The heroic Germans fought equally hard in mountain-climb and speed-record venues.
In 1933, German chancellor Adolf Hitler promised Mercedes-Benz the 500,000-reichsmark (approximately $3 million today) incentive offered to any German racing team willing to campaign a car in the new grand prix era beginning the following year. To the Führer's chagrin, Ferdinand Porsche stepped forward to request equal treatment. Porsche presented drawings of a supercharged V-16 engine ideal for propagandizing Germany's technical eminence and nominated the Auto Union combine as Mercedes-Benz's sparring partner. Hitler's resolution - an equal split of the sponsorship largesse - triggered the Age of Titans, one of the fiercest rivalries in motorsports history.
Photo Gallery: Auto Union vs Mercedes Benz - Great Rivalries - Automobile Magazine