Mercedes-Benz Museum close-up: The 236mph W25 streamliner

Image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz Museum close-up: The 236mph W25 streamliner

Vintage Motorsport / Historic

Mercedes-Benz Museum close-up: The 236mph W25 streamliner


The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart has produced a series of “close ups” on many of the special machines in its priceless collection. Likely the fastest of all was the 1937 W 25 streamliner, with a measured top speed of 380kph (236mph) on the smooth and spacious Avus oval.

Here are some of the details, courtesy of Mercedes-Benz:

Streamlined: Flowing curves and curved surfaces of silver-colored sheet metal envelop the W 25 streamliner. Almost organically, the front and rear wheel arches curve upwards from the aerodynamically optimized body, the wheels clad with covers that could be folded up for maintenance work. For this specialized vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz engineers explored the outer limits of streamlining and driveline technology available at that time.

Trio: M-B entered three streamlined racing cars in the formula-free International Avus Race in Berlin on May 30, 1937—all similar in appearance but with notable technical differences. In addition to the W 25 streamlined racing car with 5.6-liter 12-cylinder MD 25 DAB engine on display in the Museum, two vehicles with the 5.7-liter 8-cylinder M 125 F engine from the then-current W 125 single-seater were also developed for the race.

Three times on the podium: The novel vehicles were successful across the board: Rudolf Caracciola won the preliminary race and Manfred von Brauchitsch took top honors in the second preliminary with the vehicle exhibited in the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The overall winner of the main race was Hermann Lang. Englishman Richard Seaman had no chance against all three, competing in a classic Mercedes-Benz W 125 with free-standing wheels.

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