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This German nobleman’s family estate was situated in land now returned to Poland. Adolf Brudes raced on motorcycles from the early 1920s but success was restricted to record attempts such as averaging over 100mph on a supercharged Victoria 600cc in 1925.
Pre-war racing career
He bought a Bugatti T37A voiturette three years later for his car racing debut. Successful in minor races and hillclimbs, his outings in major events were limited although he did finish third against a small field in the 1930 Eifelrennen. He also raced the Bugatti in the 1500cc race at Avus from 1931 to 1933 but did not finish.
A 750cc MG J4 was acquired for 1934 and Brudes finished sixth in the Eifelrennen voiturette race, winning his class in the process. Two years later Brudes was invited to test an Auto Union at the Nürburgring with a place in the 1936 Grand Prix team at stake. Unsuccessful, he moved into sports cars with a BMW 328 – fourth at the 1938 Spa 24 Hours and third in the 1940 Mille Miglia among his best results.
One-time Grand Prix driver
His family, whose interests included a BMW dealership, lost everything during World War II and he had to rebuild his life after the conflict. Finding work as a mechanic, Brudes moved to Berlin in 1947 and he raced a Veritas RS during the early 1950s. The car was owned by Alexander Orley, an American Army officer who worked as a translator in the Allied High Commission that ran post-war West Germany.
Brudes retired from the 1951 Avusrennen and entered the 1952 German GP for his only appearance in the world championship. Engine failure after five laps ended his race but at 52 years and 292 days he is the sixth oldest driver to start a GP.
He continued to race a works Borgward Hansa 1500RS in sports cars and he retired early from the 1953 Le Mans 24 Hours when sharing with Hans-Hugo Hartmann. Another four races in the World Sportscar Championship included finishing third in the 1953 Nürburgring 1000Kms. His final such start was the 1954 Carrera Panamericana but Brudes continued to compete at a lesser level until 1968.