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Lining up on starting grid of the International Eifel Race at the Nürburgring on 3 June 1934. The race was won by Manfred von Brauchitsch in the W 25.

Silver Arrows:
the birth of
a legend.

A new rising star emerges: the W 25.

The Silver Arrows became legends, the history of their

origin is rather unusual.

The paint had to come off in order to reduce weight.

Beads of sweat were running down the faces of the Mercedes-Benz mechanics. The task which they were suddenly faced with was by no means as easy as it sounded: the two brand-new W 25 racing cars urgently needed to have their white paintwork removed, together with the underlying lead layer.

After numerous sheets of sandpaper and a lot sanding work, the two Mercedes-Benz racing cars emerged for the first time in their matt aluminium silver finish. Certainly none of the mechanics involved would ever have guessed that they had just created a legend.

At the International Eifel Race in 1934, the two Mercedes-Benz racing cars

driven by Manfred von Brauchitsch and Luigi Fagiolo immediately dominated the field.

Just one kilo too much.

The reason behind the mechanics removing the additional layer was a change to the regulations in 1932. At that time, the "Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus" (AIACR) - the forerunner to today's FIA - drafted some new regulations for the 1934 season. They specified that the racing cars could not exceed a maximum weight of 750 kilograms, excluding tyres, fuel and driver. The regulations were to remain in force until the end of 1937, and formed the basis for the construction of the Mercedes-Benz W 25.

In the afternoon of 2 June, things were not looking too good for the Mercedes-Benz team: the vehicle approval inspection revealed that both W 25 cars were each one kilogram over the permitted weight.

Even though this race was not being run in accordance with the 750-kg formula, the team was determined to meet the new weight limit in order to use the car under representative conditions in anticipation of the new regulations.

Legends and crowd-pullers: the Silver Arrows enjoy

pride of place in the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

First place in the first race.

Out of necessity, the decision was made to sand the white paint finish off the aluminium body of the W 25 – according to the old tradition, the German manufacturer was actually supposed to compete in cars decked out in white bodywork, while the Italian racing cars were painted red, the French blue and the British green.

The arduous work proved to be worthwhile: the W 25 – minus its coloured paint finish – took part in its first race at the Nürburgring on 3 June 1934. And in front of 300,000 spectators, Manfred von Brauchitsch crossed the finishing line in first place. The Silver Arrow had just won its first race, and many more were to follow - a legend had been born.

More than 75 years ago, Mercedes-Benz presented the racing cars which quickly became known as the "Silver Arrows".

Watch Film

The Silver Arrow legend

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