Mercedes and Auto Racing in the Belle Epoque, 1895-1915

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Mercedes is the center of this history of automobile racing from its beginnings in 1895 until the First World War in 1915 when racing temporarily ceased. Automobile racing had its origins in Paris, and French marques and the Automobile Club de France were dominating the scene. But in 1901 Mercedes emerged as a foreign troublemaker. This German machine was to play a leading role, its career and evolution becoming an image of the whole period. The individuals who built and drove these early racers laid the foundation of a new industry, conceived the modern, high-performance engine, and gave magic to a series of races, which drew ever more spectators and thrilled entire nations.

This richly illustrated history focuses on the races themselves, the drivers and mechanics, the engineers in the background and the technical progress of the cars. Early chapters discuss the marketing of the original Daimler engine in France, the position and influence of Emil Jellinek and Wilhelm Maybach, and the great town-to-town and Gordon Bennett races. Later chapters focus on the French Grand Prix, the great crisis of 1909, the voiturette movement, the Mercedes and Benz successes in America, including the record attempts of the Blitzen Benz, and the role of Ernest Henry in the development of the revolutionary Peugeot. Final chapters describe the career of the 4.5-litre Mercedes and its impact on future designs.

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Editorial Reviews

wonderfully researched and complete...recommended
The Star
extraordinary...exhaustive and scholarly research...voluminous detail...clear and crisp and easy to follow...fascinating to devour...wonderful vignettes...delightful...highly recommended
Old Cars Weekly
an intriguing era
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786418893
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/2/2004
  • Pages: 371
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Dick is a historian in mechanical engineering and automotive matters. He lives in Saarbr├╝cken, Germany.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1 Scenery 5
2 Meeting Point: Eiffel Tower 9
3 Systeme Panhard 17
4 Riviera 28
5 Mercedes 40
6 Roi du Volant 47
7 Simplex 56
8 One-Tonners 64
9 Sixty 77
10 Towards Madrid 87
11 La Coupe Bennett 101
12 Hot Favorite 115
13 Muscle Car 130
14 Grand Prix 147
15 Italian Supremacy 163
16 Apotheosis 179
17 Depression 195
18 Blitzen Benz 202
19 Voiturettes 215
20 Savannah 234
21 Grey Ghost 243
22 Modern Times 251
23 Rivals in Blue 270
24 Test Run 283
25 Tactics 294
26 Oval Tracks 311
27 Wartime 320
Appendix A Forgotten Cars-and Forgotten Heroes 329
Appendix B Technical Data 337
Appendix C Race Results 352
Bibliography 357
Index 359
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