Thank you for your splendid article about the 1914 Grand Prix Mercedes.
The suggestion that the design office would have liked them to have longer tails was, I must admit, new to me. Its disappointment in this respect, however, may have contributed significantly to the cars’ success. At least Pierre Dumont, in his book on Peugeot, after suggesting that, with about the same power as the Mercedes and the advantage of front wheel brakes, the French cars might have been expected to win, goes on to remark “on the other hand, their stability on corners was compromised by the presence in the long pointed tail of two spare wheels mounted on a sub-frame which resulted in bad weight distribution.”
In 1903, Mercedes suffered an apparent setback when their 90 h.p. racers, prepared for the Gordon Bennett, were destroyed in a fire at the factory. They were forced in consequence to use “Sixties”, which were much better balanced cars, and won the race. It seems quite possible that the apparent misfortune which denied their designers the long tails postulated for the 1914 Grand Prix may have been a case of history repeating itself.
George Nympton, Devon