Otto Merz

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Otto Merz racing on the Klausen Pass in 1921
Otto Merz's wife and daughter in his Mercedes racing car in front of the cement works canteen in Schelklingen, which was run by his father-in-law, April 1923
Mercedes-Benz Type S, as driven by Merz in 1927, at the DAMC 05 Oldtimer Festival Nürburgring

Otto Merz (born June 12, 1889 in Esslingen am Neckar , † May 18, 1933 in Berlin ) was a German racing car driver . He drove circuit races as well as mountain and long distance races.

Origin and family

Merz was a son of the locksmith Karl Gottlob Merz and his wife Christine Margarete Merz née Blessing, living in Esslingen . At the time of his marriage, Otto Merz was also based in Esslingen. He married Maria Hoch in Schelklingen on October 19, 1918 , daughter of a house, born in Allmendingen on January 22, 1889, daughter of Leo Hoch and Maria Hoch, born Autenrieth, and granddaughter of Anton Hoch . Her father was a canteen tenant in the cement factory in Schelklingen. Merz worked as a chauffeur; both spouses were Protestant.


Otto Merz was a motor vehicle craftsman and came to Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1906 , where he soon worked as a racing mechanic. He has been racing for Mercedes since 1923. The first successes were already achieved in the next year. In 1925 and 1926 , he won the Solitude race and, together with Walter Gärtner, the European Grand Prix for touring cars in Spain.

On 17 July 1927 Merz won on a Mercedes-Benz S the second Grand Prix of Germany for sports cars or the first Grand Prix at the Nurburgring . 18 laps or 508.752 km were driven on a combination of north and south loop . Otto Merz with co-driver Eugen Salzer won in 4: 59: 35.6 hours or with an average speed of 101.82 km / h in front of his team mate Christian Werner .

In 1928 the Caracciola / Werner team won the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Otto Merz, who was the only one who drove without a break despite the extreme heat, finished second after a puncture in 4: 56.02.0 hours or 103.10 km / h.

In the next few years Merz only took part in a few races, including the RAC Tourist Trophy and endurance races. After the German Grand Prix in 1931 , in which he finished fifth in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL , he retired from racing for two years.

In 1933, Merz registered with a streamlined SSKL for the race at the AVUS in Berlin . During practice, his car was likely hit by a side gust; Merz had a fatal accident.



  • Bernhard Raidt, a bear guy at the wheel: Otto Merz was a folk hero. Article in the Südwestpresse (SWP) on April 10, 2015.
  • Christine Wanner, The "good bear". On the biography of the Esslingen racing driver and Nürburgring winner Otto Merz (1889–1933). In: Esslinger Studies , ed. from Esslingen City Archives aN vol. 48, 2011/12, pp. 179–215.

Web links

Commons : Otto Merz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
  • Leif Snellman: Otto Merz (D)., April 6, 2015, accessed April 7, 2015 .
  • Otto Merz., accessed April 7, 2015 (English).

Individual evidence

  1. Stadtarchiv Schelklingen, marriage book 1916–1920, born in 1918, entry no. 10. According to this marriage entry, Otto Merz's place of birth was not Bad Cannstatt, but Esslingen am Neckar. Otto Merz's birth certificate also states that he was born in Esslingen, Kupferstrasse 7 (today Kupfergasse) [1] .
  2. a b c Behrndt / Födisch / Behrnd: German racing drivers. Heel Verlag, Königswinter 2008, ISBN 978-3-86852-042-2 , p. 17.
  3. ^ Jörg-Thomas Födisch: Nürburgring. Moewig, Rastatt 1991, ISBN 3-8118-3065-1 , p. 12.
  4. a b Thora Hornung: 50 years of the Nürburgring. Görres-Verlag, Koblenz, p. 178.
  5. ^ Jörg-Thomas Födisch: Nürburgring. Moewig, Rastatt 1991, ISBN 3-8118-3065-1 , p. 15.