Mercedes-Benz (M-B) W154 racing car, c 1938.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Exhibited as part of the 'Steel Stars and Glas' exhibition at the Science Museum, London, 1999. The German government understood the propaganda value of motor racing. In the late 1930s, subsidy was given to M-B and Auto-Union to produce a car that would win races for Germany. The W154, with its 2962 cc supercharged engine, achieved this, W154s convincingly winning the 1938 and 1939 European Championships. The car had a top speed of 185 mph and a fuel consumption of 1.5 miles per gallon.