Money-shifting Fangio’s Mercedes-Benz W196 race car

We loved this article from Leo Levine (“a reporter and part-time racing driver living in Germany” since at least 1960), who once money-shifted Juan Manuel Fangio’s Mercedes-Benz W196 race car… and lived to tell the tale:

The opening laps were fantastic. I’d never driven anything so responsive and so powerful. Then it was time to go fast, and it got even better — until halfway through the second quick lap, when I forgot that the shift pattern was reversed and went down a gear when I wanted to go up.

Before I could push in the clutch, the engine spun up to 10,000 r.p.m. Remember, this was a 1950s engine, when 10,000 r.p.m. was uncharted territory.

I rolled into the pits, the transmission in neutral and my heart in my mouth. When the chief mechanic came over, I could only point to the “telltale” on the tachometer, which had one hand at 10,200.

“How long?” he asked.

“About a second,” I said.

He shrugged. “Five minutes, it doesn’t like.”

I started breathing again.

Read the full article here:

A Drive of a Lifetime, Nearly Ending in Mechanical Mayhem


~ by velofinds on July 9, 2013.