Rudolf Caracciola (1901 - 1959)

Jan 31, 2009
From 1934, the Rhinelander with Italian ancestors became virtually synonymous with the first-generation Silver Arrows. Six times he was, for instance, victorious in the German Grand Prix, contested on Berlin’s Avus in 1926 and then always on the Nürburgring – 1932 in an Alfa Romeo and on all other occasions with Mercedes-Benz. His European championships in 1935, 1937 and 1938 can well be compared to today's Formula One world championship titles. He was a veritable artist in the rain – and more versatile than most of his competitors, as borne out by his European hillclimb championships between 1930 and 1932, one victory in 1931 and a fourth place (in 1952) in the Millie Miglia, his achievements with the record cars of the brand, and his remarkable performances in the 1930 and 1952 Monte Carlo rallies. Caracciola enjoyed cult status wherever he appeared.
In three serious accidents – in 1933, 1946 and 1952 – he also got to know the painful side of his trade. He spent the remaining years of his life until his sudden death in September 1959 as a representative of Daimler-Benz, especially at product launches and motor sports events. In-between, he lived a secluded life in his beautiful villa, Casa Scania, in Ruvigliana, a posh quarter of Lugano high above the lake of the same name.
German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring on July 15, 1934: Rudolf Caracciola and his Mercedes-Benz 750-kg formula racing car W 25.
Doube victory at the Italian Grand Prix in Livorno, September 12, 1937. The winner Rudolf Caracciola and Hermann Lang, who finished in second place.
Rudolf Caracciola (1901-1959)
Swiss Grand Prix, Bremgarten, August 26, 1934. Rudolf Caracciola and his Mercedes-Benz formula racing car W 25 during the starting preparations.
Coppa Acerbo near Pescara, August 14, 1938. From left: racing director Alfrad Neubauer, Rudolf Caracciola and Rudolf Uhlenhaut.
Alfred Neubauer and Rudolf Caracciola