Mercedes-Benz T80
aka Schwarzer Vogel (Black Bird)
Mercedes Rekordwagen (Record Car)
Hochgeschwindigkeitsrennwagen (High-speed racing car)
Production one-off (1939)
Class {{{Class}}}
Body Style six-wheel, mid-engined, 1-seater experimental racing car
Length {{{length - type here}}}
Width {{{Width - type here}}}
Height {{{Height - type here}}}
Wheelbase {{{wheelbase - type here}}}
Weight 6385 lb (2896 kg)
Transmission {{{transmission + drive}}}
Engine 44.5 Litre Daimler-Benz DB 603 V12
Power 3,000 hp (2,210 kW) @ 3200 rpm
Related Mercedes Silver Arrows
Mercedes-Benz W125 Rekordwagen
Designer {{{Designer (lead designer if it was a team effort)}}}

The Mercedes-Benz T80 was a vehicle developed and built by Mercedes-Benz, and designed by Ferdinand Porsche to break the world land speed record prior to World War II.

Hans Stuck's inspiration[]

World-renown German auto racer Hans Stuck's pet project was to take the world land speed record and he convinced Mercedes-Benz to build a special racing car for the attempt. Officially sanctioned by Hitler himself (a race car fan influenced by Stuck), the project was started in 1937. Automotive designer Dr. Ferdinand Porsche first targeted a speed of 550 km/h (340 mph), but after George Euston's and John Cobb's successful LSR (land speed record) runs of 1938-39 the target speed was raised to 600 km/h (373 mph). By late 1939, when the project was finished, the target speed was a much higher 750 km/h (465 mph). Since this would also be the first land speed record attempt on German soil, Hitler envisioned the T80 as another propaganda triumph of German technological superiority to be witnessed by all the world courtesy of German television.

T80 construction[]

By 1939, the T80 was fully completed at a cost of RM 600,000. It was powered by a massive 44.5 litre Daimler-Benz DB 603 inverted V12, a derivative of the famous DB-601 aircraft engine which powered the lethal Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter in production at the time. The DB-603 fitted was just the third prototype (V3) engine of this variant and tuned up to an amazing 3,000 hp. The engine ran off a mixture of methyl alcohol (63%), benzene (16%), ethanol (12%), acetone (4.4%), nitrobenzolo (2.2%), avgas (2%), and ether (0.4%) with MW (methanol-water) injection for charge cooling and boost pressure. The vehicle also had three axels, the powerful engine running the rear two axles for maximum traction of the heavy six-wheeler. The T80 was over 8 meters long (27 ft), weighed over 2.7 metric tons (three short ton), and needed 3000 hp (2200 kW) together with the aerodynamics of specialist Josef Mikcl to attain the projected speed of 750 km/h (465 mph). Aerodynamically, the T80 incorporated two small wings at its midsection to prevent the vehicle from veering off course at maximum velocity through a "downforce" mechanism patented in 1939 by Mikcl, Porsche-designed enclosed cockpit, low sloping hood, rounded fenders, and elongated tail booms. Incredibly, the streamlined twin-tailed T80 had a drag coefficient of only 0.18!

Projections for the 1940 land speed record attempt[]

Hans Stuck would have driven the T80 over a special stretch of the Dessau Autobahn (now part of the modern A9 Autobahn), which was 25 meters wide and 10 km long with the median paved over. The attempt was set for the January 1940 "RekordWoche" (Record/Speed Week), but the outbreak of the war prevented the T80 run. In 1939, the vehicle had been unofficially nicknamed Schwarzer Vogel (Black Bird) by Hitler and was to be painted in German nationalistic colors complete with German Adler (Eagle) and Hakenkreuz (Swastika). But the event was cancelled and the T80 garaged. Postwar, John Cobb driving the Railton Mobil Special raised the land speed record to just 634 km/h (394 mph) in 1947—116 km/h (72 mph) slower than the 750 km/h (465 mph) projected for the T80 back in 1940. This velocity would not be achieved nor exceeded by any conventional engined LSR vehicle—ever. It took until 1964 for Art Alfons to hit 875 km/h (544 mph) in the turbojet "Green Monster" attaining and surpassing the T80's speed target.

The war and postwar years[]

The DB-603 aircraft engine was subsequently removed during the war while the vehicle was moved to safety and storage in Karnten, Austria. The T80 survived the war and was eventually moved into the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart for permanent display (minus engine).

Current status[]

The T80 is currently on display at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt. Many people over the decades have urged Mercedes to fully restore the T80 and test run her to see if she would have reached 750 km/h (465 mph).

Technical data[]

  • Total weight: 2896 kg (6385 lb)
  • Power: 3,000 PS (2,210 kW) @ 3200 rpm
  • Engine: 44.5 liters
  • Wheels: (6) 7 X 31
  • Length: 8.24 meters (27 ft 0 in)
  • Width: 3.20 meters (10 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 1.74 meters (5 ft 9 in)
  • Drag Coefficient: 0.18
  • Speed: estimated at between 550-750 km/h (340–465 mph)

Names of the T80[]

  • Official: Mercedes-Benz T80
  • Porsche: Mercedes Rekordwagen (Record Car)
  • Mikcl: Hochgeschwindigkeitsrennwagen (High-speed racing car)
  • Hitler: Schwarzer Vogel (Black Bird)


See also[]

  • Daimler-Benz DB 603

84-849901 mercedes-benz-wallpaper-phone

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