“fahren die schnellste milkcart im der west”

On this day, December the 27th 1900, legendary German wheelman Hans Stuck was born. As a young man working on the family dairy farm he honed his hillclimbing skills hooning around in his daddy’s Daimler delivering milk to their Bavarian neighbours.

Race Car backwards

In local competitions he was considered unbeatable, quickly gaining the nickname “Bergkönig” or “King of the Mountains”. But the cocky young German really made his name at one local hillclimb by claiming that he could beat everyone, even while driving backwards! Incredibly, (after reversing his race car’s gearbox) Stuck duly took on all comers and succeeded in his remarkable stunt.

Winning a Countess

In 1926 Austro-Daimler offered Stuck a seat as works driver and with it he won more than just trophies. At the Semmering hillclimb he met up with Count Zichy, an Austrian playboy, who reckoned that his Bugatti Type 35C was much faster than Stuck’s ageing Austro-Daimler. The two agreed a wager with the prize being the Count’s wife, the Countess Xenia. Hans won, she promptly left the Count and the couple stayed together until she died of ill health in 1931.

Keep your fiends close

By early 1932 the “Bergkönig” had gained a drive with the works Mercedes team and got quite chummy with a chap called Julius Schrek who went on to become Hitler’s personal chauffer. Schrek introduced him to Ferdinand Porsche, and the Fuhrer himself, who put in a good word with the Auto Union Silver Arrows team to get Stuck a drive. Hans became a national hero when he won the German, Czechoslovakian and Swiss Grand Prix in the late 1930s with Auto Union; luckily for Stuck, this later meant that Nazi authorities would turn a blind eye to his new wife’s Jewish ancestry.

 

Last Hoorah

Hans Stuck continued uphill racing in his modified BMW 700 RS until he was 60 years old, winning the German hillclimb championship one last time in 1960, before finally retiring. He died in Munich in 1978.

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