The Grand Prix held in the Italian colony Libya was a highly popular race in its day, not least because of the bombastic flair lent to the event by the governor of the colony, Marshal Balbo. There were excursions into the interior of the country, receptions and, after the race, a glittering victory celebration. To the irritation of the Italian organisers, their drivers failed to win the event for five years in succession. In September 1938 a surprise announcement was made that the following year’s race would be a 1.5-litre formula event. The dreaded rivals from Germany did not have a vehicle for this formula. However, they took up the challenge and within 8 months built a car which again crossed the finish line ahead of the competition.
Mercedes‑Benz W165, 1939, silver. Scale 1:18. By CMC for Mercedes‑Benz.