The big Auto Union race cars were hugely powerful, especially the V16-powered Type C, but incredibly difficult to control. Only a handful of drivers were able to keep that kind of power contained, and these men became superheroes of the auto racing world. Unfortunately, this era was brought to an end in 1939 with the outbreak of WWII. Auto Union was more or less utterly destroyed during the war, and though it was eventually brought back to life, it would be a long time before it returned to its former motorsports glory. Auto Union was bought by its former rivals at Mercedes-Benz in 1959 and then sold just a few years later to Volkswagen.