This car only competed in one event, and didn’t win. Yet its form is so evocative that we remember it, rather than the model that was the race victor.
Both Mercedes and Auto Union developed aero bodies for the reconfigured 1937 Avus event. For 1937 the Berlin-area track was extended to include the 43 degree banking, called the “wall of death”. With the banking, top speeds of 240 mph were enabled…..think about that in the 1930s. 380,000 spectators (pause for your jaw to drop) attended this 1937 event. “Regular” Grand Prix cars competed, plus 4 Stromlinie from each of Mercedes and Auto Union. Mercedes won all three heats, and Hermann Lang declared the overall winner……but the Auto Union was the “looker”.
Audi had three years experience building streamliners by 1937, and a later 1938 Typ D Stromlinie was also built, but crashed. The “full course” at Avus was deemed too dangerous, and was never race on by Grand Prix cars after the one-off 1937.
The dirty thirties had its highs and lows. I choose to celebrate its highs. And what highs they are!! Such a spectacle this Avus Event in 1937 must have been. The drivers must really have felt like modern-day gladiators before such a crowd.
Today we think of Daytona as a arena of speed, but its banking is “just” 31 degrees, and the Floridian track is much narrower than the Avus “Wall of Death”. That being said, if you EVER have a chance to race at Daytona, I highly recommend it. I’m a sports car guy, (I raced the Roval) but it was the banking / drafting components that I found spectacular!
The Stromlinie piece is somewhat different than my other works to date. The inspiration is from a much earlier era. There is rather little detail in the original car……it is all about the smooth form. This allows the piece to be perceived as more abstract, and thus having a wider appeal to those beyond the car enthusiast realm. Knowing all of that made the Stromlinie an obvious choice to go larger in size (31 inches in length) than the other works.
At showings the Stromlinie has been the top attention getter. I haven’t been able to tease out exactly why…….because its larger?……..because its perceived as more abstract?……because of its sleek form?……because of its more “classic” veined white marble?
All-in-all a very satisfying piece to execute. I’d love to sculpt more streamliners, whether they be circuit racing cars, or land speed record cars.