Stories of Uhlenhaut

I hope those who went to Donington on May 23 will think of Rudi Uhlenhaut, the engineer who was so much a part of the Mercedes-Benz racing organisation. Jenks told me when he was in Stuttgart he would chat with Uhlenhaut and have a fast run with him in the latest model. On one occasion Uhlenhaut thrashed a Mercedes over the mountains but on returning to Stuttgart slowed down to a sober pace. “Speed cops?’ queried Jenks. “Well, no” was the reply, “but we have customers among respectable citizens and it would be unseemly if I was seen road-burning through the city”.

Jenks introduced us, and I recall him saying he had lived in Walton-on-Thames, but as, according to Chris Nixon, he did not become interested in racing until he went back to Germany, he would not have gone to nearby Brooklands.

Back to Jenks: another Ruth story was that he was at a circuit where the press were being allowed to drive the new disc-braked 300 SLs. Rudi beckoned Jenks to go with him. They had a spell of fast lappery, and came in with brakes smoking. As they did a daily paper correspondent approached Uhlenhaut and told him of the very quick speeds he had been doing in this splendid car. Rudi said how glad he was. “But,” said Jenks, “that car’s brakes were stone-cold”. Rudi just smiled his soft smile…