Thursday, February 16, 2017

Mercedes at Retro Classics 2017



John Cooper Fitch and Kurt Gessl with a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL touring sports car (start number 417) at the 1955 Mille Miglia. Fitch/Gesell finished the road race with a class victory and 5th place in the overall ranking.

From the ALL TIME STARS trading activities to servicing and replacement parts supply for the brand's classic automobiles, Mercedes-Benz Classic is placing the focus of its show presentation on its comprehensive range of services at Retro Classics 2017. The Stuttgart-based brand is also presenting sporty cars from its history and the present day. The Retro Classics show will be held between 2 and 5 March 2017 at the Stuttgart exhibition centre. A special exhibition honours the racing driver and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Roland Asch.
Stuttgart. Classic automobiles from Mercedes-Benz that tell stories: about innovations and the design of their time, for example, but also about great racing victories and the day-to-day life of bygone eras. At the Retro Classic 2017 show in Stuttgart, Mercedes-Benz Classic is presenting vehicles that embody the history and stories of more than 110 years.
On the stand in Hall 7, alongside three classic cars from the company's collection, visitors can admire the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupé and five ALL TIME STARS from the trading arm of the Mercedes-Benz Museum: these are a 280 SL "Pagoda" (W 113) from 1968, a 230 S "Tailfin" (W 111) from 1966, a 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet from the same series dating from 1971, a 280 SE (W 126) from 1982 and a 230 Estate (W 124) from 1991.
The longest biography among the historic display vehicles from the collection is that of the Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp dating from 1903. It stands for the birth of the modern automobile around the turn of the 20th Century. A few decades later, in 1955, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" became a protagonist in the legendary "Mille Miglia" road race. The Gullwing Coupé with start number 417 is a homage to the car of this model with which John Fitch and Kurt Gessl achieved a class victory in the Mille Miglia at that time, and took fifth place in the overall ranking.
Another highlight in automobile history is the CL 55 AMG "F1 Limited Edition". At Retro Classics, this high-tech coupé from 2000, of which only 55 examples were built, is flanked by an up-to-date partner in the form of the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupé – a current model by the Mercedes-Benz performance brand AMG, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Experts in originality
Keeping these automotive classics running requires good and reliable servicing, as well as comprehensive specialist knowledge to ensure originality and authenticity. These are provided to the highest degree by Mercedes-Benz Classic, as demonstrated at Retro Classics with the presentation by the "Service and Parts" department and the ALL TIME STARS.
The services by Mercedes-Benz Classic for vintage and younger classics are based on an unrivalled heritage: expertise and know-how stretching right back to the invention of the automobile in 1886, which keep the company's archives alive. This knowledge contributes to the reproduction of authentic parts for historic vehicles, and also to advice and work of all kinds on classics by Mercedes-Benz and the preceding brands.
The same expertise lies at the heart of ALL TIME STARS. Mercedes-Benz Classic has had this trading arm since 2015. The range extends from pre-war to recent classics. Models from the 1960s and 1980s are particularly popular with customers. ALL TIME STARS ensures maximum transparency by thoroughly examining every vehicle offered according to 160 criteria, plus a Classic Data expert report.
The ALL TIME STARS are technically at least in condition 2, and are categorised into three editions: "Concours Edition": Vehicles in rare, original condition with low mileage, or vehicles carefully restored by Mercedes-Benz Classic. "Collectors Edition": Older and more recent classics in good technical and visual condition. Their patina gives these cars a special character. "Drivers Edition": This is where fans who wish to drive their older or younger classic on a daily basis will find their dream car. The good technical condition still offers potential for restoration work.
Classics culture at the highest level
It is not only the brand itself that ensures star attractions at Retro Classics in the form of classic Mercedes-Benz models. Numerous other exhibitors are also presenting older and younger classics bearing the Mercedes star. Among them are many brand clubs, mainly in Hall 7.
A special presentation in Hall 5, "The racing cars of the Swabian Arrow", documents a fascinating chapter in motor racing history: this is a display of seven racing cars driven by the racing driver and Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador Roland Asch. The cars exhibited also include the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II with which Roland Asch became vice-champion in the 1993 German Touring Car Championships (DTM).
The Retro Classics show was founded in 2001, and has since developed into one of Europe's leading specialist shows. This year it will be held between 2 and 5 March 2017 at the Stuttgart exhibition centre. Its dimensions are larger than ever this year: The display area has increased by 5000 square metres, and now measures 130,000 square metres. The organisers are expecting more than 1550 exhibitors with over 3500 vehicles. Around 90,000 visitors attended the Retro Classics show last year.
Retro Classics 2017: Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles
Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp, 1903
The Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp was launched in March 1902, superseding the legendary Mercedes 35 hp. The suffix "Simplex" was intended to indicate how easy the new model was to operate for its time. In December 1900 its direct predecessor, and the first vehicle to bear the brand name Mercedes, for the first time defined a distinct shape for the automobile, and to this day it is regarded as a masterpiece of technical sophistication and beauty.Characteristic features include the long wheelbase, the light and powerful engine fitted low down and the honeycomb radiator integrated organically into the front end, which was to become distinctive for the brand. The Mercedes 35 hp marked the end of the carriage style that had dominated the industry and is thus considered to be the first modern car. At the Paris Motor Show in December 1902, almost all the other automotive manufacturers presented vehicles which followed the concept of the first Mercedes, and also bore a striking resemblance to its design. In the trade press this show was therefore dubbed the "Mercedes Show". The new Mercedes-Simplex became a success in the world of motorsport from the very moment of its launch. The Englishman E. T. Stead won the Nice–La Turbie hill race ahead of Georges Lemaitre and Wilhelm Werner, both also driving a 40 hp. Stead was even able to improve on Werner's record from the previous year. The 40 hp cars achieved speeds exceeding 100 km/h in the mile race. Delivered in March 1903, the white example from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection is one of the oldest-preserved vehicles bearing the Mercedes brand.
Technical data - Mercedes-Simplex 40 hp
Production period: 1902-1910
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 6785 cc
Output: 29 kW (40 hp) at 1100 rpm
Top speed: 100 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198), 1955
In February 1954, the 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198) celebrated its world premiere at the International Motor Sport Show in New York. This high-performance sports car was based on the legendary racing sports car of the 1952 season. A lightweight, torsionally rigid spaceframe supported the engine, transmission and axles. As in the racing version (W 194), it left no space for conventional doors. This was the reason for the classic "gullwing" doors. They became the unmistakable hallmark of the 300 SL. The "Gullwing" was also a highly innovative car in other respects: it was the world's first production passenger car to be powered by a four-stroke engine with petrol injection. That improved not only efficiency, but also engine performance.  158 kW (215 hp), or 20 percent more than in the carburettor equipped racing version, allowed a top speed of up to 250 km/h. This made the 300 SL the fastest production car of its time, and it became the dream sports car of the 1950s. Its motor racing genes predestined the series production model for racing success, and it secured numerous victories and championship titles. One legendary triumph was the triple class victory of the 300 SL standard-production sports car in the 1955 Mille Miglia. John Cooper Fitch achieved fifth place in the overall ranking with his car bearing start number 417, which denoted the starting time of 4:17 a.m. He was also the victor in the class for standard sports cars with a displacement exceeding 1.3 litres. A total of 1,400 300 SL "Gullwings" were built between 1954 and 1957. 867 of these were produced in 1955, the year of the Mille Miglia victory.
Technical data - Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing"
Production period: 1954–1957
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2996 cc
Output: 158 kW (215 hp) at 5800 rpm
Top speed: up to 250 km/h
Mercedes-Benz CL 55 AMG "F1 Limited Edition" (C 215), 2000
The CL 55 AMG was presented at the end of 1999 as a particularly sporty variant of the C 215 Coupé series. This predecessor to the present S-Class Coupé was launched in spring 1999. Standard equipment of the CL 55 AMG included AMG bodystyling with modified front and rear aprons and side skirts, an AMG instrument cluster graduated to 320 km/h, an AMG exhaust system and a sporty transmission configuration. On customer request the CL 55 AMG was also available with no speed limitation. The summer of 2000 saw the appearance of the Mercedes-Benz CL 55 AMG "F1 Limited Edition", which was produced as an exclusive small series of 55 examples. It was modelled on the CL 55 AMG Safety Car used in Formula 1 racing since March 2000. The limited special edition was the first road-going car in the world to be equipped with a particularly effective ceramic braking system: during emergency braking from top speed, the internally ventilated brake discs of fibre-reinforced ceramics delivered a braking output of around 1471 kW (2000 hp). The advantages of this technology, which was completely new for standard production cars at the time, also included an extremely high thermal resistance and the considerably reduced weight of the brake discs. They were up to 60 percent lighter than conventional steel discs. The noticeable reduction in unsprung masses benefited both the handling dynamics and driving enjoyment. With the CL 55 AMG "F1 Limited Edition" and its ceramic brakes, Mercedes-Benz once again underlined its leading role in the development of future-oriented technologies in automobile engineering.
Technical data - Mercedes-Benz CL 55 AMG "F1 Limited Edition"
Production period: 2000-2001
Cylinders: V8
Displacement: 5439 cc
Output: 265 kW (360 hp) at 5500 rpm
Top speed: 250 km/h (electronically limited)
Retro Classics 2017: The ALL TIME STARS cars
Mercedes-Benz 280 SL "Pagoda" (W 113, 1968)
Mercedes-Benz presented the 230 SL in the W 113 series in 1963. The comfortable two-seater touring car thrilled the public with its modern design, high performance and optimum safety. This highly popular successor to not one but two SL sports cars replaced both the 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198) super sports car and the elegant Tourenwagen 190 SL (W 121) touring car. The 230 SL was the world's first sports car to feature a safety body with a rigid passenger cell and deformable front and rear "crumple zones". This design principle was developed by Mercedes-Benz engineer Béla Barényi, and it entered series production in the W 111 series. The W 113 also shared a number of components such as the frame/floor assembly with the model 220 SE in the "Tailfin" series, though in shortened and reinforced form. The design of the Roadster was however absolutely distinctive. Owing to its characteristic, convex hardtop, the W 113 was also nicknamed the "Pagoda" SL. The purpose of this avant garde bodystyling feature was safety, however: the concave shape allowed a hardtop of lightweight construction but with maximum stability. The W 113 was available as a roadster with folding top, as a coupé with a removable hardtop and as a coupé with a removable roof and roadster soft top. 1967 saw the introduction of the 250 SL, and 1968 the launch of the most powerful "Pagoda", the 280 SL.
The gold-painted ALL TIME STARS example with a leather interior exhibited at the Retro Classics show is a USA version. It was built in the first production year of the 280 SL. This "Pagoda" has had two previous owners, and is part of the Concours Edition of ALL TIME STARS. In Germany the value added tax is deductible when selling this classic – this is rare for classic cars, and a particular buying incentive for some users.
Technical data - Mercedes-Benz 280 SL "Pagoda" (W 113)
Production period: 1968-1971
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2778 cc
Output: 125 kW (170 hp) at 5750 rpm.
Top speed: 195 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 230 S (W 111), 1966
The 230 S celebrated its premiere in summer 1965. At this time most of the models in the successful W 111 and W 112 luxury saloon series were already being replaced by the new W 108 and W 109 series. However, the 230 S as a further development of the 220 Sb continued the success of the six-cylinder "Tailfin" models. Alongside the power increase of the re-engineered engine from the 220 Sb by 7 kW (10 hp) to 88 kW (120 hp), the hydropneumatc compensating spring at the rear axle was a new feature. 41,107 units of the 230 S had been produced when production ended in January 1968. The figure includes chassis for special-purpose bodies and the 230 S Universal estate versions. This special version was produced for Mercedes-Benz at the Belgian IMA bodyshop. In 1968 the entire "Tailfin" model generation came to an end. This is because in that year, the four-cylinder variants of the smaller W 110 "Tailfin" series were also replaced by the "stroke/eight" models of the W 114 and W 115 series. For the first time since 1959, it was in the "Tailfin" saloons that Mercedes-Benz incorporated the rigid passenger cell with front and rear crumple zones first patented by Béla Barényi. Safety was also a priority when designing the interior. Features included the padded dashboard with elastic, partly recessed controls and a steering wheel with a padded boss. Other new features important for accident safety included the wedge-pin door locks, which were used for the first time in this form.
The black 230 S with red artificial leather interior displayed at Retro Classics comes from France. This ALL TIME STAR in the Drivers Edition has had two previous owners. As part of a technical overhaul, the saloon with an odometer reading of 146,000 kilometres was given a replacement engine.
Technical data - 230 S
Production period: 1965-1968
Cylinders: 6
Displacement: 2306 cc
Output: 88 kW (120 hp) at 5400 rpm.
Top speed: 175 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet (W 111), 1971
Even when still in production, the luxury "Tailfin" convertibles presented in 1961 had a strong following with their timeless, classic appearance. This is why they remained in the Mercedes-Benz product range although most of the saloons in the W 111 series were replaced by a newly designed model generation in August 1965. With the exception of the omitted roof and the necessary body reinforcements, the exclusive convertibles correspond to the W 111 coupés in every detail. In the same year the model 220 Sb was joined by the 300 SE Cabriolet with additional trim and the technology of the model 300 SE (W 112). The 250 SE followed in 1965, the 280 SE in 1968. In September 1969 the 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet appeared as a considerably more powerful version. This was powered by a completely newly developed 3.5-litre V8 engine delivering 147 kW (200 hp), which excelled with its smooth running characteristics. The ten-year production period of the "Tailfin" convertibles came to an end in summer 1971. A total of 1232 examples of the 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet were produced between 1969 and 1971.
ALL TIME STARS is displaying an original, rust-free 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet at Retro Classics. It was originally sold in the USA. The silver paintwork and interior features were renewed a few years ago. The eight-cylinder dream car with two previous owners is part of the Collectors Edition.
Technical data - Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 CabrioletProduction period: 1969-1971
Cylinders: V8
Displacement: 3499 cc
Output: 147 kW (200 hp) at 5800 rpm.
Top speed: 205 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 280 SE (W 126), 1982
The Mercedes-Benz 280 SE was one of the first seven models in the new W 126 S-Class presented by the company in September 1979. Alongside the saloons with the normal wheelbase, a 140-millimetre longer variant was also available right from the start. During the development of this series, the focus of the engineers was above all on ride comfort and safety, as well as on reduced energy consumption. The use of weight-saving materials and body contours optimised in the wind tunnel reduced the average fuel consumption by around ten percent compared to the preceding models, for example. The suspension design was substantially the same as that in the preceding models: the new S-Class likewise had a semi-trailing arm rear suspension and a double wishbone front axle with a scrub radius of zero. The bodyshell was designed to reflect the latest safety research findings. For example, the passenger cell was also able to withstand an offset frontal crash at a collision speed of 55 km/h undamaged. The saloon models in the 126 series were the world's first series production cars able to meet the criteria for an asymmetrical frontal impact. This was the first time that a Mercedes-Benz passenger car had no bumpers in the conventional sense. Instead it featured large, plastic-shrouded bumpers seamlesssly integrated into the front and rear aprons. The front and rear sections were visually connected by wide protective side strips running at bumper level between the wheel arches. In September 1985 Mercedes-Benz presented the facelifted S-Class. The 2.8-litre injection engine of the 280 SE was replaced by a newly designed 3-litre unit.
The 280 SE dating from 1982 on display at the Retro Classics show was only used as a second car by its two previous owners, and treated with great care. The gold-painted saloon (colour champagne metallic) with a beige velour interior comes from France and features power steering, air conditioning, central locking and the anti-lock braking system (ABS). The car is part of the Concours Edition at ALL TIME STARS.
Technical data - Mercedes-Benz 280 SE
Production period: 1979-1985
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2746 cc
Output: 136 kW (185 hp) at 5800 rpm.
Top speed: 210 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 230 TE (S 124), 1991
The Estate model in the 124 series celebrated its premiere at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main in September 1985. In technical and styling terms the S 124 was substantially the same as the W 124 saloon models. The only differences lay in the roof and rear end design, with the necessary changes that resulted. The major assemblies, braking system and suspension were also modified to suit the higher payloads of the Estate. The multi-link independent rear suspension of the Estate was equipped with hydropneumatic level control as standard. To maintain the high safety standards of the Saloon model as far as possible, new findings from safety research were incorporated into the design of the rear body overhang including the fuel tank. All the S 124 models with petrol injection engines could on request be equipped with a closed-loop emission control system including a three-way catalytic converter. In 1988 the standard equipment was extended, this time to include the anti-lock braking system (ABS). In 1989 Mercedes-Benz presented the completely revised model range in the medium class – including the Estate models. The most obvious distinguishing feature of the new models were the protective side mouldings with integrated side sill claddings. The interior had also been freshened up, with improved front and rear seats and numerous upgraded features. Numerous new engines were introduced in the S 124 series in 1992. In June 1993 the 124 series became the first Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
The 230 TE on display at Retro Classics has brown paintwork (colour impala metallic) and is part of the Drivers Edition at ALL TIME STARS. It features the optional Sportline package with a lowered sport suspension, a stiffer suspension and shock absorber setup, a modified interior with a leather steering wheel and shift lever and individual front and rear seats. This recent classic with the diamond-pattern fabric seat upholstery typical of the time stands for day-to-day suitability and driving pleasure. The buyer will receive an expert valuation, and before delivery ALL TIME STARS will have a thorough service and statutory technical inspection carried out. A Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Warranty can also be obtained for the 230 TE on request.
Technical data - Mercedes-Benz 230 TE
Production period: 1985-1992
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 2298 cc
Output: 97 kW (132 hp) at 5100 rpm.
Top speed: 183 km/h

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Scharchburg Student Paper Award, Society of Automotive Historians (SAH), Announcement for 2017

THE SOCIETY OF AUTOMOTIVE HISTORIANS


RICHARD SCHARCHBURG  STUDENT PAPER AWARD, 2017

In order to encourage research and writing effort among university students in the area of automotive history, the Society confers its annual award for the best student paper in the auto history field.  The award is named for Richard Scharchburg, the late Professor of History at Kettering University, eminent automotive historian, and past vice president of the Society of Automotive Historians. Persons submitting papers must be enrolled at educational institutions (upper-class undergraduate or graduate level) at the time of submission.  This competition is international in scope, but papers must be in the English language.  Papers already published or scheduled for publication will not be accepted.

Manuscripts should not exceed 10,000 words, and should be double-spaced.  An abstract is requested.  Judging criteria include clear statement of purpose and testable hypothesis, accuracy and thoroughness of research, originality of the research, documentation, quality and extent of bibliographic resources, and writing style.  Diagrams, graphs, or photographs may be included.  Submissions are to be electronic, in Word 1997-2003 format or pdf files only, to the e-mail address below.

Possible subjects include but are not limited to historical aspects of automobile companies and their leaders, regulation of the auto industry, financial and economic aspects of the industry, the social effects of the automobile, highway development, environmental matters, and automotive marketing, design, engineering and safety.

A cover letter should be included stating the student’s address, school, program, advisor, and stage in studies.  The student should indicate how the paper submitted will relate to his or her professional future.  Submissions must e-mail dated by June 10, 2017.  All papers submitted will be acknowledged.

Recent Previous Award Winners:
2016 – Alison Kreitzer, University of Delaware
2015 – Patrick Nicolello, University of Dayton
2014 – Sarah Seo, Princeton University
2013 -- John Emerson Mohr, Auburn University
2012—Samuel Kling, Northwestern  University
2011 – Andrew Mabon, James Madison University
2010 – No award
2009 – Peter Cajka, Marquette University

Upon recommendation of the judges, the winning paper will considered for publication in the Society’s Automotive History Review.   The award consists of a plaque and a cash prize of $500.00.

Submissions should be sent to:      John Heitmann, Chair, Student Awards Committee
                                                Department of History
                                                University of Dayton                    Tel: 937-229-2803
                                                300 College Park                        Fax: 937-229-2816

                                                Dayton, OH 45469-1540                e-mail: Jheitmann1@udayton.edu

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mercedes-Benz at the 2017 Mille Miglia, May 18-21.

Mercedes-Benz 220 a (W 180), Helmut Retter and Wolfgang Larcher at the start of the Mille Miglia 1956 in Brescia.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194), Rudolf Caracciola and Peter Kurrle, starting number 613, Mille Miglia 1952.

In the jubilee year of the Mille Miglia, Mercedes-Benz Classic is remembering legendary wins and thrilling moments from the history of the Italian 1000-mile race: to mark the 90th anniversary of the Mille Miglia the Stuttgart is entering the race with a total of ten vehicles. The classics represent various eras in the involvement of Mercedes-Benz in the road race from Brescia to Rome and back held since 1927. This year the Mille Miglia is taking place from 18 to 21 May 2017 in four stages. Mercedes-Benz is again supporting the prestigious event as its automotive sponsor. The Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge 2017 will be starting ahead of the peleton of classic vehicles. This regularity run for sports cars from the Stuttgart brand will be taking the route and special stages of the actual Mille Miglia.
Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz and the Mille Miglia: this stands for many star-studded highlights in racing history. The Stuttgart brand will be calling these to mind in May 2017 with its involvement in the jubilee edition of the 1000-mile race, whose leitmotif is the "magic 7": In 1927 the Mille Miglia was held for the first time, in 1947 it started up again for the first time after the end of the Second World War, in 1957 it took place as a classic road race for the last time, and in 1977 it was reborn as a historical motorsport event. Since 2012 the automotive club of Brescia has been holding the Mille Miglia with its high-calibre participants through its subsidiary 1000 Miglia Srl. Today the only vehicles allowed to participate are those whose models entered the original road race between 1927 and 1957.
Mercedes-Benz has been involved since 1930, so virtually since the first event. Back then factory driver Rudolf Caracciola with his co-driver Christian Werner entered in a Mercedes-Benz SSK ("Super-Sport-Kurz", ("Super Sport Short")) and promptly finished in 6th place. One year later Caracciola won the Mille Miglia in 1931 as the first non-Italian driver with his co-pilot Wilhelm Sebastian in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL ("Super-Sport-Kurz-Leicht" ("Super Sport Short Light")). It is this triumph in the era of the supercharged racing touring cars that is being remembered in 2017 with the participation of a Mercedes-Benz SSK from Mercedes-Benz Classic.
Racing renaissance of 1952
The Mille Miglia in 1952 was the scene of the first redeveloped competition vehicle from Mercedes-Benz after the Second World War, the 300 SL racing car (W 194). In 2017 it is precisely this vehicle with the chassis number 5 that Mercedes-Benz Classic is sending to the starting line in Brescia, the very model in which Caracciola and Peter Kurrle (starting number 613) finished in 4th place. Their team colleagues Karl Kling and Hans Klenk drove the new 300 SL racing car and finished in 2nd place. At the Mille Miglia 2017 the vehicle will be driven by Mercedes-Benz Motorsport boss Toto Wolff and Aldo Costa, Engineering Director of the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team.
With no less than six 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198) models Mercedes-Benz Classic is celebrating the outstanding success of the Stuttgart racing team at the Mille Miglia of 1955: back then Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson drove the 300 SLR racing car (W 196 S) to overall victory. And with the standard 300 SL "Gullwing" Mercedes-Benz also dominated the Gran Turismo class over 1300 cc displacement in this successful racing season.
The year 1956 is recalled with two further vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Classic in the peleton of this year's Mille Miglia: in a Mercedes-Benz 220 a (W 180) Christian Boucke, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic, will be at the wheel together with Bernd Mayländer, regular driver of the Safety Car in the Formula 1 World Championship. In 1956  Erwin Bauer and Erwin Grupp won in their class driving a vehicle of this model. What's more, the racing version of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster (W 121) is taking part in the regularity run on the trail of the road race. Last year a car of this model took part in the modern Mille Miglia for the first time. This has been made possible due to findings from 2015 relating to automotive history. They prove that in the 1956 road race a 190 SL took part (Michel Bianco and Jean Loup Pellecuer, starting number 347).
Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge 2017
The 2017 Mille Miglia will be held from 18 to 21 May in four stages from Brescia to Rome and back. In the tracks of the legendary road race the organisers have chosen a clockwise route: on 18 May the cars start in Brescia and head west, past Lake Garda to Padua. The stage of 19 May then runs south through San Marino and Italy's hinterland to Rome In the capital the peleton embarks on the third stage on 20 May, northwards to Parma. The fourth and last stage will reach Brescia again on 21 May.
The regularity run through the heart of Italy is one of the most exciting events globally in the automotive classic world . This is down to highlights such as the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge 2017 as well as the actual competition. This exclusive regularity run is taking place as a reminiscence to the major triumphs of the Mercedes-Benz brand in the competition held from 1927 to 1957.
The participants in the Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge will drive ahead of the classic cars on the same route and will subject themselves to the same special stages. Vehicles permitted to take part are Mercedes-Benz SL models of various generations, numerous vehicles from Mercedes-AMG plus models of particular historical value from product history. Registration for the Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia Challenge is possible until 28 February 2017. The website http://www.mercedesbenzchallenge.1000miglia.it/ offers further information.
Mille Miglia 2017: Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles
Mercedes-Benz SSK (W 06, 1928)
Of the six-cylinder supercharged sports cars of the Mercedes-Benz S-Series, the SSK (W 06) was the most exclusive and fascinating model. The model designation stood for Super-Sport-Kurz (Super Sport Short) and featured a shorter wheelbase alongside its particular sportiness. In the summer of 1928, works driver Rudolf Caracciola won the Gabelbach Race at the first attempt as well as the races at Schauinsland and Mont Ventoux with the brand-new SSK. In 1930 and 1931, the SSK took him to victory in the European Hill-Climb Championship. The weight-reduced and further modified 1931 version, also known as the SSKL (Super-Sport-Kurz-Leicht - Super Sport Short Light), likewise achieved spectacular successes. Among the most important of these was the victory in the legendary thousand-mile "Mille Miglia" race. In April 1931, Rudolf Caracciola was the first non-Italian to win this demanding road race from Brescia to Rome and back in an SSKL.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz SSK (standard-production version)Production period: 1928-1930
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 7065 cc
Output: 125 kW (170 hp), with supercharger 165 kW (225 hp)
Top speed: 192 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194, 1952)
When Mercedes-Benz planned to return to motor racing following World War II, sports racing cars were initially the only consideration. This was due to the fact that a new rule was announced for 1954, and the limited resources prevented previous development of a Grand Prix car based on the old formula. The new 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) used many existing components such as axles, transmission and engine from the prestigious Mercedes-Benz 300 (W 186) Saloon. A brand-new innovation was the extremely light yet rigid space frame, enveloped by an elegantly arched, streamlined body made of aluminium-magnesium sheet metal. Because the space frame was built relatively high on the sides, the racing sports car was fitted with the characteristic gullwing doors, which were hinged at the roof. The car was powered by a 129 kW (175 hp) M 194 in-line six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 2996 cubic centimetres. Among the major racing successes were the one-two-three victory at the Grand Prix of Bern (Switzerland), the spectacular one-two victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (France) and at the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico as well as the top four places in the "Nürburgring Jubilee Grand Prix".
Technical data for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL sports racing car (W 194)In use: 1952
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2996 cc
Output: 129 kW (175 hp)
Top speed: 240 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198), 1954-1957)
In February 1954, the 300 SL standard-production sports car (W 198) celebrated its world premiere at the International Motor Sport Show in New York. The coupé was referred to as the "Gullwing" owing to the roof-mounted doors resembling a gull's wings. The high-performance sports car was based on the legendary 300 SL racing car (W 194) from the 1952 season. It was the first standard-production car with a four-stroke petrol injection engine. With an output of 158 kW (215 hp) – a good 20 percent more than the carburettor-fed racing version of 1952 – the W 198 was in the top echelon of standard-production sports cars in its day, which also made it predestined for racing. Various suspension setups and final drive ratios were optionally available for racing purposes, allowing top speeds between around 225 km/h and 250 km/h. One legendary triumph was the triple class victory of the 300 SL standard-production sports car in the 1955 Mille Miglia. John Cooper Fitch achieved fifth place in the overall ranking in his car bearing starting number 417, heading the class for standard-production sports cars above 1.3 litres. Between 1954 and 1957, a total of 1400 units of the 300 SL "Gullwing" were produced, no fewer than 867 of them in the year of the Mille Miglia victory in 1955.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing"Production period: 1954-1957
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2996 cc
Output: 158 kW (215 hp)
Top speed: up to 250 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121, 1955-1963)
In 1954, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the elegant, compact roadster 190 SL (W 121). It was conceived as a sports car "which, due to its high standard of comfort, [is] intended for a group of buyers wishing to cover even long distances at high cruising speeds in this vehicle of highly sporty outer appearance," as designer Josef Müller retrospectively described the vehicle in 1957. Designed by Karl Wilfert and Walter Häcker, the sportily elegant two-seater touring and utility vehicle was closely based at a stylistic level on the 300 SL "Gullwing" sports car (W 198), which was initially available only as a coupé. The roadster, for its part, was more closely related at a technical level to the Mercedes-Benz 180 "Ponton" saloon (W 120), using the latter's shortened floor assembly. The 1.9-litre petrol engine rated at 77 kW (105 hp) was newly developed. The four-cylinder power unit featured an overhead camshaft and was to found an entire family of engines. The 1956 Mille Miglia was contested by the French team of Michel Bianco/Jean Loup Pellecuer in a 190 SL (starting number 347). This is confirmed by documents in the archives of Mercedes-Benz Classic and in the Museo Mille Miglia in Brescia. This fact, discovered in 2015, now makes the 190 SL Roadster, which is popular among collectors, eligible for the Mille Miglia. A total of 25,881 units of this model were built, some 18,000 of them going to the USA.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (standard-production version)Production period: 1955-1963
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 1897 cc
Output: 77 kW (105 hp)
Top speed: up to 180 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 220 a (W 180, 1954-1956)
Unveiled in spring 1954, the 220, also called the 220 a (W 180) internally, was the first Mercedes-Benz six-cylinder model with a self-supporting design. Its modern, spacious "Ponton" body, which Mercedes-Benz had unveiled six months earlier in the mid-size model, offered previously unknown spaciousness and comfort. A single-joint swing axle, which had been introduced into standard production with the 220, ensured safe handling. Several Mercedes-Benz 220s participated in the 1956 Mille Miglia in the class of standard-production special touring cars. In this class, the vehicle chassis and engine could be modified. The Erwin Bauer/Erwin Grupp team won its class in the legendary Italian road race in a special 220: in the racing division headed by Karl Kling, three vehicles were prepared specifically for the Mille Miglia. They were already equipped with the twin-carburettor system of the 220 S successor model, with which the engine developed approximately 85 kW (115 hp). Shorter and harder springs as well as modified shock absorbers were fitted for sporty driving. In addition, the driver could change gears via a floor shift, as in the 190 SL – instead of the otherwise fitted column shift.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 220 a (standard-production version)Production period: 1954–1956
Cylinders: 6/in-line
Displacement: 2195 cc
Output: 63 kW (85 hp)
Top speed: 150 km/h