Did you Know that Adolf Hitler is one of the Reasons that the ‘Silver arrows’ are Silver?

The title of this article reads like a satire news article that we sometimes do, but what you are about to read is based entirely on historical fact. 

The Mercedes-Benz team has a rich history in motor racing, originally a white-liveried car that traces its origins all the way back to the birth of competitive racing. Carl Benz invented the automobile, but his invention was powered by Diamler engines from as early as the 1890’s.

A very, very, very, old Diamler.
A very, very, very, old Diamler.

Early racing pioneers in Europe and America competed over massive circuits, some usually over 50km long with a mechanic aboard to repair and maintain the huge 20,000cc engines that roared ferociously.

Although Formula One’s official history marks the first year of Grand Prix racing to be 1950, the sport, or a shadow of the sport, was very much alive and well during the inter-war period between the First and Second World Wars.

A Mercedes Benz W25 Competes in 1934
A Mercedes Benz W25 Competes in 1934

Mercedes-Daimler and Benz united their forces to mount a better challenge in the Auto Union Grand Prix racing championship. At a time when Germany was very much still suffering the defeat of the First World War, countrymen saw racing as an escapism and chance to feel pride in winning races.

In 1934, the new chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler, offered German car manufacturers 500,000 Reichmarks a year to produce successful racing cars as an outlet for national prestige.

Nazi Mercedes W25

Thus, the Mercedes-Benz W25 was born, and dominated the Auto Union racing series. Originally white-liveried (a German tradition of the time), the W25 racecars that were subsidized by Adolf Hitler became the ‘Silberfiele’ or, silver arrows, after the German leader piled so much pressure onto the team to win on the international stage that they lost the layer of white paint in order to make the car weigh less, therefore fractionally quicker.

Mercedes Benz from 1939, driven by British Racing driver Richard Seaman
Mercedes Benz from 1939, driven by British Racing driver Richard Seaman