The creation of the Auto Union racing cars took place as a result of a transformative series of events that occurred with stunning simultaneity in the early 1930s:

  • The creation of a new Grand Prix racing formula
  • The formation of a new and ambitious automobile company
  • The election of a new government enthusiastic about cars
  • The availability of a skilled designer and his team with some radical new ideas.
  • In the absence of any one of these factors the Auto Unions would never have been built. By coexisting they led to the creation of the most astonishing and radical racing car—in relation to its contemporaries—ever constructed.

    Packed with advanced ideas from their ducted cooling and central fuel tanks to their mid-placed 16-cylinder engines, the Auto Unions upset the racing applecart by being not only radical but fast. This creation of Ferdinand Porsche and his team enjoyed impressive success against the best efforts of Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz in spite of some misunderstandings about chassis behaviour that are visible in retrospect.

    On 6 June 2018 Cranfield University Visiting Fellow Karl Ludvigsen will present an illustrated talk on the technology of the Auto Unions that will take the audience behind the scenes of the design offices and factories in Stuttgart and Zwickau that resulted in history’s most radical competition car.

Event Programme

Display of interesting vehicles from 6.00 PM onward.

Location and travel details

Vincent Bldg Auditorium, Bldg 52a, Cranfield University.

Cranfield University is located at the very heart of the UK – within the innovation triangle between London and the cities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Our central location provides easy access from the M1, excellent main line rail service as well as proximity to key international airports. Set in rolling countryside, Cranfield offers a rich, rural landscape complemented by thriving towns and picturesque villages.

  • Road: We are just 10 minutes from Junctions 13 and 14 of the M1 motorway. There is free parking on campus.
  • Rail: Milton Keynes or Bedford
  • Air: London Luton (22 miles), Heathrow (50 miles) or Birmingham (70 miles)

For further travel details please visit our Location page.


Free to attend