SILBERPFEIL - “The paint has to go!”

Jacksonville, FL - An unprecedented gathering of five Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows across two centuries of championship-winning competition will be on special display to celebrate the Silver Anniversary Amelia Island Concours on March 8, 2020.
1939 Mercedes Benz Type: W154 / 39. Photo courtesy of The Revs Institute.
The legend of the Silver Arrows begins with the 1934 Mercedes-Benz W 25 Grand Prix racer and its birth in an ancient mountain forest, the Eifel Mountains of southwestern Germany. The car is still labeled “the first modern racing car”, a car of maximums. The maximum weight limit set forth in the rules gave the formula its name, the “750 kg formula”, and that set the stage for the nickname.

Two-point-two pounds. A single kilogram. The new racers had been weighed at the Mercedes-Benz factory. All had been in compliance with the new rules: maximum weight, 750 kilograms, 1650 pounds (without fuel, lubricants and tires). But the scales -- the official scales, the scales that mattered -- at the Nurburgring for the 1934 Eifelrennen read 751 kilograms: one kilogram over the limit. It was a bad omen for the debut of the new Mercedes-Benz W 25 Grand Prix racer; especially in Germany and on the Nurburgring’s Wagnerian Nordschleife .

Alfred Neubauer, Mercedes-Benz’s legendary racing team manager, considered his options. Standing nearby was racing mechanic Willy Zimmer. History records that Zimmer spoke first: “The paint has to go.” 

They devised a solution that was simple, elegant and still echoes in motorsport legend and lore. 
Start of the International Eifel Race at the Nürburgring, June 3, 1934. Manfred von Brauchitsch won the race in a Mercedes-Benz W 25 racing car weighing just 750 kilograms. Photo courtesy of Daimler.
Le Mans 1952: Winning in Silver again.

Fine sandpaper and hours of mindless labor were required to remove the white paint from the silver skin of the W 25 racers. White is Germany’s official assigned racing color and has been since the days when Grand Prix cars raced for national honor rather than commercial promotion. Only the W 25’s wire wheels remained German racing white. The W 25 went to the grid in bare metal . . . silver.

Or, so the legend goes. From that race the grand prix cars from Mercedes-Benz wore silver. The sobriquet “silver arrows” stuck to them like paint after a Berlin newspaper covering the Eifelrennen splashed the headline ... “BRAUCHITSCH (Mercedes’ winning driver) FAST AS A SILVER ARROW.”

The new W 25 won the Eifel Race at record speed and minted the lustrous label that has stuck to Mercedes-Benz racers ever since. It was also prelude to the 200 mph-plus -- 88 mph in first gear! -- W 125 of 1937, the 3-liter V-12 W 154 of 1938 & ’39. Three years equaled three championships plus a haul of world speed records for Mercedes-Benz drivers. Then war.
1954 Mercedes-Benz W 196 with streamlined body. Photos courtesy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
1954 French Grand Prix: They’re back.

When Mercedes-Benz returned to competition in the early 1950s their new racers also wore silver. There was power in it. Victories at Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana were restorative and rejuvenating for the cars from Stuttgart. The grand marque -- the inventor of the automobile -- reclaimed its heritage wearing silver.

Two Formula 1 World Championships (Juan Fangio in 1954 & ’55) and a Sports Car World Championship in 1955 joined Mercedes’ list of unparalleled pre-war accomplishments and became the vanguard of the “German Miracle.”
Sauber-Mercedes C 9 Group C racing sports car from 1989, driven by Bernd Mayländer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019. Photo courtesy of Daimler.
Decades later in 1989 when a team of Mercedes-Benz prototypes appeared at Le Mans wearing silver and the three-pointed star there was no doubt about the motives or the means. Amelia’s 2014 honoree Jochen Mass drove more than eleven of the 1989 French Classic’s 24 hours. Mass led the new Silver Arrows in a one-two finish, more than 25 miles ahead of third place. The Silver Arrows were back.

Since 2014 and the World Championship triumph of the hybrid Mercedes-AMG W 05 -- exactly 80 years after the first Silver Arrow victory -- all Formula 1 World Champions have won the coveted title in cars clad with the fabled three-pointed star and the silver hue that the original Silver Arrow wore to victory in the 1934 Eifelrennen
Mercedes AMG F1 W 05 Hybrid Formula 1 racing car from the 2014 season. Photo courtesy of Daimler.

Tickets for the 25th Annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance are available online.

For more info and to purchase tickets visit  

2020 Ticket Sales Locations

  • Claude Nolan Cadillac, 4700 Southside Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32216
  • Jaguar Land Rover Jacksonville, 11211 Atlantic Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32225
  • Mercedes-Benz of Orange Park, 7018 Blanding Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32244
  • Mercedes-Benz of Jacksonville, 10231 Atlantic Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32225
  • Lexus of Jacksonville, 10259 Atlantic Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32225
  • Lexus of Orange Park, 7040 Blanding Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32244
  • Porsche Jacksonville, 10100 Atlantic Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32225
  • Fields Cadillac Jacksonville, 7999 Blanding Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32244
  • Fields Cadillac St Augustine, 375 Outlet Mall Blvd, St Augustine, FL 32084
  • Amelia Island Chamber of Commerce, 961687 Gateway Blvd, ste. 101G, Amelia Island, FL 32034
  • Amelia Island Welcome Center, 102 Center St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
  • Golf Club of Amelia Island, 4700 Amelia Island Pkwy, Amelia Island, FL 32034

About The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
THE AMELIA will be held March 5-8, 2020 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and The Golf Club of Amelia Island. The show’s Foundation has donated over $3.5 million to Community Hospice & Palliative Care, Spina Bifida of Jacksonville and other local and national charities since 1996. To learn more about the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, visit .

The Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance| 904-636-0027 | E-mail | Website