Auto Union Type D 'Silver Arrow' Returns to Audi

Classic Cars

Audi predecessor's most iconic pre-war racer comes home to Ingolstadt before its trip to Goodwood.

Audi has made some seriously hot race cars in its history, from the Pikes Peak-conquering S1 Quattro to the latest R18 diesel hybrid Le Mans prototype, but surely the legendary Silver Arrows racers are the most iconic of them all. And ever since the end of the Second World War, the German automaker has been trying to bring them all back home to Ingolstadt. The 1930s racing program was essentially started at the behest of Adolf Hitler, who was keen to demonstrate the superiority of German engineering.

The cars built by Auto Union (as Audi was then known) and Mercedes-Benz emerged as the most advanced grand prix racers of their day, winning countless races and putting their competition to shame. Auto Union's most prominent was the Type D. Having dominated pre-war grand prix racing alongside their Mercedes counterparts, the four-ringed automaker's Silver Arrows were put in storage at the Auto Union factory in Zwickau during the war. When the Red Army stormed East Germany, the cars were taken back to the USSR as part of wartime reparations.

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There they remained, their precise whereabouts unknown, behind the Iron Curtain for decades. Ever since then, Audi has been seeking out these classic racers in an effort to reacquire them. It had up until now managed to bring two of the original five back to its corporate collection, and has now acquired the third. The car was located in the 1970s by American collector Paul Karassid, but it took many years to get the car back to Germany for comprehensive restoration. That process has now been complete, with the third of Audi's Silver Arrows set to appear at the Goodwood Revival next month.

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