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Monday, May 22, 2023

The Romance of the Road


Four  technologies that changed the world -- the telegraph, telephone, the railroad, and the automobile.😊

What do you think of when you look at this photograph? The smoke from the train? The broken down fence on the right? The mountains in the background. The mid-century car going right at you? No passing? The straight road that you wish you were on right now as you navigate through the  twists and turns of a troubled  life?

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

100 Years Ago: Ferdinand Porsche Takes Over Daimlier-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) Design Office


Targa Florio 1924. Alfred Neubauer at the wheel of the Mercedes Targa Florio racing car. He takes third place in this race. On the right in the picture: Dr Ferdinand Porsche. (Photo index number in the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archives: 61994

Ferdinand Porsche becomes Technical Director of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG)

  • Legendary luxury cars can be traced back to the designer
  • Supercharging in series production vehicles and in motorsport
  • Porsche leaves the company again at the end of 1928

Luxury cars and supercharged engines: Ferdinand Porsche takes over as head of the design office of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) from 30 April 1923. His predecessor until the end of 1922 is Paul Daimler, who among other things introduces supercharging. The latter leaves DMG following a disagreement with the Supervisory Board. The committee is calling for cheaper and thus better-selling models, but Daimler wants to develop an eight-cylinder model. Ferdinand Porsche, who comes from Austro Daimler, admittedly has similar development priorities: large and expensive cars. For these and for motorsport vehicles, he takes over the supercharging. Porsche’s name is associated with the Mercedes 15/70/100 hp and 24/100/140 hp production cars (both 1924), Mercedes-Benz Model K (1926, also known as model 630 K) and, from 1927, the first three cars in the legendary S series (S, SS, SSK). Two cars from the 1924 season are also famous: the winning racing car for the Targa Florio as well as the 2-litre eight-cylinder supercharged racing car “Monza”. At the end of 1928, the then Daimler-Benz AG, formed in 1926 by the merger of DMG with Benz & Cie., parts company with Porsche. Once again, the reason is that smaller and lighter vehicles are urgently desired. Porsche’s successor is Hans Nibel, who comes from Benz & Cie.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Kettering Cruise-In April 22, 2023 -- a 1922 Packard Single Six, 116 in wheelbase

 I am certainly not a Packard expert, but I believe this is a 116 in wheelbase 1922 Packard Single Six. TLast evening was particularly dark and cold, and there were few interstingcars at the cruise-in.  the above stood out.  Owner just purchased it a few months ago and is sorting it out. Note artillery wheels and detachable rims. Nice car, but the devil is in the details.  Fotunately, the owner is an experienced mechanic not shy to tackle this car.

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Happy Easter!

 What a wonderful image of vibrant life and those flowers!

On  more serious note, Easter is about the Blood and the Cross.  The blood saves you from your sins by washing them away. The cross saves you from sin -- the state of your disobedient heart and distance from God. Only Jesus on the cross can break the power of Satan in your life.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Mercedes-Benz E-Brake Testing in the Arctic

 Apr 6, 2023


Safety, efficiency, driving comfort: Test drives provide the development team with important insights

Mercedes-Benz tested the latest generation of brake control systems on drives in Arjeplog, Sweden, near the Arctic Circle. For more than 20 years, an official branch of the Sindelfingen plant has existed here: its very own test centre for testing in the most extreme conditions. In addition to the EQE, EQS, EQS SUV and EQE SUV, models of future vehicle generations based on future platforms were also used in the drives across a frozen lake and up the region’s highest mountain.

“During the test drives, our team is primarily concerned with safety, efficiency and driving comfort. The development team tunes the brake control systems individually for each model series – and pushes them to their physical limits.”
Christoph Böhm, Head of Brake Control Systems, Mercedes-Benz AG

On the way to an all-electric future, the team is working on a new generation of stability control systems. These make use of the properties of the electric drive to precisely control the torque at the wheels. Most drivers will probably never notice how hard their Mercedes-Benz vehicles work to keep them out of dangerous situations – for Böhm and his team, this is the definition of a job well done.

Endurance tests on ice and snow

Since Mercedes-Benz established the test facility near Arjeplog, the vehicles have changed a lot. However, the reasons for coming here are still the same: compared to dry asphalt, the grip level on ice and snow is up to 90 per cent lower. These serious differences have a profound effect on the stability and controllability of a vehicle, especially when accelerating, stopping and changing direction. Another advantage is that the weather conditions and surfaces remain relatively constant throughout the winter in the Arctic Circle. The test vehicles are equipped with standard all-season or winter tyres in order to best reflect the everyday usage behaviour of customers.

All impressions from the brake control test in Arjeplog, Sweden can be found at:
Mercedes-Benz Winter-Test Arjeplog

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

The 1963 Introduction of the Mercedes-Benz 600

Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100, 1964 to 1981). Photo taken in August 1963 with Mercedes-Benz executives Karl Wilfert, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Friedrich Nallinger and Josef Müller (from left to right)

 “The ‘Grand Mercedes’ 600 – The exclusive vehicle of great prestige.” With this headline, the 1963 press release for the premiere of the Mercedes-Benz 600 positioned the vehicle with the internal model series designation W 100 right at the very front of the top group worldwide in the industry. 60 years ago, the document went on to describe: “Mercedes-Benz continues the company’s pre-war tradition of being represented in the small group of the world’s sensational prestige cars with a luxuriously equipped automobile that is extremely safe to drive.”

The Mercedes-Benz 600 can be experienced in many ways in the anniversary year: Mercedes-Benz Classic will be exhibiting the legendary series at the Studio Odeonsplatz in Munich from 11 April 2023. The saloon is staged there in the futuristic ambience of the 1960s and its “space age” era. The “Grand Mercedes” will be making another appearance in 2023 at the world’s largest classic car fair, the Techno Classica in Essen, from 12 to 16 April 2023. Even beyond the anniversary year, visitors can see a very special model at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart: the permanent exhibition includes an armoured Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman state limousine from the company’s fleet, built in 1965. Visitors can find it in the “Collection 4 – Gallery of Names” room. The 600 is even coming home to subscribers of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Magazine – the representative saloon not only adorns the cover; the next issue, which will be published on 12 May 2023, will be devoted in detail to the anniversary vehicle.

An extraordinary automobile for extraordinary celebrities

The “600” held its position as the international benchmark of the automotive top class for almost two decades – until the end of the 17-year production period in 1981. This position was ensured by outstanding technology, exquisite comfort, excellent handling and a more than impressive appearance. The buyers of the prestige limousine came from all over the world. They included royalty, heads of state and celebrities from industry and show business. The vehicles of the W 100 series were produced in the Sindelfingen factory. Mercedes-Benz implemented individual and unusual customer wishes, provided they did not change the basic character of the automobile or come at the expense of safety. This gave each of the 2,677 Mercedes-Benz 600s built, 487 of them the Pullman version, the character of a unique model. Many became collectors’ items after their period of use.

Highly prestigious automobiles are deeply rooted in the origins of the brand. One early example is the Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp, presented in 1903. The top model of the time exists in the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection as a very special exhibit: as an elegant and luxurious touring car from the estate of Emil Jellinek, who shaped and decisively influenced the early days of the Mercedes brand, not only by giving it its name. In the years that followed, the sales programme of the Mercedes and Benz brands always included several models in the highest sphere of automobility. Daimler-Benz AG, arising in 1926 from the predecessor companies, effortlessly continued this tradition, for example, with the 770 “Grosser Mercedes” (W 07 and W 150). From 1951, the company picked up where it left off with the 300 (W 186 and W 189) before the Mercedes-Benz 600 became the new benchmark of automotive excellence. After the end of production in 1981, the company offered Pullman versions of the S-Class to its highly discerning clientele, as well as the Maybach (model series 240), which was manufactured in the Sindelfingen factory from 2002 to 2012. Since 2014, the name Mercedes-Maybach has stood for the most exclusive and prestigious vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz Group.

Four body variants were available

The Mercedes-Benz 600 was produced from September 1964. From the outset, the saloon with a normal wheelbase of 3,200 millimetres and the Pullman Saloon with 3,900 millimetres were offered. There were special protection versions of both from 1965 onwards. Later, the Pullman Landaulet and Pullman Limousine body versions with six doors were added. Most Mercedes-Benz 600s, 743 vehicles, were delivered to the USA. This was followed by Germany with 589, France with 151 vehicles and Great Britain with 126 vehicles. Two special custom-made models were a long-wheelbase Landaulet for Pope Paul VI and a short-wheelbase Landaulet for Count Berckheim. A two-door coupé built in Sindelfingen in 1965 remained a one-off. It served to examine the potential of a large coupé as the successor to the 300 Sc (W 188 II).

The 1964 price list quoted DM 56,500 for the saloon and DM 63,500 for the Pullman Saloon. By comparison, the posh luxury-class saloon Mercedes-Benz 300 SE long (W 112) with automatic transmission cost DM 27,800. The Mercedes-Benz 600 appeared on the price list for the last time in 1979. Now the saloon cost DM 144,368, the Pullman Saloon DM 165,760 and the six-door Pullman Limousine DM 175,728. Here, too, a comparison: the high-performance saloon Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 (model series 116) was available in 1979 for DM 78,999.20.

Key data for an outstanding automobile

The concept of the 600 took shape eight years before its world premiere. In the middle of 1955, chief engineer Fritz Nallinger defined the key data for construction group C, for the “future group of large touring and prestige vehicles”. Nallinger described this upcoming prestige car like this: “It gets automatic transmission, power-assisted steering and power-assisted brakes as standard. It is normally a six-seater. The frame floor system is designed to allow for creating a vehicle with three rows of seats by extending the wheelbase, if necessary.”

The car was powered by a V8 engine, the first in a Mercedes-Benz passenger car. The first specimen ran on the test bench at the end of 1959. The production engine, designated M 100, was ultimately given a displacement of 6.3 litres and produced 183 kW (250 hp). It was also used in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 (W 109) with unchanged power output.

Iconic design and unparalleled comfort

The design of the Mercedes-Benz 600 was created under the direction of Friedrich Geiger. Paul Bracq played a major role. Chief Technology Officer Prof Fritz Nallinger was intensively involved in the design of the new top product from Mercedes-Benz during development. The design made it clear that the vehicle was aimed at special individuals as customers: the exterior was a modern statement of prestige. Inside, passengers could expect an atmosphere of cultivated luxury and distinct culture that made the most of every opportunity to enhance comfort.

At the end of the 1950s, a large vehicle body or good driving performance were not the only unique selling points for a “Grand Mercedes”. More was expected from a Mercedes-Benz. The brand rose to the challenge of making the impossible possible. Werner Breitschwerdt, who later became Chairman of the Board of Management, said in retrospect about the Type 600 at the end of the 1980s: “At the time, we wanted to build a car that could do everything that was possible, and we wanted it to be able to do more than any other car, for the driver and the passenger.”

The ease of use was exemplary. A comfort-class hydraulic system was used for the following functions: closing the doors (comfort closing); sliding sunroof drive; window lifts; partition wall operation; boot operation; opening and closing the heating and ventilation flaps; front and rear seat adjustment; shock absorber adjustment; parking brake release. To achieve the optimum, the engineers compared an electrical system, developed by Breitschwerdt, with a hydraulic system, designed by Ernst Fiala. Hydraulics won. Breitschwerdt on this: “You couldn’t have accommodated the many functions we wanted to do with the electrics back then. It was a space and weight problem because we would have needed a second battery, among other things. With its high pressures, the high-pressure hydraulics developed had the advantage of getting by with small elements. The hydraulics were just smaller, quieter and lighter than electrical systems of the time.”

Head of passenger car development Rudolf Uhlenhaut set three focal points for this modern, prestigious vehicle in a class of its own: the highest passenger comfort, maximum safety and outstanding driving performance. The merging of the air suspension with the front wishbones and the single-joint swing axle with additional lowered thrust arms with braking torque support as well as two cross struts and double suspension in conjunction with the adjustable shock absorbers led to handling that was euphorically rated at the time. The engineers devoted special attention to the brake system. The 600 model had dual-circuit disc brakes at the front and rear. Two brake callipers acted on each of the front 291-millimetre discs. The cross-ply tyres of size 9.00 x 15 were specially designed tyres from Fulda and Continental for the prestige saloon.

The Cd value of 0.458 is astonishingly good for the angular 600. By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz 230 SL “Pagoda” (W 113) with hardtop achieved Cd = 0.515 and the 190 SL model (W 121) with hardtop achieved Cd = 0.461. The driving performance was at a high level: the prestige saloon accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.7 seconds. The top speed was 205 km/h.

Customers and trade press were enthusiastic

The Mercedes-Benz 600 was widely regarded as the best automobile in the world. Many customers used it for years for mobility befitting their status, whether with a chauffeur or themselves at the wheel. The trade press was also extremely enthusiastic. “Motor Revue” 3/1965 is quoted here as a representative example: “The result is a level of ride comfort that is undoubtedly the optimum achieved in automobile engineering to date.” And sums up: “You can [...] drive the 600 on mountain passes like a sports car – a well-driven sports car then has a very hard time keeping up.”