Video: This V16 Auto Union sounds absolutely savage

15th February 2024
Ethan Jupp

Grand Prix racing before Formula 1, before the Second World War, was absolutely mental. The speeds were unbelievable, the power was off the charts, the machinery was otherworldly. Or at least, that was all true for the cars that came from Germany, that were funded as an exercise in propaganda by the ruling Nazi party of the time. Is the Auto Union Type C the most obvious example of these money-crazed exercises in engineering eccentricity? Potentially. It’s certainly the last of the unlimited-capacity GP cars before limits were put in place to peg back power.

For yes, it has 16 cylinders displacing 6.0-litres and a supercharger producing 520PS (382kW), sending power to a dually rear axle. Yes, the kind of rear axle we see these days on diesel-powered American work trucks. In streamliner configuration, this was a car good for speeds in excess of 250mph. In the mid-1930s. Even in open-wheel configuration, it could top 200mph. So it’s unsurprising that accidents happened and, even back then, safety forced the restriction of these incredible cars.

This thing really could be from another universe, never mind another time period. So it’s a joy to really get up close to it, examine it, learn its secrets and, of course, hear and see it run and make all those insane noises. What a spectacular machine.

Welcome to Goodwood Elevenses, a helping of motoring-related amusement to help break up your day. Watch the last video: Watch a 125cc drag bike obliterate a 1,000cc superbike in a drag race

  • Elevenses

  • Video

  • Auto Union

  • Pre-War



Video: This V16 Auto Union sounds absolutely savage

15th February


Festival of Speed

Video: Mighty 200mph-plus pre-war Silver Arrows at Goodwood

11th July 2020


Formula 1

Video: Pink Floyd drummer drives 81-year-old Grand Prix car at Goodwood

02nd June 2020


Members' Meeting

Video: 75MM Varzi Trophy highlights

19th March 2017



Video: Experience a pre-war Bugatti race with a 360-degree view

21st August 2020



Video: Sliding a roaring Martyr around Angouleme

29th April 2022


Goodwood SpeedWeek

Video: Wheeling a pre-war Bugatti mid-battle

07th August 2020

audi auto union MAIN.jpg

Festival of Speed

Forgotten Auto Union realised and debuts at the 2024 Festival of Speed

11th July