Top-level grand prix racing’s fascination with forced induction doesn’t start with 2014′s turbo V6s, nor did it get going with the first turbo cars of the ’70s and ’80s. It started 90 years ago, with the supercharged era.
This fantastic full movie (made by the surprisingly excellent documentary division of Shell Oil, the Shell Film Unit) covers the years 1924 to 1939.
It starts out with the very first supercharged grand prix cars, the American Miller Indy cars and British Sunbeam grand prix machines. It ends with the Nazi-backed Silver Arrows, several weeks after the start of World War II. Among them was the W165 Mercedes, a car that was designed and built in six months (less time than it took for any other team to even prepare an existing car) and finished 1-2 in the very first race it entered. That is what complete and absolute domination of the field looks like.
The footage is fantastic. Here’s some shots of the old Brooklands circuit with a little Bugatti passing one car and then a huge Bentley passing another two around the banking.
And there are some fantastic shots of the Nazi Silver Arrows in their prime, rounding the bumpy Nurburgring.
There’s even rare color footage of the Silver Arrows, in their trademark four-wheel drifts.
If the above link gets taken down, go right here for a copy on LiveLeak. It’s an excellent history, and if you like extremely dry British humor, you’ll enjoy it quite a bit.