Charismatic Bernd Rosemeyer in an Auto Union C-Type had been the first ever Grand Prix driver to make a lap at the old, 22.8 kilometres long Nuerburgring-Nordschleife in a  time under 10 minutes back in 1936. Young hero Rosemeyer had been  born in 1909 in Lingen in the Northern part of Germany pretty near to the Dutch border. After winning the 1936 German Grand Prix he also  had become European Grand Prix Champion that year, the predecessor of today`s  Formula One Worldchampionship,  driving the Auto Union C-Type. The same year he had  married also charismatic aviatrix Elly Beinhorn, one year  later their son Bernd Rosemeyer jr was born later becoming a medical professor in Munich. Rosemeyer died in 1938, when he tried to break the world  land speed record on the motorway from Frankfurt to Darmstadt, when his special Auto Union record vehicle was pushed to a bridge post by a gust of wind suddenly appearing. Beinhorn celebrated her 100th birthday in Munich on 30th May 2007.

The Auto Union C-Type belonged to the 750 kilograms formula demanding a weight not higher than this value without fuel, oil, water and tyres. The design of the car based on a layout created by Professor Ferdinand Porsche back in 1932. The C-type was the first ever Grand Prix car having got the engine in the middle of the car. With the cockpit very close behind the front axle and a rear suspension  in the shape of the old Volkswagen Beetle the C-Type had got a pretty critical handling only extraordinary performing drivers like Bernd Rosemeyer or Archille Varzi had been able to cope with. Some 25 years later Sir Jack Brabham and Alf Francis relaunched the concept of the Auto Union in the shape of the Cooper Climax, but now with a lot better wishbone suspension making  this design become the standard one until today. The Auto Union C-type was powered by a mighty 45 V16 cylindre engine with a cubic capacity of 6005 cc, boosted by a roots compressor at 0.95 bar,  with 520 horse powers at 5000 rpm. In 1936 the Auto Union drivers Bernd Rosemeyer, Archille Varzi and Hans Stuck, the hillclimb champion won eight out of 14 international quality motor races. Auto Union`s motorsport budged of 1936 was 2.692.273 Reichsmark, only 516.000 Reichsmark were sponsorship of the German Nazi government. For 1938 the Grand Prix formula had been changed to a 3000 cc limit instead of the old 750 kilograms regulations.  For that reason Auto Union replaced the C-Type by the D-Version also following the middle engine concept but using a V12 instead of the V16. Auto Union presented one C-Model to the German Museum in Munich, where it survived World War II  as the only car of this design. After Eastern Germany had been conquered by the  Red Army 18 valuable Auto Union had been taken to the Soviet Union by railway  to make a big haul of war. Most of the cars disappeared forever behind the iron curtain. The photos of the Auto Union C-Type, a 1999 made copy of the original version, shown here, were taken at the Kassel CityPoint Exhibition for the Herkules Bergpreis 2007.  

Klaus Ewald


Bernd Rosemeyer


2007 by researchracing   Photos by Klaus Ewald    Graphics by project * 2000    > Contents     > Grand Prix Journal Online   > ENTER