Remember it for the one who lost
- Leif Snellman
- 8W Millennium issue
- The Gordon Bennett races - The birth of international competition, by Leif Snellman
- 1906 French Grand Prix - The first Grand Prix, by Leif Snellman
1914 ACF GP
It has been called the motor race of the century. The 1914 French Grand Prix goes into history as one of the most competitive and exciting ever. Also, the race proved to be the culmination and end of the "heroic age" of motor racing, the pioneer era that had seen car racing growing from being a curiosity into a highly professional sport. The entry list - restricted to works teams - included Aldas, Delages, Peugeots and Schneiders from France, British Vauxhalls and Sunbeams, Italian Fiats, Nazzaros and a single Aquila, German Opels and Mercedes, Belgian Nagants and Swiss Pichard-Pictets, altogether 37 cars from 13 manufacturers in 6 countries.
The 1914 formula restricted the cars to an engine size of 4.5 litre and a minimum weight of 1100 kg. This was the first Grand Prix formula that restricted the engine size. While there were other races during the 1914 season, none of them could compete with the "Grand Prix" for fame and status. It was de facto the Formula 1 championship of its time, decided by a single event.
The Peugeot team were the clear favourites. After all their head driver and the leading force behind the team, Georges Boillot, had won both the 1912 and 1913 Grand Prix for Peugeot. The new rules also seemed to favour Peugeot that had great experience with voiturette racing. For the race Peugeot built four new L45 cars, which featured the leading technology at the time with four-wheel brakes and engines with double overhead camshafts. To be able to beat the French the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschsaft (DMG) knew that they had to do two things. Firstly they had to build a totally new type of engine, small and with a high rpm. No Mercedes car had exceeded 1500rpm and now an engine with double that speed was needed. Secondly the team had to try and get an advantage by perfect preparation for the race, with close attention to all the details.
As DMG already had experience in building airplane engines chief engineer Paul Daimler (son of the founder) and Fritz Nalliger decided to build an aircraft engine for the Grand Prix car. The 4 cylinder engine (M93654) was built with individual steel cylinders with welded on water jackets and intake and exhaust ports. The crankcase was made of aluminium while the crankshafts were built by special steel supplied by an Austrian manufacturer. Both cast iron and aluminium pistons were tested, the final decision which type to use was left to the drivers. Peugeot had pointed the way with its twin overhead camshafts in 1912 but DMG, who preferred to do things their own way and not rush into novelties, decided to go for a single camshaft. Each cylinder had four valves (the first Mercedes to have that) and three platinum point spark plugs with room for a fourth. The engine size was 93*165mm = 4483cc giving 105bhp at 3100rpm. The engine was built by the car section of the factory but tested by the aero-engine staff. The chassis was a development of the 1913 car. It was made of pressed-steel side members with semi-elliptic springs all around. Instead of friction dampers auxiliary coil springs were added to each wheel. The radiator was sharply vee-shaped, giving the car an aerodynamic appearance. The car had Continental tyres on balanced Rudge-Withworth wire wheels with fast knock-off caps. DMG was close to select a chain drive for the car but finally went for a shaft drive instead. The car had a four-speed gearbox and 13.5" brake drums on the rear wheels only. The factory went into the smallest details to make the cars perfect. Jack & hammer had their assigned places between the seat and the fuel tank had a Thermos bottle with cool refreshments for the crew.
Two of the new cars were ready in time to be sent among other Mercedes cars to Lyon-Givors for testing in April before the track was closed for competition. The track, which was 37.631km long, included both a giant 10km straight and twisty curve sections. It was the kind of track that always has created problems for racing teams. After extensive test sessions the Mercedes test team came to the conclusion that the track in fact demanded a five-speed gearbox. That request was denied by the factory and a compromise was made with gear ratios 3.00 on first gear, 1.50 on second and 1.2 on third. Final drive ratios were either 2.7 or 3.0. The wheelbase was shortened to 112" and the long tails were cut off to save weight. The team's preparation and organization was of the quality that later became the trademark for Mercedes. Five race cars plus a practice car were built. Each car was individually tailored for its driver. The team went to such lengths as to paint containers for fuel, oil and water in different colors to prevent any confusion in the pits.
There was something special in the air as the teams started to arrive to the Lyon track. There were already clear signs that this could be the end of an era. Just a few days earlier, on June 28, the Austrian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, had been assassinated in Sarajevo. Austria asked the Serbs for a full investigation. The Russians were soon to take side with the Serbs and the French with the Russians while the Austrians and Germans were bound together into any conflict by a treaty.
No love was lost between the Germans and the French. The origin of the conflict went back a long way before the 30-years war. The Germans had never forgotten Napoleon's ravagings in their country while the French were seeking revenge for their loss in the war of 1870. Germany had plans to attack France via Belgium but Britain saw such an attack as a threat to the Channel area. Everything was ready for the explosion.
Came the raceday. The cars were to drive 20 laps on the exhausting track, making the race to last 7 hours. All the Mercedes drivers were to make one stop at the middle of the race for new tyres, regardless of the condition of the tyres, a completely new kind of strategy not seen in GP racing before. As usual in the pre-WW1 era the cars were sent away two and two with 30 second intervals between the pairs. Starting with number 5 for Peugeot was France's hope, the double Grand Prix winner Georges Boillot, the fastest driver of his era. Jules Goux, winner of the 1913 Indianapolis race, had car No.19 and Peugeot's third driver Victor Rigal raced in car No.32. The Mercedes drivers had the following race numbers: No.14 was raced by Mercedes director and "rookie" driver Max Sailer. No.28 was raced by Mercedes test driver and winner of the 1908 Grand Prix, Christian Lautenschlager. Otto Salzer raced car No.39 and racing No.40 was French top driver Louis Wagner, on loan from FIAT to Mercedes, while No.41 was raced by Theodore Pilette whose Mercedes cars had been refused for the 1913 race as they did not represent a works entry.
There was already drama before the start as Pilette destroyed his gearbox. He was able to start but would retire within one hour. It soon became clear that this was a race between Peugeot and Mercedes, between France and Germany. It did not take long before Boillot, to his surprise, was passed by Sailer, who had started 2 minutes behind him. It is no wonder that Boillot, possibly the most arrogant racing driver ever, could not stand such a behaviour in front of his home crowd so he immediately took up the chase of the Mercedes driver. It has often been said that Sailer worked as the "hare" in a clever Mercedes strategy to beat the Peugeots. Rather it seems more likely that Sailer because of inexperience was simply running too fast.
Regardless of the reason the end result was the same. For five laps Boillot chased the leading Mercedes and now it became clear that the Peugeot team had made a mistake in their tyre selection. Also, the long tail with its two heavy vertical spare wheels inside made the Peugeots handling badly. On lap 5, after breaking the lap record (20:06.0) and leading by 2.5 minutes, Sailer had to retire as the rod bearings gave up on his Mercedes and Boillot was finally able to take the lead. He was chased by Lautenschlager's and Wagner's Mercedes cars while the other Peugeots were struggling. A hard driving Boillot was able to keep the lead for the next 12 laps even when he had to make several pitstops for new tyres against Mercedes' one stop. Lautenschlager's pitstop on lap 11 became a fiasco although the Mercedes team had practiced the stops countless times, and he lost 2-3 minutes. Now Wagner, who had speeded up, became the new threat to the Peugeot driver, who once again had to drive flat out to try to keep the Mercedes behind. At lap 15 there was a break as Wagner had destroyed his tyres in the chase and had to make a pitstop.
But by now Boillot's engine had taken so much beating that the end was inevitable. On lap 18 Lautenschlager passed the struggling Peugeot to take over the lead and on the last lap Boillot retired from the race, the crying driver collapsing over the steering wheel, to give the Germans a triple lead. The Mercedes trio took the flag in silence, only Goux in 4th place managed to bring up cheers from the shocked spectators, who clearly saw the race as a bad omen of things to come.
The top six results were as follows:
1. Christian Lautenschlager, Mercedes, 7:08:18.4
2. Louis Wagner, Mercedes, 7:09:54.2
3. Otto Salzer, Mercedes, 7:13:15.8
4. Jules Goux, Peugeot, 7:17:47.2
5. Dario Resta, Sunbeam, 7:28:17.4
6. Dragutin Esser, Nagant, 7:40:28.2
After having been on display in Berlin Lautenschlager's car was sent to London to be displayed there. It happened to arrive just as the First World War started. On an initiative by Bentley the engine was taken apart and closely studied. A copy would soon be put into British airplanes under the Rolls Royce label and after the war Bentley would adapt the Mercedes valve gears and cam drive for his first car. Lautenschlager's car was sold after the war and would race at Brooklands in the early 20s by Count Zborowsky. It was restored to its pre-war form in the 70s. Another of the cars ended up in the USA to be driven by Ralph de Palma while a third car was painted red and used by Giulio Masetti in the Targa Florio during the early 20s.
Lautenschlager never again returned to the racing tracks. He died in 1954 while Boillot's end came 21 April 1916 as he singlehandedly took on seven German planes in a dogfight over Verdun. Some people never learn their limits.
Reader's Why by Hans Etzrodt
A lot of entertaining stories have been written about this race and have attributed Mercedes with a German master plan of applied racing strategy, which won them the race. It is however nothing but a nice story and what really happened will be explained later on. The Mercedes team had carried out painstaking pre-race work and arrived for this race with well-prepared cars. They used Continental tires, which proved to be a superb choice since they had to stop less often to change tires than anybody else. Mercedes were the only team to enter five cars, the maximum allowed in this race. Two of these cars retired early on, the others were part of the first one-two-three finish in grand prix history. For Christian Lautenschlager, who had already won the 1908 Grand Prix for Mercedes, the Grand Prix on 4 July 1914 in Lyon was a repeat, only this time in the supposedly "Greatest Grand Prix" of them all, on a beautiful hot summer day in France. Lautenschlager, not the fastest driver, was persistent in his speed and had developed a fine feel for the mechanical limits of his car. He did not make the mistake to get lured into a dangerous chase with any of his opponents.
Lautenschlager was born on 13 April 1877 in the small village of Magstadt, about 20 km from Stuttgart in Germany. At 14, his poor parents sent him to Stuttgart to learn the trade of a machinist. Over three years later after he had become journeyman, he left for Switzerland, working in Zurich and Luzern. Back in Germany, Christian was employed at a bicycle factory in Chemniz, Saxony. After five years traveling, he returned to Stuttgart at age 22 and applied for a job as mechanic at the works of Gottlieb Daimler. The old Daimler took a liking to the young Lautenschlager and employed him at the vehicle assembly department. When Gottlieb Daimler died on 6 March 1900, his longtime friend and chief designer Wilhelm Maybach took over the direction of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. Maybach was now preoccupied with running D.M.G. and therefore Gottlieb's oldest son Paul became the new chief designer. In that position, Paul Daimler was accountable for the design of a long row of racing types including the 1914 Grand Prix Mercedes. In 1905, Christian Lautenschlager was promoted to chief test driver, foreman in the driving department, responsible for the inspection and running in of all cars. His first race came in 1906, at the Ardennes circuit race. Daimler had entered three cars for this 600 km race and Christian Lautenschlager was Otto Salzer's mechanic. In the race, they came in ninth place due to having too many tire repairs. In 1908, D.M.G. entered three cars for the Grand Prix at Dieppe, which was firmly established as the most important race in Europe. Lautenschlager got one of the cars. Mechanic foreman and test driver Otto Salzer, racing for D.M.G. since 1903, drove the second car. Gentleman-driver Willy Poge, director of an electrical equipment company, had driven Mercedes racecars for the last five years and was assigned the third car. The 13.6-liter engines, delivering 140 hp at 1400 rpm, powered the Mercedes grand prix cars. Lautenschlager was a strong man and this condition helped him to forge his successes. His victory in front of 300,000 spectators at the most important race of 1908 made the German very well known. "I am overjoyed over the great triumph my firm has achieved with this victory," he said modestly, a D.M.G. employee since 1899. "We have earned this success, for the cars have been thoroughly tested for a long time." And while Lautenschlager stayed as driving-foreman in the factory, Otto Salzer and Willy Poge contested and won several races for Mercedes. However, Lautenschlager received likewise all racing cars to be run in. In 1913, he was again part of the Mercedes team, not in the Grand Prix at Amiens but at Le Mans for the Grand Prix de France where he came sixth.
Lautenschlager's next race came on 4 July 1914, again at the Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France. The ACF had established the 1914 formula of 4.5-liter maximum engine displacement and the weight limited was set at not more than 1,100 kg, which resulted in the smallest grand prix cars ever. The circuit, about 20 km from Lyon, was exactly 37.631 km long and had to be lapped 20 times, which was a total distance of 752.620 km. The course started out from the huge grandstand and pits with a succession of short straights with easy curves. It then bypassed the small town of Givors where it passed under the railway bridge and snaked along the river Gier with lots of twists and turns. The circuit turned back through the hairpin of Virage de la Madeleine leading into a long climb followed by a downhill straight of about 12 km to the "S" bend, Le Piège de la Mort, a feared left bend, leading to the hairpin at les Sept Chemins, and back to the grandstand. Georges Boillot considered it the best circuit he had ever seen, for the driver as well as for the spectator. The Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft entered five cars, the maximum allowed. Besides Lautenschlager there was again Otto Salzer, then the experienced Parisian Louis Wagner, 31-year-old Max Sailer, a research engineer at D.M.G., and the Belgian Mercedes importer Théodor Pilette. The Mercedes grand prix cars weighed just below the maximum allowable weight of 1,100 kg and were powered by 4.5-liter engines, delivering a factory quoted 115 hp, enabling a speed of 180 km/h. The engine had four separate steel cylinders and four valves per cylinder operated by a single overhead camshaft. These engines represented the latest in D.M.G. aero engine technology and bore very close resemblance to the engine of which hundreds had recently been supplied to the German air force. Mercedes relied on the proven rear brakes declaring that they had tried out front brakes years before and found them much too dangerous for racing.
The team was very well prepared for this race. Already in January, six months ahead of the race, a factory engineer had driven to France and conducted a course study to work out the gearing needed. Over Easter, Mercedes technicians and drivers had visited the course for extensive tests using seven Knight-chassis with only two seats mounted. At least two grand prix cars were completed in time to be tested in Lyon before the roads were prohibited for racing cars in early April. Because of these tests, it was decided to carry out several changes to the racecars. To improve the handling, the wheelbase was slightly reduced with improvements to the suspension. The drivers had been able to learn the road, accumulating about 45,000 km in testing. The thoroughness of the preparation and the reliability of the cars were to give Mercedes their success in the race. While the Mercedes cars had no front brakes, Peugeot, Delage Fiat and Piccard-Pictet were equipped with four-wheel brakes. The 110 hp Peugeots were faster around the corners because of their four-wheel brakes. The other manufacturers entered were Alda, Aquila-Italiana, Opel, Nagant, Nazzaro, Schneider, Sunbeam and Vauxhall. All racing greats, every Grand Prix victor, winners of other events and famous future stars were present: Bablot, Boillot, Cagno, Chassagne, Costantini, DePalma, Duray, Gabriel, Goux, Lautenschlager, Nazzaro, Resta, Rigal, Salzer, Scales, Szisz and Wagner. Short notice was given for official practice, set on June 15 and 17 at predawn between 3:30 to 5:00 AM. This had its cause in the problem of securing the long circuit and led to a many complaints from the teams. The quickest cars during official practice came from Delage, Mercedes, Peugeot and Sunbeam. The course work was completed at the end of June after the roads had been re-laid with granite to prevent break up from the use of steel studded tires. The two hairpins had been concreted and to keep the dust down, 80 tons of calcium chloride had been scattered on the roads.
Georges Boillot, the world's best driver, was the favorite, not only because he had the swiftest car but he had also won the Grand Prix the previous two years and the Coupe de l'Auto in 1913, and would have surely taken the 1914 Indy 500 had it not been for tyre trouble. Georges Boillot, the little vain Frenchman racing for France, was the idol of the crowd. The hills, mountain slopes, trees, houses and all along the course were crowded black with people, the spectators were estimated at around 300,000. On the morning of 4 July at seven o'clock, the world's best 37 drivers faced the starter. They comprised 13 factory teams from six nations. The Mercedes drivers were dressed in white sweaters and white dust caps. Few drivers wore gloves and the great champion Boillot refused to even wear something on his head. He drove the Grand Prix bareheaded. The starting order had been decided again by ballot. At 7:45 o'clock, the engines were started filling the air with a dull howl. The drivers were started simultaneously in pairs at half-minute intervals. Such an exciting start had never been seen before at a Grand Prix. The first pair of Szisz on his blue Alda and Jorns on his white Opel was dispatched at eight o'clock, followed in 30-second intervals by the 35 other contestants. Four cars of the original entries did not make the start. The last car to take off was Pilette on Mercedes at 8:10 o'clock. The unknown Max Sailer, a cocky D. M. G. engineer who was new in grand prix racing, went flat out and was leading at the end of lap one to the disbelief of everybody. When Boillot made a hurried stop at his pit on lap three, Sailer passed him on the road in front of the grandstand. Pilette had to park his Mercedes after three laps with a broken gearbox, the result of damage before the race, which could not be repaired in time. The day before, he had accidentally damaged the transmission with his engine running at high rpm and the clutch pressed down he selected a gear when his foot slipped off the clutch pedal.
Sailer stayed out front, set the course record of twenty minutes and six seconds on lap four and thereafter increased his advantage to 2¾-minutes on the following lap. During their Easter training, the boorish German Lautenschlager, winner of the 1908 Grand Prix, had said to the cocky new man Max Sailer: "You certainly don't have a clue about Grand Prix driving. One has to drive there totally different!" Obviously a good deal of rivalry existed between these two and the daring young engineer must have been inspired to show the veteran Lautenschlager a clean pair of heels. After leading for two hours, Sailer's engine came to a stop on lap six with a broken connecting rod. His fast pace on the downhill 12-km-straight from Rive-de-Gier to Sept Chemins had caused his demise, not because of a grand German strategy but plainly due to inexperience of the driver's part. Sailer later said he had not received any signal from the pits to slow him down. At the same time he had no idea how he was positioned in comparison with any of the other drivers and therefore he drove as well as he could. Drivers were still very much on their own in 1914. The Mercedes, for example, had a set of numbered metal tabs under the cowl so that the mechanic could flip them down to keep track of the laps completed. There was no race strategy, no arrangements and no order for any of the drivers to chase. Sailer later said, "Race strategy? Awfully stupid gossip!"
Mercedes engineer, Director Vischer, who was in charge of pits and drivers said his instruction was not to drive like crazy at the beginning but to stay in front and give the engines time to warm up. Drivers were also told to change the Continental-tires after ten laps, the first half of the race. With Salzer's Mercedes out of the race, Boillot's Peugeot inherited the lead to the joy of the French crowd. On lap seven Goux in the other Peugeot went passed Duray's Delage for third place while Lautenschlager was chasing after the leader. After ten laps and 3h31m04s, Boillot was first, followed by Lautenschlager's Mercedes only one minute and nine seconds behind, Jules Goux on the other Peugeot, the Mercedes drivers Wagner and Salzer, then Dario Resta on Sunbeam, altogether there were still 23 cars in the race. The battle was obviously between Peugeot and Mercedes, France and Germany. Lautenschlager made a lengthy stop for replenishments at the pits on the eleventh lap, which took two minutes. At this stage, he only had his handbrake left. Boillot stopped the following lap, but in less time. Around the feared Piège de la Mort Guyot, Boillot, Champoiseau and Essner were the fastest but most drivers rounded the left turn with great respect. The Hungarian Ferenc Szisz, winner of the first Grand Prix back in 1906, had to change a rear tire by the roadside. Breckheimer on his Opel arrived at full speed, invisible through the dust cloud, and accidentally struck the unfortunate Szisz who was laboring with his back turned against the oncoming car. The Alda from Szisz, now driven by his lightly injured mechanic, rolled into the pits on lap 11 with the considerably injured Szisz who also had broken his arm. On lap 12, Wagner's Mercedes went past the Peugeot of Goux into third place. The general interest centered on the first two cars, which were always two to three minutes apart. After the Peugeot's pit stop on lap 17, the Mercedes was only 14 seconds behind the leader. It soon became evident that a victory for France hung on a thin thread because Lautenschlager and Wagner were close behind Boillot. An unbelievable excitement had overcome the spectators. Boillot was still in the lead but down from the hill through the curves, clearly visible from the grandstands, the two white cars chased like a tornado after Boillot. The spectators raved and raged as Boillot passed the grandstand. He was giving it all. But Lautenschlager, driving now faster laps than Boillot, was catching the Frenchman and on lap 18, the German passed the grandstand in first place. The excitement of the gigantic crowd had reached its climax, but the French spectators did not give up hope to see the blue Peugeot as victor. After a lengthy stop, the second Peugeot of Goux had now fallen to fifth place behind the three German cars, then began to overheat and retired on lap 19. On the last lap, when in second place, fate reached Boillot when his worn engine dropped a valve.
During the seven-hour race, Boillot and Lautenschlager had never been in sight of each other until the German went past the stranded French ace, crying in despair along the roadside. He probably had caused his own demise and accidentally over-revved his engine. Several statements to the effect that Boillot went out with a broken back axle could not be proven correct. But the Peugeot was in a poor state and when examined later it was found that the steering column had broken away from its mounting and the front brakes were not working. With his car falling to pieces at the end, Boillot had however demonstrated in his last race tremendous skills to keep the ailing car on the road. After 7h08m18s, Lautenschlager's white Mercedes was first to reach the Finnish; there was scattered applause only from the Germans but the crowd remained silent in shock and dismay. Wagner followed one minute and 36 seconds behind and Salzer arrived almost five minutes later. From 37 drivers at the start only eleven reached the Finnish. The German anthem in honor of the victors was not played. Later, after having been officially congratulated on the Tribune d'Honneur, Lautenschlager and his mechanic Hans Sieger received vigorous applause. Besides his three races in France, Mercedes employed Lautenschlager as top driver also in the Twenties. In 1922, the team went to Sicily and raced at the Targa Florio, where he only came tenth overall, second in class. In 1923, with the 2-liter formula in place, Mercedes went to Indianapolis with Christian Lautenschlager, Max and Karl Sailer and Christian Werner. Max and Karl Sailer came eighth, the best foreign car, Werner came Eleventh. Lautenschlager, accelerating out of turn four on lap 14, quickly spun several times on the oily track until the front of his car went into the wall; his mechanic Jakob Krauss slightly injured. In 1924, when already 46 years old, Mercedes sent him once more to the Targa Florio where he placed tenth again. He finished also in the Coppa Florio, which took place at the same time. When the Targa race was flagged off after four grueling laps, most drivers carried on for one more tour around the 108 km Medium Madonie circuit to compete for the Coppa and Lautenschlager came ninth. He never raced again, Lautenschlager worked till his retirement for renamed Daimler-Benz. In January 1954, at the age of 76, Christian Lautenschlager died in his sleep. The fate of the 1914 Mercedes grand prix cars, winning four weeks before outbreak of World War I, is unusual. Front fenders were added to the three winning cars and they were driven from France back to the factory. Just before the start of hostilities, Lautenschlager's car Number 28 went for exhibition to England at the Long Acre emporium of Milnes-Daimler-Mercedes, Ltd. None other than W.O. Bentley had suspected specific technical secrets in the engine and notified the British Admiralty about it. After war was declared, the car was hidden in a London warehouse under some packing crates. But the Mercedes was found and secured at once and sent to Rolls-Royce in Derby, where it was taken apart and the engine stripped and examined on a test bench. Rolls-Royce aero engines built during World War I closely resembled this engine. From Rolls Royce the Mercedes came into the possession of Count Zborowsky, who had a fatal crash in 1924 at Monza. Count Zborowsky won with this Mercedes at Brooklands, until he sold the car to a dealer. Then it received a four-seat body and became a touring car in the services of Mr. C.T. Brooklebank. Ralph DePalma who had raced a Vauxhall in the 1914 Grand Prix, decided to buy one of the victorious Mercedes GP cars after the race was over. The second placed car No. 40 of Wagner was shipped to America two weeks before the British blockade of German ports. It arrived in time in Chicago where he won two 301.824 miles long races at Elgin plus $4,400 in prize money, just seven weeks after the Grand Prix. In September, he was first at two short races at Long Island. Then DePalma, consultant to the Packard Motor Car Company, had the Mercedes overhauled and modified at their experimental labs in Detroit. At the same time, the engineers were able to study the latest in D.M.G. aircraft engine design. America's Liberty aircraft engines were based on the D.M.G. design. The car now belonged to Packard and in May 1916, DePalma won with it the Indianapolis 500. The Mercedes kept running and in 1916 DePalma won at Minneapolis, Omaha and Kansas. By this time, the car was pretty much worn out and since a repair without German spare parts was unthinkable, the car was put aside. The car appeared again when yachtsman and racing driver Briggs Cunningham acquired the Mercedes and displayed it in the Sixties. It was part of his magnificent collection of pedigreed cars in his Museum at Newport Beach, California. Sailer's car No. 14, which had been leading at the beginning of the race until it retired with connecting rod problems on lap six, had been exhibited at the DMG showroom at the Champs Elysées in Paris when World War I broke out. Baron Petit, inspector of the French transport troupes, was in need of a car with which he could traverse his daily 600 kilometers between breakfast and supper, therefore he seized the car for himself. Upon inspection it turned out that connecting rods were broken and bearings worn out. Thereafter a new set of connecting rods were installed and the Mercedes ran now in the duty of Germany's enemy, where the car did daily 500 km from Paris to Lyon and when Baron Petit was staying in Paris, occasionally another 100 or 150 km was added. The car proved its worth as a fast travel-car extremely well. The fuel consumption amounted to about 18 liter per 100 km, particular problems did not crop up, the car was easy to steer. The engine required some attention. After negotiations between Director Sailer and Baron Petit, the car returned to Stuttgart in the early Thirties in exchange for a 1.3-liter rear-engine Mercedes-Benz. It became the Museums car, carrying falsely Lautenschlager's number 28 instead the number 14 due to the car.