Silver Arrow comes home as Audi tweaks its coupé
AUDI now has three of the five original Auto Union Type D “Silver Arrow” racers in its collection.
It was bought by Audi a few weeks ago. “This is one of the most emotional moments in our heritage work for AUDI AG – we have come full circle,” says Thomas Frank, head of Audi Tradition.
In the 1930s the 16-cylinder cars had historic races against Mercedes-Benz on grand prix circuits until the Second World War stopped play and the cars were hidden.
Mercedes-Benz was able to rescue almost all its Silver Arrow cars after Germany’s total collapse, but fate was less kind to Auto Union.
Zwickau, home to the Silver Arrows, was occupied by the Soviet Army, Auto Union was liquidated and the factories shut down.
The Russian occupying forces found the Silver Arrows where they had been stored: in a mine building above ground. The cars were carried off to the Soviet Union as part of Germany’s reparation payments, and all trace of them was lost.
They were tracked down by an American collector, Paul Karassik, and rebuilt by English companies Crosthwaite & Gardiner, with replica bodies from Rod Jolley Coachbuilding. The latest Type D will be seen at the Goodwood Revival, from September 14 to 16.
Audi has freshened up the R8 V8 and V10 coupé and spyder supercars. There is a new seven-speed S tronic twin-clutch sports transmission “delivering blink-of-an-eye gear shifts and improved sprinting ability”. CO2 emissions are cut by up to 22g/km, and the acceleration time from rest to 62mph is improved by threetenths of a second compared with R tronic shifting.
The new flagship is the £127,575 V10 plus. Developing 542bhp and 398lb-ft, the coupé-only version nips from rest to 62mph in 3.5 seconds and on to 197mph with S tronic transmission; Combined fuel economy is 21.9mpg.
With manual transmission (£124,675), the acceleration time lengthens slightly to 3.8 seconds, top speed increases to 198mph and combined fuel economy is 19mpg.
Prices for the rest start at £91,575 for the V8 coupé with manual gears.
EMOTIONAL MOMENT: The rebuilt Audi Silver Arrow, above, which was discovered in Russia and the tweaked Audi R8 S tronic.