Few racing cars have had the sensational impact
of the W196 introduced by Mercedes-Benz in the French Grand Prix on July
4, 1954. It was a feast of exotic features from its streamlined bodywork
and direct fuel injection to its inboard brakes and valve-spring-free
straight-eight engine. The W196 scored a one-two debut triumph 40 years
to the day after a one-two-three victory by Mercedes in the same event.
Its two seasons, 1954 and 55, took iconic Argentinean driver Juan Manuel
Fangio to his second and third world championships against strong
competition from Ferrari and Maserati. Stirling Moss, Hermann Lang,
Piero Taruffi and Karl Kling were other drivers of these post-war Silver
Arrows in epic contests at Monaco, Monza, Zandvoort, Silverstone, the
Nürburgring and other classic tracks. Rare and dramatic images from the
world-famed Ludvigsen Library evoke the drama of the W196's races under
the direction of burly team manager Alfred Neubauer, while Karl
Ludvigsen's intimate introduction and insightful captions take the
reader inside these amazing cars and their creators.