New Skoda Kodiaq RS sets record lap at Nürburgring… and we compare it to racing history!

Sabine Schmitz, a born and bred Nürburgring driver, the daughter of the innkeeper/hotel owner at the famous Eifel circuit, who started driving/racing around the “Green Hell” as a teenager, went behind the wheel of the brand new RS version of Skoda’s big seven seater, and put her unique racing driver talents and Ring experience to work.

There is of course a magnificent You tube film about her 9:29.84 minute drive, of which we give you a link in this column. We decided to put this performance in an historical perspective, and more specifically how does this compare to the performances of the Grand Prix and sports drivers and cars of the fifties?

Read more and be surprised…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Alfa Romeo wins historic Mille Miglia 2018

Here you see GIOLITO Roberto and GIUDICI David, Starting number 31, in their 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS… on the grounds of the Museo Storico, during the event.   

As we told your earlier, dear reader, Alfa was present in strength at the latest edition of this beautiful event. The course led even to the Museo Storico grounds, and the Alfa’s which participated were equally breathtaking. Indeed, the race caravan paid a celebratory visit to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo at Arese, where time trials were held on the internal circuit.

But besides meticulous cars, it also pays of to prepare yourself thoroughly for this regularity event. Know the course and the stages very well, and train yourself in driving to the (hundreds of a )second.

Here you see my drawing of the winners, receiving the chequered flag . For a better view, press ctrl + to or pinch enlarge it… 

This is what the winners did, TONCONOGY Juan and RUFFINI Barbara, in their 1933 ALFA ROMEO 6C 1500 GS “TESTA FISSA”, starting number 85. You see them here on my drawing here joyously receiving the finish flag, with the second official presenting already the coveted champagne bottle. Miss Barbara Ruffini is already holding her left hand on the door to jump out of the car and collect her winner’s prizes.

This was not the only success of the formidable Alfa’s.

In second place, just eight penalty points behind the victor, there was the stunning 6C 1500 Super Sport dating from 1928, with coachwork by Stabilimenti Farina. This was an official car from the FCA Heritage collection, which is normally on display at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, driven by Giovanni Moceri with co-driver Daniele Bonetti, with starting number 30. See here the photo above.

In third place, the 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato of Vesco-Guerini, starting number 39.

It is very touching to see that 50 years after their 1928 victory, an Alfa is again on the winner’s podium in this iconic Mille Miglia.

I couldn’t resist making a drawing of the glorious moment when the winners drove on the podium, and present you also some more photos of the other winners and Alfa’s in the Mille Miglia 2018…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Ultimate beauty: the pre-war Bugatti twin cam engines…

Bugatti engines have, like the cars, been wonderfully designed and built since the birth of the “marque”. They are designed like true sculptures, and Ettore Bugatti paid great attention not only to the mechanics itself, but also how they looked from outside. The external surfaces were also buffed especially in a circular pattern, just like the cockpit and dashboard panels.

His son Jean Bugatti continued the tradition of unique panache and style. Not only did he design magnificent factory made bodyworks, he also helped develop magnificent twin cam Bugatti engines which saw light in the thirties.

The twin cam version was seen amongst others in the Type 51 Racing car, which made its debut in 1931. This formidable engine, which I drew here in ink, enhancing it with some water color touches, was the 160 hp (119 kW) twin overhead cam evolution of the supercharged 2.3 L (2262 cc/138 cubic inches) single overhead cam straight-8 found in the Type 35B racing car.

This car, contrary to the 35 biposto, was to be very rare indeed: only some 40 examples of the Type 51 and 51A were build.

On my drawing, one clearly sees the compressor, and its small circular waste gate with its …. openings which protruded outwards at the bottom of the louvered right side of the foldable engine bonnet.

The pencil drawing – I used the 2B grade – shows the cockpit of the 51 “Voiture de Course”, with a very rare Cotal preselector gearbox. This was a manually controlled epicyclic box, as similar construction as the famous Wilson box. The difference is that instead of band brakes, it used electromagnetic clutches. Drivers could preselect the lower or higher gears under braking before or accelerating out of a corner, and it was seen on other French thoroughbred racing cars, like the Talbot Lago 4,5 liter monoposto for instance.

Twin Cam engines are also to be found on the type 57, and later variants (including the famous Atlantic and Atalante) was an entirely new design created by Jean Bugatti.

A lot more can be told about Bugatti’s, the cars and their creators, and as this drawing series is only beginning, you are in for much more in the future… stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

The Mercedes star shines again in the Mille Miglia 2018…

The love affair between the three pointed star and the Mille Miglia is now nine decades old.

The legendary successes include the victory of Rudolf Caracciola as the first non-Italian driver in 1931, with his co-driver Wilhelm Sebastian in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL (“Super Sport Short Light”). I included here my drawing based on the historical photo taken at the finish, drawn with ink pen and 2B pencil, focusing on the drivers, bringing them more in detail.  

Then there is the sensational success of Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson in 1955, with the overall victory and a still unbeaten record time of 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds. In 1955 Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson drove the 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S) to overall victory ahead of their team mate Juan Manuel Fangio.


Mille Miglia 1955: Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson on the way to overall victory in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S), with the best time ever achieved in the Mille Miglia, 1 May 1955.

Also triumphant were the 300 SL “Gullwing” sports cars (W 198) in the Gran Turismo class over 1,300 cc displacement, and the 180 D (W 120) won a victory in the diesel class.

In 1956, in addition to several 300 SL “Gullwing” cars and three luxury class saloons of the 220 “Ponton” (W 180) model, a privately entered Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121) also competed successfully in the race.

 


Mille Miglia 2017: Mercedes-Benz Classic cars. Left to right: 300 SL racing sports car (W 194), 190 SL (W 121), 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupés (W 198). Stage from Brescia to Padua, 18 May 2017.

In 2018, a large contingent of the Mercedes-Benz models SSK (W 06), 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), 190 SL (W 121) and 220 “Ponton” (W 180) vehicles will be lining up at the start in Brescia. Among others, Mercedes-Benz Classic brand ambassadors Roland Asch, Ellen Lohr, Bernd Mayländer and Bernd Schneider will be at the wheel of the vehicles.


Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Mille Miglia 2017. Ellen Lohr in a 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198, built from 1954 to 1957).

Today’s version of the “1000 Miglia” is run on a route which closely follows that of the original road race. This year, the first stage (16 May 2018) will lead from Brescia to Cervia-Milano Marittima, and then on to Rome on the second day (17 May). The route to Parma is on the agenda on the third day (18 May), before the rally returns to Brescia on the fourth day (19 May). Entry is restricted to vehicle models that already participated in the famous Italian road race during the period from 1927 to 1957.

Museo Mille Miglia: Public starting ramp with famous racing cars


Public starting ramp with famous racing cars: Special exhibition of Mercedes-Benz Classic in the courtyard of the Museo Mille Miglia, Brescia, 10 May to 21 June 2018. Visualisation of the installation. At left, the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194, 2nd and 4th place in the Mille Miglia 1952), at right the 300 SLR (W 196 S, 1st and 2nd place 1955).

The ties between the brand and the racing tradition are also underlined by the cooperation between Mercedes-Benz Classic and the Museo Mille Miglia in the historical monastery complex of Sant’Eufemia della Fonte just outside Brescia.


Detail of the left side of the starting ramp, with the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194, 2nd and 4th place in the Mille Miglia 1952).

This year, Mercedes-Benz is putting on an extraordinary special exhibition in the courtyard of the museum: every visitor can drive his vehicle on a starting ramp as is typical for the Mille Miglia. He can position his vehicle for a photo between two famous Mercedes-Benz racing cars which caused a sensation at the Mille Miglia with their successes: the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) from 1952 (2nd and 4th place) and the 300 SLR (W 196 S) from 1955 (1st and 2nd place).


Mille Miglia 1952: Premiere of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194). The team Rudolf Caracciola / Peter Kurrle (start number 613) finishes in 4th place, 3/4 May 1952.

This staging can be seen and used from 10 May to 21 June 2018.

Mercedes-Benz “1000 Miglia Challenge 2018”

Apart from the actual competition, this is also down to programme items such as the Mercedes-Benz “1000 Miglia Challenge 2018”.

The participants in the Mercedes-Benz “1000 Miglia Challenge” will drive ahead of the classic cars on the same route and will compete in the same special stages. Vehicles permitted to take part in the Challenge are Mercedes-Benz SL models of various generations and vehicles from Mercedes-AMG plus models of particular historical value from the product history.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

 

 

 

Factory reproduction of 300 SL body parts: the three starred diva is now immortal…

Ersatzteile für den Mercedes-Benz 300 SL „Gullwing“ (W 198, 1954 bis 1957): Zahlreiche wichtige Teile sind in originaler Werksqualität erhältlich. Foto der Präsentation auf der Techno Classica 2018. Replacement parts for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198, 1954 to 1957): Numerous key parts are available in genuine factory quality. Photo of presentation at Techno Classica 2018.

Replacement parts for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198, 1954 to 1957): Numerous key parts are available in genuine factory quality. Photo of presentation at Techno Classica 2018.

We were browsing for information about the participation of Mercedes in the next Mille Miglia, and we stumbled on other remarkable news, which shows how painstakingly professional Mercedes is caring about its products and notably its classic and historic cars.

Form now on, key body parts for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198) are again available in factory quality. They can be ordered by their part number from any Mercedes-Benz sales partner, just like that!

Mercedes-Benz Original-Ersatzteile für den 300 SL „Gullwing“ (W 198, 1954 bis 1957). Nachfertigung von Karosserie-Blechteilen gemäß den hohen Werksstandards der Daimler AG. Das Foto zeigt einen Kotflügel im Presswerkzeug. Mercedes-Benz genuine replacement parts for the 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198, 1954 to 1957). Reproduction of metal body parts in accordance with the high factory standards of Daimler AG. The photo shows a wing in the pressing tool.

Mercedes-Benz genuine replacement parts for the 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198, 1954 to 1957). Reproduction of metal body parts in accordance with the high factory standards of Daimler AG. The photo shows a front wing in the pressing tool.

The metal parts are produced for Mercedes-Benz Classic by a certified supplier, whose expertise includes the highly complex construction of tools from optimised 3D data from original bodies. Metal parts produced on these tools are then worked into their final shape by hand using wooden mallets – another special process.

Mercedes-Benz Original-Ersatzteile für den 300 SL „Gullwing“ (W 198, 1954 bis 1957). Nachfertigung von Karosserie-Blechteilen gemäß den hohen Werksstandards der Daimler AG. Das Foto zeigt die Maßprüfung an der Öffnung für den Scheinwerfer. Mercedes-Benz genuine replacement parts for the 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198, 1954 to 1957). Reproduction of metal body parts in accordance with the high factory standards of Daimler AG. The photo shows the dimensional inspection at the aperture for the headlamp.

Mercedes-Benz genuine replacement parts for the 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198, 1954 to 1957). Reproduction of metal body parts in accordance with the high factory standards of Daimler AG. The photo shows the dimensional inspection at the aperture for the headlamp.

The precise 3D tool data also provide the basis for quality inspection by means of painstaking false colour comparison. The measuring tool receives the data as a reference and uses false colours to visualise the measured deviations between the desired state and the actual state, thus making it possible for the measurement results to be unambiguously and quickly interpreted.

Mercedes-Benz Original-Ersatzteile für den 300 SL „Gullwing“ (W 198, 1954 bis 1957). Nachfertigung von Karosserie-Blechteilen gemäß den hohen Werksstandards der Daimler AG. Das Foto zeigt die Prüfung der Heckdeckel-Wölbung: Der Mercedes-Stern liegt flächenbündig auf. Mercedes-Benz genuine replacement parts for the 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198, 1954 to 1957). Reproduction of metal body parts in accordance with the high factory standards of Daimler AG. The photo shows the inspection of the curved section of the boot: the Mercedes star is flush with the surface.

Mercedes-Benz genuine replacement parts for the 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198, 1954 to 1957). Reproduction of metal body parts in accordance with the high factory standards of Daimler AG. The photo shows the inspection of the curved section of the boot: the Mercedes star is flush with the surface.

The body parts meet the high standards of Daimler AG and can be ordered by their part number from any Mercedes-Benz sales partner. Their surfaces are electrophoretically painted, which assures the highest technical and visual standards. The prices include VAT.

  • Front panelling left (A198 620 03 09 40), 11,900 euros
  • Front panelling right (A198 620 04 09 40), 11,900 euros
  • Rear panelling left (A198 640 01 09 40), 14,875 euros
  • Rear panelling right (A198 640 02 09 40), 14,875 euros
  • Rear-end center section (A198 647 00 09 40), 2,975 euros
  • Rear-end floor (A198 640 00 61 40), 8,925 euros

We let you further have a look at the photos…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Mille Miglia 2018: the Alfa Romeo legend lives on more than ever…

 

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The 36th edition of the iconic race coincides with the 90th anniversary of the first of the 11 victories Alfa Romeo recorded from 1927 to 1957: a record which will now never be beaten.

This anniversary will be celebrated on 19 May, when the race will pay a visit to Milan and to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo at Arese, where time trials will be held on the internal circuit. Held for the 36th time this year, the race will be run over the traditional Brescia-Rome-Brescia route and will star Alfa Romeo both as Automotive Sponsor and as “guest of honour”, as this year marks the 90th anniversary of its first victory in the legendary race, held from 1927 to 1957.

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From 19 May to December 2018, the Museum will host the “11 volte campione” [11 times champion”] exhibition, which celebrates these sporting exploits, engraved in the memories of fans all over the world.

Inaugurated on 24 June 2015, the fascinating Museo Storico Alfa Romeo – known as “The Time Machine” – is the heart of a real “brand centre”, created by a major upgrading project by architect Benedetto Camerana, which brings together the brand’s past, present and future. As well as the area displaying the key models from the Alfa Romeo historic collection, the site is buzzing and vibrant, with the Archive, the internal circuit, the events spaces, the Alfa Romeo Café and the show-room with delivery area. More on this museum in a special report.

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Competing in this year’s race will be several wonderful classic Alfa Romeo cars from the FCA Heritage collection: from the 6C 1500 SS to the 6C 1750 GS, and from the 1900 SS to the 1900 Sport Spider.

On 19 May, drivers Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc from the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team currently taking part in the 2018 Formula 1 championship will also be present. Their participation is a tangible sign of how indelibly the racing world is engraved in the Alfa Romeo DNA… we just let you look here at the photos, and tell you also soon more about other iconic brands participating at the Mille Miglia 2018…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The formidable V16 Auto Union Type C engine…

+Motor Auto Union V 16sketch

Without any doubt, the powerful rear engine Auto Unions were ahead of their time. Their sheer “Leistung” or power was absolutely legendary. Just tires couldn’t cope, and the sheer chassis dynamics and even more importantly aerodynamics were not fully understood at the time. So the cars had no downforce at racing speeds, and the narrow tires with their still softer construction and not so adhesive compounds did not help.

The V16 engine of this Type C was a Porsche design, and started off in the type A with a displacement of 4360 cc. But it was originally meant to be a 6 litre engine, and this it was in the Type C. The two cylinder banks were angled at 45 degrees, and one central camshaft operated all the 32 valves. That is why the engine has this typical look of 16 pushrods in their gleaming chromed shafts connected with the exhaust valves, while the intake valves were actuated by the camshaft through rocker arms. So we see three valve covers on this beautiful engine.

Toerenteller V16 Auto Union tekeningbisbeterter

The engine was laid out to develop massive low end torque, and for a racing engine, it revved quite low, as the rev counter clearly tells.

All this torque, a hefty 853 Nm being available at 2500 rpm, was very difficult to handle for the narrow rear wheel tires, and a limited slip differential was badly needed to stop the inner wheel in narrow corners from spinning fiercely through under full throttle, even in the dry!

V16 Compressorsketch6bis

The impressive two-stage Roots compressor at the back of the engine, fed by a battery of two carburetors… 

Maximum power ranged from 485 to 520 PS or 357-382 kW during the racing seasons, and whether the race was to be long or short. It was achieved at – at least for a racing engine –a very lowish 5000 rpm. A two stage roots compressor was used, with 0,95 bar pressure.

One last item, which one tends to forget when talking about the sheer performance of this engines, is that the 200 L tank did not contain ordinary fuel. A (secret) mixture using amongst others ethanol and methanol was used. This did allow higher combustion chamber pressures and temperatures, without problems of knocking or lack of cooling. One needs to flush the system after races because the mixture is corrosive.

In our next edition, we will go for the equally stunning Alfa Romeo P2 straight 8 compressor engine…

We just let you look here at our drawings!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A new series on pen drawings of famous engines… The Jaguar D-type

After having made a pencil drawing of the Jaguar XK engine, we got more and more carried away so to speak, and decided to start with a series of famous racing engines, which made automotive history. Of course, we continued first with the D-type theme, as we felt it deserved further attention.

So here it is…

Jaguar D type motor en cockpit

Engine capacity of this XK engine in this racing version is still the original 3442 cc, with also the original bore and stroke dimensions of 83 x 106 mm.

With triple Weber carburetors and a 1:9 compression ratio it developed 253 PS or 186 kW at 6000 rpm. Torque was very impressive for a normally aspirated engine, being 328 Nm at 4000 rpm.

It had dry sump lubrication, as the superb roadholding  of the D-type triggered G forces which would let the engine starve for oil had the original sump been retained. It also allowed a larger oil quantity, lowering oil temperature on the grueling long Mulsanne straight at Le Mans, where the D-type would run at speeds in excess of 170 mph, or 270 km/h. There was also another practical reason, which might have been even more important: the D-type is very low, so to reduce the engine height, a dry sump layout was chosen.

The D-type itself was structurally designed by Jaguar’s William Heynes Technical Director and Chief Engineer. It applied aeronautical technology. The cockpit section was of monocoque construction, mostly comprising sheets of aluminum alloy. It was about five years later that John Cooper started to use the same concept for his Formula 1 cars…

The aerodynamic bodywork was largely the work of Malcolm Sayer, who had joined Jaguar following a stint with the Bristol Aeroplane Company during the Second World War and later worked on the C-Type. The D-Type required a minimal frontal area. To further reduce the XK engine’s height, the engine was canted at 8½° from the vertical, which made the typical offset bonnet bulge necessary.  It might also have been needed, according to Philip Porter, in his book Jaguar Sports Racing Cars, to provide extra space for the ram pipes feeding the three twin-choke Weber carburetors….

You can see clearly in the drawing the rampipes of the Webers, and the fact that the engine is canted…

Just enjoy the drawing. The next one will be the famous Auto Union V16 engine…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

BMW Group Classic and its new Centre…

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Of course, BMW also has a magnificent museum, but here we focus first on their new Centre, which was opened in 2016. We present you here some factory photos; needless to say that we are keen to visit the centre, and bring you then an extensive report with own interviews and images, but in the meantime, we shouldn’t already keep this from you…

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The company archive and the vehicle collection, the workshop and the customer centre together with the parts service for classic automobiles and motorcycles are now located together in an ensemble of buildings in the district of Milbertshofen in Munich.

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The site at Moosacher Straße 66 measuring around 13,000 square meters includes one of the first production buildings of what was at that time still a fledgling company.

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In this building, magnificent BMW motorcycles are also displayed, what to think of this iconic and timeless boxer? 

It was preserved during the restoration work, as was the heritage gatehouse, which is today a listed building, and now forms the entrance to the history of the BMW Group.

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The new location for BMW Group Classic also provides a touch point for owners and fans of classic vehicles of the brands BMW, MINI und Rolls-Royce with information and services relating to the preservation and care of their automobiles and motorcycles.

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Vehicles and numerous other exhibits from the comprehensive collection of BMW Group Classic are presented in the historic production hall, like their fantastic aircraft engines. (see photo above). The facilities and event spaces created there can also be booked for events. Guided tours are offered to give participants an overview of the new venue and provide information about the history of the company.

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Café “Mo 66” is open to visitors and gives them a vantage point looking directly into the glass covered vehicle workshop of the BMW Group Classic Centre.

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At its new location, BMW Group Classic has now better facilities for staging activities relating to the history of the company and its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce. Questions about the history of the company, brands and products are answered by using the vast BMW Group Archives. The teams responsible for communication with the media and for marketing now also carry out their work in the new centre alongside the specialists involved in organizing events and exhibitions.

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The staff of the BMW Group Classic Centre have a long track record of experience, expertise and passion. They work on the preservation and restoration of historic automobiles and motorcycles, and offer support for purchasing or selling a classic vehicle. We are keen to meet them and present you then an in depth report about their work. The offering of BMW Group Classic also includes the loan of classic vehicles and the parts shop. The range of parts offered comprises more than 55 000 items and it is continuously growing. Of course, the happy owners of collectables on four wheels and two will benefit from this supply of original spare parts…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A new series on Car Museums and Classic Heritage Centers…

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Soon we will start here with a new series on the heritage activities of car manufacturers, as the interest in preserving their heritage in historic sites, buildings and cars is ever growing. The same can be said for the increasing love and interest for vintage and classic cars by the greater public, and therefore a comprehensive series on the subject is long overdue.

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Besides the plethora of museums, there are also the services which manufacturers with a keen interest in their mobile heritage are offering to their customers, in the form of Classic Cars Service Centers.

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We will first start off with two main German pioneers in the latter concept, Daimler and BMW. But of course there is more to come, just think of Porsche, and not to forget the British museums and heritage centers

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and their activities like the Land Rover Series I Reborn programme executed in their Classic Works.Indeed, there is Jaguar Land Rover Classic… And a lot more.

Just stay posted!

Hans Knol ten Bensel