Wilhelm Bauer

Wilhelm Bauer

0/0/1865 - 31/3/1900


Wilhelm Bauer was the Daimler factory foreman and an accomplished race driver. He was killed in the 1900 La Turbie hillclimb, apparently first person to have been killed in a hillclimb. Count Eliot Zborowski was killed at the same corner three years later.

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Wilhelm Bauer was associated with Gottlieb Daimler for ten years and had been involved in an attempt to promote one of Daimler's internal combustion engine powered boats by "gate crashing" a demonstration to the Kaiser by someone with a steam boat. In 1899 DMG (Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft) commissioned some engineers including Wilhelm Bauer, the Daimler factory foreman and accomplished race driver, to investigate the possibility of using the Phoenix for sporting events as at that time car racing was the best way of generating publicity in Europe. Driving the Phoenix he won the 85-kilometre Nice–Magagnosc–Nice touring race in a Daimler “Phoenix” racing car on 21 March that year. At the Nice Speed Week in 1900, Jellinek entered two Daimler Phoenix but, under pressure from Panhard, the ACF and the AC de Nice would not let Jellinek use the name Daimler for his entries. The cars were thus named Mercédès I and Mercédès II. On March 30 on the La Turbie hill climb, part of the race week, Bauer crashed fatally. Unable to maintain control of the tall, unwieldy Phoenix in the first curve, he hit a boulder head on. His riding mechanic was thrown clear, but Bauer died of his injuries the following day. Jellinek blamed the accident on the design of the Phoenix which was excessively nose heavy. The engine, weighing 710 pounds, was placed well forward and ahead of it was a massive radiator. Especially on loose surfaces its front wheels tended to run wide. This accounted for a fatal accident to Daimler works driver Wilhelm Bauer in the 1900 La Turbie hillclimb, during which he struck a hillside head-on. Wilhelm Bauer is supposed to have been the first person to have been killed in a hillclimb. Three years later at the same corner, Count Eliot Zborowski was killed. There are two plaques on the rock, one for Bauer and one for Count Zborowski.

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