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The fantastic vision of driving this car to Montlhéry

Some weeks ago, I went to the Nürburgring to see the "Nürburgring-Classics"; an event, celebrating the 90th anniversary of the opening race of the most spectacular race track I have ever seen. In 1927, Rudolf Caracciola won this first race in a Mercedes-Benz Typ "S" with an average speed of 101 km/h and this special car was only one of many fantastic racers driviring through the "Grüne Hölle"  again at this anniversary. But even, if there were many terrific Mercedes on the track, some Bugattis, a couple of Bentleys (including the incredible Old Mother Gun), some wonderful Alfa Romeos, etc., there was one car, a rather low powered four-cylinder one, that in my view was over the top. And that was one of six (other sources say three, four or five) ADLER TRUMPF RENNLIMOUSINEN. What a gorgeous car! The streamlined body is really spectacular and I only saw pictures of it yet in some of my books. But that is nothing against watching this car parked in its box in the "Altes Fahrerlager" and even more impressing: on the track. Adler... What do we know about this brand? When I hear the name, I first think of the Adler-Trumpf, the Adler-Autobahn and of course of the famous logo, designed by Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius who, by the way, also designed some Adler bodys. Adler was founded by Heinrich Kleyer in 1880 as a producer of bicycles. Some years later, typewriters, motorcycles and small, DeDion powered voiturettes were added to the range of products. In 1903, Edmund Rumpler joined  the factory as technical director and started to develop own engines, that got into production the following year. In 1907 the motorcyle production ended and the factorys focus was the automobile, even if they presented prototypes of airship engines in 1909. The automobile production increased rapidly and in 1914, every fifth car on German roads was an Adler. After WW1, the staff decreased from 10.000 to 3000 persons emplyed, but still in Germany only Opel and the Auto-Union had a higher output of cars. Till 1932 Adler produced conventional cars of good quality, but after Hans Gustav Röhr joined the factory as technical director one year before, the Adler Trumpf, featuring front wheel drive and independent suspension on all four wheels, was presented.  And here we are with the "Rennlimousine": The Trumpf Rennlimousine was designed around 1935 by aerodynamics expert Baron Reinhard von Koenig-Fachsenfeld. The Baron developed a lightweight all enveloping low-drag body on the Adler Trumpf platform, influenced by Paul Jarays designs. Different sources tell us about three to six cars, all differing in some details like radiator grille or headlamps. But even if they differ, all cars look spectacular! In the front, the windshield was completely curved at almost 180 degrees. Just look at the the small wipers, the Gropius logo, the rear end that looks to have inspired the Split-Window  Corvette Sting Ray and the fantastic details, like the sunk-in door handles. With its rather small and weak 55hp 1,550 cc four-cylinder engine, the car was sent to Montlhery and topped some records, achieved by Peugeot some months before. Even if acceleration wasn´t spectacular, the wind-cheating shape provided a low fuel consumption and a good high speed, good for record-attempts and long distance races. In 1937 and 1938, three Adler Rennlimousinen (plus one conventional Trumpf Junior) started at Le Mans. A new 1700 cc engine with an output of 60 hp was mounted and two of the three cars finished on a very good sixth and ninth position which meant a top position in the 1501...2000 cc class. The following year, a sixth position with a 1700 cc car and a seventh position with a 1500 cc car were achieved.
The Adlerwerke used the streamlined design for their 2,5L "Autobahn" but production ended in 1940. During wartime, military vehicles and engines were built and in postwar times Adler focused on the manufacturing of office equipment and motorcyles. The company associated with Triumpf to form Triumpf-Adler, and was taken over by Grundig in 1957, then later by Olivetti. Some owners later, the company still exists as ADLER Real Estate AG.
But what happened to the Rennlimousinen. As I didn´t have the chance to talk to the owner of the car at the Nürburgring, I have very low information.  At least one of at least three survivors was fitted with a 2000cc engine. One car was sold to the US and found its way to the famous Blackhawk-Collection. Later it was on the list of the 2015 RM-Sothebys Monterey sale, but it was withdrawn from the auction. But there is one short period in the life of this special car: Still in Germany after the war, it was equipped with bumpers and used as a daily driver. And since I saw THIS picture, in my dreams, I can´t delete the fantastic vision of driving this car to Montlhery. a convoy together with a Voisin C28 Aerosport and a Maybach Zeppelin Spohn-Streamline...
(Text and Pictures: Hubertus Hansmann)


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