When, during his motor racing career in the sixties, it was a matter of victory or defeat, Eugen Bohringer was strict with himself, his navigators, the works Mercedes and his rivals. The latter feared him as an opponent, rated him as a fair sportsman and liked to be friends with him. His talent as a racing driver, supported by sustained fitness and the resulting stamina for long distances, impressed time and again.
The secret of his success was characteristically simple: "You just have to keep your foot on the gas and don't brake too much!" On January 22, 2002, Eugen Bohringer, who during his active career as a rally driver was considered one of the exceptional talents in motor racing, celebrates his 80th birthday.
Born in Stuttgart, he grew up with automobiles. His father worked at "Daimler", as the company is still locally known today, and drove a 16/45 hp Mercedes-Knight in 1926. In the early thirties, the Bohringers opened a restaurant for day-trippers on a hill just outside of Stuttgart. As a result, young Eugen trained as a chef.
From 1939, political events determined the path his life would take. After a three-year period of military service and seven years in captivity, he returned home in the late forties and later took over the family business. It wasn't until 1958 at the age of 36 that Eugen Bohringer started out in motor racing, prompted by a "Stammtisch" (regulars' table) bet which he won, gaining second place in the overall ranking at the Solitude Rally. It was a surprising debut success and it gave him the impetus to continue.
The driving talent also came to the attention of those responsible at Daimler-Benz. In 1960, he was offered a seat at the wheel of one of the mighty tail-fin sedans which, at the time, were used for rallies, endurance and circuit racing and touring car hill climbs. Eugen Bohringer proved to be a multi-talented driver in all disciplines and he commanded the greatest respect from his opponents.
His eager dedication soon bore fruit, later leading to his string of successes. His greatest triumphs include three overall victories at the Polish Rally, two at the Liege-Sofia-Liege in 1962 and 1963, at the Argentinean Road Grand Prix in 1963 and 1964, and in the same year, one at both the Touring Car Championship on the Nurburgring and in Macau.
He won the overall ranking at the Acropolis Rally twice and once at the German Rally. Between 1961 and 1965, Eugen Bohringer was entered on the list of top sportsmen for the winter Monte Carlo Rally with five first place wins. In addition to this, he was Vice European Rally Champion in 1961 and European Rally Champion in 1962. He also demonstrated his talent on asphalt tracks such as at the 24 hour races in Spa-Francorchamps and on the Nurburgring, in circuit races and touring car hill climbs. Ten first places and numerous second places added to the proud total.
In 1963, Eugen Bohringer stepped back from the limelight of that motor racing era - an era of competition between man and technology which, in a fundamental way, he had helped to shape. He was honored with the Silver Laurel from the Federal President of Germany and the ONS Cup and has since been wearing both the ADAC sports emblem in gold with diamonds and the AvD (German Automobile Club) sports emblem in gold with oak leaf decoration and diamonds. Still closely connected to the corporation, he fondly remembers the eventful era of his motor racing career whenever he goes on trips at the wheel of his 300 SL roadster from the fifties.