Mercedes-Benz have been the dominant team in Formula 1 since the introduction of the latest ultra-high-tech but also ultra-restrictive technical regulations. Jump back over sixty years and it was again Mercedes-Benz dominating the sport in time when – perhaps surprisingly – the technical regulations were also massively restrictive.
Limiting engines to just 2.5 litres naturally-aspirated or 0.75 (yes, under a litre!) supercharged, Mercedes-Benz decided to drop their supercharging for the ’54 season and built a 2.5 litre Straight-8 with a world-first direct injection for their new W196 racing car.
The resultant design took Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss to nine wins out of twelve race entries and back-to-back world championships. In 1955 the W196 won every single race bar Monaco.
The W196’s dominance was cut short however, when one of Mercedes-Benz’s 300 SLR endurance racers powered by the same engine crashed at the ’55 Le Mans 24 Hour race, cartwheeling through the crowd killing 84 and injuring another 180. It was the deadliest moment in sporting history, yet the race didn’t even stop. Mercedes-Benz pulled out of all motorsport activity, and didn’t return for another thirty-four years.
This gorgeous Lego recreation of the championship-winning Mercedes-Benz W196 from ’54-’55 comes from Flickr’s Pixel Junkie, part of a wider classic racing build featured here previously, and there’s more to see of his stunning silver model via the link above.