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Classic 1950s Silver Arrow back on track

By Sheena McKenzie, for CNN
April 27, 2012 -- Updated 1646 GMT (0046 HKT)
Michael Schumacher in the modern Silver Arrow while Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg takes the wheel of the 1955 model. Michael Schumacher in the modern Silver Arrow while Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg takes the wheel of the 1955 model.
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In the hot seat
Then and now
Home comforts
Classic car
A star is born
History makers
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Silver Arrow has an important place in Mercedes history
  • F1 legend Juan Manual Fangio won the 1955 Italian Grand Prix in the classic W196
  • 57 years later, China Grand Prix winner Rosberg drives car ahead at Hockenheim
  • Seven-time world champ Michael Schumacher will drive 2011 Silver Arrow MGP W02

(CNN) -- It's no wonder the illustrious Silver Arrow has a special place in the Mercedes team's hearts. The car with the distinctive silver livery has delivered some of its greatest victories -- from successive world championships in the 1950s to the China Grand Prix earlier this month.

Now a new generation of Mercedes stars will be paying homage to the racy little number -- and its most famous driver -- ahead of the DTM season opener this weekend.

Almost 57 years after F1 legend Juan Manual Fangio won the Italian Grand Prix in the Silver Arrow, driver Nico Rosberg will again be getting behind the wheel of the classic car.

Rosberg's career-first F1 win at this month's China Grand Prix is Mercedes' first victory since Fangio in Italy in 1955.

And to mark the occasion, 26-year-old Rosberg will be taking the classic Mercedes W196 for a spin on Saturday before the DTM touring car series season opener at Hockenheim.

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher gets behind the wheel of the new F1 W03 at an official preseason test event in Barcelona. Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher gets behind the wheel of the new F1 W03 at an official preseason test event in Barcelona.
Make way for Mercedes
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Protests against the Bahrain GP have intensified in recent weeks. This graffiti was posted on a wall in the village of Barbar, west of the capital Manama, in April. Protests against the Bahrain GP have intensified in recent weeks. This graffiti was posted on a wall in the village of Barbar, west of the capital Manama, in April.
F1 race stirs up Bahrain activists
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Controversy over Bahrain\'s Formula One race Controversy over Bahrain's Formula One race
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"I am absolutely delighted to be returning to Hockenheim as a Grand Prix winner," he said on the Mercedes F1 website.

"Last year, I was able to drive a classic Silver Arrow on the famous Nurburgring Nordschleife, so now I'm really looking forward to climbing into the cockpit of Juan Manuel Fangio's phenomenal W196 streamliner from Monza in 1955 and driving a few laps at Hockenheim.

"It means a lot to me that we have written a new chapter in the wonderful history of Mercedes in motorsport -- and that there is plenty more still to come."

The German follows in the footsteps of F1 racing father Keke, who won the world title with Williams in 1982.

However he still has some catching up to do to his famous Finnish father who collected five race wins in a nine-season career from 1978 to 1986.

"I have great memories of the DTM," Rosberg said.

"The earliest date back to when my father was still racing. Then I started competing in the various junior classes that are staged as part of the DTM race weekend as I started out on my own motorsport career. A lot has happened in the meantime, and the highlight so far was obviously my win in China one week ago."

Rosberg, who failed to repeat his performance in last week's Bahrain Grand Prix, finishing fifth, will be joined on the track by fellow Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher.

The seven-time world champion, who finished 10th in Bahrain, will be behind the wheel of the 2011 Silver Arrow MGP W02 on Sunday.

"After a busy start to the Formula One season with four flyaway races in succession, it will be nice to come back to Germany," said Schumacher, whose younger brother Ralf -- a former F1 competitor -- drives in the DTM series.

"I'm especially looking forward to the chance to give the fans a taste of a Formula One Silver Arrow in action. This will be my first visit to a DTM race in 20 years, and I hope that my brother and his fellow Mercedes-Benz drivers will get their season off to a great start."

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