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History

The spark plug whisperer

August Bamminger, head of the Bosch racing service

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

2018-04-13

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”.

At home on the race tracks

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.

The passion for engines

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 in the Corporate Archives of Robert Bosch GmbH for 18 years. I am responsible for the historical photo and art collection, picture editing and event organization. Furthermore I am writing and reappraising the history of Bosch in France, Benelux, Italy and Turkey. After studying art history, I was in charge of the photo and film collection of the Stuttgart City Archive, among other things.

Picture of Vera Dendler

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