In 1958 Alfred Neubauer's biography was published, and he described the origin of the Silver Arrows as being accidental. In 1934 the international governing body of motor sport prescribed a maximum weight limit of 750 kg for Grand Prix racing cars, excluding tyres and fuel. Neubauer said that when in spring 1934, the Mercedes-Benz team placed its new Mercedes-Benz W25 on the scrutineering scales prior to the Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring, it allegedly recorded 751 kg (1,656 lb).
The story continues that the next day the shining silver aluminium beneath was exposed and scrutineering was passed.
After the 350 hp (260 kW) car of Von Brauchitsch won the race, the nickname Silver Arrow was born, according to this version.
Despite reducing weight and engine size to roughly half, Daimler engineers soon managed to get more power from the supercharged Straight-8 M25 engine than the maximum 300 hp of the SSK. While the W25 was developed in 1933, the first appearance was scheduled to be at the 1934 Avusrennen in Berlin, held on May 27.
Mercedes showed up, but after encountering carburetor or fuel pump problems in practice, withdrew from the race. The next entry a week later, again on home soil, at the Nürburgring Eifelrennen, was successful, with Manfred von Brauchitsch winning.
Brauchitsch had raced a SSKL covered with streamline aluminium sheets, which had been described as a silver arrow by the media. Besides, both German rounds were run to Formula libre rules to attract more entries.
This story did not appear until 1958, and no reference to it has been found in contemporary sources. It has since been established that von Brauchitsch had raced a streamlined silver SSKL on the AVUS in 1932, which was called a Silver Arrow in live radio coverage. Also, in 1934, both Mercedes and Auto Union had entered the Avusrennen with silver cars.
By the 1930s, modern stressed-skin aircraft fuselage construction was already using polished and unpainted aluminium panels for streamlining and to save weight. Also the wealthy motor-racing fraternity would have been aware that in heraldry, white and silver are the same colour, or 'tincture', described as 'Argent'; (similarly yellow and gold are both called 'Or').
By 1937, the supercharged engine of a Mercedes-Benz W125 attained an output of 646 hp (475 kW), a figure not exceeded in Grand Prix Racing until the early 1980s, when turbo-charged engines were common in Formula One. The Silver Arrows of Mercedes and Auto Union cars reached speeds of well over 300 kilometres per hour (186 mph) in 1937, and well over 400 km/h (249 mph) during land speed record runs.
AMG started off by designing and testing racing engines. It expanded its business into building custom road cars based upon standard Mercedes cars. The AMG initially produced a range of unofficial upgrade and accessories packages mainly for the Mercedes-Benz R107 and C107, Mercedes-Benz W116, Mercedes-Benz W123, Mercedes-Benz W124, Mercedes-Benz W126 Mercedes-Benz R129 and Mercedes-Benz W201 models.