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. Copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 , 2016, 2017, 2018, by the author.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
At the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance: a 1907 Mercedes Simplex and a 1957 Mercedes 300 SL
Mercedes-Simplex 40 PS, 1903. Photo from Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198), factory restoration, at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, 2011.
Mercedes-Benz Classic is taking two automotive gems to California. A factory-restored 300 SL Roadster (W 198) from 1957 will compete in the renowned Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on 20 August 2017. As an accompaniment to the Concours, a Mercedes-Simplex 40 PS, manufactured in 1903, from the company's own collection will also be on view. This outstanding vehicle is synonymous with the birth of the modern automobile. As part of the Monterey Car Week, it will likely also take part in the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance on the peninsula between Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea on 17 August 2017.
Stuttgart. This Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster has what it takes to play a star role at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2017. It boasts a complete history since first being delivered to New York in 1957, with its chassis, body and engine having been fully preserved in their original form. In addition, since 2014 the experts from Mercedes-Benz Classic have carefully restored the vehicle with the utmost authenticity based on extensive searches of the archives.
The absolute summit meeting of exquisite automobiles from all over the world takes place on 20 August 2017 at the 18th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Club on the peninsula between Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea in California. The automotive beauty pageant involves around 200 classic vehicles of supreme exclusivity submitting themselves to the critical gaze of the judges. The 300 SL Roadster of the W 198 model series is made available by ALL TIME STARS.
The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance made its debut in 1950 – at that time still as a fringe event to a road race. This founding myth of the Concours is today also attested to by the Monterey Car Week, which starts on the Tuesday before the Concours d'Elegance and includes the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance. In 2017, this regularity rally will revert to its original route, featuring a section of the legendary 17 Mile Drive coast road, which runs from Carmel via Pebble Beach to Pacific Grove. The Tour d'Elegance begins on Thursday, 17 August 2017, with the vehicles taking up their places on the starting grid in Pebble Beach from 7 am onwards. The starter waves his flag at 9 am.
Witness of the birth of the modern automobile
A 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 40 PS from the company's own collection will likely compete in this regularity rally. The vehicle manufactured by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) is synonymous with the birth of the modern automobile, as well as the birth of the Mercedes brand from its motor sport origins. Brought out in 1902, the Mercedes-Simplex model series was based on the Mercedes 35 PS, which was victorious at the then internationally outstanding Nice Racing Week in March 1901. Mercedes-Simplex models played a key part in the corporate success of DMG. Their role at the very beginning of the 20th century is comparable with the current and future electrically powered EQ models from Mercedes-Benz.
The Mercedes-Simplex 40 PS will be regularly on view during the Monterey Car Week at the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge, not far from "The Lodge" on the third fairway above Stillwater Cove. The vehicle will be shown out of competition at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The beauty pageant is the crowning finale to this week of classic automobiles with exclusive exhibitions, competitions, regularity rallies and auctions. Some 200 absolute classic cars from all over the world will come together on Sunday, 20 August 2017. They will be assessed by the judges with regard to their historical authenticity, technical significance, aesthetics – and, of course, their condition. Beginning at 7 am, the contestants will take up their positions at the 18th hole of Pebble Beach Golf Club. Judging starts at 8.30 am. Finally, the visitors will be allowed in at 10.30 am. The prizes will be awarded between 1.30 pm and 5 pm.
This field of automotive excellence will include the factory-restored 300 SL Roadster, made available by ALL TIME STARS. Painted in blue-grey with a blue leather interior, the vehicle was built in 1957 in a special version for the North American market. Accordingly, it features the "sealed-beam" headlamps prescribed in the USA. The roadster was delivered through a dealer in New York. After leaving its first owner in New York City, the vehicle passed through various hands, yet always within New York State, before being sold to Europe a few years ago.
Manufactured between 1957 and 1963, the open-top sports cars of the W 198 model series were chiefly inspired by Maximilian Hoffman. Born in Austria and living in the USA, he was a businessman with the initiative and vision that were instrumental to the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster and 300 SL "Gullwing" Coupé production super sports cars, which made their debut on 6 February 1954 at the International Motor Sports Show in New York. With this, Hoffman paved the way for the brand to enter the US market after the Second World War. In 1947, he opened his first showroom, in Park Avenue in New York, for exclusive automobiles imported from Europe. From September 1952, he acted as an importer for Mercedes-Benz cars in the eastern states of the USA. In September 1953, Hoffman, invited to a board meeting of the then Daimler-Benz AG, suggested that Mercedes-Benz should include attractive and powerful sports cars in its model line-up – including a production version of the successful 300 SL racing car of 1952. This gave rise to the family of SL sports cars. From the outset, Hoffman saw the 300 SL "Gullwing" as an interim solution, his main focus being on a roadster version, which finally made its debut in spring 1957. On the North American market, this open-top 300 SL, with 158 kW (215 hp) and up to 242 km/h top speed, was to become one of the most powerful sports cars of its era as well as an especially successful model of the Stuttgart brand – like the "Gullwing" before it.
Established in 2015, ALL TIME STARS is the vehicle trading platform of Mercedes-Benz Classic. Under this name, the Stuttgart brand offers its customers young and old Mercedes-Benz classic cars of special quality – and with maximum-possible transparency, as each of the vehicles on offer is subjected to a thorough inspection based on a 160-item checklist. And each comes with a Classic Data Certificate showing that it has scored at least 2 for technical condition. A part of the ALL TIME STARS portfolio is displayed in the showroom at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Potential buyers can view and purchase the vehicles here. A team of expert advisers is on hand to assist with detailed information and vehicle descriptions. Potential buyers will find the complete range at http://www.alltime-stars.com/.
Pebble Beach 2017: Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles
Mercedes-Simplex 40 PS (1903)
The Mercedes-Simplex 40 PS was launched in March 1902, superseding the legendary Mercedes 35 PS. The suffix "Simplex" was intended to indicate how easy the new model was to operate for its time. Its direct predecessor had defined the motor car's distinctive form for the first time. Characteristic features included the long wheelbase, the light and powerful engine installed low down and the honeycomb radiator integrated organically into the front end, which was to become distinctive for the brand. The Mercedes 35 PS marked the end of the "horse carriage" style that had dominated the industry and is thus considered to be the first modern car. The new Mercedes-Simplex, like its predecessor one year before, was immediately successful in motor sport, with the Englishman E. T. Stead winning the Nice–L a Turbie hill climb in April 1902. In the mile race, Degrais, in a Mercedes-Simplex 40 PS, posted the, at that time, incredible speed of 103.4 km/h over a flying mile. Delivered in 1903, the white example from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection is one of the oldest-preserved vehicles bearing the Mercedes brand.
Technical data of Mercedes-Simplex 40 PSProduction period: 1902 to 1905 Cylinders: 4/in-line Displacement: 6785 cc Output: 29 kW (40 hp) at 1050 rpm Top speed: 75 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198, 1957 to 1963)
At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1957, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 300 SL Roadster (W 198) as the successor to the 300 SL (W 198) "Gullwing" Coupé, which made its debut in 1954. On a technical level, the open-top sports car was very like the Coupé, although the modified space frame allowed the installation of conventionally attached doors, which were necessary for open-top driving. The suspension was likewise modified: the single-joint swing axle with lowered pivot point superseded the classic two-joint version on the 300 SL Roadster, which was equipped for the first time with a compensating spring. From autumn 1958 onwards, the roadster was also available on request with a detachable coupé roof. It was from the standard-production 300 SL Roadster that the Mercedes-Benz engineers developed the 300 SLS racing variant with which Paul O'Shea won Category D of the American Sports Car Championship in 1957. This completed the circle, as the 300 SL was based on the racing car of the same name (W 194), which was used very successfully in motor sport in the 1952 season. In 1961, the 300 SL Roadster was provided with disc brakes, and a cast-aluminium engine block in 1962. Production of the 300 SL Roadster was discontinued in 1963 after seven years. Those seven years saw a total production of just 1858 units of the highly exclusive sports car, which is today an especially sought-after classic car.
Technical data of Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
Produced: 1957 to 1963 Cylinders: 6/in-line Displacement: 2996 cc Output: 158 kW (215 hp) Top speed: up to 242 km/h