Auto Union D-Type
(Photo by Boa)
You might remember an earlier post about the influence of Nazi Germany on early American Hot Rods. It’s a fascinating topic that I’ve done quite a bit of research on. When I first started, it was really quite difficult to admire some of the early German efforts knowing they were commissioned by Hitler himself. However, the deeper I get into the subject the more it becomes obvious that German politics actually played a very small part in the construction of most of these cars.
The legendary race cars from Auto Union and Mercedes-Benz weren’t built by politicians with aspirations of world dominance. They were built primarily by engineers with little to no knowledge of any kind of war machine. With the exception of Ferdinand Porsche, these guys were just naive hot rodders like you and me.
Which brings me to the Auto Union D-Type that will be going to auction soon… The car that many early salt flat racers claim inspired them was actually commissioned by Hitler and designed by Ferdinand Porsche. It’s pedigree will most likely fetch a $10 mil plus selling price and the media has been quick to jump on it’s Nazi ties.
The reality of it? Hitler funded it, Porsche put a pencil to paper, and a group of fabricators in Stugart built it. Those are unquestionable facts, but I wonder about those guys that cut, welded, and assembled in 1939… Much of my research says they worked for the car, not Porsche… and certainly not Hitler.
Old cars are so much better and bigger than people.