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Old 06-11-2005, 09:14 PM
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Blitzen-Benz Grand Prix Racer

The “Blitzen-Benz” - 21.5-liter record-breaker

1909 was a special year in the history of Benz & Cie, crowned by the achievements of a record-breaking car which has sealed its place in automotive folklore as one of the most inspirational models ever made. Powered by a quite awe-inspiring 21.5-liter 200-horsepower engine, the “Blitzen-Benz” reduced the then mythical 200 km/h landmark to a footnote in history. No other road-going vehicle could compete, whilst the world’s fastest trains and even the aircraft of the time were left gasping in its wake. A land-speed record which remained intact for eight years represents a suitable legacy for this era-defining vehicle. Of the six Blitzen-Benz ever made, two survive – Mercedes-Benz owns one, the other is the muse of a US collector. However, now another American enthusiast has found a way to gain entry into this exclusive club, working closely with Mercedes-Benz Classic to create a reproduction of the Blitzen-Benz containing a number of genuine parts.
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File Type: jpg Resize of 895422benz_big.jpg (156.6 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg Resize of 895433benz_story.jpg (249.8 KB, 11 views)
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Old 06-11-2005, 09:19 PM
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Raising the bar: The land-speed record reaches 228.1 km/h

In late 1910 the American Automobile Association (AAA) took the step of excluding Barney Oldfield from all racing activities. In his most recent outings, Oldfield had subjected the Blitzen-Benz to such a severe battering that Moross had to have it repaired. His seat for the following season was taken by the former Buick works driver Bob Burman – to the disgust of Oldfield, who was well aware of the reserves of speed still locked up inside the car. Burman duly lined up at Daytona Beach on April 23, 1911, this long, wide expanse of coastline providing the perfect venue for high-speed trials. Tapping the car’s full potential, he squeezed out an average 225.65 km/h for the mile with flying start and 228.1 km/h over the kilometer with flying start – a new land-speed record which was to remain unbroken until 1919. At the time, this made the Benz twice as fast as an aircraft, whilst the rail speed record (1903: 210 km/h) was also blasted out of sight.

The Blitzen-Benz spent the rest of the season decked out in “war-paint”, an imposing Imperial Eagle and thick trim lines added to the paintwork. The car was now also fitted with a speedometer, with the transfer shaft located outside the car itself and extending forward to the right front wheel.

The Blitzen-Benz embarked on a tour across the USA, becoming something of a sensation on wheels. However, a change in the regulations in 1913 stopped it in its tracks. With displacement limited to 7.4 liters, the legendary Blitzen-Benz I was passed on to Stoughton Fletcher, who hired Burman to carry out the necessary conversion work over the course of 1914. In October 1915, Fletcher then sold the Blitzen to Harry Harkness.

On November 2, 1915 the car made its public return, re-badged as the “Burman Special” for a match-up against Ralph de Palma’s Sunbeam at Sheepshead Bay, New York. However, the record-breaking car of years past was barely recognizable, with its wire spoke wheels now containing more tightly arranged spokes, concertina-type dampers fitted in place of spring-loaded shock absorbers, staggered seats, a bulge in the cockpit construction acting as a wind deflector and a significantly longer and more rounded tail which sloped downwards towards the rear.

In 1916 Burman was killed whilst at the wheel of a Peugeot, heralding the return of the Blitzen-Benz to Europe. Its journey may have taken it via Mannheim on its way to the Brooklands track in England, where it appeared in 1922 sporting white paintwork, a modified engine cover and a new radiator. Count Louis Vorow Zborowski had taken over the reins, but was unable to pilot the Blitzen-Benz to any further success. In 1923 he tore the car apart and used some of the powertrain components for a new project of his own, the Higham Special.
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File Type: jpg Resize of 522919grosses_bild_neu.jpg (364.3 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Resize of 8953892005m18_59.jpg (431.8 KB, 9 views)
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Old 06-11-2005, 09:22 PM
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The famous "Blitzen-Benz" racing car of 1909 was the first vehicle whose design was very obviously influenced by aerodynamic factors.

What was originally only planned for motor racing was later to become one of the most important influencing factors on automobile design.
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Old 06-11-2005, 09:24 PM
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Blitzen-Benz Grand Prix Racer #4
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File Type: jpg Resize of 8952352005m18_18.jpg (569.8 KB, 8 views)
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Old 06-11-2005, 09:25 PM
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Blitzen-Benz Grand Prix Racer #5
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File Type: jpg Resize of 8953982005m18_8.jpg (598.0 KB, 9 views)
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Old 06-11-2005, 09:26 PM
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Blitzen-Benz Grand Prix Racer #6
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File Type: jpg Resize of 8953432005m18_52.jpg (646.0 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg Resize of 8952462005m18_21.jpg (649.0 KB, 10 views)
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Old 06-11-2005, 09:28 PM
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Blitzen-Benz Grand Prix Racer #7
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File Type: jpg Resize of 8952572005m18_26.jpg (770.3 KB, 12 views)
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Old 06-11-2005, 09:29 PM
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Blitzen-Benz Grand Prix Racer #8
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:13 PM
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  #10  
Old 03-26-2008, 05:16 PM
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The US Car
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:47 AM
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I am puzzled about the blue car which apparently is a six cylinder....
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:04 PM
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Blitzen at Amelia

Here are a couple of pictures of the Blitzen taken at Amelia Island. It was my impression that this model was brought over from the Mercedes museum. Above it is mentioned as a US based car. Any further knowledge?

cheers

ken
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kvisser View Post
Here are a couple of pictures of the Blitzen taken at Amelia Island. It was my impression that this model was brought over from the Mercedes museum. Above it is mentioned as a US based car. Any further knowledge?

cheers

ken
I think this one is American owned, it was also shown at the 2007 Goodwood FoS.
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:47 PM
Manik Manik is offline
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Originally Posted by henk4 View Post
I think this one is American owned, it was also shown at the 2007 Goodwood FoS.
Henk, whats the red car off to the the left in kvisser's second pic?
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