fuel tank was also located centrally for balance. Despite these efforts, 60% of the weight still remained on the rear wheels.

1936 Auto Union Typ C cutaway

What made the car unbalanced was its heavy engine and comparably small chassis and body. The design team engineered the largest possible engine within the 750 kg weight limit. This resulted in the largest capacity engine to compete during 1936 and 1937.

The chosen displacement was was six litres that was supercharged to achieve 550 bhp. A roots supercharger was attached to increase boost pressures up to 10 psi.

1937 Auto Union Typ C, Bernd Rosemeyer at Masaryk GP, Brno

The high power to weight ratio, uneven weight distribution and Porsche swing-axle suspension system made the Type C over steer. Drivers of the car had a hard time predicting slip velocity and the forward driving position made it worse. Only a couple drivers were able to take the Type-C to its full potential.

1936 Auto Union Typ C

Story by Supercars.net

Photo of the Typ C engine: Dirk De Jager, Supercars

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