Sam Philip03 June 2009

Bid on Hitler’s favourite

Ultra-rare 1939 Auto Union D-Type comes up for auction. Got spare £5.5 million knocking around?

Photo: James Mann

Liked the look of that Ferrari 250 Testarossa sold at auction last month, but couldn't quite stretch to the £8 million asking price?

Then how about this bargainous Auto Union D-Type racer, up for auction in August and expected to sell for a mere £5.5 million?

Raced by Hans Stuck and Rudolf Hasse in the 1939 Grand Prix season, it's one of only three D-Types known to exist, and was lost behind the Iron Curtain for half a century before being recovered by an American enthusiast just a few years ago.

The D-Type was one of the German ‘Silver Arrows' - named for the national colour of the Mercedes and Auto Union racers - that dominated Grand Prix racing in the 1930s.

This car, chassis 191, is powered by a 3.0-litre, supercharged V12 which puts out around 485bhp - a simply staggering amount for an inter-war racer. Aluminium bodied, it weighs in at just under one tonne, and will top over 200mph.

Bonhams - for it is they who are auctioning the car - confidently assert that the engine puts out so much torque that you can easily light up the rear wheels at 100mph: a buttock-clenching experience, we'd wager, in a car with no harness. Or belts. Or, er, anything.

If all that wasn't enough to have you readying the chequebook, here's the deal-breaker: the D-Type has been described as Hitler's favourite car. The Fuhrer was obsessed with motor racing, and Hans Stuck was his driver of choice.

Could make a lovely pair alongside that tasteful Fiat 2800, if you're into that sort of thing. We really, really hope you're not.

Now share it...

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear's code of conduct (link below) before posting.