Mercedes-Benz last month acquired personal archives of its legendary driver and racing team manager Alfred Neubauer, and intends to put the priceless artefacts on display in its museum in Stuttgart.
The unique collection of diaries, photographs, programmes, posters, rare models, awards and trophies forms a fascinating history of motor racing between 1922 and the 1950s, not least the glory days of the Silver Arrows. It was to have been sold by was Christie’s in London on July 14, but was pulled from the auction at just three day’s notice.
It is believed that a dealer contrived to obtain the archive material from Neubauer’s housekeeper, to whom it was bequeathed on his death in 1980, on the pretext that it was to be exhibited. He paid a fee for this, but subsequently offered it for sale. On discovering this, Mercedes-Benz lawyers imposed an injunction preventing the sale and quickly reached the necessary agreement with its legal owner to acquire the collection for posterity.
Neubauer was probably the greatest team manager in history, overseeing Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix racing throughout the ‘Age of the Titans’, but was also a fine driver in his own right. During WWII, Neubauer protected the racing cars which today form the basis of the Mercedes-Benz Museum by storing them in Switzerland. Universally respected, he remained with the company until his death in 1980 at the age of 89. See Legends by Nigel Roebuck, p 16