(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)
- Published: Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:43
- Written by Ben David T Quirk
Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
This car was the equivalent of three 180, or six VW 1200 export engines...the true supercar of the 1950's.
The dawn of the SL series.
The car was developed after World War II, based on the racing sports cars of the early 1950's. The debut of the production version of the SL, was showcased at the international motor sports show of 1954, sporting its trademark gullwing design doors. These doors were far from being pubically attractive though, they were designed specifically with racing in mind, and were made to facilitate the design of the car. This new sports car was so compact in height, that it would not permit conventional doors. However, these doors became the 300SL's main attraction, it inspired its admirers to coin fond epithets, for example the flugelturer in Germany, gullwing in England, and the papillion (meaning butterfly!) in France.
The Mercedes Benz 300 SL was the worlds fastest production motorcar at the time. It featured a fuel injected six cylinder, three litre engine, capable of producing 215 BHP, and a top speed of 155 MPH. The engine was tilted sideways, giving the 300 SL an aerodynamic front. This installation coined the phrase 'power domes', becoming a synonymous symbol of Merc.
The Mercedes gullwing was not built as a sports car. However, this fact did not stop it winning motor sport victories. In December 1999, the 300SL was given the title Sports Car of The Century, issued by an international panel of judges.
1957 saw the car replaced by the Merc 300SL Roadster - a top of the range version of the car with no roof, and conventional doors.
Then came the 300 SLR, an eight cylinder, three litre supercar, capable of producing 302 BHP, taking the speed up to a staggering 180 MPH.
This car was known as the Uhlenhaut Coupe, and was developed as a long-distance racer. However, it also doubled as a company road car. Due to the space frame design of the Mercedes 300 SLR, gullwing doors were fitted again.
The new version debuted in 1955, however in October of that year it was withdrawn from racing, and became Rudolph Uhlenhaut's company car, adopting the name Uhlenhaut Coupe. The SLR failed on the racing circuit due to its massive fuel consumption, and the need for heavy maintenance after each race.
(Reading time: 3 - 5 minutes)
- Published: Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:41
- Written by Ben David T Quirk
Mercedes Benz history
Creating a Tradition
In 1886, Mercedes Benz was born. Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler invented the first self propelled horseless carriage, or the motor car to you and me... Since its conception, no other motorcar company has been so consistently successful.
This makes the German manufacturer the oldest, most successful car producer still in production today.
This illustrious Mercedes Benz history started with Daimler and Benz going in separate directions. Karl concentrated on the self-propelled car, and Gottlieb concentrated on the internal combustion engine.
Daimler, inspired by the accomplishments of past engineers, created the first four-stroke engine, nicknamed the 'Grandfather Clock'. Meanwhile, Benz was concentrating on the evolution of his first automobile.
Daimler (and Maybach) in 1885, put the 'grandfather clock' through it's testing phase in the aptly named Daimler Riding Car, the world's first motorcycle. This proved to be a tremendous success. On the strength of this success, Gottlieb Daimler took delivery of a horse-drawn carriage from his local coachbuilder. He then set upon the arduous task of fitting it with the 'grandfather clock', he then removed the harnesses, and fitted it with a steering wheel. This was the birth of the Daimler Motorised Carriage. This new invention drew many strange looks as it travelled around - a horse-drawn carriage that lacked a horse!
Daimlers' success encouraged him (and Maybach) to pursue further motorised projects on land, sea, and air. Meanwhile, Karl Benz was an advocate of the 'grandfather clock', using it to power his own patented motorcar, the worlds' first motorcar. The differences between Benz's car, and Daimler's car, was that Karl's car was built to be a single unit car, with all the parts working together. Daimler's was an engine in a horse carriage. This gave Benz the edge, as his invention was a Motorcar, not a horse carriage boosted with an engine, like so many of his competitors machines.
Further developments were added to the patented motorcar at the Benz and Co. factory in Mannheim. These new developments created a car that was uncomfortable to ride. There was no suspension, and the wheels were ill equipped to handle the roads. The next logical step was to correct these problems. Suspension, wooden spoke wheels, and a powerful engine with a soft-top roof, was the incarnation of the Benz car. It's first outing was on Mannheim's Ringstrasse on the 3rd of July, 1886. Sceptics viewed the motorcar cautiously.
Karl Benz's wife could no longer stand and watch these sceptics denigrate her husband's work. She took the car, and with her two sons with her, drove to Pforzheim, only stopping once to refuel. This was the world's first long-distance car journey, and on that day, a legend was born.
Many years passed, during which Benz and Daimler pursued their individual dreams.
In 1894, Benz introduced the Motor Velocipede, the world's first production car. It was also the world's smallest auto. Between 1894 and 1901, twelve hundred Velocipede's were made! It was 7.4 foot long, and was 617 pounds in weight. Meanwhile was producing his vis-a-vis belt driven car.
In April 1900, DMG and Emil Jellinek agreed on the development of a new engine, known as Daimler-Mercedes. Immediatley, Willhelm Maybach began to develop an extremely powerful and advanced four cylinder engine. This established the horseless - the first true motorcar.
The success of Mercedes reflected badly on Karl Benz's motorcar sales. DMG and Benz Cie merged to form Daimler-Benz AG in 1926. However, not just to pursue performance perfection, but to expand car economy by testing the efficiency of diesel engines.
Daimler-Benz went from strength to strength, creating super-charged cars for the rich and beautiful, cars such as the 500 series. Then came the worlds first series produced diesel engine car in 1936.
From here, Daimler-Benz continued to excel. This continued even after Daimler went their separate way.