Rare Book Review: Racing the Silver Arrows by Chris Nixon

Racing the silver arrows book cover
Racing the silver arrows book cover
Racing the silver arrows book cover


Title: Racing the Silver Arrows: Mercedes Benz vs Auto Union 1934-39
Author: Chris Nixon
Photography: Daimler Benz Archive and others
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
ISBN: 0-85045-658-4
Year/Edition: 1986
# of pages: 350
Photos: B&W
Cover: Hardcover with dust jacket



Total Score

User Rating
2 total ratings



Great archival photos; in-depth research


Nothing major, photo quality a little grainy

Posted March 31, 2014 by

Full Article

Well, Lewis in the W05 looked supreme in Malaysia. The early form of Mercedes suggest they are clearly going to be the best F1 team this season and may re-kindle the kind of dominance the German marque enjoyed in the 30’s and 50’s. One of the best books to re-live the achievements of the Silver Arrows cars are the books by Chris Nixon.  His book “Racing the Silver Arrows” is probably a must have book if you are a fan of the pre-F1 1950’s era of grand prix racing and most collectors will know its now worth a lot more than its original £29.95 cover price.

The book’s chapters cover each season from 1934 to 1939 looking at the exploits of Mercedes and Auto Union (Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer). Nixon includes bios of team drivers (Hemme, Stuck, Fagioli, Caracciola, von Bauchitsch, Rosemeyer, Varzi, Seaman, Lang and  Nuvolari) and personnel (Dr Ferry Porsche, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Günther Molter, Alfred Neubauer, Prof Eberan-Eberhorst) . In some cases, these are personal recounts  including Ernst Hemme, Paul Peitsch, Hanns Geier, Elly Rosemeyer, Erica Seaman and Schorsch Meier). The rear section documents the results of each race between 1934-1939 and summary of the winners.

The book has less of a technical focus than say Laurence Pomeroy’s The Grand Prix Car as Nixon is clearly more interested in the driver personalities from both teams. At the end of each chapater  are extract copies of GP race reports from The Autocar Magazine in the 1930’s, brief photo gallery from the season and race circuit descriptions. Two particular chapters stand out for me – Racing and the Nazis (some very intriguing photos) and Mountainclimb races (some beautiful although blurred photos).

Print layout is in double column and small 8 point font, so Nixon has crammed in a lot of narrative into the book’s 350 pages. Much of the photography is (at the time) unpublished photos from the Daimler Archive with contributions from various personal collections.

Without doubt, Chris Nixon’s book is a very comprehensively researched and detailed look at the 1930’s Silver Arrows era. The photography isn’t a focus of the book unlike Anthony Pritchard’s Silver Arrows in Camera series. For fans who are more interested in photos of this era, Chris Nixon’s companion book Auto Union Album 1934-1939 is a better bet for higher resolution image reproduction.

Wow Factor or Money shot: Stuck in the Mercedes T80?

Suitable for: Any fan of grand prix history.


Photos from Daimler archive







Racing the silver arrows book pages

Circuit maps







Racing the silver arrows book pages

Futuristic aero designs







Racing the silver arrows book pages

Mountain racing







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One Comment


    Every one is a vintage classic that is worth a fortune today and would be the centerpiece in most automotive museums. This was a time when prototype racing was fabulous with great factory cars, legendary drivers and great racing.

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