Herr Hitler Opens The International Motor Show Influence of the Autobahnen Independent Springing and Cabriolet Bodies
BERLIN’S GREAT EXHIBITION
Will Londoners ever see a team of British racing cars leading a procession from Whitehall through the main streets of the city, past Hyde Park Corner, down Kensington High Street to the ceremonial opening of a Motor Show ? It seems unlikely, but that is what occurred at the opening of the International Motor Exhibition at Berlin on February 20th. Four and a half miles of the main streets of Berlin were closed to all traffic, and thousands upon thousands of s azi troopers lined the pavements. In the Wilhelmplatz, opposite to the Chancellor’S residence, gathered the racing-cars of which Germany is so justly proud. The stately buildings echoed to the high whine of the Mere6R s-Benz superchargers, to the sharp bark of the Auto-l’nions. Caracciola, von Brauchitsch, Stuck, Rosemeyer, all the famous drivers were
at the -wheel. Racing motor-cyclists also figured in the procession, and Herr Hitler himself drove in state to perform the opening ceremony. Germany is a motor-minded country, and is not slow to realise tly:’ value to the national prestige of her successes in Grand Prix racing, and to give her champions the place of honour in what is regarded as a national occasion At the Show itself, Caracciola’s record-breaking 12-cylinder Merc ths-Benz, one of the Grand Prix Auto-Unions, and Henne’s
all enclosed wtherrhord were prominently displayed. Herr Hitler in his opening speech had much lo say of the great strides which the German motor industry has taken in
the last few years. The first . ” four years’ plan ” was started in 1033, and the second ” four years’ plan ” began on January 30th, 1937. His object was to bring the price of cars within the reach of all classes. If a man started with a cheap car, soon he would want something better, and thus manufacturers of expensive cars would
also benefit in the end. The production of synthetic fuel and rubber was proceeding, and he hoped that in about a year and a half Germany would he selfsupporting in these essentials, as well as in other raw materials and minerals necessary for car manufacture.
The eagerly awaited Volkswagen, or people’s car, to be produced under State auspices, at a price which, it is believed, will not exceed 1,000 marks for a full five-seater family car, will, Herr Hitler said, make its appearance when they have sufficient materials, synthetic or natural, in Germany itself. Thus it may be expected within the period already mentioned.
The A utobah nen are already exerting their influence on German design. Streamlining is being encouraged, and cars of high maximum speed are developed. Several manufacturers made a talking point of a cruising speed of 70 or more m.p.h. In spite of the perfect surfaces of the new roads, however, independent suspension is also proceeding, and a considerable number of German cars have all wheels independently sprung.
The other feature of the Berlin Show was that on almost every stand cabriolet. or convertible, bodies of high quality were shown. ‘I his type of body, which included cars generally known as drop head coups, is in Great Britain still largely confined to specialist coachbuilders. There were not many genuine sports-cars on exhibition, but a far greater proportion Of cars which could be opened completely were seen than at Olympia.
A brief review of the German motor industry must inevitably start with the great Merddes-Benz firm, most famous of Continental manufacturers. The 5.4litre supercharged car, with its maximum speed of over 100 m.p.h., has now direct gearing on the ” Over-tOp ” which can. be engaged in a semi-automatic manner, instead of on third gear as on the previous model, and with most of the other Mer6des cars. A new Mercedes-Benz type, however, is the 3.2-litre, which has a four-speed all-synchro-mesh gearbox. This is available either with a long or short wheel base. Another .:?leretidis-Benz novelty is on the Diesel-engined car, where an
electric pre-heater for starting purposes enables fuel vapour to be drawn in instead of air.
One of the fastest machines at the Berlin Show was the 2.9-litre supercharged Alfa-Romeo two-seater, developed from the monoposto racing-car, from which it derives its double blower. A speed of 115 m.p.h. is claimed for this car. Maybach showed an impressive display, including a sports roadster on the
3,791 c.c. 140 h.p. chassis. A big sixseater limousine appeared on the 8-litre 200 h.p. car. B.M.W., known, of course, as FrazerNash-B.M.W. in England, have now got the new 2-litre sports model in full production, and this car was a centre of
interest. It was seen at Olympia, and has already won its spurs in the Tourist Trophy. B.M.W. also showed several new cabriolet bodies, which may make their appearance in this country. A distinct novelty was the natural hair calfskin upholstery on two cabriolets, claimed to be warm in winter and cool in summer. The only British firm exhibiting at the Aussellung was Austin. Lord Austin himself was present at the opening
ceremony, and was seen discussing the exhibits with Herr Hitler, On the Austin stand appeared the ” Nippy ” sports Seven. Austin cars, with their typically British design, have yet won great respect
in Germany, where unconventional lea tures often attract. A new Opel was the 2.5-litre Super Six, which appeared as a two-seater sports car on the special coachwork Hebnifiller stand. Hebtniiller also showed a very handsome two-seater sports cabriolet on a Hanomag. Handsome cabriolet bodies also appeared on the Ford stand, one V8 having particularly luxurious and roomy coach
work. The Ford Ten was shown, as the Eifel model, with a sports two-seater body, of attractive lines.
Auto-Union had no genuine sportscars on exhibition except the 2-litre supercharged Wanderer (the racing-car was on a separate stand), but a number of cabriolet bodies of sports-type were seen. The 5-litre Horch appeared with a beautifully finished four-seater cabriolet, and the front-wheel drive Audi, the Wanderer, and D.K .W. were all represented with this type of body. Horch have also a V8 engined car, with the engine set far .forward, allowing capacious body room.
Hansa had several new models, all with complete independent suspension, and a sports-saloon on the 1.5-litre chassis had a graceful streamline which obviously would be of great effect on the A utobahnen. Adler exhibited a sports roadster cabriolet on their new 2.5-litre car, which has a normal rear drive, but all-independent suspension. The Berlin Show, it should be understood, includes motor-cycles, transport vehicles, garage equipment, accessories, and many other features, housed in eight inter-connected halls, besides cars, and
is thus equivalent to the three London motor shows (cars, motor-cycles, and transport) combined.