Book Review: Auto Union V16 Supercharged by Ian Bamsey




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Posted September 26, 2015 by

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The rumours of Audi making a return to F1 with Red Bull have probably now been doused by the likely heavy financial cost of parent VW’s diesel emission scandal. Mercedes have been romping home this year on the back of their V6 hybrid engine advantage and the thought of a return of the 4 ring logo to take on tri-star logo would have been an enticing throwback to the 1930’s rivalry between Auto Union vs Mercedes. I’ve previously posted reviews of books covering the Silver Arrows period of grand prix racing with the excellent “Racing the Silver Arrows” and “Auto Union Album 1934-39” by Chris Nixon. Ian Bamsey’s “Auto Union V16 Supercharged” is another book that looks at the period of Auto Union’s mammoth V16 engine rockets during the pre-WWII years.

Although part of the Haynes Technical Appraisal series of books which included such famous grand prix cars as the McLaren MP4/4 and Lotus Ford 33, the technical data in this book probably isn’t as strong as the other books in the series. While Bamsey had access to the actual engineers in other books, he’s obviously had to rely on third party books and source material including The Autocar and Pomeroy’s “The Grand Prix Car” for this one.

The book is divided into each season from 1934 to 1937 from the prototype P-Wagen, Type A through to the Type C. The chapter structure is similar to the other books in the series with a diary summary of each race included.

There are very few technical diagrams or cutaways – a cross section of the Porsche designed V16 and some suspension diagrams. Most of the technical content is in Bamsey’s season narrative.

The book contains lots of archival B&W photos although due to their age, the picture and reproduction quality varies, especially compared to the excellent B&W shots that appear in  . Having said that, many of the photos selected are quite significant – e.g. Nuvolari’s one off drive for Auto Union at Berne in 1937, Rosemeyer in the last of the V16s at Donington.

There’s something retro looking about the Auto Union Type C and the pictures of the closed cockpit saloon version  are interesting considering the current debate about implementing closed canopies – you have to wonder whether some of the aesthetic of F1 cars would be lost if closed canopies were brought into the regulations.

All the books in this series are basically B&W books, so its only the diehard readers that will be able to look past the monochrome.


Wow Factor/Money Shot: Ironically the photo of the aero modified Ferrari Tipo B!

Suitable for: Motorsport historians


Auto Union V16 book pages






Auto Union V16 book pages








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