It’s spent more than sixty years in the automotive wilderness, but this Auto Union Silver Arrow Type D racer is now back with two of its pre-war brethren following recent purchase by Audi AG. The heritage collection now owns three of the pre-war machines.
Now there may be some of you wondering what this Auto Union returnee is and what the significance of the occasion may be?
Well, the twin-supercharged Type D was not only one of the fastest pre-war single-seater cars – it would hit a hair-raising 380kph at Avus in 1937 with German driver Bernd Rosemeyer behind the wheel – but it was also one of the first to have its engine bolted behind the driver as opposed to up front, a tradition still prevalent in Formula One today.
The model is also one of the illusive ‘Karassik’ cars. Most, but not quite all, Auto Union racers disappeared behind the Iron Curtain in the 1940s. Some three decades later, American entrepreneur Paul Karassik would purchase two heavily damaged but salvageable Auto Union single seaters he’d stumbled across rotting in Soviet Russia. Once on US turf, Kerassik would commission their restoration to 1930s glory.
One of the Kerassik Type-D’s was sold to a private collector, and it would be another thirty-plus years before the Auto Union racer made it’s way back to German soil.
There’s rumoured to be five of the original Auto Union models still in existence. For Audi then, that’s three down, two to go.