In 1952, returning to international competition after the War years, Mercedes Benz developed a new sports car called a 300SL, for three liter, super-light. To test this new concept they entered three of these cars, two coupés and a spider in the Carrera Panamericana Mexico which ran some 2,100 miles up the entire length of Mexico. In true Mercedes style they finished first and second. They were commanded by Alfred Neubauer, here with a Mexican sombrero.
Alfred Neubauer, was famous as the Mercedes team leader during the years of the “Silver Arrows” in the 1930s when Mercedes did battle with its great rivals at Auto Union. He first became team manager in the late 1920s, after several years as a Mercedes driver, and was soon famous for his system of flags and pit signs to inform (and control) his drivers. In addition, he was the first team manager to understand and use the power of a large, well-managed organization to increase the odds of winning by intense and careful preparation for the demands of each race. He was the boss, make no mistake about it, being known, perhaps behind his back, as “Don Alfredo.”
Neubauer added to his record with his management of the Mercedes Grand Prix team during 1954 and both Grand Prix and sports car teams in 1955 when they won both the F1 and sports car championships with radically new designs, backed up by the now typical Neubauer Mercedes organization. After 1955 when Mercedes withdrew from racing Neubauer retired and died in Stuttgart in 1980.
Photo by Günther Molter ©The Klemantaski Collection