For its post-war return to Grand Prix racing, Mercedes-Benz introduced two versions of the W 196, an open-wheel monoposto and a streamlined variant. The streamlined W 196, unveiled at the French Grand Prix in Reims, featured a stunning wind-tunnel-designed body, a tubular space frame, and a fuel-injected straight-eight-cylinder engine with desmodromic, springless valves.
Regarded as the most advanced race cars of the day, two W 196s finished in first and second places in their first race and earned a total of nine wins out of the 12 races in which they were entered between 1954 and 1955. Driver Juan Manuel Fangio finished as World Champion in both seasons, with teammate Stirling Moss as runner-up in 1955.
COURTESY OF THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MUSEUM
1954 MERCEDES-BENZ W 196 FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX CAR
About Petersen Automotive Museum
The Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity. The museum is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. (at Fairfax) in Los Angeles, 90036. Admission prices are $16 for general admission adults, $14 for seniors and $11 for children ages 4 to 17.
Active military with ID, personal care attendants and children under age 4 are admitted free. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For general information, call 323-930-CARS or visit www.petersen.org.