Juan Manuel Fangio and his legendary Mercedes-Benz W1996 R are the first you bump into when you want to visit the company’s museum in Stuttgart. The life-size sculpture is made of bronze and allows guests to sit behind the wheel of the Silver Arrow.
Fangio has been standing right there, next to his car, since 2006. For 17 years, the place has been a photo spot for Mercedes enthusiasts planning to visit the museum.
The sculpture has the actual size of the racing car and driver. He has his right hand on the steering wheel, while holding a helmet in his left one. The driver in bronze seems to gaze straight into the eyes of whoever sits in the car. The shining surface from the entry and the steering wheel are proof that gazillions of people have been taking photos right there in the car that awed the crowd and won two titles in Formula 1 in the 1954 and 1955 seasons.
Fangio won no less than five World Championship titles with racing cars from four brands.
There are still two versions of the Mercedes-Benz W 196 R in existence. Both are on display in Legend Room 7 “Races and Records” at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. And both feature the eight-cylinder in-line 2.5-liter engine that delivers up to 290 PS (213 kW). The needle of the speedometer goes as far as 300 km/h.
The bronze sculpture in Stuttgart is a cast of the moment that stands at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. It was the creation of Catalan artist Joaquim Ros i Sabate on behalf of the Real Automovil Club de Cataluna.
Legendary driver Juan Manuel Fangio passed away in Buenos Aires, in July 1995, at the age of 84. The Argentinian never got to see the bronze statue that brings his iconic achievement into the present.