Can you imagine driving a car that was capable of spinning its wheels while rocketing along a track at over 100 mph? Well, the 1936 Auto Union Type C grand prix car could! It took a deft hand (and foot) to master this legendary pre-war titan of the racing world, with drivers Tazio Nuvolari, Hans Stuck, Achille Varzi, and Bernd Rosemeyer ably rising to the task.
With such an amazing six litre powerplant producing around 520 horsepower, it's no wonder that Auto Union with Rosemeyer piloting, won the European Championship for 1936.
CMC, the German manufacturer of exceedingly high quality diecast models, some years ago decided (happily) to produce limited editions of the engines equipping their better models. The Auto Union Type C was, and is, one of their best efforts, but the intricate engine was rather hard to appreciate being concealed deep within the body work. Presenting the engine as a stand-alone piece was a brilliant idea, and continues through today, with examples from Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes Benz, Maserati, Ferrari, and Aston Martin. They are now produced in editions of 1000 copies, and are of limited availability.
The Auto Union V-16 is becoming rather hard to find, and this particular example is in perfect condition It is a visual delight, and can scarcely be appreciated without the use of a magnifier. Everything is beautifully detailed, from the triple valve covers to the meticulously aligned, angle-cut exhaust stacks. The single supercharger sits just aft of the engine block and is attached to the twin carbs which are protected by an oh-so-delicate brass and wire mesh screen. The axles sit directly beneath and the ZF gearbox follows it all aft. The detail here is almost excruciating, and how CMC was able to pull this off for a reasonable price is a wonder. Even the tiny twin Bosch magnetos have their plug wire locations numbered 1-8!
Displayed alone, or alongside CMC's Type C model, this glorious V-16 hearkens back to an era of grand prix racing populated by mythic machines and heroic drivers. This model is supplied with its plexiglass cover, also in perfect condition.