Classic Grand Prix Design

Gary S. Vasilash

As the Formula 1 series is commencing this weekend, it is interesting to look back at a gorgeous Grand Prix car from back in the day, the Mercedes-Benz W 125, which debuted at the Tripoli Grand Prix (yes, that’s right: northern Africa) on May 9, 1937, and won the race.

Merc 2 (2)

The W 125 is 13.9-ft long and has a 9.2-ft wheelbase. It is 5.7-ft wide and 3.9-ft high. Without a driver, fuel, and tires, the vehicle weighs 749 kg (1,651 lb), which just made it under the 750-kg spec for the cars in the series.

It features a 5,660-cc eight-cylinder inline engine that produces a peak output of over 600 bhp. A modified version of the W 125 was fitted with a 736-bhp V12 engine and from a flying start achieved 432.7 kph over a kilometer and 432.4 kph over a mile—tested on a portion of the autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt.

Merc 1 (2)