- The Mercedes-Benz T80 ( Photo Credits : www.Ruoteclassiche.it )

MERCEDES-BENZ T80 : THE TEUTONIC DEMON

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At the end of the '30s, the maximum speed record for passenger cars was frequently beaten amongst many companies. At that time, German automobiles, thanks their impressive development of car's technology, won indeed quite often.

But it wasn't enough for the Nazi regime: Hitler wanted this record to be 100% german. He imposed on Mercedes-Benz to build a car capable of setting an unachievable maximum speed record for years.

Ferdinand Porsche, cheif designer of the T80 ( Photo Credits : www.biography.com )

Head of the project for the new car called T80 was the famous Ferdinand Porsche, who could count on unlimited funds from the Nazi's government. He immediately started working on the vehicle, and in the first project he presented, a maximum speed of 550 km/was estimated. A considerable goal per se, but for the regime it was unsufficient, as the competition would have beaten in a short time.

For this reason Ferdinand equipped the T80 with a gigantic Daimler-Benz DB 603: a supercharged V12 engine with a centrifugal compressor developed for working on Luftwaffe airplanes.

The Daimler-Benz DB 603 ( Photo Credists : www.wikimedia.org )

Particularity of the engine was to have a particular architecture, because the crankshaft was turned upwards and the head down (that is, contrary to what it is normally), also had disproportionate displacement of 44500 cubic centimeters. For this reason, it delivered a huge power, equivalent to 3000 horses. In addition, the engine was not fueled with ordinary gasoline, but with a mixture of high calorific power, mainly composed of methanol, benzene and ethanol.

Detail of the T80 mechanical apparatus ( Photo Credits : www.Ruoteclassiche.it )

The gigantic power unit was mounted in a central rear position on a tubular steel trellis frame, which was extremely strong as well as heavy. In fact, the car was 8 meters long and weighed about 3 tons, and this thanks to a body made of light alloy, otherwise the weight would be further leavened. Even the body (like the rest of the car), was very interesting, in fact it was designed to minimize drag. The body also covered the wheels, which were not in open sight.

The T80 without bodywork ( Photo Credits : www.Ruoteclassiche.it )

Also, there were two showy wings (one on each side) which had the task of stabilizing the machine and giving it good directionality, especially at higher speeds. In the aerodynamic study Porsche was joined by another expert, Josef Mikcl, and managed to get an excellent cx equal to 0.18. After the project, the engineers calculated that the 6-wheeled car (2 front, 4 rear, all wheel drive) was able to reach 750 km/h.

Hans Stuck, driver of the T80 ( Photo Credits : www.wikimedia.org )

In 1940 the T80 was effectively tested on the Dessau Autobahn driven by the legendary Hans Stuck, but the raging of the second world war prevented the homologation of the record. Nevertheless, it became the fastest alternative motor of the endothermic car in the world.

Thanks to Valentina Zanola for the cooperation

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