The last pre-war Grand Prix car by Mercedes-Benz, the W154, was designed according to the new formula for 1938 which specified a maximum capacity of 3,000 cc for super-charged engines and 4,500 cc for normally aspired cars with a sliding minimum weight scale. The chassis was largely based on that of the preceding W125. The frame was constructed using oval tubes made of nickel-chrome molybdenum to provide stiffness. The suspension was also near identical to the W125. The rear consisted of a De Dion tube, designed to keep the rear wheels parallel using a solid tubular beam. It also had hydraulic rear dampers, adjustable from within the cockpit during a race. The bodywork of the W125 was aluminium, left unpainted like its predecessors, making it another of Mercedes’ famed Silver Arrows. The V12 supercharged engine with its double overhead camshafts was prepared for fuel injection but at the end carburettors were used. In 1938 W154 engine at the French GP gave 474 bhp at 8000 rpm. Later in the season engine power was dropped back to some 435-445 bhp for reliability reasons. In its first year, 1938, the Mercedes-Benz squad driving W154 won 6 Grand Prix races, and Caracciola claimed his third European Championship. In 1939 cars featured a new body on the old chassis. A higher cowl line in the cockpit area provided greater safety for the driver. A small instrument panel in his direct field of vision was attached to the saddle tank. A two-stage supercharger boosted the V12’s output to 483 hp (355 kW) at 7800 rpm. This engine was now called M163, and the car is incorrectly known as the W163 in many sources. During the season both old and new engines were used. The M163 engine was used by von Brauchitsch at Eifelrennen and the Belgian and Swiss GPs, by Brendel in the German GP and by Lang at the Swiss GP and at Beograd. The car was victorious in 5 out of 7 1939 races. Hermann Lang won Pau Grand Prix, ADAC Eifelrennen, Belgian and Swiss Grand Prix, and Caracciola added the win at German Grand Prix. Lang was the most successful driver of the year, but the official European Championship title was not awarded by AIACR die to outbreak of war. Hermann Lang was declared European champion by Korpsführer Adolf Hühnlein of the NSKK (National Socialist Motor Corps), who was also president of Germany’s highest racing organisation, Oberste Nationale Sportbehörde für die Deutsche Kraftfahrt. Hühnlein’s declaration was published as a statement in the Völkischer Beobachter, the official Nazi Party newsletter. Hühnlein suggested that Lang had finished the season on 23 points, but these conflicts with the AIACR scoring system, under which Hermann Paul Müller would have been the champion. The scale model from a gift set of 3 racing Mercedes-Benz cars accompanied Altaya La Legende Mercedes-Benz Collection represents Lang’s car from the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix.
|1939||Grand Prix||Belgian GP|
|Hermann Lang||22||Daimler-Benz AG|
|1:43||IXO||Altaya La Legende Mercedes-Benz|