Eberhard Mahle

Date of Birth : January 7 1933

Biography Eberhard Mahle

Eberhard Mahle was born January 7 1933. He is a son of Dr. Ing. Ernst Mahle, founder of the world renowned and Stuttgart based piston and crankshaft manufacturer Mahle.

Due to the internationalization of the family factory, the family Mahle moves several times. This explains why Eberhard Mahle speaks different languages. One of them is Portuguese because the family lived a year in Brazil since father Mahle started a Mahle company over there.

Eberhard Mahle
Eberhard Mahle

How Eberhard Mahle started racing.

From his early childhood, Eberhard Mahle was interested in technique and cars, which made him an early car driver. This means long before he even had a drivers license, he borrowed the car of his father, and drove the streets of Stuttgart without his father even knowing it. Those were the times one could afford that due to the absence of heavy traffic. His father didn’t want Eberhard to compete in races because of the danger involved. Thus he had to wait until his 21st anniversary to start racing. In 1954 he invested 2500DM of his own money in a DKW 3.6 with whom he drove his first race. That was the Rally Solitude, victory in the -1000cc class against 25 competitors and a 5th place overall as a result. At the end of 1954 he received his race license.

Not only was the Rally Solitude important for the start of his career, Mahle competed 5 times in this race until 1960 , and achieved 5 class victories and 1 overall victory, making him the most successful driver ever at this event. Another amazing record at his name at the Rally Solitude : in 1959 Mahle started in 3 different classes : the 600cc class in a NSU Prinz which he won, the 1600cc class in a Volvo which he won too. Third class he started in was the Formel-Junior in a Auto-Union with success too with a 3rd place.

The example above is typically for Mahle’s race career. He was not bound to a single make, he didn’t have a contract with one car manufacturer. In his career he drove DKW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, Borgward, NSU, Fiat, Volvo, BMW, VW, Glas, Abarth. The most important for Mahle was he could drive a car he could trust, in which he knew he would have a good result. He lived from race to race, choose different cars depending on different things. Which car is most adapted to which race, which manufacturer is racing this weekend, … Driving for Mercedes this weekend, and beating them the next weekend in a Porsche.

Times have changed as nowadays this seems impossible. Back then Mahle had enough reputation to make this diversity successful He started in 2110 races, and achieves 150 victories.

He only abandons in 15 races. Main reason for this low percentage of abandons was that Mahle never pushed the car too far, he had enough technical knowledge to know the limits of the cars. The other reason was that Mahle only choose to drive reliable cars. He’d rather have a weekend off than drive a car which was not suitable or reliable enough for the race.

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