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

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McFarland, Jan 1, 2005 - History - 363 pages
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This history illuminates the early period of automobile racing from the beginnings in 1895 until the First World War in 1915 when racing had to cease temporarily. Focusing on the races themselves, the drivers, mechanics and engineers and the technical progress of the cars, it tells the story of the German machine that disrupted French domination of the sport. From its emergence in 1901, the Mercedes was to play a leading role, its career and evolution becoming an image of the whole period. In these early days, automobile racing gave invaluable assistance in improving the breed of the ordinary motorcar. The individuals who built and drove them laid the foundationof a new industry, conceived the modern, high-performance engine and gave magic to a series of races, which drew hundreds and thousands of spectators and thrilled entire nations. This volume, wonderfully illustrated with nearly 300 rarely seen photographs, addresses many questions and legends from this time in automobile history that are in need of clarification. Early chapters discuss the patent situation and 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 and the role of Ernest Henry in the development of the revolutionary Peugeot. Final chapters describe the career of the 4.5-liter Mercedes and its imact on future designs.

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This is the finest work in the subject, period. Mr Dick has included a level of detail that is missing in all other books on the subject of pre WW1 racing. The writing is tight and paints a unique picture of the times and the men that started motor sports. Bravo.

About the author (2005)

Dick is a historian in mechanical engineering and automotive matters. He lives in Saarbrucken, Germany.

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