August Bamminger at the German Grand Prix on the Solitude race track in 1951.

The spark plug whisperer

August Bamminger, head of the Bosch racing service

5 minutes


There was one man who simply had to be at every major car and motorcycle race between 1911 and 1957: August Bamminger, head of the Bosch racing service and the “spark plug doctor”.

Bamminger with his cigar and a racer.
Racers valued Bamminger’s sound advice. He rarely put down his cigar, which came to be known as his trademark.

For him, there was no journey too long to support drivers with technical advice in major car and motorcycle races such as the German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring, the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico, or the Argentine Grand Prize. Bamminger felt at home on the sidelines, between the loud vehicles with their intoxicating emissions, where he and his Bosch race team would watch the daredevil drivers squeeze every last drop out of their vehicles’ engines. Whenever one of them broke down or smoke billowed from a race car, the man from Bosch was there to help.

Bamminger checks a spark plug through a magnifying glass.
A razor-sharp glance through the magnifying glass at a spark plug was enough for the spark plug doctor to find out all he needed to know about the condition of the engine it belonged to.

Right from the start, Bamminger’s career path seemed like destiny. In 1909, at the age of 21, he joined Bosch as a mechanic and earned a reputation as a “spark plug doctor” during races prior to the first world war. In 1920, he was promoted to head of Bosch’s workshop in Prague, later becoming the head of the Bosch racing service in 1938, one year after its founding. His always calm, fatherly nature and the cigar perched almost intrinsically in the corner of his mouth made him a true original who embodied a passion for cars right up until his retirement in 1957.

Bamminger with a motorcycle racer at the German Grand Prix on the Solitude race track in 1951.
Right in the middle of the action, the way Bosch racing expert Bamminger came to be known — just like here at the German Grand Prix on the Solitude race track in 1951

Vera Dendler

I have been working at the Bosch archive for 17 years. I am responsible for the collection of historical photos and fine arts, picture desk and event organization. Furthermore I write articles and work on the history of Bosch in France and in Turkey. After my studies of art history I established the archive of artists at the “Akademie Schloss Solitude” in Stuttgart and ran the photo- and film collection of the municipal archive of Stuttgart.

Picture of Vera Dendler

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