Audi AG have announced that they have been able to repurchase one of the “Karassik Restoration Cars”, meaning they now three of the five original Auto Union Racing machines. The twin-supercharger Silver Arrow consists mainly of original parts and was part of the era that paved the way for Formula One Grand Prix racing as we see it today.
Along with Mercedes Benz, Auto Union dominated the Grand Prix scene in the 1930s and while the Stuttgart-based manufacturer stuck to front-engined cars, Auto Union broke the mould by placing the engine behind the driver, a feature that is now standard in F1 cars.
The ‘supercharger era’ was halted by the Second World War and after being occupied by the Soviet Army, Auto Union was liquidated. Russian occupying forces found the cars and they were carried back to the Soviet Union as part of German reparation payments, resulting in the loss of any trace of the cars.
In 1970, American classic car collector Paul Karassik began his search across Europe and finally managed to uncover remains of two dismantled Auto Union cars before successfully buying them. With the help of English company Crosthwaite & Gardiner, as well as Rod Jolley Coachbuilding, single supercharger and twin supercharger cars were rebuilt to original spec. While Audi bought the 1938 single-supercharger machine, the 1939 twin was sold to a classic car collector.
But now Audi have finally purchased the Type D model and Thomas Frank, Head of Audi Tradition, is overwhelmed, saying “this is one of the most emotional moments in our heritage work for AUDI AG – we have come full circle. 20 years ago we would never have dreamed that such a thing would be possible!”