Monday, October 26, 2015

Restoring to Authenticity a Mercedes Gullwing 300 SL: New Parts Availability

The bevel gears and crown wheels of all rear-axle ratios for the 300 SL (W 198) are again available as genuine spare parts. Thanks to a costly reproduction process, Mercedes-Benz Classic is now able once again to offer some gear ratios that have not been available for several decades. This allows the famous "Gullwing" and Roadster to be restored with utmost authenticity. Mercedes-Benz machine settings from the 1950s guarantee outstanding accuracy of reproduction – for ultimate smoothness of operation and fascinating driving dynamics even more than 60 years after the fascinating sports car made its debut in 1954.
Stuttgart. – Ever since the mid-1950s, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198) has been a source of fascination as a super sports car with exceptional performance, engineering roots on the racetrack and epoch-making looks. The standard rear-axle gear ratio was 1:3.64, allowing a top speed of 235 km/h. To enable customers to exploit the vehicle's potential entirely in line with their personal preferences, the 300 SL models were optionally available with alternative rear-axle gear ratios. This made it possible to further vary the characteristics of the vehicle – either towards high top speed (up to 250 km/h) or towards high acceleration.
The standard gear ratio has always been available as a Mercedes-Benz genuine part. However, the bevel gear/crown wheel sets of many individual variants have long since been unavailable. In order once again to be able to offer the full range of rear-axle gear ratios for the 300 SL "Gullwing" (model variants 198.040 and 198.043, manufactured from 1954 to 1957) and 300 SL Roadster (model variant 198.042, manufactured from 1957 to 1963), Mercedes-Benz Classic has now had them reproduced with utmost authenticity.
Complete range for exclusive classic vehicles
The range of rear-axle gear sets with part numbers A 198 350 00 39 to A 198 350 09 39 extends from ratios of 1:3.25 for maximum speed to 1:4.11 for maximum acceleration. As intermediate ratios, the range of rear-axle gear ratios also includes 1:3.42 (for higher speed) and 1:3.89 (for higher acceleration). This means that the rear axles of the different W 198 variants can once again be restored to their original condition. Like any other spare part from Daimler, the gear sets are available under the 24-hour service through all Mercedes-Benz sales partners.
In addition to the final drives for the two variants of the 300 SL (W 198), Mercedes-Benz Classic has also reproduced the corresponding parts for the SL successor model W 113 ("Pagoda", 1963 to 1971) as well as for the sporty-luxurious models 300 S and 300 Sc (W 188, 1951 to 1958) and the prestigious saloons Mercedes-Benz 300 (W 186 and W 189, 1951 to 1962) and Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100, 1963 to 1981). There are also gear sets for the rear axles of the S-Class predecessors W 111/112 (1959 to 1968) and W 108/109 (1965 to 1972) as well as for the W 136 model series with the post-war models 170 V, 170 D, 170 S, 170 S-V and 170 S-D (1946 to 1955).
Reproduction of the gear sets for the 300 SL required new tooling. The raw forgings are machined on original gear-cutting machines, which were delivered to only a handful of companies worldwide. The necessary machine settings provide the guarantee of total authenticity. They are part of the special historical expertise of Mercedes-Benz.
Further information on prices and availability can be found in the Parts Search section of the website
Available rear-axle ratios for the 300 SL (W 198)
300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198)A 198 350 00 39: Ratio 1:3.42 (option for higher top speed)
A 198 350 01 39: Ratio 1:3.64 (standard)
A 198 350 02 39: Ratio 1:3.25 (option for highest top speed)
A 198 350 04 39: Ratio 1:4.11 (option for highest acceleration)
A 198 350 05 39: Ratio 1:3.89 (option for higher acceleration)
300 SL Roadster (W 198 II)A 198 350 03 39: Ratio 1:3.64 (standard)
A 198 350 06 39: Ratio 1:3.25 (option for highest top speed)
A 198 350 07 39: Ratio 1:3.42 (option for higher top speed)
A 198 350 08 39: Ratio 1:3.89 (option for higher acceleration)
A 198 350 09 39: Ratio 1:4.11 (option for highest acceleration)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

MASERATI TROFEO WORLD SERIES - SUZUKA (J) - RACE 2 - 25 OCTOBER 2015 Fogliani claims his first ever Maserati Trofeo win

Suzuka (J), 25 October 2015 – Alessandro Fogliani scored an amazing win in Round 5 of the Maserati Trofeo World Series. The Italian started on the front row in race two at Suzuka as the grid is an inversion of the Race 1 finishing order. He secured his first win in the series in what is his debut year. As another rookie, Alexander West (from Hong Kong) finished second, the top two both hailed from the  Maserati Racing Academy programme dedicated to training new drivers. The new-driver sessions are held at Vallelunga at the start of each season. Taking third was Belgian Adrien De Leener. Fourth went to Richard Denny, from Australia, then came Emanuele SmurraAlessandro Iazzetti eventually finished sixth after running off the track towards the end and dropping a few places. 
The two going for the title, Romain Monti and Riccardo Ragazzi finished outside the points so everything will decided at Abu Dhabi, UAE, on 11 December. Even so, the Frenchman, with his 40-point lead, is clear favourite; there are 41 still to play for. To be precise, the points difference could differ as the drivers will have to ditch the points from one of the rounds. Today, the first out of the running was the Italian: he piled into the barriers at turn one after losing control of the car. Lino Curti was also caught up in the accident and ended up with a puncture. Monti's race ended on lap seven. He had been battling for the leading spots when an overtaking move on Shinji Nakano went wrong. He clipped the Japanese driver's Car and spun off, careering into Carlo Curti on the way. The Frenchman was given a drive-through for the clash, one that he opted to take as a 25 second time penalty at the end. Following the incident, the safety car had to be called for and the two cars towed away. In all, this took up five laps. Then, at the restart, came another collision, this time between Barrie Baxter and Andreas SeglerGiuseppe Fascicolo was also involved but he managed to cross the line in eighth behind Claudio Giudice.
"It's incredible", beamed Fogliani. "This is my first Maserati Trofeo win and it comes in my first season. I'm pretty happy. I made the most of my starting spot and tried to push as hard as I could. I always stayed focused, even at the restart. In the end, it all went well. This is a great championship".
On Saturday, a spectacular parade of both classic and modern Maseratis was organised by Maserati Club Japan members. Hundreds of cars took part.
In Europe, highlights of the Maserati weekend in Japan can be caught on Motors TV; in Italy they will be broadcast on Odeon 24 (channel 177) and on Rete Economy (Sky channel 512). Over in North America, will show the action. Times and dates of the programmes will soon be published on the website.
Race 2 results:
1 Alessandro Fogliani – 42:41.427
2 Alexander West – 42:42.197
3 Adrien De Leener – 42:42.732

Saturday, October 24, 2015

FIA World Endurance Championship WEC: Preview race 7 in Shanghai/China

Stuttgart. The World Endurance Championship WEC heads onto the final stretch with the penultimate of eight races on 1 November in Shanghai (CN). Should all go well in the race, Porsche as the current leader could take home the overall World Manufacturers’ Championship title. This would be the first world championship title for the sports car manufacturer since 1986. In endurance racing more than in any other category of top motorsport, the emphasis is on the marque. There are three reasons for this: Automobile manufacturers measures themselves in terms of technical innovation, teams win rather than individuals, and it’s about teamwork in all its diversity. 

WEC stands for World Endurance Championship: The series is an offshoot of the legendary World Sports Car Championship (1953-1992), in which Porsche netted twelve World Championship titles between 1964 and 1986. Then and today, one world championship race in particular stands out from all the rest: The 24 Hours of Le Mans, touted as the toughest endurance race in the world. There, on June 14, 2015, Porsche scored a one-two victory. More triumphs followed: Double victories at the six-hour races on the Nürburgring and at Fuji, with another win thrown in between in Austin, Texas. Now comes the home stretch with round seven in Shanghai and eight in Bahrain. With 264 points, Porsche leads the overall classification ahead of Audi (211) and Toyota (119). The maximum haul per six-hour race is 44 points – for a one-two victory plus pole position. For Porsche in just its second year of competing, having the manufacturers’ title suddenly within grasp is coming much earlier than expected. 

For Porsche, it has always been the complex technical regulations that held an appeal. For instance, 1982. Back then, the so-called Group C was incorporated in the World Championship. It was based on an efficiency formula, in which the prototype racing cars contesting the 1,000-kilometre race on the Nürburgring were allowed “only” 600 litres of fuel – today the 919 Hybrid uses just half that. At that time, Porsche developed the 956, the most successful race car of the next years – and significantly advanced turbo technology. The pressure of competition brought about the PDK – the Porsche double clutch transmission, enabling smooth and efficient gear shifting, and, since 2008, boosting performance using cutting edge control electronics in the 911 Carrera 1) and also efficiency. Pioneering achievements in terms of lightweight design go back further still – the aluminium body of the 550 Spyder for example, with which Porsche won the fuel consumption classification at Le Mans in 1955. Or the magnesium spaceframe of the 1971 Le Mans-winning 917. “Downsizing”, today an efficiency edict of the industry, has for decades been put into practice in long distance racing with compact turbo engines. The most efficient engine that Porsche has ever built is the two-litre, four-cylinder, petrol-run turbo unit mounted in the 919 Hybrid. 

Hybridisation is another welcome obligation for manufacturers in their bid for overall victory in the WEC. With two different energy recovery systems, brake energy from the front axle and exhaust energy, Porsche brings the most innovative package to the grid. Despite the thrill of winning races, it is more important that Porsche has gained insights into new recuperation, storage and engine management systems. In the R&D Centre at Weissach, motor racing and production development work hand in hand. That applies equally to rolling research labs such as the 919 Hybrid prototypes as it does to near-production racing vehicles such as the 911 RSR. This two-pronged approach is a tradition at Porsche. In 1976, for example, the 936 prototype won the World Sports Car Championship, and the production-based 935 clinched the World Championship for Makes. 

The importance of endurance racing to the brand is also inherent in the system in other ways: It is about teamwork. In a series like Formula 1, individual drivers reap fame and fortune, but it takes more than one in long distance racing. The pilots must work together in harmony. They must ensure that the two sharing the cockpit feel good and can achieve their optimum speed. Three race drivers work towards one and the same goal. This aspect gives rise to a competitive spirit, more like football than other motorsport disciplines. 

The third aspect is the constant monitoring of vehicles in other classes. The six works drivers crewing the Porsche 919 Hybrid prototypes, currently the fastest LMP1 cars (Le Mans Prototype Class 1) – Timo Bernhard (DE), Romain Dumas (FR), Brendon Hartley (NZ), Neel Jani (CH), Marc Lieb (DE) and Mark Webber (AU) – are well aware that slower vehicles in the GT classes are fighting for glory, as well. The lapping of fellow competitors happens constantly. GT drivers glance often in the rear vision mirror. The Porsche works drivers in the near-standard 911 RSR – Michael Christensen (DK), Richard Lietz (AT), Frédéric Makowiecki (FR) and Patrick Pilet (FR) – allow space for their brand colleagues as they do for Audi and Toyota or class 2 prototypes. The unspoken communication between the 31 competing cars must work instantly and at all times, otherwise it becomes dangerous.

In the GT class, Porsche ranks second with 215 points. Ferrari leads with 228 points, Aston Martin is on 147 points. No matter what class, big-name carmakers are competing. And that’s what makes the manufacturers’ title so coveted.


Ragazzi takes Race 1 at Suzuka
Suzuka (J), 24 October 2015 – Riccardo Ragazzi got back to winning ways in the Maserati Trofeo World Series. Victory arrived in Race 1 at Suzuka, Japan, in what is the fifth round in the series. Ragazzi made the most of the pole position he earned in the morning’s Super Pole to lead from start to finish.
In second came overall leader Romain Monti. Monti claimed this spot on the very last lap by overtaking ex-F1 driver Shinji Nakano, a guest in Japan who will not be awarded any championship points. Fourth went to Adrien De Leener after he edged Lino Curti into fifth. Next up came Australian Richard Denny and then first-timer Alexander West.
Eighth-placed Emanuele Smurra finally saw things go his way when he  managed to cross the line after an unlucky season. Alessandro Fogliani came home ninth and Mauro Trentin tenth (Trentin will line up on pole for Race 2 as the grid order is inverted). Alessandro Iazzetti and Carlo Curti were given a 25-second penalty for jumping the start and the same was handed out to Andreas Segler for causing Giuseppe Fascicolo to stray off the track on lap 14.
Earlier, on lap 7, Claudio Giudice had slammed into the barriers just after the bridge. This saw the safety car summoned to allow his car to be shifted from its dangerous position on the circuit.
The second Maserati Trofeo race at Suzuka will at 09.30 on Sunday 25 October (local time).
“I got off to a solid start and tried to push hard to gain a few seconds on the others”, declared Riccardo Ragazzi on the podium. “I could see Nakano in my wing mirrors but then the safety car came on to close up the pack. I continued pressing at the restart and secured the win. I am really pleased because I have added another Maserati Trofeo victory outside Europe following the wins in Shanghai and Sonoma”.
Race 1 result:
1 Riccardo Ragazzi – 43:20.920
2 Romain Monti – 43:26.684
3 Shinji Nakano – 43:27.360

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Harry Truman's Last Car

We know of President Harry S Truman's first automobile after he left the White House -- a 1953 Chrysler -- told about from the delightful book Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip by Matthew Algeo.  

But few may know of his "last car" purchased only a few months prior to his death

Harry loved his cars. From his first car, a 1911 Stafford, to his last one, a 1972 Chrysler Newport (see photo following). And Harry took great pride in driving and maintaining his vehicles. He had his cars washed every few days, the interior made spotless, and he never allowed anyone to smoke in his vehicles.

Parked in the garage behind the Truman Home at 219 N. Delaware, Harry Truman's last car, a light green 1972 Chrysler Newport, purchased only six months prior to his passing.
The car would be used by Bess until she passed on in 1982. Harry traded in a 1969 Chrysler and purchased the '72 model in nearby Odessa, Missouri (always looking for the best deal). Supposedly, Harry picked the exterior color, while Bess picked the interior. With less than 19,000 miles on the odometer, the 4-door, 8-cylinder coupe remains almost like new.
For the license plate number, Mr. Truman asked the Missouri  state license bureau for 5745, the date of VE day in Europe, May 7th, 1945, just one day before his birthday on May 8th. The plate number has been permanently retired. The car was inherited by Margaret Truman upon the passing of her mother. Margaret donated the car to the National Park Service which still maintains the vehicle today. The car is visible to visitors to the Truman home during the summer season.
One wonders if anyone has recorded the cars owned by other former presidents after they left office?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015