The Mercedes-Benz W125 set a world speed record on a public road on January 28, 1938 when it managed to reach a top speed of 432.7 km/h (268.8 mph).

The Mercedes-Benz W125 set a world speed record on a public road on January 28, 1938 when it managed to reach a top speed of 432.7 km/h (268.8 mph).

Today we take a trip down memory lane and visit the year 1938 when the aerodynamically-optimized body of the W125 established an impressive record which still stands today. The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport was able to hit 434 km/h (269.6 miles) but this was done at Volkswagen Group's Ehra-Lessien track near Wolfsburg, Germany.

The record-breaking car was based on the W125 Silver Arrow and had a V12 5577cc engine with two superchargers producing 736 HP (541 kW). By using wind tunnel measurements, Mercedes was able to reduce the aerodynamic drag to an impressive Cd of 0.157. Cooling the engine was done with a radiator which was embedded in a 500-liter chest filled with ice and water.

The performance was achieved by Rudolf Caracciola who at that time was the company's lead driver in the racing department.

More details are available in the press release section.

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Blast from the past: Mercedes-Benz W125 hit 432.7 km/h in 1938