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Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013: auction of Mercedes-Benz W 196 R one of highlights at world's 'largest motorised garden party'

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Mercedes-Benz Classic presents great moments in motor-racing history at Goodwood Motorsport festival celebrating its 20th anniversary Auction of only privately owned post-war Silver Arrow by Bonhams sure to cause a stir

Stuttgart--une 24, 2013: This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England, includes the auction of a Mercedes-Benz Type W 196 R Grand Prix racing car on 12 July 2013. The auction will be one of the highlights of a weekend dedicated to motor sport. Mercedes-Benz Classic is joining Mercedes-Benz UK at this 20th staging of the unique motorsport garden party (11 to 14 July 2013), where it will be presenting numerous exclusive models from the brand’s motor-racing history, including legendary pre- and post-war Silver Arrows as well as cars from the early days of motor racing, one particular highlight being an original Benz “Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen” from 1910. Juan Manuel Fangio piloted the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow Type W 196 R with chassis number 006/54 to victory at the German and Swiss Grands Prix in 1954. These triumphs were key moments on Fangio’s march towards his first Formula-1 World Championship title with Mercedes-Benz. The W 196 R also marked a triumphant post-war return to Grand Prix racing for Mercedes-Benz in the 1954 season. During this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the British auction house Bonhams will be hosting an exclusive auction of this very W 196 R model with chassis number 006/54 on 12 July 2013.

“This unique opportunity is sure to hold extraordinary appeal for all those with an interest in historical motorsport”, says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic, “as the vehicle was and remains the only original post-war Silver Arrows in private ownership.” Ahead of the auction, the experts at Mercedes-Benz Classic have carried out extensive checks on the Silver Arrow, which was donated by the then Daimler-Benz AG to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu (England) in 1973 and sold by the museum to a private collector in 1980.

Based on these detailed checks and the full set of documentation compiled by Mercedes-Benz Classic, the brand historians have produced a detailed expert’s report confirming the vehicle’s originality and authenticity. “Our expert’s report means that there are no uncertainties whatsoever about this racing car,” says Michael Bock. “It fully and unequivocally confirms the history and originality of the vehicle.” The fact that Mercedes-Benz Classic provides such a high level of expertise for collectors and fans of the brand’s historical cars adds to the value of Mercedes-Benz classic vehicles. “High-quality classics bearing the Mercedes star are among the most valuable classic cars of all”, says Michael Bock, “and the auction of this unique vehicle has the potential to achieve an extremely high price – perhaps even the highest price ever paid at auction for a car.” Great moments at Goodwood with Mercedes-Benz Classic Mercedes-Benz Classic is reliving the glittering racing successes of the second Silver Arrow era of 1954 and 1955 at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed by staging demonstration drives with a W 196 R from its own collection.

Only 10 of the total of 14 models originally built are still in existence: there are six W 196 R models in the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection, plus museum exhibits in Turin, Vienna and Indianapolis. Then there is the model with chassis number 006/54 being auctioned in Goodwood. To tie in with the W 196 R, Mercedes-Benz Classic is also exhibiting an authentic 2001 replica of the “Blue Wonder” racing-car transporter from 1955 and a 300 SLR Coupé originally built for gruelling long-distance races and rally events.

Although this “Uhlenhaut-Coupé” never actually raced, it became famous as a test and touring car used by Mercedes-Benz designer Rudolf Uhlenhaut. Also on show at the legendary festival in the English county of West Sussex is a pre-war Silver Arrow W 154. It was in a Silver Arrow of this type that Rudolf Caracciola won his third European Grand Prix Championship title for Mercedes-Benz in 1938. Heralding from a far more distant era of motor racing is the Benz “Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen” from 1910, which Mercedes-Benz Classic has faithfully restored to ensure maximum authenticity. Finally, a Benz Patent Motor Car is a reminder of the birth of the automobile in 1886. The dark green “Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen” with white start number 38 is making its public driving debut at the festival following its careful restoration by the Mercedes-Benz Classic experts. Now over 100 years old, the vehicle is a fascinating witness of motor sport innovations from the early 1900s. At that time, the “Prinz-Heinrich” Tour, named after the brother of the German Emperor, was one of Europe’s most prominent races. The German Automobile Club, then known as the “Kaiserlicher Automobil-Club”, staged the race for the first time in 1908, with only four-seater production cars being allowed to participate. Between 1908 and 1910, Benz & Cie. built the “Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen” designed specifically for the race using a number of different engine configurations.

Ten all-new Benz special touring cars were built for the 1910 tour, which was staged between June 2 and 8 and covered a distance of 1945 kilometres from Berlin to Homburg via Braunschweig, Kassel, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Strasbourg, and Metz. Four of them had 5.7-litre engines while the other six had engines with a displacement of 7.3 litres. All the touring cars were equipped with cardan shaft drive and had an aerodynamically optimised body with a characteristic pointed rear. Following extensive restoration of the Benz 80 hp special touring car from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection by the in-house experts, this authentic and original “Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen” is now celebrating its public return to the race track at Goodwood. It is yet another high point in the life of a vehicle that many automobile historians consider to be the first true sports car.

The many Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles lining up at the start for demonstration drives on the 1.86 kilometre Goodwood hill-climb course will be one of the highlights of the festival. In keeping with the long and illustrious tradition of Mercedes-Benz Classic, the brand’s racing cars will be piloted by renowned racing drivers on the Goodwood hill-climb course. These prominent brand ambassadors include motor-racing stars such as Lewis Hamilton, Hans Herrmann, Jochen Mass, Stirling Moss, Nico Rosberg, and Jackie Stewart.