Mercedes-Benz W196

Year Built: 1954

Livery Year: 1955

Livery Year Driver: Stirling Moss

Chassis: W196

Engine: Mercedes

Adoption cost: $3,000

Mercedes-Benz, so dominant in Grand Prix racing before WWII, returned briefly for the 1954 and 1955 seasons, competed in twelve events and won nine—five of which resulted in one-two finishes. Unveiled at the 1954 French Grand Prix at Rheims were three futuristic-looking race cars designated W196 with fully enclosed wheels, making them appear more as a sports car than a Formula 1 single-seater. They finished one-two in their first race, but because of body damage encountered on the much-tighter course at Silverstone in England, an open-wheel version was used henceforth at the tighter tracks, with the streamlined bodies still employed for the faster circuits. The legendary Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio won the world championship for Mercedes-Benz both years with his British teammate Stirling Moss finishing as runner-up in 1955. This car initially was driven by Fangio in a Buenos Aires Formula Libre race as an open-wheel version in 1954. For the 1955 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Italy, which used the combined high banked oval and road course, Mercedes- Benz attached a streamlined body to Stirling Moss’s W196, but Moss fell out of competition with engine problems. Mercedes-Benz pulled out of Grand Prix racing after the completion of the 1955 season. In 1965, Mercedes-Benz donated this W196 to Tony Hulman and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum during the drivers meeting before the Indianapolis 500.

Adoption benefits:

* One-year membership in the Borg-Warner Society (the Museum’s most esteemed group of supporters)

* A vintage photo of your adopted car

* Recognition signage with the car during the run of the exhibit

* Recognition and on the Museum’s website under current exhibits

* Listing on the Adopt-an-Exhibit donor wall in the Museum

* A certificate of adoption

* Invitation to the “From the Vault” members-only preview party