The W 196 R was the first formula racing car built by Daimler-Benz after the war. Following their pre-war success, no one doubted that Daimler-Benz would return to formula racing. The first entry of the new W 196 R in the French GP at Reims ended with great success: Drivers Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling would score a double victory. The next entry at Silverstone, however, was less successful, probably due to the streamlined body which was unsuitable for that track. This experience resulted in the development of the open wheel 'monoposto' body. Subsequently, various versions of the car were manufactured with different wheelbases, engine displacement and braking system configurations.
The car featured here was driven in the monoposto form by Fangio to victory in the Grand Prix of Buenos Aires. Sir Stirling Moss piloted the car in streamliner configuration at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.