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From Russia with Love: Audi regains 1939 Type D racing car (Photos)

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Auto Union Type D twin supercharged Silver Arrow was once the prized possession of Audi. The car which was built in 1939 changed hands somewhere along the way and was lodged in the USSR ever since the commencement of World War II. But now, after all these years, the Type D is back with its rightful owner and is safely lodged inside the Audi Museum after Audi purchased it back a few weeks ago. It is still seen with most of its original parts and is identified by one of two such Karassick cars in existence. With this Type D in its stables, Audi now has raised the number to three of five original.

Auto Union Type D twin-supercharger Silver Arrow was in its hay day one of the most spectacular racing cars. Getting this back was a significant moment for Audi as the car manufacturer had to repurchase this rare and extraordinary car. Post WWII Mercedes Benz was able to rescue most of their Silver Arrow vehicles but not the Auto Union. Zwickau was occupied by the Soviet Army, Auto Union was liquidated and factories shut down. The cars were usurped by USSR and all trace of them vanished.

Since 1939, the vehicle was regularly seen on the racing scene with German cars such as Mercedes Benz. While Mercedes Benz vehicles all had front engines, Auto Union vehicle saw its engine positioned behind the driver which is still followed by most Formula One cars to this day.

Post Second World War, Mercedes Benz recovered all their Silver Arrow vehicles while Auto Unions were not so lucky. Its factories were liquidated and shut down while the Russians had possession of whatever Silver Arrows were found on its territory. Paul Karassik, an American collector continued his pursuit for this classic car. 10 years and continuous perseverance enabled him to track down and purchase the remaining two Auto Unions in Russia and Ukraine.

Now back in the Audi fold, the company plans on displaying the Auto Union Type D at the Audi Museum but prior to that it will be on display at the Goodwood Revival in England from September 14 to 16, 2012. It is 67 years since the 1939 Type D vehicle is back with its owner thus proving that determination does pay off in the end.