Mercedes Benz racing great Karl Kling passed away on March 19 at the age of 92. According to DaimlerChrysler board member Jurgen Hubbert, “Along with Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss, Karl Kling was one of the greatest drivers of the post-war era.” Born in Glissen, Germany in 1910, Kling began racing after WWII in a BMW 328 and soon moved up to a Veritas, which he drove to back- to-back German 2-liter sports car championships in 1948 and 1949. Moving to Mercedes Benz in the ’50s, Kling shined in sports cars where he drove the new 300SL to a 2nd place in the 1952 Mille Miglia and won that year’s Berne Grand Prix and Carrera Panamericana road race, for which he is best remembered.
While he briefly drove sports cars for Alfa Romeo in 1953, Kling returned to Mercedes in 1954 to partner Fangio and Moss behind the wheel of the W196 Grand Prix car, where his best finish was a 2nd place behind Fangio at Reims in ’54. When Mercedes retired from racing in 1955, Kling retired as well, though he did remain with the three-pointed star as its competition manager for many years.