This year’s Goodwood Revival featured a remarkable showing of pre-Second World War German Formula One cars, known as “Silver Arrows” for their distinctive bare-aluminum bodies. While seeing Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows run is impressive, seeing them run against cars from Auto Union (now Audi) is breathtaking.
While many of the Mercedes Silver Arrows survived World War II, most of the Auto Union cars did not. Two Auto Union Type Ds were tracked down in the 1980s (one in Russia and one in the Ukraine), but each was nothing more than a bare assemblage of scrapped parts.
Restoration ultimately took four years, with the single-supercharger 1938 Type D debuting in 1993 and the twin-supercharger 1939 Type D appearing a year later, in 1994. Both are now owned by Audi, joining the other surviving Auto Union Silver Arrow, a Type C recovered from the Deutches Museum in Munich after the war.
Seeing ten of the surviving Silver Arrows run at Goodwood must have been impressive indeed. Drivers for the priceless race cars were chosen carefully, and included such celebrity names as Sir Jackie Stewart, Jochen Mass and Nick Mason, the drummer for Pink Floyd who some affectionately call “the last Auto Union works driver.”
As Lord March explains in the video, the running of the Silver Arrows at this year’s Goodwood Revival was the result of some 20 years worth of effort. If you missed the opportunity to see the event firsthand, you won’t want to miss this video (although we'd have preferred more on-track footage, ourselves).