Karl Kling (1910 - 2003)

Jan 31, 2009
Young engineer Karl Kling looked after customer cars highly responsibly after joining Daimler-Benz in 1936. However, the young man, born in Giessen on 16 September 1910, would have preferred to climb behind the wheel of a racing car. The son of a teacher, Karl Kling trained as a vehicle mechanic before studying in Giessen. And he had the opportunity to compete in touring car races in Mercedes-Benz cars. After World War II, he drove a Mercedes-Benz 170 S to victory in the touring car category in the ADAC six-hour race on the Nürburgring in 1950. As early as the following year, Kling lined up at the start in a genuine Silver Arrow for the first time, driving a pre-war W 154 racing car in Argentina. His team-mates were Hermann Lang and Juan Manuel Fangio.
The highlight in Kling’s career was the year 1952 when he raced the new
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL sports car: victory in the Bern Grand Prix for sports cars and two second places – in the Mille Miglia and in the Anniversary Grand Prix for sports cars on the Nürburgring – were more than respectable results. Kling’s legendary race, however, was staged in Mexico where he won the 1952 Carrera Panamericana together with his navigator Karl Klenk, despite the fact that a vulture crashed into their car’s windshield.
In 1954, the year of Mercedes-Benz’s return to Grand Prix racing, Kling was a member of the Silver Arrow team and finished in second place behind Fangio in the very first race in Reims on 4 July 1954. In the German Grand Prix, Kling drove the fastest lap, and he won the Avus race in Berlin at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz W 196.
After his retirement in 1968, the former racing driver continued to support Daimler-Benz as a consultant. Karl Kling died on 18 March 2003 in his house on Lake Constance where he had led a withdrawn life after his wife’s death.
Karl Kling (1910-2003)
Third Carrera Panamericana Mexico, 1952. Winners Karl Kling and Hans Klenk at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL after the legendary encounter with a vulture.
French Grand Prix, Reims 1954. The Mercedes-Benz team of racing drivers, starting from the left: Hans Herrmann, Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling.
Third Carrera Panamericana Mexico, 1952 - Karl Kling with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sport car.
Karl Kling
Karl Kling