This blog will expand on themes and topics first mentioned in my book, "The Automobile and American Life." I hope to comment on recent developments in the automobile industry, reviews of my readings on the history of the automobile, drafts of my new work, contributions from friends, descriptions of the museums and car shows I attend and anything else relevant to those interested in automobiles and auto history. Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 , 2016, 2017, by the author.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
Classic Days Schloss Dyck 2017: Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles
Benz Patent Motor Car, true replica of the first car built in 1886. At the wheel: Jutta Benz, great grand-daughter of Carl and Bertha Benz. Photo taken in 2014 at the Classic Days Schloss Dyck.
Benz Patent Motor Car, 1886.
On 29 January 1886, Carl Benz applied for a patent on his "gas-powered vehicle". Patent number DRP 37435 is regarded as the birth certificate of the automobile, and gave its name to the Patent Motor Car. The world's first automobile was an autonomous design in which the engine and chassis formed an organic unit. Benz designed it as a three-wheeler, as he was not convinced by the drawbar steering used for coaches. The resounding achievement of Carl Benz was the persistence with which he turned his vision of a "coach without horses" into reality: he had the idea for a motor vehicle, designed it, built it, patented it, tested it, brought it to market, produced it in large numbers, developed it further and therefore made his invention usable. The Benz Patent Motor Car ushered in a new era in individual mobility.
Technical data: Benz Patent-MotorwagenProduction year: 1886 Cylinders: one-cylinder four-stroke engine with Summer ignition Displacement: 954 cc Output: 0.55 kW (0.75 hp) at 400 rpm Top speed: 16 km/h
Mercedes-Benz Model S (W 06), 1927
The Mercedes-Benz Model S of 1927 was the first in a series of supercharged sports cars that were nicknamed "White Elephants" and which dominated motorsport in the late 1920s, achieving world fame. The "S" stood for Sport, which says it all. Its first race outing – the inaugural race at the Nürburgring on 19 June 1927 – resulted in a triple victory for Mercedes-Benz. The winner was Rudolf Caracciola, who went on to become the most successful racing driver of the pre-war era. Other triumphs for the brand included a triple victory in the German Sports Car Grand Prix at Nürburgring on 17 July 1927, the second major event at the "Ring" in its opening year. The racing version of the Model S was reserved for works drivers. However, it was also available as an exclusive road-going sports car which numerous private drivers successfully drove in competitions – for such "gentleman drivers" it was one of the fastest cars available. A total of 146 units were built up until 1928. Two models based on the Model S (for "Sport") came out in 1928 – the SS ("Super Sport") and the SSK ("Super Sport Kurz" - "Kurz" meaning "short"), with the SSKL ("Super-Sport Kurz Leicht" - "Leicht" meaning "light") being added in 1931.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz Model SProduction period: 1927 to 1928 Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 6789 cc Output: 88 kW (120 hp), with compressor 132 kW (180 hp) at 3000 rpm Top speed: 170 km/h
Mercedes-Benz SS (W 06), 1930
Despite its powerful engine, the Mercedes-Benz SS ("Super-Sport") was conceived as a "grand tourer". From its 7.1-litre displacement, the vehicle's six-cylinder in-line engine developed up to 118 kW (160 hp) without a supercharger and up to 147 kW (200 hp) with a supercharger. The SS, in the guise of a 184 kW (250 hp) racer, had its baptism of fire in June 1928, winning the Bühler Höhe hill climb with Rudolf Caracciola at the wheel. Numerous other racing victories were to follow. A total of 111 units of the Mercedes-Benz SS were manufactured between 1928 and 1933.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz SS (standard-production version)Production period: 1928 to 1933 Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 7065 cc Output: 118 kW (160 hp), with supercharger 147 kW (200 hp) Top speed: 185 km/h
Mercedes-Benz SSK (W 06), 1928
Of the six-cylinder supercharged, high-performance sports cars in the Mercedes-Benz S-Series, the SSK (W 06) was the most exclusive and fascinating model. The model designation of this supercharged car with a 7.1-litre six-cylinder engine stood for Super-Sport-Kurz (Super Sport Short) and featured a shorter wheelbase alongside its particular sportiness. Following numerous victories achieved by the Model S as the first model in the series, the succeeding SS and SSK models continued the success story: In the summer of 1928, works racing driver Rudolf Caracciola won the Gabelbach Race on the first attempt as well as the races at Schauinsland and Mont Ventoux with the brand-new SSK. In 1930 he won the European hill racing championship driving an SSK. In that same year, the supercharged sports car also took part in the Mille Miglia for the first time. Rudolf Caracciola and Christian Werner were the winners in the class up to eight litres, and took sixth place in the overall ranking with a driving time of 17 hours and 20 minutes. With reduced weight and another power increase to 220 kW (300 hp), the 1931 version also known as the SSKL (Super-Sport-Short-Light) achieved a spectacular success in the Mille Miglia: In April 1931, Rudolf Caracciola was the first non-Italian to win this demanding road race from Brescia to Rome and back - in a new record time of 16 hours and 10 minutes.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz SSK (standard production version)Production period: 1928 to 1932 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 SLS (W 198), 1957
Two examples of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS, a special version of the 300 SL Roadster presented in 1957, were built for the American sports car championship in the same year, owing to the fact that the production version of the brand-new model was not yet allowed to enter the 1957 season in the "Standard production" category. In order to maximise its chances in the only remaining alternative motor racing category, D, every trick in the book was applied to slim down a standard Roadster to an SLS weighing just 970 kilograms. The engine output was also increased to 173kW (235 PS). It was in the SLS that Paul O’Shea won the Category D of the American sports car championship by a significant margin over the competition – he had already previously taken the title in 1955 and 1956 with the 300 SL "Gullwing".
Technical Data of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS (W 198)Year: 1957 Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 2996 cc Output: 173 kW (235 hp) Top speed: 260 km/h
Classic Days Schloss Dyck 2017: the ALL TIME STARS vehicles
Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (W 113), 1968
The W 113-series "Pagoda SL", which was given this name by enthusiasts because of its pagoda-shaped hardtop, replaced two other models at once in 1963: the 300 SL Roadster (W 198) as a powerful series production sports car and the 190 SL (W 121), which was intended more for sporty, comfortable touring. The "Pagoda" combined the qualities of the two preceding models, and was very popular with a demanding customer base that wanted to see the performance and serene power delivery of a sports car together with the comfort of a luxurious touring car. The most highly developed variant, the 280 SL launched in 1968, had a displacement of 2.8 litres and developed an output that was 15 kW (20 hp) higher than that of the preceding 230 SL and 250 SL models. Thanks to greater flexibility, this above all made the six-cylinder in-line model more refined. Hence the 280 SL model in the "Pagoda" line-up was almost as popular with buyers as the 230 SL and 250 SL combined, the latter of which was only built for about a year.
The 280 SL displayed by ALL TIME STARS at the 2017 Classic Days Schloss Dyck underwent a comprehensive works restoration in the workshops of Mercedes-Benz Classic. The vehicle is in as-new condition – as it was when it left the Sindelfingen plant in 1968.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (W 113)Production period: 1968 to 1971 Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 2778 cc Output: 125 kW (170 hp) Top speed: 200 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (R 107), 1986
The R 107 SL model series hit the roads in spring 1971. Apart from elegance and quality, these cars exuded safety, as the crash behaviour of the open two-seater was well ahead of its time. In technical terms, for example, there is a carefully defined crumple zone on the body and bodyshell structure, a highly stable A-pillar and interior equipment that has been systematically designed in accordance with safety criteria. During a production period spanning 18 years, which was not planned but ultimately proved very successful, this SL featured a whole range of six and eight-cylinder engines. The model designations are equally diverse. Production of model series R 107 ended in August 1989, after more than 18 years. As such this SL model series set an internal company record which is unlikely to be surpassed: With the exception of the G-Class off-road vehicles, there has never in the entire history of the brand been another passenger car series which has been in production over such a long time period. In total 237,287 convertible vehicles were produced in Sindelfingen, a figure which impressively demonstrates the popularity of the R 107 model series. 62,888 examples of the Coupé (C 107) were produced in parallel between 1971 and 1981.
Just 16,550 kilometres – this is the odometer reading of the 300 SL from the Concours Edition displayed by ALL TIME STARS at Schloss Dyck. It was produced in 1986. The vehicle impresses with its outstanding overall condition and classic colour combination of red paintwork and cream-coloured leather in the interior.
Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (R 107)Production period: 1985 to 1989 Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 2962 cc Output: 138 kW (188 hp) at 5700 rpm Top speed: 203 km/h
Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 Kompressor (R 170), 1999
Mercedes-Benz introduced the SLK (R 170) model series in 1996. It enhanced the family of Mercedes-Benz sports cars with a compact roadster. One of its impressive features was the Vario roof, which converted the SLK into a weatherproof coupé or an open-top roadster within a short time. The sophisticated kinematics of the electrohydraulics are a work of art: when opening, the two-section steel roof first swings upwards. At the same time the parcel shelf is lowered below the boot lid, which pivots upwards and to the rear to provide space in the boot for the roof. The roof folds together and glides into place, the boot closes and the parcel shelf is returned to its former position. The entire procedure takes 25 seconds, and it was a trailblazing concept: the SLK established the Vario roof throughout the industry. With this and numerous other day-to-day qualities, it soon captured the hearts of many male and female customers.
The SLK 230 Kompressor at the Classic Days Schloss Dyck dates from 1999. The colour combination – red paintwork and black leather interior – is classic but rarely found in an SLK. In view of its well cared-for, original condition, ALL TIME STARS has assigned the car to the Collectors Edition. It is accident-free and has not been repainted.