The Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows from 1934 to 1939

  • 1934: a new star is born – the Mercedes-Benz W 25
  • W 125, W 154, and W 165 follow between then and 1939
  • Circuit races and speed records
On 3 June 1934, the new Mercedes-Benz W 25 Grand Prix racing car won in its debut race – the international “ Eifelrennen”, or Eifel race, at the Nürburgring. This thrilling first victory marked the beginning of a glorious era for European motor sport.
The W 25 of 1934 and the vehicles that followed it left their lasting mark on that era. And the fascination exuded by the Mercedes-Benz racing cars in their silver paintwork remains undiminished to this day, giving them an appeal that is as strong as ever. An appeal that is felt, for example, whenever Mercedes-Benz Classic puts in an appearance at the key events of the international classic racing calendar and uses these occasions to show the cars in their full racing glory. The vehicles from the 1930s continue to delight spectators at today's events as much as they ever did in the past.
“These are original vehicles of the very highest quality: every Silver Arrow in the company’s collection is authentic down to the last detail and, what is more, has an individual racing history of its own,” says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. “So these vehicles, at the same time, provide evidence of the high standards set by Mercedes-Benz Classic in terms of the authenticity of classic vehicles. Authenticity is the principle behind every piece of work that Mercedes-Benz Classic takes on – and one that is probably more rigorously applied than any other manufacturer is capable of doing. Only genuinely original vehicles can truly convey authentic history and authentic stories.”
The Silver Arrows dominate motor racing
Their speed, together with their paintwork in the colour of bare aluminium, led to the W 25 and its successors, the W 125, W 154, and the W 165 Tripoli car, becoming known quite simply as the Silver Arrows. Until 1939 they continued to dominate European motor racing at all the major fixtures: the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows won three European Championships, the equivalent of today’s Formula 1 World Championship title. On top of these came numerous other victories and sensational records.
To create the racing cars with which the motor racing department in Stuttgart was able to deliver victory upon victory for the company, the engineers combined innovative new engineering design with existing cutting-edge technology from Mercedes-Benz, further developing these in a process of skilful and constant further development. They were thus able to build successful competitive vehicles that would also continue to be improved over the course of the particular season.
The Silver Arrows became legends even in their own time. They continued to add to the list of successes that Mercedes-Benz and the company’s founder brands had consistently achieved since the very first days of motorsport in 1894. And after the Second World War, in the 1950s, it was the tradition of the W 25 and W 165 models that once again provided the basis for the development of a second and equally successful generation of Silver Arrows in the form of the W 196 Grand Prix racing car and the 300 SLR racing sports car.
Training for the Großglockner mountain race on 28 August 1938. Hermann Lang in a Mercedes-Benz W 125 with additional slide carburettor, starting number 83. In the race the starting number 83 was borne by the winning Auto Union car driven by Hans Stuck. Hermann Lang, with the starting number 82, finished second.
R4408
Großglockner mountain race, 28 August 1938. Manfred von Brauchitsch in a Mercedes-Benz W 125, starting number 81. He came in third.
R409
Großglockner mountain race, 6 August 1939, in difficult weather conditions. Manfred von Brauchitsch in a Mercedes-Benz W 125 mountain racing car with a 5.6-litre engine, starting number 127. He finished fourth.
R446
Training for the Großglockner mountain race on 6 August 1939. Manfred von Brauchitsch in a Mercedes-Benz W 125 mountain racing car with a 5.6-litre engine, starting number 127, attempting to improve traction with twin tyres on the rear axle. He came fourth in the race.
R4890
Großglockner mountain race, 6 August 1939. The eventual victor, Hermann Lang (starting number 128), with a Mercedes-Benz W 125 mountain racing car with a 5.6-litre engine.
R4904
Großglockner mountain race, 6 August 1939. The eventual victor, Hermann Lang (starting number 128), with a Mercedes-Benz W 125 mountain racing car with a 5.6-litre engine.
R4898
Grossglockner hillclimb, 6 August 1939, training. The subsequent winner Hermann Lang (starting number 128) in a Mercedes-Benz W 125 hillclimb car with a 5.6-litre engine, with double tyres on the rear axle in an attempt to improve traction. Immediately behind that car, a W 154 used only in training, and to the side another W 125 hillclimb car, starting number 127, in which Manfred von Brauchitsch achieved fourth place in that race.
R4908
Training for the Großglockner mountain race on 6 August 1939. The eventual victor, Hermann Lang (starting number 128), with a Mercedes-Benz W 125 mountain racing car with a 5.6-litre engine, attempting to improve traction with twin tyres on the rear axle.
R4918
Großglockner mountain race, 6 August 1939. The eventual victor, Hermann Lang (starting number 128), with a Mercedes-Benz W 125 mountain racing car with a 5.6-litre engine.
R4902
Loading