21/12/1914 - 10/6/1950
Theodore "Theo" Weissenberger was a World War II German fighter pilot with 208 confirmed kills. Though, having survived the greatest war in history, at some of the very sharpest of all its ends, Theodor rolled his BMW “Eigenbau” out of contention, and himself right out of the picture....Theo Weissenberger died 72 years ago, he was 36
Born in Mühlheim-am-Main in Germany, the son of a gardener, Theodore "Theo" Weissenberger was a World War II German fighter ace with 208 confirmed kills.
Major Theodor Weissenberger wasn’t really all that popular amongst the allied aeronauts of WW2. Versed in the effective operation of Willy Messerschmidt’s 109, twin-engined 110 and jet-propulsed 262 models, Theodor flew more than 500 combat missions over the Arctic, Eastern and Western fronts. And presided over the demise of his rival’s machinery on exactly 208 occasions.
During the Normandy Landings alone, he took out 25 planes in just 26 sorties. Including, on one particularly productive roll, five P-47 Thunderbolts in a single day’s work! He even shot down (or rather up) 15 railway locomotives!
Despite Theodor’s obvious prowess though, his casual attitude to military matters limited his career prospects. And post-war he looked to other media for his fix of thrills-and-spills. Like motor-racing.
He started racing in 1946, after the war, competing in hillclimbs at Ruhestein and Eggberg with an old Bugatti T57. Competing strictly as an amateur, Theodor then in 1949 he aquired the Otto Schöpflin 328 BMW “Eigenbau” (the German equivalent of the English 'Special'. 'Eigenbau' has occasionally been mistaken by past authors as an actual race-car manufacturer!). After finishing 5th in the 2 litre class Sarrebrüken he then entered the 1950 Eifelrennen classic, at the infamous Nurburgring.
Luckily, this picture below was taken of Theodor on the opening lap. Luckily, because he didn’t take part in the second. Since having survived the greatest war in history, at some of the very sharpest of all its ends, Theodor Weissenberger had rolled his outfit out of contention. And himself right out of the picture....
historicracing.com and Chris Bowen