Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz


A chronological day-by-day history of Mercedes-Benz.

Monday 25th November 1844

172 years ago

Karl Friedrich Benz, German engineer and entrepreneur who designed and developed the world’s first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine, was born. He and his wife Bertha were the founding members of the Mercedez-Benz company. Benz was born into a poor family. His father died when he was two years old, and his mother strove to provide him with the best education that she could afford. Benz was an exemplary student in school. He then enrolled at the Poly-Technical University and later studied mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe, graduating at the age of 19 in 1864. Benz was fond of riding his bicycle, and dreamt about making a fully mechanized automobile, or “the horseless carriage”. He worked in a number of engineering jobs but found none that satisfied him. He settled in Mannheim, where he established an iron foundry and sheet metal workshop with his partner August Ritter. The business ran into difficulties but was saved by his fiancé Bertha who bought out Ritter’s share. Karl and Bertha were married in 1872 and had five children. Karl began to develop various parts of the vehicle he had envisioned, including ignition, spark plugs, gear, carburetor, water radiator, and clutch. He assembled it in the first fully powered gas car with two seats for a driver and a passenger. It was finished on New Years’ Eve in 1885 and a patent for a two stroke engine was granted to him in January 1886. His invention was marvelous but the problem lay in demonstrating its utility to the world. Such a thing had never existed before and people saw no use for it, neither did they find it practical. This situation was deftly tackled by Bertha; in 1888, she drove the car to her mother’s house in Pforzheim, traveling a distance of 106 kilometers. This was done without the knowledge of her husband and she only informed him of her safe arrival via telegram when she had reached. This was the first long distance trip ever attempted and it changed public opinion about the safety and practicality of this means of transport. An antique car race is now held every two years along the stretch of road that she traveled to commemorate the drive undertaken there by Bertha. Karl set about to improve the features of the car, adding brake linings and an extra gear for driving over slopes. Sales began to take off, and his cars received tremendous publicity and appreciation at the 1889 World Fair in Paris. Demand soared and production facilities were expanded accordingly. The number of employees grew from 50 in 1889 to 430 in 1899. Karl and Bertha launched a series of companies to in the early 1900s, and maintained their position as the leading automobile producers in Europe. By the 1920s, however, there was intense competition between Benz and Daimler – the makers of the Mercedes engine. Production costs were rising due to inflation and sales were tapering for both companies. In 1924, the two companies signed an “Agreement of Mutual Interest” which led to combined production, marketing, purchasing and advertising efforts but each company still maintained its own brand name. Eventually in 1926, the two companies merged into Daimler-Benz, and started producing Mercedes-Benz cars as we know them today. Karl Benz became a board member of the newly founded company and remained so for the remainder of his life. The merger proved fruitful as sales tripled in 1927. The company also launched its diesel trucks line in the same year. Karl Benz died at the age of 84 on April 4, 1929 at his home in Ladenburg, where Bertha continued to reside until her death at the age of 95 in 1944.

Karl Benz

Karl Benz

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Saturday 29th August 1885

132 years ago

The world’s first motorcycle, the Reitwagen ("riding car") or Einspur ("single track"), was patented. It was essentially a wooden bicycle, with foot pedals removed and powered by a single-cylinder, Otto-cycle engine. This invention is a key milestone in automobile history, as engines up until this point had only been used on stationary machines. The original design of 1884 used a belt drive, and twist grip on the handlebars which applied the brake when turned one way and tensioned the drive belt, applying power to the wheel, when turned the other way. The plans also called for steering linkage shafts that made two right angle bends connected with gears, but the actual working model used a simple handlebar without the twist grip or gear linkage. It had a 264-cubic-centimetre (16.1 cu in) single-cylinder Otto cycle four-stroke engine mounted on rubber blocks, with two iron tread wooden wheels and a pair of spring-loaded outrigger wheels to help it remain upright. Its engine output of 0.5 horsepower (0.37 kW) at 600 rpm gave it a speed of about 11 km/h (6.8 mph). Daimler's 17-year-old son, Paul, rode it first on November 18, 1885, going 5–12 kilometres (3.1–7.5 mi), from Cannstatt to Untertürkheim, Germany. The seat caught fire on that excursion, the engine's hot tube ignition being located directly underneath. Over the winter of 1885–1886 the belt drive was upgraded to a two-stage, two-speed transmission with a belt primary drive and the final drive using a ring gear on the back wheel. By 1886 the Reitwagen had served its purpose and was abandoned in favor of further development on four wheeled vehicles.The original Reitwagen was destroyed in the Cannstatt Fire that razed the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft Seelberg-Cannstatt plant in 1903, but several replicas exist in collections at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the Honda Collection Hall at the Twin Ring Motegi facility in Japan, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Ohio, and in Melbourne, Australia. The Deutsches Museum lent their replica to the Guggenheim Las Vegas The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition in 2001. The replicas vary as to which version they follow. The one at the AMA Hall of Fame is larger than the original and uses the complex belt tensioner and steering linkage seen in the 1884 plans, while the Deutsches Museum's replica has the simple handlebar, as well as the ring gear on the rear wheel.

Daimler's first motorcycle

Daimler's first motorcycle

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Friday 28th November 1890

126 years ago

The Daimler-Motoren-Geselschaft, a German engine and later automobile manufacturer, which operated until 1926, was founded by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. It was based first in Cannstatt (today Bad Cannstatt), a city district of Stuttgart). Daimler died in 1900, and their business moved in 1903 to Stuttgart-Untertürkheim after the original factory was destroyed by fire, and again to Berlin in 1922. Other factories were located in Marienfelde (near Berlin) and Sindelfingen (next to Stuttgart). The enterprise was begun to produce petrol engines but after the success of a small number of race cars built on contract by Wilhelm Maybach for Emil Jellinek, it began to produce the Mercedes model of 1902. After this automobile production expanded to become DMG's main product, and it built several models. Because of the post World War One German economic crisis, DMG merged in 1926 with Benz & Cie., becoming Daimler-Benz and adopting Mercedes-Benz as its automobile trademark. A further merger occurred in 1998 with Chrysler to become DaimlerChrysler. The name was finally changed to just Daimler AG in 2007 when Chrysler was sold.

Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft Poster for a Mercedes Double Phaeton (1908)

Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft Poster for a Mercedes Double Phaeton (1908)

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Thursday 23rd February 1893

124 years ago

Rudolf Diesel received a German patent for the diesel engine. The diesel engine differs from the petrol engine in that it uses compressed air in the cylinder rather than a spark to ignite the fuel. Production diesel car history started in 1933 with Citroën's Rosalie, which featured a diesel engine option (the 1,766 cc 11UD engine), followed two years later by he Mercedes-Benz 260D and the Hanomag Rekord. Immediately after World War II, and throughout the 1950s and 1960s, diesel-powered cars began to gain limited popularity, particularly for commercial applications, such as ambulances, taxis, and station wagons used for delivery work. In 1977, General Motors (GM) became the first American car company to introduce diesel-powered cars. The diesel-powered Olds 88 and 98 models were 40 percent more fuel-efficient than their petrol counterparts. Diesel cars never caught on in the US, partly because the diesel engine's greater efficiency is counter-balanced by its higher emissions of soot, odour, and air pollutants.

Rudolf Diesel

Rudolf Diesel

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Tuesday 23rd March 1909

108 years ago

Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH was founded in 1909 by Wilhelm Maybach with his son Karl Maybach as director. The company was originally a subsidiary of Luftschiffbau Zeppelin/GmbH and was itself known as "Luftfahrzeug-Motorenbau GmbH" (literally Airship Engine Company) until 1918. Today, the brand is owned by Daimler AG and based in Stuttgart. Maybach has historic roots through the involvement of Wilhelm Maybach, who was the technical director of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. The company originally developed and manufactured diesel and gas engines for Zeppelins, and then rail cars. The company first built an experimental car in 1919, with the first car with the first production model introduced two years later at the Berlin Motor Show. Between 1921 and 1940, the company produced various classic opulent vehicles. The company also continued to build heavy duty diesel engines for marine and rail purposes.Maybach contributed to the German war effort in World War II by producing the engines for the formidable Panther and Tiger tank. After the war, the factor performed some repair work, but automotive production was never restarted, and some 20 years later, its operations were merged into the Daimler AG mainline operations.In 1997, Mercedes-Benz presented at the Tokyo Motorshow an ultra-luxury concept car under the name Mercedes-Benz Maybach (V12, 5987 cc, 550 hp). The concept was quite successful and Mercedes-Benz decided to develop it. Mercedes, however, made the decision to market the car under the sole brand Maybach.Maybach was therefore revived as a brand in the early 2000s, with the production of the new model in two sizes — the Maybach 57 and the Maybach 62 (the numbers are equal to the lengths of the automobiles in decimetres; the longer 62 allows rear occupants to recline fully in their seats). The prices range from $335,500 to $426,000. In 2005, the new 57S was added, sporting a more powerful engine (6.0L V12 bi-turbo (which Mercedes calls the Kompressor)), producing 604 bhp (450 kW) and 737 ft·lbf (999 N·m) of torque) and cosmetic touches that provides a sporty image.When customers decide to order a Maybach they can go to Sindelfingen, the marque’s headquarters, (or meet over a video conference centre at a dealer in their own country) to specify every and any detail they desire. Many customers will personalise their cars with their initials or coats of arms. Maybach executives liken the experience to ordering a custom-built yacht or a personalized jet aircraft. Also, with a hand-crafted finish quality, and over two million equipment option combinations available, it is unlikely that two identical cars will ever leave the factory. The Maybach's main competitor is the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Given that most Maybach owners are chauffeured, owners especially appreciate the Maybach's highly adjustable rear seats with seat warmers, seat coolers, and massage features, none of which can be found in the Rolls Royce. Some have noted that Maybach's superior focus on occupant comfort highlights the difference between their respective creators, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, with BMW being more driver-focused, and Mercedes being more comfort/luxury-focused.

Maybach symbol

Maybach symbol

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Friday 18th June 1920

97 years ago

Edmund Rumpler made the first test drive of his Tropfen-Auto to coincide with his wife's 35 birthday. It was to be the first streamlined car (beating the American Chrysler Airflow and Czech Tatra T77). The Rumpler had a drag coefficient of only 0.28, a measurement which astonished later engineers and would be competitive even today. The Fiat Balilla of the mid-1930s, by contrast, was rated at 0.60. The car featured a Siemens and Halske-built 2,580 cc (157 cu in) overhead valve W6 engine, with three banks of paired cylinders, all working on a common crankshaft. Producing 36 hp (27 kW), it was mounted just ahead of the rear axle. The engine, transmission, and final drive were assembled together and installed as a unit. The rear swing axles were suspended by trailing leaf springs, while the front beam axle was suspended by leading leaf springs. Able to seat four or five, all the passengers were carried between the axles, for maximum comfort, while the driver was alone at the front, to maximize view. With the 1923 model, two tip-up seats were added. Weighing nearly 3,000 lb (1,361 kg), the Tropfenwagen was nevertheless capable of 70 mph (110 km/h) on its mere 36 hp (27 kW). This performance got the attention of Benz & Cie.'s chief engineer, Hans Nibel. Nibel conceived the Tropfenwagen racers using the virtually unchanged Rumpler chassis.[3] Poor sales and increasing losses led Benz to abandon the project. Later Auto Union racing cars resembled the Benz Tropfenwagen racers and were built in part by Rumpler engineers. Rumpler made another attempt in 1924, the 4A106, which used a 50 hp (37 kW) 2,614 cc (159.5 cu in) inline 4-cylinder engine.[6] This compelled a growth in wheelbase, with a consequent increase in seating to six or seven. Although the car was very advanced for its time, it sold poorly—about 100 cars were built. Small problems at the start (cooling, steering), the appearance of the vehicle, and the absence of a luggage compartment hindered sales. Most were sold as taxis, where easy boarding and the high ceiling were advantages. The last cars were built in 1925. The Tropfenwagen did become famous, thanks to the film "Metropolis", in which Rumplers found a burning end. It also inspired Mercedes-Benz 130H and 150H road cars. Only two examples are known to survive, one in the Deutsches Museum's Verkehrszentrum in Munich and one in the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin.

Rumpler Tropfenwagen

Rumpler Tropfenwagen

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Saturday 24th September 1921

95 years ago

The first race at the Avus circuit in Germany was won by Fritz Von Opel driving an Opel. At the time of opening, AVUS was  19 1⁄2 km (12 miles) long – each straight being approximately half that length, and joined at each end by flat, large-radius curves, driven counter-clockwise. While the Grand Prix motor racing scene still evaded German tracks, the circuit from 1922 was also the site of motorcycle races. On 11 July 1926 the track played host to the first international German Grand Prix for sports cars, organised by the Automobilclub von Deutschland, the former KAC. The 1921 roadway turned out to be insufficient: already in the training two days before the young Italian driver Enrico Platé had been in a car crash, whereby his mechanic was killed. During the race in heavy rain two track marshals died when Adolf Rosenberger lost control and hit the indicator board and the timekeeper's box, a third employee succumbed to his injuries in hospital a few hours later. The Grand Prix was won by his fellow team-member, the so-far unknown Mercedes-Benz salesman Rudolf Caracciola from Dresden, driving a private eight-cylinder "Monza" Kompressor type. The fastest lap of 161 km/h (100 mph) was set by Ferdinando Minoia in an OM. From 1927 the German Grand Prix was relocated to the new and more secure Nürburgring circuit in the Western German Eifel range, while the AVUS received a new asphalt surface and served as an experimental track for rocket cars. On 23 May 1928 Fritz von Opel ("Rocket Fritz") achieved a speed record of 238 km/h (148 mph) in an Opel RAK2. Due to the Great Depression annual auto races were not resumed until 1931, when Caracciola again won in a Mercedes-Benz SSK, succeeded by Manfred von Brauchitsch in the next year, after Caracciola had switched to Alfa Romeo. The competition on 22 May 1932 saw further notable participants like the Earl Howe, Hans Stuck and Sir Malcolm Campbell. The Czechoslovak driver Prince George Christian of Lobkowicz died when his Bugatti Type 54 crashed in the southern hairpin. The following events were won by Achille Varzi (1933) and Guy Moll (1934), to the great annoyance of the new Nazi rulers, who declared the victory of German drivers and cars a matter of national pride. They strongly backed the construction of the new Silver Arrows (Silberpfeile) generation of Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. In 1935 Luigi Fagioli won the race in a Mercedes-Benz W25; however, the track was no longer adequate for cars reaching average race speeds of far over 200 km/h (124 mph). In an effort to make AVUS the "world's fastest race track", the 1936 season was skipped and while the track hosted the cycling road race, the marathon and 50 km walk athletic events of the 1936 Summer Olympics, the north curve was turned into a steeply banked turn (43°) made of bricks. It became dubbed the "Wall of Death," especially as it had no retaining barrier so cars that missed the turn easily flew off it. The Silver Arrows raced only once on the banked version, in 1937. As the AVUS race did not count towards the championship, non-GP cars were allowed, which permitted the use of streamlined cars, similar to the cars used for high speed record attempts. This race was run in 2 heats; during qualifying for the second heat, Luigi Fagioli stuck his Auto Union Type C on pole position, with a time of 4 minutes and 8.2 seconds at an average speed of 280 km/h (174 mph)- which was the fastest motor racing lap in history until this time was bettered by 4 drivers during the 1971 Indianapolis 500. Mercedes driver Hermann Lang's average race speed of about 276 km/h (171 mph) was the fastest road race in history for nearly five decades, and was not matched on a high speed banked-circuit until the mid-1980s at the 1986 Indianapolis 500. No major race was held after 1937, as in early 1938 the popular German race driver Bernd Rosemeyer was killed in a land speed record attempt on a straight section of the Autobahn Frankfurt–Darmstadt (present-day Bundesautobahn 5), at which point the high-speed AVUS was considered too dangerous for the fast Grand Prix race cars. Furthermore, it was to be connected to the growing Reichsautobahn network in 1940 by extending it south towards the Berliner Ring, therefore the original hairpin at Nikolassee was demolished and replaced by a junction. A planned banked south turn was never built; the cleared grounds in the Grunewald forest were used as a proving ground ("Keerans Range") by the American occupation forces after World War II.

Avus circuit, Berlin

Avus circuit, Berlin

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Sunday 18th July 1926

91 years ago

Otto Merz, Rudolf Caracciola, and Willy Walb, all driving Mercedes-Benz K tourers, sweet the first three placs in the touring car race preceding the Grand Prix of Europe in San Sebastian, Spain in the first racing event for the new Daimler-Benz AG firm.

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Wednesday 28th July 1926

91 years ago

Daimler-Benz AG was created from the fusion of the Daimler and Benz & Cie businesses. The manufacturer applied the widely followed German naming conventions of the time. Thus on the Mercedes-Benz 8/38 PS the "8" defined the car’s tax horsepower, used by the authorities to determine the level of annual car tax to be imposed on car owners. The "38" defined the manufacturer’s claims regarding car’s actual power output in metric horsepower (PS, cv, hk, pk, ks, ch). In Germany tax horsepower, which had been defined by statute since 1906, was based on the dimensions of the cylinders in the engine.

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Sunday 12th September 1926

91 years ago

Alfred Neubauer introduced a code system for communicating with drivers during his first appearance as manager of the Mercedes-Benz racing team in a race at the Solitude circuit near Stuttgart, Germany - Otto Merz led the team to a one-two-three finish.

Alfred Neubauer

Alfred Neubauer

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Tuesday 19th July 1927

90 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz Type S made its racing debut at the Eifel race at the Nurburgring, with Rudolf Caracciola winning the sports-car class.

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Sunday 15th July 1928

89 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz SS made its racing debut at the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring and occupied the top three places - Halle in an Amilcar and Vinzenz Junek in a Bugatti were killed in accudents during the race.

Mercedes-Benz SS

Mercedes-Benz SS

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Sunday 29th July 1928

89 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz SSK made its racing debut as Rudolf Caracciola won a hillclimb at Gabelbach, Germany.

Mercedes-Benz SSK

Mercedes-Benz SSK

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Thursday 4th October 1928

88 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz 18/80-hp Nürburg 460 model, the first Mercedes-Benz car with a straight 8-cylinder engine, was presented at the Paris Motor Show. Citroen presented the C4 and C6, the latter was the marque's first production model to be equipped with a 6-cylinder engine.

Mercedes-Benz 18/80-hp Nürburg 460

Mercedes-Benz 18/80-hp Nürburg 460

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Saturday 23rd February 1929

88 years ago

Baroness Mercedes Adrienne Manuela Ramona von Schlosser Weigl (nee Jellinek), died in Vienna, Austria, aged 39. She is best known for her father having Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft's line of Mercedes cars named after her, beginning with the Mercedes 35 hp model of 1901. Also, at the 1902 Paris Automobile exhibition, her father hung a large picture of her. Mercédès lived in Vienna, and was notorious for marrying twice scandalously. She had a magnificent wedding in 1909 in Nice, on the Côte d'Azur, with Baron von Schlosser. The couple lived in Vienna until World War I, which ruined them. They had two children; Elfriede (b. 1912) and Hans-Peter (b. 1916). In 1918, Mercédès was begging for food in the streets. A little later, leaving her husband and two children, she married Baron Rudolf von Weigl, a talented but poor sculptor. She played music and had a good soprano voice, but never shared her father's passion for automobiles.In 1926, the Daimler company merged with the Benz company. Although the company traded as Daimler-Benz it gave the name Mercedes-Benz to its cars to preserve the respected Mercedes marque.

Mercedes Jellinek

Mercedes Jellinek

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Monday 6th January 1930

87 years ago

The first US diesel-engine road trip was completed. To promote the diesel engine, Cummins Engine Company owner Clessie Cummins mounted a diesel engine in a used Packard Touring Car and set out for the National Automobile Show in America's first diesel-powered automobile in January of 1930. The 800-mile trip from Indianapolis to New York City used 30 gallons of fuel, which cost $1.38, and showed that diesel was a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine. It was the first of many diesel-powered driving feats Cummins would attempt and it established his company as an engine supplier that would lead to success in the trucking industry. Production diesel cars would start in 1933 with Citroën's Rosalie, which featured a diesel engine option. The Mercedes-Benz 260D and the Hanomag Rekord were introduced a few years later in 1936. Diesel automobiles did not gain popularity for passenger travel until their development in Europe in the 1960s. In 1931, Cummins installed his diesel in the Cummins "Diesel Special" race car, hitting 101 mph at Daytona and 86 mph at the Indianapolis 500 race, where Dave Evans became the first driver to complete the Indianapolis 500 without making a single pit stop, completing the full distance on the lead lap and finishing 13th, relying on torque and fuel efficiency to overcome weight and low peak power. In 1935, Cummins drove a diesel-powered Auburn from New York to San Francisco on $7.62 worth of fuel.

Clessie Cummins

Clessie Cummins

1935 First Diesel Powered Passenger Car Clessie Inside

1935 First Diesel Powered Passenger Car Clessie Inside

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Sunday 24th May 1931

86 years ago

The ninth Gran Premio d'Italia was run to the 10-Hour international formula and was part of the 1931 European Championship. From 25 entries of the best European drivers, 14 took the start with eight classified after ten hours. Due to the length of the race, a second driver had to be nominated to each car. Nuvolari with the 12-cylinder Alfa-Romeo retired early, while in fourth place. The Varzi/Chiron Bugatti had been the early leader but expired due to rear axle failure. The Lehoux/Etancelin Bugatti, for three hours in third place, retired with a broken connecting rod. Campari with reassigned Nuvolari won for the factory with the new 2300 straight-8 Alfa Romeo. Minoia/Borzacchini in another works Alfa of the same type came second, Divo/Bouriat in a factory Bugatti third and independent Wimille/Gaupillat fourth, both in twin-cam Bugattis. Ivanowski/Stoffel finished in fifth place with a Mercedes-Benz SSK, next were 1500 cc class winners Pirola/Lurani (Alfa Romeo) fighting off Ruggeri/Balestrero (Talbot) and last finisher Klinger/Ghersi in a stricken Maserati. The race was overshadowed after the popular Arcangeli crashed fatally during practice the day before the race.

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Sunday 7th June 1931

86 years ago

For the ninth Eifelrennen, a mix of 16 race cars started at the Nürburgring. Three large converted Mercedes-Benz sports cars, a variety of 11 Bugattis, one Amilcar and a DKW raced around 40 laps of the demanding South Loop. The German press quoted this event as the most impressive and interesting race ever held on the Nürburgring. Caracciola in the Mercedes had a fantastic battle with von Morgen in an older single cam Bugatti. Once the Bugatti pitted at mid-race for tyres and fuel, the Mercedes had gained much time and did not have to stop. Von Morgen could only recover part of Caracciola's advantage and finished well over a minute behind the Mercedes-Benz. The young newcomer von Brauchitsch in another Mercedes-Benz ended up third, followed by Seibel's small Bugatti, Winter's Mercedes-Benz, Zigrand, Risse, Kortylewski and Städtgen all in Bugattis with Theisen's small DKW last in tenth place. Six drivers retired, amongst them Burggaller and Leiningen who in the early part of the race were near the front.

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Sunday 21st June 1931

86 years ago

The XVII Grand Prix of the AC de France was run to the 10-Hour International Formula, demanding two drivers per car. Three strong official factory teams from Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Maserati provided the main battle. The early leader was Fagioli in the 2800 Maserati until Chiron in the twin-cam Bugatti passed him. After one hour, Luigi Fagioli was again in first place next came Louis Chiron, Rene Dreyfus, Albert Divo, William Grover-Williams, Marcel Lehoux and Giuseppe Campari, the fastest of the 2300 Alfa Romeo drivers, in seventh place. For the first time since WW I, there was a German entry in the French Grand Prix, the independent team of Rudolf Caracciola/Otto Merz in a huge Mercedes-Benz. They held eighth place after the first lap; then fell back to 13th before retiring later. The Rene Dreyfus/ Pieto Ghersi pair twice held second place, but maintained third position during most of the first half of the race.Out of 23 starters only 12 finished the long race. The independent drivers were the first to retire. Jack Dunfee (Sunbeam) broke down at the start. Ivanowski (Mercedes-Benz) and Lehoux (Bugatti) disappeared before the the second hour ended. Scott's 1920's Delage broke down during the third hour to be followed by the Caracciola/Merz Mercedes-Benz in the fourth hour. The first factory car to retire was Fagioli/E.Maserati with the 2800 Maserati during the fifth hour. Five Bugattis retired over the next laps, all caused by mechanical failures. Chiron/Varzi (Bugatti) dominated the race and won three laps ahead of Campari/Borzacchini (Alfa Romeo) and five laps in front of Clemente Biondetti/Parenti (Maserati). Henry Birkin/ George Eyston (Maserati) an idependent entry finished fourth. A total of 12 cars were classified but only 10 were still driving at the end while Divo/Bouriat and Tazio Nuvolari/Giovanni Minozzi made it on distance alone as their cars broke down near the end.

Chiron and Varzi pitting at the 1931 French Grand Prix

Chiron and Varzi pitting at the 1931 French Grand Prix

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Sunday 19th July 1931

86 years ago

Rudolf Caracciola, in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL won the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring.

Mercedes-Benz SSKL

Mercedes-Benz SSKL

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Wednesday 23rd March 1932

85 years ago

Building work on the legendary Hockenheimring race track in Germany, commenced. It was originally built in 1932 using roads in the forest as an alternative to the Wildpark-Circuit in Karlsruhe, which became forbidden as a racing circuit by German officials. The Hockenheimring was used for motorcycle racing and was expanded to be used as test track for Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union in 1936. In 1938 it was renamed the Kurpfalzring and that name was used until 1947. After World War II, former DKW and NSU factory rider and world record setter Wilhelm Herz promoted the track successfully. Grand Prix motorcycle racing events were held, with the German motorcycle Grand Prix alternating between Hockenheim and other tracks. The original circuit was almost eight kilometres long and consisted of two long straights with a long "Eastern" corner in the forest and a U-turn inside Hockenheim joining them together.

The Hockenheimring race track - 1949

The Hockenheimring race track - 1949

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Sunday 22nd May 1932

85 years ago

From the elite of 16 international drivers only five finished the AVUS-Rennen, the fastest high-speed race in Europe. Dreyfus was the first leader and had to stop his 16-cylinder Maserati after lap one. Divo in the 5-litre Bugatti then held the lead until lap five when his engine started leaking oil badly. World record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell in the 4-litre V-12 Sunbeam also retired early. From lap six onwards Caracciola with his 2.3-litre Alfa Romeo was in front. The young German von Brauchitsch in his strange looking streamlined 7.1-litre Mercedes-Benz SSKL followed closely. This duo provided an exciting battle for the lead until the end when von Brauchitsch came out on top as a surprising winner. Behind Caracciola were the Swiss Stuber (Bugatti) in third place, then the Germans Stuck (Mercedes-Benz SSKL) and Kotte (2.5-litre Maserati). The remaining drivers all retired their cars, which did not hold up in this high-speed chase. Lewy (Bugatti) crashed on lap one, as did Czechoslovakian driver Prince Lobkowicz who died shortly thereafter in hospital.

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Sunday 29th May 1932

85 years ago

The tenth Eifelrennen at the Nürburgring was a mix of 23 cars comprising three different classes of which only six cars started in the class over 1500 cc, where Rudolf Caracciola in the factory Alfa Romeo was the favorite. Louis Chiron and Rene Dreyfus came from France, the former in a works Bugatti and the latter with an independent Bugatti entry, courtesy of Chiron. German colors were defended by three independently entered 7.1-liter Mercedes-Benz driven by Manfred von Brauchitsch, Hans Stuck and Albert Broschek. Caracciola's Alfa led from lap one followed closely by Dreyfus throughout the race. Chiron and Broschek both had to make several pit stops and finished at the rear while Caracciola remained in front throughout the race, followed by Dreyfus in second place, von Brauchitsch third and Stuck fourth. The monotonous race was overshadowed by the fatal practice accident of the famous German driver Heinrich-Joachim von Morgen.

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Sunday 7th May 1933

84 years ago

Finnish driver Karl Ebb in a Mercedes-Benz SSK took a surprise home victory in the second Finnish Grand Prix, held over 50 laps of the Eläintarhanajot circuit, after having dropped to the rear of the field early in the race due to a forgotten radiator blank that created overheating. Alfa Romeo privateer Bjørnstad had ignition troubles from the start so Widengren in another Alfa Romeo could dominate most of the race. Dahlin was disqualified after persistently baulking several of the competitors. With just eight laps remaining, Widengren who at that point led with almost a lap, made a mistake, spun and stalled his car.

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Friday 19th May 1933

84 years ago

Otto Merz (33), winner of the 1927 German Grand Prix, was killed when he crashed at the Avus Circuit in Germany. A few minutes after 13:00, Merz crashed his SSK on the long straight, near the Grunewald station and nearly two kilometers away from the finish line. At the place of the accident the surface changed from cobblestones to tarmac, and traces of the car trajectory were clearly visible on the cobblestones - but suddenly ended. The next mark left by the vehicle was found 36 meters further on, where the car hit the ground again. The Mercedes-Benz crashed into a cement milestone on the right side of the track, and, according to the single eye-witness, it somersaulted and rolled several times. The car stopped with its wheels in the air near an embankment.[6] Ejected from the car, rescuers found Merz on his back on the right side of the track. He was transported to the Hildegard Hospital at Charlottenburg, a suburb of Berlin and very near the accident site, but his condition was beyond help.

Otto Merz

Otto Merz

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Monday 22nd May 1933

84 years ago

Manfred von Brauchitsch won the AVUS race in Berlin with a Mercedes-Benz SSKL, setting a 200 km/h (124 mph) world record for the class. The "SSKL" (standing for "Super-Sport-Kurz-Leicht", Super, Sport, Short, Light) was the last stage of the development of the "S" series.

Mercedes-Benz SSKL

Mercedes-Benz SSKL

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Thursday 18th January 1934

83 years ago

Manfred Von Brauchitsch drove the Mercedes-Benz W25 Grand Prix car during its first test runs, on the Autostrada between Milan and Varese in Italy.

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Thursday 8th March 1934

83 years ago

At the International Automobile and Motorcycle Show in Berlin, Mercedes-Benz presented its 200 (W21), 290 (W18) and 380 (W22) car models. The 380 began the tradition of the sportive and elegant compressor cars with 8 cylinder engines, continued later by the world famous successor models 500 K and 540 K.

Mercedes-Benz 200 (W21)

Mercedes-Benz 200 (W21)

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Sunday 3rd June 1934

83 years ago

The VIII ADAC Eifelrennen, an annual motor race organised by ADAC Automobile Club, held in Germany's Eifel mountain region (even before the Nürburgring was built there), was won by Manfred von Brauchitsch in a Mercedes-Benz W25/34.The start was delayed for several hours because of fog, rain showers and hail. At 3 PM the race was finally started with 44 cars in 3 classes flagged of after each other. A bunch of cars arrived together into the Südkehre on the first lap and Austrian driver Emil Frankl (Bugatti) touched another car and went, with damaged wheel, into a wild spin just missing the Mercedes cars, before overturning, killing the unfortunate driver. After the first lap it was Fagioli in front of von Brauchitsch, Stuck, Chiron, Tadini, Penn-Hughes, zu Leiningen and Pietsch. Then Neubauer gave order to Fagioli to let the other Mercedes car by and at Bergwerk on the second lap von Brauchitsch took over the lead from his team mate. On the third lap Momberger was out of the race with fuel pump failure and the problems for the Auto Union team continued. A flying stone has created a leak in zu Leiningen's fuel tank and he fell far back while the tank was repaired and refilled. Von Brauchitsch had opened up a 46 second lead over Fagioli who was ferociously attacked by Stuck. Nuvolari was out of the race after a series of technical problems.Halfway through the race the Mercedes cars came in for tanking and a furious Fagioli started a bilingual verbal fight with team leader Neubauer over the team orders. Fagioli went off again but then, with one lap to go, simply abandoned his Mercedes on the track in disgust, giving Neubauer a taste of things to come.The Alfas did not need to come in for refueling but they were not able to keep up with the superior roadholding of the German cars. The Nürburgring took its tolls, Maserati drivers Rüesch och Siena were out with engine problems and zu Leiningen was also out, leaving only one Auto Union in the race. However, Stuck was now in the lead and opened up a gap of almost one minute to von Brauchitsch. The Mercedes team was worried: Was Stuck trying to do a nonstop race? Finally Stuck went in for tanking, tyres and new plugs and after a lengthy pitstop he rejoined the race 87 seconds behind von Brauchitsch. With such advantage the Mercedes driver had no problem to keep the lead from then on and he went on to win. He could hardly have got off to a better start as a works driver. Neither could the Mercedes-Benz team have had a better comeback, winning the first time out.

1934 Auto Union Type A, VIII ADAC Eifelrennen

1934 Auto Union Type A, VIII ADAC Eifelrennen

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Sunday 23rd September 1934

82 years ago

Luigi Fagioli, won the Spanish Grand Prix at Lasarte in a Mercedes-Benz W25/34.

Luigi Fagioli

Luigi Fagioli

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Monday 10th December 1934

82 years ago

A new speed record of 311.98 km/h (193.86 mph) was set over five kilometres with a flying start on the Avus racetrack in Berlin by Rudolf Caracciola driving the record-breaking Mercedes-Benz W25.

Mercedes-Benz W25

Mercedes-Benz W25

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Tuesday 9th April 1935

82 years ago

The Alfa Romeo Bimotore 16-cylinder racecar was unveiled to the press. Although every inch an Alfa Romeo, the Bimotore was the brainchild of Enzo Ferrari and Luigi Bazzi, one of Ferrari's engineers at Scuderia Ferrari. In the early 1930's, Scuderia Ferrari had been delegated the responsibility for running the Alfa Romeo racing operation. Indeed, it is said that the 1935 Alfa Romeo Bimotore is the very first car to carry the now famous prancing horse insignia of Scuderia Ferrari on its flanks and above the Bimotore's valentine heart-shaped grille work. The Bimotore's distinction was that it had two supercharged straight eight engines, one mounted in the front, the other behind the driver, both engines somehow shoehorned into a special beefed-up chassis. It also had two hand cranks to turn over the engines, one under the grille and one in the rear. The two engines in the 6.3 litre Bimotore came right out of the Alfa Romeo P3: two 3.165 litre engines, which together developed 540 bhp and gave the Bimotore stunning top-end performance; the contemporary Mercedes-Benz developed 430 bhp and the Auto Union developed 375 bhp.

Alfa Romeo Bimotore -1935

Alfa Romeo Bimotore -1935

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Wednesday 22nd May 1935

82 years ago

Luigi Fagioli drove a Mercedes-Benz W25 to victory in the Monoco Grand Prix. He was the first driver to lead at Monoco from flag to flag.

Luigi Fagioli

Luigi Fagioli

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Sunday 23rd June 1935

82 years ago

The French Grand Prix (formally the XXIX Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France) held over 500km (12.5 km x 40 laps) at Montlhéry, was won by Rudolf Caracciola driving a Mercedes-Benz W25/35.

Finish of the 1935 French Grand Prix

Finish of the 1935 French Grand Prix

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Sunday 14th July 1935

82 years ago

Rudolf Caracciola driving a Mercedes-Benz W25/35 won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Manfred von Brauchitsch drove Luigi Fagioli's Mercedes to second place after Fagioli walked off due to an argument with team boss Alfred Neubauer.

Rudolf Caracciola

Rudolf Caracciola

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Sunday 28th July 1935

82 years ago

Tazio Nuvolari scored his most impressive victory, thought by many to be the greatest victory in car racing of all times. He won the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, driving an old Alfa Romeo P3 (3167 cc, compressor, 265 hp) versus the dominant, all conquering home team's cars of five Mercedes-Benz W25 (3990 cm³, 8C, compressor, 375 hp (280 kW), driven by Caracciola, Fagioli, Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Geyer) and four Auto Union Tipo B (4950 cc, 16C, compressor, 375 hp (280 kW), driven by Bernd Rosemeyer, Varzi, Hans Stuck and Paul Pietsch). This victory is known as "The Impossible Victory". The crowd of 300,000 applauded Nuvolari, but the representatives of the Third Reich were enraged.

Tazio Nuvolari

Tazio Nuvolari

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Sunday 25th August 1935

82 years ago

Rudolf Caracciola in a Mercedes-Benz W25/35 won the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten. During practice Hanns Geier in his Mercedes lost control at 150 mph and crashed into the timekeepers' box, ending his racing career.

Start of the Swiss Grand Prix, Bremgarten, 1935. Number 30 - René Dreyfus in an Alfa Romeo

Start of the Swiss Grand Prix, Bremgarten, 1935. Number 30 - René Dreyfus in an Alfa Romeo

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Saturday 15th February 1936

81 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz 260D - the world’s first production diesel-powered passenger car - debuted at the Berlin Auto Show. Based on the 200 model, the 260D used a 2.6-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine mated to a Bosch mechanical injection pump. The ensemble allowed the car to produce 45hp of power at 3,200 rpm. Almost 2,000 units were built through 1940. The car initially had a 3-speed gearbox; and was upgraded with electric coil ignitors in 1938. One of the diesel powerplant's main benefits – then as now – was reduced fuel consumption. The 260D burned 9 l/100 km (26 mpg U.S.) compared to 13 l/ 100 km (18 mpg U.S.) in the gasoline counterpart. Another bonus: at the time, diesel was half the price of gasoline, so the motorists saved a lot of cash at the pump. The SS and Gestapo made use of these vehicles for more sinister purposes - the hunting of Jews. If one saw the 260D coming, trouble was to be expected. The Mercedes 260D ultimately became associated as an infamous “Death Mobile” instead of known as the first diesel passenger car.

Mercedes 260D diesel taxi

Mercedes 260D diesel taxi

Early Mercedes diesel engine

Early Mercedes diesel engine

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Sunday 14th June 1936

81 years ago

300,000 people gathered on a rainy and fog swept Nürburgring to see the Adac Eifelrennen, the first major race of the year on German soil, the AVUS race being cancelled as the track was under re-construction. As the cars lined up for the start the fog lifted but the heavy rain continued. Nuvolari took the start followed by Caracciola coming up from third row of the grid and Rosemeyer. As expected it was rain master Caracciola who soon took the lead after passing the Alfa at the Karussell curve. After two laps Nuvolari charged and took back the lead and soon afterwards Caracciola had to retire with engine failure. The increase of the engine volume to 4.7 litres had weakened the cylinder block. Von Brauchitsch now held third place behind Nuvolari and Rosemeyer. Then the fog came back with dramatic results. Rosemeyer closed in on Nuvolari and passed the Alfa, coming out from Südkehre to the joy of the spectators and continued into Hatzenbach and out of sight in the fog. The fierce race between the Auto Union and the three Ferrari Alfa Romeos continued, von Brauchitsch having retired with the same problems as Caracciola. In places the sight was reduced to 20 - 40 meters and the drivers slowed down, except for Rosemeyer who continued to race at high speed. Nuvolari tried to follow, but could do nothing to Rosemeyer's extraordinary ability to see through the fog. The Auto Union driver opened up the gap to the Italian by 30 seconds per lap and went on to take a remarkable victory. Nuvolari led home a good Ferrari 2-3-4, Lang finishing 5th as best Mercedes-Benz driver. The other Auto Unions came home a disappointing 7-8-9, Chilean driver Zanelli was last with the Scuderia Torino entered Maserati. Eifelrennen (Nürburgring), 14-6: Bernd Rosemeyer, Auto Union Typ C.

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Sunday 25th July 1937

80 years ago

Driver Ernst von Delius collided with Richard Seaman during the German Grand Prix held at Nürburgring on lap 6 and the accident was eventually fatal for von Delius, experiencing thrombosis. Von Delius was 25 years old. The race was won by German Rudolf Caracciola in a Mercedes-Benz W125.

1937 German Grand Prix

1937 German Grand Prix

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Sunday 12th September 1937

80 years ago

Rudolf Caracciola in a Mercedes-Benz W125 took an early lead from pole at the Italian Grand Prix at the Montenero Circuit in Livorno. Hermann Lang was second but he soon took the lead from Caracciola, the two Mercedes drivers pushing each other hard. Team manager Alfred Neubauer was not impressed by the internal fighting. The partisan crowd were disappointed when the Italian Nuvolari retired and gave his car to Farina. The two leading Mercedes had a fierce fight to the flag with Caracciola blocking any attempt to pass by Lang. Rosemeyer in an Auto Union couldn't match their pace and Caracciola held on for a win with Lang just 0.4s behind him at the flag.

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Monday 7th February 1938

79 years ago

The first bench tests of the new Mercedes-Benz 3-litre V-12 engines were conducted prior to its installation into the W154 chassis.

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Sunday 15th May 1938

79 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz W154 race car recorded its first victory as Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch, and Rudolf Caracciola take the first three places in the Tripoli (Libya) Grand Prix. Eugenio Siena, winner of the 1932 Spa (Belgium) 24-hour race, was killed during the race.

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Sunday 24th July 1938

79 years ago

British driver Richard Seaman drove a Mercedes-Benz 154 to victory at the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Lengthy Nazi parading preceded the race that was witnessed by nearly 300,000 spectators. Seaman gave the Nazi salute on the podium and became one of the favourite drivers of the Third Reich.

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Sunday 7th August 1938

79 years ago

In the opening event of the XVIII Coppa Ciano, Emilio Villoresi won the voiturette race on the Montenero circuit in Livorno, Italy. It was the first race win for the Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta. The Grand Prix race was won by Hermann Lang driving a Mercedes-Benz W154, while Nino Farina placed second with the new 12 cylinders Alfa Romeo 312.

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Sunday 21st August 1938

79 years ago

Rudolf Caracciola in a Mercedes-Benz W154/38 won the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten.

Rudolf Caracciola

Rudolf Caracciola

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Wednesday 8th February 1939

78 years ago

Rudolf Caracciola established two new D class standing start speed records; 1 km Standing Start: 175.097 km/h (108.800 mph) [20.56 s] and 1 Mile Standing Start: 204.578 km/h (127.119 mph) [28.32 s] in a 3 litre Mercedes-Benz car based on the 1938 GP chassis with fully enclosed wheels and the radiator replaced by internal ice cooling. The runs took place at Dessau, Germany where a 10 km section of highway had been specially prepared for record attempts. The central grass strip had been filled, making the available road 27 metres wide.

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Sunday 2nd April 1939

78 years ago

Hermann Lang in a Mercedes-Benz W154/39 won the Pau Grand Prix in France, run over 100 laps (172 miles in total).

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Thursday 6th April 1939

78 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz W165 Grand Prix racing car was given its first test runs by Rudolf Caracciola and Hermann Lang at Hockenheim, Germany. It competed in just one race, the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix, where it was driven to victory by Hermann Lang with his team-mate Rudolf Caracciola finishing second. Following an invitation by Tony Hulman, owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Caracciola entered a W165 for the Indianapolis 500 in 1946, the first post-war 500, and the first under Hulman’s ownership of the track. The car was not allowed out of Switzerland by Swiss customs and so it did not compete.

Mercedes-Benz W165

Mercedes-Benz W165

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Sunday 7th May 1939

78 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz W165 is a racing car designed by Mercedes-Benz to meet voiturette racing regulations, won its only race, the 1939 Tripoli Grand Prix, driven to a 1-2 victory by Hermann Lang and teammate Rudolf Caracciola. This car was remarkably designed and built in 6 months, which was the time that the rules were changed by the Italian organizers. The car had a 1.5L supercharged V8 engine. Following an invitation by Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman, Caracciola entered a W165 in the 1946 Indianapolis 500. However, Swiss customs refused to allow the car out of their country, preventing Caracciola from competing.

Mercedes-Benz W165 Grand Prix racing car

Mercedes-Benz W165 Grand Prix racing car

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Sunday 21st May 1939

78 years ago

The XII Adac Eifelrennen run over 10 laps (141.7 miles) of the Nürburgring was won by Hermann Lang driving a Mercedes-Benz W154/39.

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Sunday 25th June 1939

78 years ago

Richard Seaman (26) crashed during the Belgian Grand Prix held at Spa-Francorchamps on the La Source hairpin into a tree, causing the fuel line to break. Fuel rushed over the car and the car caught fire. Seaman couldn't move because his right hand was broken and he was also trapped by his steering wheel. After a minute of futile rescue attempts, a Belgian soldier walked into the blaze and freed Seaman. However, he had suffered burns on sixty percent of the body and Britain's most successful pre-war driver died before midnight. On his death bed he remarked to the Mercedes chief engineer, "I was going too fast for the conditions - it was entirely my own fault. I am sorry". After Seaman's death, Mercedes-Benz dealerships worldwide were ordered to display his photograph in their windows.

Seaman's fatal crash at the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix

Seaman's fatal crash at the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix

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Tuesday 18th July 1944

73 years ago

RAF bombing destroyed about 80 per cent of the buildings and more than 50 per cent of the machinery and equipment at the Sindelfingen Mercedes-Benz plant in Germany. 20,000 explosive and incendiary bombs hit the factory.

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Sunday 14th July 1946

71 years ago

Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari became the oldest Grand Prix winner (in pre-World Championship days) when he won the Albi Grand Prix at Albi, France, aged 53 years 240 days, driving a Maserati 4CL. First he raced motorcycles and then he concentrated on sports cars and single-seaters. Resident in Mantua, Italy he was known as 'Il Mantovano Volante' (The Flying Mantuan) and nicknamed 'Nivola'. His victories—72 major races, 150 in all - including 24 Grands Prix, five Coppa Cianos, two Mille Miglias, two Targa Florios, two RAC Tourist Trophies, a Le Mans 24-hour race, and a European Championship in Grand Prix racing. Ferdinand Porsche called him "the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future." Nuvolari started racing motorcycles in 1920 at the age of 27, winning the 1925 350cc European Championship. Having raced cars as well as motorcycles from 1925 until 1930, he then concentrated on cars, and won the 1932 European Championship with the Alfa Romeo factory team, Alfa Corse. After Alfa Romeo officially withdrew from Grand Prix racing Nuvolari drove for Enzo Ferrari's team, Scuderia Ferrari, who ran the Alfa Romeo cars semi-officially. In 1933 he won Le Mans in an Alfa Romeo as a member of Ferrari's team, and a month later won the Belgian Grand Prix in a works Maserati, having switched teams a week before the race. Mussolini helped persuade Ferrari to take Nuvolari back for 1935, and in that year he won the German Grand Prix in Ferrari's outdated Alfa Romeo, defeating more powerful rivals from Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. It was the only time a non-German car won a European Championship race from 1935 to 1939. The relationship with Ferrari deteriorated during 1937, and Nuvolari raced an Auto Union in that year's Swiss Grand Prix. He rejoined the Auto Union team for the 1938 season and stayed with them through 1939 until Grand Prix racing was put on hiatus by World War II. The only major European race he never won was the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix. When Nuvolari resumed racing after the war he was 54 and in poor health. In his final appearance in competition, driving a Cisitalia-Abarth Tipo 204A at a Palermo hillclimb on 10 April 1950, he won his class and placed fifth overall. He died in 1953 from a stroke.

Tazio Nuvolari

Tazio Nuvolari

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Tuesday 16th September 1947

70 years ago

The Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport coup with a trend-setting body designed by Carrozzeria Pininfarina was introduced at the Fiera de Milano, Italy. The Pininafarina design was honored by New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1951. In the MOMA's first exhibit on automotive design, called "Eight Automobiles", the Cisitalia was displayed with seven other cars (1930 Mercedes-Benz SS tourer, 1939 Bentley saloon with coachwork by James Young, 1939 Talbot-Lago Figoni teardrop coupé, 1951 Willys Jeep, 1937 Cord 812 Custom Beverly Sedan, 1948 MG TC, and the 1941 Lincoln Continental coupe). It is still part of the MoMA permanent collection.[2] It was not, however, a commercial success; because it was coachbuilt, it was expensive, and only 170 were produced between 1947 and 1952. Most cars were coachbuilt by Pinin Farina with some by Vignale and Stabilimenti Farina.Building on aerodynamic studies developed for racing cars, the Cisitalia offers one of the most accomplished examples of coachwork conceived as a single shell. The hood, body, fenders, and headlights are integral to the continuously flowing surface, rather than added on. Before the Cisitalia, the prevailing approach followed by automobile designers when defining a volume and shaping the shell was to treat each part of the body as a separate, distinct element—a box to house the passengers, another for the motor, and headlights as appendages. In the Cisitalia, there are no sharp edges. Swellings and depressions maintain the overall flow and unity, creating a sense of speed. The 202 is featured in the 2011 video game L.A. Noire by Rockstar Games and Team Bondi as a secret car called the Cisitalia Coupe.

Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport coupe

Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport coupe

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Thursday 19th April 1951

66 years ago

Alongside the spectacular 300 model (W 186), Mercedes-Benz presented a second luxury-segment saloon at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. The 220 (W 187), which likewise featured a cutting-edge 6-cylinder engine and was enthusiastically embraced by the market. Its impressive performance caused the specialist press to make reference to the vehicle’s “sports car credentials”, while its handling characteristics were deemed to merge comfort with safety in equal proportion. The lavishly appointed interior also contributed to the popularity of this luxury class model.

Mercedes-Benz 220 W 187 (1951-54).

Mercedes-Benz 220 W 187 (1951-54).

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Thursday 6th September 1951

66 years ago

The BMW 501, the first motor car to be manufactured and sold by BMW after the Second World War, was introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Under the bodywork, there was the old six-cylinder engine and all-new independent suspension. It was a good car, but Mercedes-Benz was producing better cars and selling them for less money. BMW improved the 501 during its life, first with the 501A, then the 501/3, and the model eventually evolved into the V8-powered 502 – a much better machine. These cars weren’t the saving of BMW, but they allowed it to stay in business during a time that saw off plenty of seemingly more stable car companies.

BMW 501

BMW 501

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Wednesday 12th March 1952

65 years ago

Mercedes introduced the 300SL to the press. With a sleek rounded body, gull-wing doors and a detachable steering wheel, the 300SL created quite a buzz. As a race car, the 300SL enjoyed paramount success, capturing victories at Le Mans, the German Grand Prix, and the Carrera PanAmericana in Mexico. However, despite its racing success, the 300SL race car will forever be remembered for its role in one of motor racing's greatest tragedy. Careening out of control in the 1955 race at Le Mans, the 300SL crashed into the gallery. Eighty spectators died and, in respect to the victims of the accident, Mercedes-Benz pulled its cars out of racing competition for nearly three decades. Two years after the introduction of the 300SL, Mercedes introduced the 300SL coupe to the public. A stylish sports car also characterized by its gull-wing doors, the coupe was a consumer version of the 300SL racecar. With a six-cylinder engine and a top speed of 155mph, the two-door coupe created a sensation among wealthy car buyers who actually waited in line to buy it. However, because of the impracticality of the gull-wing doors, the company only manufactured 1,400 300SL coupes. Nevertheless, the 300SL coupe is widely considered one of the most impressive sports cars of the decade.

1952 Mercedes-Benz 300

1952 Mercedes-Benz 300

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Saturday 3rd May 1952

65 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz W194 "Gullwing" made its race debut in the Mille Miglia, finishing in 2nd and 4th. It was the first motor racing vehicle to be produced by Mercedes-Benz after the end of the Second World War appeared at a time when Europe still lay in ruins. On 15 June 1951 the Board of Management resolved to participate in motor racing once again from the 1952 season and commissioned the production of the '300 SL Super-Light', as the new car was initially known. The suffix was later shortened to the simple letters SL – so giving rise to the model designation 300 SL. Its M 194 engine was derived from the engine used in the Mercedes-Benz 300 prestige saloon, also known as the 'Adenauer Mercedes'. For its use in the racing car, the engineers increased the output to around 170 hp (125 kW). The racing engine, equipped wîth dry sump lubrication, is canted at an angle of 50 degrees to the left. The body of this first SL preempts certain elements of the later series-production sports car model. Among these are the low bonnet of the pre-war racing cars, wîth a Mercedes star mounted on the grille of the cooling air intake. The famous swing-wing doors are a characteristic feature of the Coupé: they are cut deep into the roof, open upwards and were originally conceived purely as access hatches that opened only as far as the beltline. During preparations for the '24 Hours of Le Mans' the door openings were enlarged, giving the even more pronounced effect of extended wings. This led to the car being nicknamed the 'Gullwing' by the Americans and 'Papillon' (Butterfly) by the French. In two races the 300 SL appeared wîth a Roadster body rather than as a 'Gullwing' model. Lightweight construction was one of the key priorities for the 300 SL. Wherever possible, efforts were made to save weight - the body shell is made out of sheet aluminium/magnesium, some of the mechanical components of aluminium or magnesium, while various parts are bored to make them lighter. Another way of improving competitiveness was to make the body as aerodynamic as possible. Rudolf Úhlenhaut, who was the head of passenger car testing at Daimler-Benz at that time, developed a special framework for the W 194, weighing just 50 kilograms. This is made out of very fine, high-alloy steel tubes designed to absorb tensile and compression forces. A total of ten W 194 vehicles were built for the 1952 season. A successor model was also developed in readiness for the following year which, as the eleventh SL to be built, is also known as the W 194/11. It never did race in the 1953 season, however. From 1954 onwards Mercedes-Benz competed in Formula 1 racing, while the W 194 was developed further to become the 300 SL series-production sports car (W 198). The series-production vehicle became the dream sports car of the 1950s, going on to be awarded the accolade of 'Sports car of the century' in 1999.

Mercedes-Benz W194

Mercedes-Benz W194

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Sunday 15th June 1952

65 years ago

Mercedes-Benz 300SLs finished 1-2 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the car of Karl Kling and Fritz Riess beating the car of Theo Helfrich and Helmut Niedermeyer. It was the first Le Mans win for Mercedes-Benz and first Le Mans win for an enclosed car. After the start Ferrari and Jaguar took the lead, André Simon and Alberto Ascari setting lap records in turn. Too much of a good thing, however: two hours into the race, the clutch of Ascari’s Ferrari 250 S gave up. Simon with the Ferrari 340 America, now led in front of the Robert Manzon / Jean Behra team with their 2.3-litre Gordini. Towards evening the two Frenchmen moved up into the leading position. Meanwhile, an alternator malfunction made itself felt on board the Kling / Klenk team’s 300 SL, forcing Kling to make a 10-minute pit stop; an hour later another 17-minute delay in the pits was called for. Finally, at half-past midnight Hans Klenk took off his helmet, his expression showing resignation and utter disappointment. And the little lightweight 2.3-litre Gordini was still leading. After a pit stop Pierre Levegh, with his 4.5-litre Talbot took over the first place, followed at a distance of 65 kilometres by the 300 SLs of the Helfrich / Niedermayr and Lang / Riess teams. By noon of the following day the number of contestants had shrunk to 19 vehicles. Levegh was still at the forefront, but stubbornly refused to allow his co-pilot Marchand to relieve him. Behind him the two 300 SLs thundered on reliably, lap after lap. Then, just 70 minutes before the end of the race, a damaged connecting rod forced Levegh to abandon between Arnage and Maison Blanche.The two 300 SLs were now unreachably far ahead. In the early hours of the morning the new front runner Theo Helfrich lost his leading position to Hermann Lang due to a driving error. Mercedes-Benz won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess, to whom this success was largely due, it was the most important triumph of their careers. The double victory at Le Mans was preceded by a triple win in Bern on 18 May 1952. Further successes followed in that racing season: a four-fold victory at the Great Jubilee Prize at Nürburgring on 3 August 1952 and another double win in the 3rd Carrera Panamericana in Mexico (19 to 23 November 1952), the last great event of the extremely successful 1952 racing season.

Mercedes-Benz Wins 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans

Mercedes-Benz Wins 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans

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Sunday 23rd November 1952

64 years ago

Karl Kling and Hans Klenk won the third Carrera Panamerica in a Mercedes-Benz 300SL. The original Carrera Panamericana was a border-to-border auto race on open roads in Mexico similar to Italy's Mille Miglia and Targa Florio. Running for five consecutive years from 1950 to 1954, it was widely held by contemporaries to be the most dangerous race of any type in the world. After the Mexican section of the Pan-American Highway was completed in 1950, a nine-stage, six-day race across the country was organized by the Mexican government to celebrate its achievement and to attract international business. The 1950 race ran almost entirely along the new highway which crossed the country from north to south for a total distance of over 2,096 miles. The Carrera Panamerica has since been resurrected by Pedro Dávila and Eduardo de Leon as a classic road rally.

Winners of the third Carrera Panamericana:  Kling and Hans Klenk (hidden)

Winners of the third Carrera Panamericana: Kling and Hans Klenk (hidden)

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Saturday 6th February 1954

63 years ago

The stylish gull-wing door Mercedes 300SL coupe was shown to the public. With a 6 cylinder engine and a top speed of 155mph, the two-door coupe created a sensation among wealthy car buyers who were actually seen waiting in line to buy it. Because of the impracticality of the gull-wing doors, the company only manufactured 1,400 300SL coupes. Unfortunately, the 300SL race car also played an infamous role in car racing history. Careening out of control in the 1955 race at Le Mans, the SL crashed into spectators, killing eighty. As a result Mercedes-Benz pulled its cars out of racing competition for nearly three decades.

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

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Sunday 4th July 1954

63 years ago

The long-awaited Mercedes-Benz team arrived at the French Grand Prix with the new W196 cars for Juan-Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling and Hans Herrmann. With Giuseppe Farina out of action after an accident Gianni Lancia agreed to release Alberto Ascari to drive for Maserati, ensuring that there was an Italian driver in the race. Ferrari fielded Froilan Gonzalez, Mike Hawthorn with Maurice Trintigant. In practice Fangio was fastest from Kling with Ascari on the front row alongside the silver cars. Gonzalez shared the second row with Maserati's Onofre Marimon while Prince Bira did well in his Maserati to record a faster time than Herrmann and Hawthorn. Ascari's race was short as he retired with transmission failure during the first lap which left Fangio and Kling to run away with the race. There was a lively battle for third place with Hawthorn battling with Marimon before he had to retire. The Argentine also had to stop for a change of plugs and dropped to the tail of the field and so Prince Bira battled with Jean Behra's Gordini and Trintigant's Ferrari. Behra made a mistake and went off and Trintigant lost time trying to avoid his countryman and so Bira was able to escape but on the final lap he ran out of fuel and was overtaken by Robert Manzon in a Ferrari who had inherited fourth place when Trintignant went out with engine trouble.

Start of the 1954 French Grand Prix

Start of the 1954 French Grand Prix

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Sunday 1st August 1954

63 years ago

The German Grand Prix at Nürburgring was won by 1951 World Champion, Juan Manuel Fangio driving a Mercedes-Benz W196. Ferrari 625 drivers Mike Hawthorn (in a shared drive with José Froilán González) and Maurice Trintignant finished second and third, respectively, for Scuderia Ferrari. The race was lengthened from 18 to 22 laps, bringing the German Grand Prix up to the approximately 500 kilometre race distance used by the majority of Formula One Grands Prix at the time. Mercedes had brought to the Nürburgring their new open-wheeled version of the W196 for Fangio, Kling and Hermann Lang (in a one-off drive) after Mercedes's defeat at Silverstone in their streamlined cars. Hans Herrmann drove a streamlined W196s. Qualifying saw Fangio take pole position from Hawthorn, but practice was marred by the death of official Maserati driver Onofre Marimón. Going into the Wehrseifen slight right hand/sharp left hand turn, Marimón's Maserati 250F failed to negotiate the corner while going down the downhill run to the corner, plunged down an embankment, the car somersaulted and he was killed instantly. Marimón's team mate Luigi Villoresi withdrew from the race, as did Owen Racing entered Maserati of Ken Wharton but the team's third car for Sergio Mantovani made the race start. Stirling Moss qualified third in his privately entered Maserati 250F ahead of Hans Herrmann (Mercedes-Benz W196s), Gonzalez and Paul Frère (Gordini T16). Fangio and Karl Kling led the way in their two Mercedes. Hawthorn was an early retirement with a broken axle as were Moss, Frère and privateer Maserati driver Roberto Mieres. Hermann Lang, one of the pre-war stars of the Mercedes 'silver arrows' spun out of his final Grand Prix appearance after ten laps. Gonzalez started and was running third but was so upset by Marimón's death he was called in after 16 laps to hand over to Hawthorn, who set off in pursuit of the Mercedes. He moved into second when Kling pitted and pursued Fangio relentlessly. Late in the race, drizzle forced him to slow and he held second from Trintignant. Kling finished fourth ahead of Mantovani, the last driver to travel the full race distance, getting some points for a saddened Maserati. Kling claimed the fastest lap point. Just ten of the 23 qualifiers finished the grueling race. With an elapsed time of 3 hours 45 minutes 45.8 seconds this was the longest (non Indy 500) F1 championship race in history, until the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix, which lasted just over four hours. The win pushed Fangio further ahead in the championship, now to the point where he had more than double the points of his nearest rival Gonzalez. A win in the next race at the Swiss Grand Prix could wrap up his second championship.

A packed grandstand watches Juan Manuel Fangio at the German Grand Prix in 1954.

A packed grandstand watches Juan Manuel Fangio at the German Grand Prix in 1954.

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Wednesday 2nd February 1955

62 years ago

The Chrysler Corporation legally made Imperial a separate marque, to better compete with its North American rivals, Lincoln and Cadillac, and European luxury sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 Adenauer and the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. The 1955 models are said to be inspired by Virgil Exner's own 1952 Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaeton show cars (which were themselves later rebodied to match the 1955-56 Imperials). The platform and bodyshell were shared with that year's big Chryslers, but the Imperial had a wheelbase that was 4.0 inches (102 mm) longer, providing it with more rear seat legroom, had a wide-spaced split eggcrate grille, the same as that used on the Chrysler 300 "executive hot rod", and had free-standing "gunsight" taillights mounted above the rear quarters, which were similar to those on the Exner's 1951 Chrysler K-310 concept car. Gunsight taillights were also known as "sparrow-strainer" taillights, named after the device used to keep birds out of jet-engines. Such taillights were separated from the fender and surrounded by a ring and became an Imperial fixture through 1962, although they would only be free-standing in 1955-56 and again in 1961-62. Two "C-69" models were available, including the two-door Newport hardtop coupe (3,418 built) and pillared four-door sedan (7,840 built), along with an additional "C-70" Crown limousine model (172 built). The "FirePower" V8 engine was Chrysler's first-generation Hemi with a displacement of 331 cu in (5.4 L) and developing 250 brake horsepower (186 kW). Power brakes and power steering were standard, along with Chrysler's "PowerFlite" automatic transmission. One major option on the 1955 and 1956 Imperials was air conditioning, at a cost of $535. Production totaled 11,430, more than twice the 1954 figure, but far below Lincoln and Cadillac. The Chrysler Corporation's luxury automobile brand between 1955 and 1975, with a brief reappearance in 1981 to 1983, and a second reapearance from 1990-1993.

Imperial car brochure - 1955

Imperial car brochure - 1955

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Saturday 11th June 1955

62 years ago

Over 80 people died at Europe’s worst-ever motor-racing disaster when three cars crashed at 150 mph at Le Mans and ploughed into the spectators’ grandstand. More than another hundred people were injured, but despite this the organisers of the 24-hour race decided not to stop the event. The winning Mercedes drivers gave up their title after discovering that one of their team cars was at the centre of the accident. The vehicle had somersaulted and cut a swathe through the crowd, leaving children and adults decapitated and dismembered. For 60 yards the sandy ground on one side of the 8-mile track was drenched with blood. At the end of that year Mercedes-Benz decided not to compete further in circuit racing, a decision which lasted until the 1980s. In the wake of the disaster, France and other European countries instituted bans on auto racing until stricter safety standards were implemented. According to Time, more than $600,000 was invested in improving the track and stands, and the 1956 race was allowed to go on. Other safety measures, such as limits on engine size and the amount of time a driver can drive, were also introduced. France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland all instituted bans on auto racing, most of which were soon reversed after new safety measures were implemented. Switzerland has yet to reinstitute auto racing, though Swiss Parliament did vote to lift the ban in June 2007.

1955 Le Mans: dead and Injured in the grandstands after the accident

1955 Le Mans: dead and Injured in the grandstands after the accident

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Sunday 11th September 1955

62 years ago

Juan-Manuel Fangio led home Piero Taruffi for a Mercedes 1-2 at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza to put the crowning glory on his championship season. Notably, it turned out to be the last Grand Prix for the victorious Mercedes-Benz team and the next time a fully-owned Silver Arrows team appeared was in 2010, after their takeover of Brawn Grand Prix. It was also the last Grand Prix for Karl Kling, Roberto Mieres and 1950 Champion Nino Farina.

Juan Manuel Fangio winning at Monza in 1955 for Mercedes

Juan Manuel Fangio winning at Monza in 1955 for Mercedes

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Sunday 13th May 1956

61 years ago

Race 2 of 8 in the 1956 World Championship of Drivers was held in Monaco. .As a result of Alberto Ascari's accident the previous year, the Monaco chicane had been altered so that a repeat of the crash would be less likely in the future. In the four months since the Argentine GP the Lancia-Ferrari, Maserati, Vanwall and Gordini teams had been developing their cars and they were joined in Monaco by BRM although engine problems in practice meant that neither Mike Hawthorn nor Tony Brooks would be able to start the race. The cars were also a long way from the pace, Hawthorn lapping the track five seconds slower than Juan-Manuel Fangio's Lancia-Ferrari. Stirling Moss was alongside his old Mercedes-Benz team mate on the front row with Eugenio Castellotti completing the front row in his Lancia-Ferrari. Then came Jean Behra's Maserati and Harry Schell in the first of the Vanwalls. The third row was a similar mixture with Maurice Trintignant in the second Vanwall, Cesare Perdisa in a Maserati and Luigi Musso in another Lancia-Ferrari. Peter Collins - Ferrari's fourth driver - was back on row four but he was three seconds a lap clear of the Gordinis and privateer Maseratis at the back of the field. At the start Moss took the lead with Castellotti, Fangio and Schell hot on his trail. It did not take long for Fangio to pass Castellotti but Moss was five seconds clear by the end of the first lap. At Ste Devote on the second lap Fangio made a rare mistake and spun. While some the cars arriving on the scene were able to get through, Schell and Musso both went off into the haybales and were out. Fangio rejoined and tried to make up for lost time. Castellotti ran into trouble early and retired with clutch trouble and when Fangio passed Behra he was third. Ahead was Collins and he quickly moved aside to let his team leader through so that Fangio could chase after Moss. The Argentine driver was not having a good day, however, and after clouting a wall at the chicane he pitted and handed his car over to Castellotti. Just after the halfway point Collins was called into the pits and Fangio took over his car - an odd move in the circumstances. Fangio had obviously regained his composure because he quickly caught and passed Behra and then set off to close the 45 second gap to Moss. He had 30 laps to do it. Fifteen laps later Moss had a fright when lapping his team mate Perdisa, who suffered a brake failure just as Moss was passing him. The two cars made contact and Moss damaged one of the catches which secured the bonnet of his car so that it was lifting up slightly in some of the corners. Moss remained calm despite the fact that Fangio was closing at two seconds a lap and he got to flag with six seconds to spare.

Stirling Moss, Monaco Grand Prix 1956

Stirling Moss, Monaco Grand Prix 1956

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Friday 31st August 1956

61 years ago

The Oldsmobile Golden Rocket show car was introduced. The radically styled fiberglass concept, designed to resemble a rocket on wheels, was revised several times and displayed at various other auto shows,[6] most notably at the 1957 Paris Motor Show where it generated much fanfare, 18 months after it was first revealed. The car was featured in the promotional short film Design for Dreaming along with the rest of the 1956 General Motors lineup. Similar to other Space Age show cars, the Golden Rocket was heavily influenced by the themes of aviation and space exploration. Its distinctive sleek aerodynamic body was made entirely from lightweight fiberglass and finished in metallic bronze paint. Bullet-shaped chrome pieces resembling Dagmar bumpers were integrated into the front fenders in place of headlights as well as the sweeping rear fenders, giving the car an overall rocket-like appearance. Other notable features include a swept-back wrap-around windshield, which had already become a common design element by the mid-1950s, less prominent tailfins by contemporary standards and a split-window fastback roof design presaging the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. It rode on unique "dotted-line" whitewall tires. A later photo taken inside the GM Design Center in Warren, Michigan shows the car sporting a blue paint scheme. Interior: The leather upholstery was finished in blue and gold. When a door was opened, the two-piece roof panel rose automatically in a similar manner to the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL's gull-wing doors. The seats were raised up by three inches and swiveled outwards by 45 degrees, enabling easier access to the passenger compartment.One of its most pioneering innovations was the button-controlled tilt steering wheel, making it one of the first vehicles with such feature. The speedometer was placed at the center of the foldable two-spoke steering wheel. The futuristic center console and control levers were inspired by an aircraft cockpit. Powertrain: The car was powered by an upgraded 324-cubic inch Rocket V8 engine tuned to crank out 275 horsepower. According to interior photos, the Golden Rocket had an automatic transmission like all other Motorama show cars. Details on other internal components are unfortunately unavailable. is unclear if the Golden Rocket still exists today. A common practice of General Motors in the 1950s was to destroy show cars after they fell out of usage in order to avoid liability concerns; however, the Golden Rocket is still unaccounted for with no confirmation it was crushed, thus the possibility it may have survived. There is photographic evidence that the car still existed as late as 1962, while several other show cars were scrapped earlier in 1959. The car was reportedly located somewhere in New Jersey, however the rumor still remains unconfirmed even after extensive investigation. Motorama historian David W. Temple believes that the Golden Rocket, along with other lost show cars, will likely never resurface again.

Oldsmobile Golden Rocket  - 1956

Oldsmobile Golden Rocket - 1956

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Tuesday 16th April 1957

60 years ago

The Studebaker-Packard Corporation announced a sales agreement with Daimler-Benz AG to market Mercedes-Benz automobiles in the United States.

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Sunday 8th December 1957

59 years ago

The first Sunday newspaper section devoted entirely to automobile advertising appeared in the US, featuring the 1958 Packard, Studebaker and Mercedes-Benz lines.

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Monday 28th September 1959

57 years ago

Rudolf Caracciola (58), who won the European Drivers' Championship, the pre-1950 equivalent of the modern Formula One World Championship, an unsurpassed three times, died. He also won the European Hillclimbing Championship three times – twice in sports cars, and once in Grand Prix cars. Caracciola raced for Mercedes-Benz during their original dominating Silver Arrows period, named after the silver colour of the cars, and set speed records for the firm. He was affectionately dubbed Caratsch by the German public, and was known by the title of Regenmeister, or "Rainmaster", for his prowess in wet conditions.

Rudolf Caracciola

Rudolf Caracciola

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Friday 2nd October 1959

57 years ago

Chevrolet debuted the Corvair. The 1960 Corvair 569 and 769 series four-door saloons were conceived as thrift cars offering few amenities in order to keep the price competitive, with the 500 (standard model) selling for under $2,000. Powered by the Turbo Air 6 engine 80 hp (60 kW; 81 PS) and three-speed manual or optional extra cost two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, the Corvair was designed to have comparable acceleration to the six-cylinder full-size Chevrolet Biscayne. The Corvair's unique design included the "Quadri-Flex" independent suspension and "Unipack Power Team" of engine, transmission and rear axle combined into a single unit. Similar to designs of European cars such as Porsche, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and others, quadri-flex used coil springs at all four wheels with independent rear suspension arms incorporated at the rear. Specially designed 6.5 in by 13 in. 4-ply tyres mounted on 13 inch wheels with 5.5 in. width were standard equipment. Available options included RPO 360, the Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission ($146), RPO 118, a Gasoline Heater ($74), RPO 119, an AM tube radio ($54), and by February 1960 the rear folding seat (formerly $32) was standard. Chevrolet produced 47,683 of the 569 model and 139,208 769 model deluxe sedans in 1960.

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Saturday 30th April 1960

57 years ago

The first Nissan Cedric, the '30' series, was unveiled. Produced until 1962, it was available only at Japanese Nissan dealerships called Nissan Bluebird Store. It was the first product labeled as a Nissan, but shared mechanicals with Datsun products built at the time. Several models were available, including the Cedric 1500 DeLuxe and Standard (30), Cedric 1900 Deluxe (D30, powered by the 1.9 L Nissan H engine), Cedric 1900 Custom (G30, also powered by the Nissan H engine), Cedric Van (V30, six-seater) and the Cedric Wagon (WP30, eight-seater). Only the Cedric Standard used a 1.5 L (1,488 cc) G-series I4 engine which produced 70 hp (52 kW). The 1.9 L (1,883 cc) H-series with 87 hp (65 kW) was optional. A four-speed manual transmission with the top three gears synchronized was standard, with a three-speed manual fitted to 1900 versions. Diesel engines were supplied by newly acquired Minsei Diesel Industries, Ltd, which was renamed Nissan Diesel Motor Co., Ltd in 1960. The Cedric replaced the Austin A50 Nissan was building under license from Austin Motor Company of England, which was called the Nissan Austin. The six-seater Cedric introduced Nissan's first monocoque body and a wrap-around windshield. The first Cedric featured two stacked headlights on either side of a large grille (inspired by a late 1950s commuter train from Japan, the Tobu JNR 151). The taillights were the same as the Datsun Bluebird 312. and was considered a six-seater. April 1962 saw the introduction of a station wagon–van, able to seat eight people. The twin-stacked headlight approach, which first appeared on large North American and European vehicles in the late 1950s, was a novel approach to suggest size and luxurious accommodations, and was also used on the 1961 Isuzu Bellel and the earlier Mercedes-Benz S-Class of the late 1950s.

Nissan Cedric - 1960

Nissan Cedric - 1960

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Tuesday 1st April 1969

48 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz C111 made its first test run at the Daimler-Benz AG test track in Unterurkheim, Germany.

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Thursday 11th September 1969

48 years ago

The experimental Mercedes-Benz C111 with three-disk rotary engine, and the car models 300 SEL 3.5 as well as 280 SE 3.5 coupe and convertible with 3.5-l, V8 engine were presented at the IAA in Frankfurt. The experimental electric omnibus OE 302 also premiered along with the Audio 100. With the new commercial vehicle model LP 1632 Daimler-Benz introduced the hydraulically tippable driver's cab. The Porsche 914-4 and 914-6 mid-engined sports cars were also unveiled at the show.

Mercedes-Benz C111

Mercedes-Benz C111

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Friday 13th March 1970

47 years ago

The first production Triumph Stag rolled off the assembly line. Envisioned as a luxury sports car, the Triumph Stag was designed to compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz SL class models. All Stags were four-seater convertible coupés, but for structural rigidity – and to meet new American rollover standards of the time – the Stag required a B-pillar "roll bar" hoop connected to the windscreen frame by a T-bar. A removable hardtop was a popular factory option for the early Stags, and was later supplied as a standard fitment. The car started as a styling experiment cut and shaped from a 1963–64 Triumph 2000 pre-production saloon, which had also been styled by Michelotti, and loaned to him by Harry Webster, Director of Engineering at Triumph. Their agreement was that if Webster liked the design, Triumph could use the prototype as the basis of a new Triumph model. Harry Webster, who was a long time friend of Giovanni Michelotti, whom he called "Micho", loved the design and took the prototype back to England. The end result, a two-door drop head (convertible), had little in common with the styling of its progenitor 2000, but retained the suspension and drive line. Triumph liked the Michelotti design so much that they propagated the styling lines of the Stag into the new T2000/T2500 saloon and estate model lines of the 1970s. The initial Stag design was based around the saloon's 2.5-litre six cylinder engine, but Harry Webster intended the Stag, large saloons and estate cars to use a new Triumph-designed overhead cam (OHC) 2.5-litre fuel injected (PI) V8. Under the direction of Harry Webster's successor, Spen King in 1968, the new Triumph OHC 2.5 PI V8 was enlarged to 2997 cc (3.0 litres) to increase torque. To meet emission standards in the USA, a key target market, the troublesome mechanical fuel injection was dropped in favour of dual Zenith-Stromberg 175 CDSE carburettors. A key aim of Triumph's engineering strategy at the time was to create a family of engines of different size around a common crankshaft. This would enable the production of power plants of capacity between 1.5 and 4 litres, sharing many parts, and hence offering economies of manufacturing scale and of mechanic training. A number of iterations of this design went into production, notably a slant four-cylinder engine used in the later Triumph Dolomite and Triumph TR7, and a variant manufactured by StanPart that was initially used in the Saab 99. The Stag's V8 was the first of these engines into production. Sometimes described as two four-cylinder engines Siamesed together, it is more correct to say that the later four-cylinder versions were half a Stag engine (the left half). It has sometimes been alleged that Triumph were instructed to use the proven all-aluminium Rover V8, originally designed by Buick, but claimed that it would not fit. Although there was a factory attempt by Triumph to fit a Rover engine, which was pronounced unsuccessful, the decision to go with the Triumph V8 was probably driven more by the wider engineering strategy and by the fact that the Buick's different weight and torque characteristics would have entailed substantial re-engineering of the Stag when it was almost ready to go on sale. Furthermore Rover, also owned by British Leyland, could not necessarily have supplied the numbers of V8 engines to match the anticipated production of the Stag anyway.[3] As in the Triumph 2000 model line, unitary construction was employed, as was fully independent suspension – MacPherson struts in front, semi-trailing arms at the rear. Braking was by front disc and rear drum brakes, while steering was power-assisted rack and pinion. The car was launched to a warm welcome at the various international auto shows. The Stag rapidly acquired a reputation for mechanical unreliability, usually in the form of overheating. These problems arose from a variety of causes. First, the late changes to the engine gave rise to design features that were questionable from an engineering perspective. For example, the water pump was set above the engine. If the engine became hot in traffic, coolant escaped from system via the expansion bottle and the overall fluid level then fell below the level of the pump. As well as preventing coolant from circulating, this also caused rapid failure of the pump. Even when the system was topped up again, the failed water pump would not circulate coolant and further overheating ensued. Water pump failures also occurred due to poorly hardened drive gears, which wore out prematurely and stopped the water pump. A second cause of engine trouble was the choice of materials. The block was made from iron and the heads from aluminium, a mixture that required the use of corrosion-inhibiting antifreeze all year round. This point was not widely appreciated either by owners or by the dealer network supporting them. Consequently the engines were affected by electrolytic corrosion, so that corroded alloy debris came loose and was distributed around inside the engine. A third cause of trouble was the engine's use of long, simplex roller link chains, which would first stretch and then often fail inside fewer than 25,000 miles (40,200 km), resulting in expensive damage. Even before failing, a stretched timing chain would skip links and cause valves to lift and fall in the wrong sequence, so that valves hit pistons and damaged both. Another problem with the cylinder heads was the arrangement of cylinder head fixing studs, half of which were vertical and the other half at an angle. The angled studs when heated and cooled, expanded and contracted at a different rate to the alloy heads, causing sideways forces which caused premature failure of the cylinder head gaskets. Anecdotally this arrangement was to reduce production costs as the cylinder head mounting studs and bolt were all accessible with the rocker covers fitted. This allowed the factory to completely assemble the cylinder head assembly before fitting to the engine. However this was not possible in the end due to the cam chain fitting and setting of the cam timing requiring the removal of the rocker covers. Finally, although pre-production engines cast by an outside foundry performed well, those fitted to production cars were made very poorly in house by a plant troubled with industrial unrest and poor quality control. Poor manufacturing standards also gave rise to head warpage, and head gaskets that restricted coolant flow, which also led to overheating. This combination of design, manufacturing and maintenance flaws caused a large number of engine failures. Time magazine rated the Triumph Stag as one of the 50 worst cars ever made. At the time, British Leyland never provided a budget sufficient to correct the few design shortcomings of the Triumph 3.0 litre OHC V8. Another problem was that the Stag was always a relatively rare car. British Leyland had around 2,500 UK dealers when the Stag was on sale and a total of around 19,000 were sold in the UK. Thus the average dealer sold only seven or eight Stags during the car's whole production run, or roughly one car per year. This meant that few dealers saw defective Stags often enough to recognise and diagnose the cause of the various problems. The last production Stag (BOL88V) is kept at the Heritage Motor Centre

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Monday 26th October 1970

46 years ago

The Mercedes Benz ESF 05, the second of five experimental safety vehicles, was introduced to the public. Externally, the ESF 05 wore a comically exaggerated energy-absorbing front bumper, which protruded more than 14.5 inches from the car’s grille. While the rear bumper was a bit more tasteful, it was still more pronounced than that of a production car. The biggest limiting factor of the ESF 05, however, was likely its weight; in addition to the increase in wheelbase and modifications to the cabin, the car also carried significant structural modifications to front and rear, and combined these changes added a significant 1,463 pounds to the ESF 05. At the time of its reveal, the experimental ESF 05 may have been the safest sedan in the world, but Mercedes-Benz knew that few customers would park such a car in their driveway.

Mercedes Benz ESF 05

Mercedes Benz ESF 05

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Wednesday 26th May 1971

46 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz ESF-03, the first of five special cars to accent safety features, was unveiled to the public.

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Wednesday 31st May 1972

45 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz ESF-05, the third of five experimental safety vehicles, was unveiled to the public. As the 1960s came to a close, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) was growing alarmed at the increasing number of fatalities on U.S. roadways. In response, the DOT began a program in 1968, urging automakers to develop Experimental Safety Vehicles (ESVs) and hosting the “Technical Conference of the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles.” Two years later, in 1970, the first standards for occupant protection in ESVs were set, and they included daunting front, rear and side impact standards. Mercedes-Benz was one of several manufacturers to rise to this challenge, and over the next four years the Stuttgart-based automaker would construct 35 ESVs (ESFs in German), based upon five experimental models, all in the name of improving traffic safety. ESF 05 was designed to withstand a frontal impact against a fixed barrier or pole of 80 KPH (49.6 MPH); a side impact against a fixed barrier or pole of 25 KPH (15.5 MPH); a rear impact of 80 KPH (49.6 MPh); and a vertical drop of 0.5 meters (19.7 inches). Inside, occupants benefited from five three-point seat belts, and the fronts were mechanized to automate use. Each belt system was equipped with force limiters to reduce injury, and both front and rear seat passengers were further protected by airbags. Rear seat airbags, which protected the outboard passengers only, were mounted in the oversize front seats, and to maintain rear legroom, the wheelbase was increased by 100 millimeters (3.9 inches). Finally, all potential impact areas within the cabin were covered with impact-absorbing polyurethane foam, adding one more layer of protections for front and rear passengers.

Mercedes-Benz ESF-05

Mercedes-Benz ESF-05

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Saturday 6th January 1973

44 years ago

A Mercedes-Benz 770K saloon, supposedly Adolf Hitler’s parade car, was sold at an Arizona auction for $153,000, the most money ever paid for a car at auction at that time.

Hitler's Mercedes-Benz 770K

Hitler's Mercedes-Benz 770K

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Tuesday 13th March 1973

44 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz ESF 22, the fourth of five experimental safety vehicles, was introduced to the public.

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Monday 8th October 1973

43 years ago

Robert Pass of Passport Transportation Ltd., a St Louis trucking firm specialising in shipping automobiles, purchased a 1940 Mercedes-Benz 770K reputedly owned by Adolf Hitler for $716,000 at an auction in Lancaster, PA - the price set a new record for collector car auctions, and marked the second time in 8 months that this car had established the record.

Mercedes Benz 770K

Mercedes Benz 770K

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Thursday 14th March 1974

43 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9, a high-performance version of the S-Class luxury sedan first shown to the motoring press. It was built on its own assembly line by Daimler-Benz AG (now DaimlerChrysler) in Stuttgart and based on the long-wheelbase version of the W116 chassis introduced in 1972. The model was generally referred to in the company's literature as the "6.9", to separate it from the regular 450SEL.

Mercedes-Benz 450SEL

Mercedes-Benz 450SEL

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Monday 3rd June 1974

43 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz ESF24, the last of five experimental cars built to test safety features, was introduced to the public. Based on the S-Class, the car was entirely conventional in appearance, yet could withstand a frontal barrier impact crash at 65 KPH (40.3 MPH). Its passenger restraint systems mirrored those of the ESF 22, and the car once again demonstrated the capabilities of anti-lock brakes. Despite the longer-travel front bumper and associated structures (which still added 10.4 inches to the overall length of the car), the weight gain of the ESF 24 was now down to 422 pounds. With the ESF 24, Mercedes-Benz had demonstrated that a car focused on safety need not sacrifice style or performance. Many of the experimental systems previewed in Mercedes-Benz’s ESF vehicles ultimately made it into production models, including anti-lock braking (which debuted as an option for the 1978 S-Class); airbags (include passenger airbags and side airbags); reinforced seatbacks with integrated and motion reducing headrests; automated seat belts (thankfully eliminated by the mid-1990s); seat belt pretensioners and force limiters; improved side impact protection; and even pictogram-labeled controls, designed to minimize driver distraction.

Mercedes-Benz ESF24

Mercedes-Benz ESF24

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Saturday 22nd February 1975

42 years ago

Debuts at Chicago Auto Show included the AMC Pacer, the Triumph TR7, and the Mercedes-Benz 450 SE. US-made convertibles were on the way out in the mid-Seventies, and Chicagoans prepared to bid farewell. A displayed Cadillac Eldorado was one of just five domestically-built ragtops on the market for 1975, all from General Motors.

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Thursday 12th June 1975

42 years ago

Production of the Chrysler Imperial came to an end. Imperial was the Chrysler Corporation's luxury automobile brand between 1955 and 1975, with a brief reappearance in 1981 to 1983, and a second reapearance from 1990-1993. The Imperial name had been used since 1926, but was never a separate make, just the top-of-the-line Chrysler. However, in 1955, the company decided to spin Imperial off as its own make and division to better compete with its North American rivals, Lincoln and Cadillac, and European luxury sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz 300 Adenauer and the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.[1][2][3] Imperial would see new body styles introduced every two to three years, all with V8 engines and automatic transmissions, as well as technologies that would filter down to Chrysler corporation's other models.

Chrysler Imperial

Chrysler Imperial

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Thursday 9th February 1978

39 years ago

Racer Hans Stuck (77) died in Gronau, West Germany. Stuck's experience with car racing started in 1922 with early morning runs bringing milk from his farm to Munich, shortly after his first marriage. This eventually led to his taking up hill-climbing; he won his first race, at Baden-Baden, in 1923. A few years later, after a year as a privateer for Austro-Daimler, he became a works driver for them in 1927, doing well in hill climbs, and making his first appearance in a circuit race (the German Grand Prix) that year as well. In 1931, Austro-Daimler left racing, and Stuck eventually wound up driving a Mercedes-Benz SSKL in sports car racing, where he continued to excel. In 1933, his acquaintance with Adolf Hitler (whom he had met by chance on a hunting trip in 1925) led to his involvement with Ferdinand Porsche and Auto Union in Hitler's plans for German auto racing. With his experience from racing up mountain passes in the Alps in the 1920s, he was virtually unbeatable when he got the new Auto Union car, which was designed by Porsche. Its rear mounted engine provided superior traction compared to conventional front engine designs, so that its (eventually) 500+ horse-power could be transformed into speed even on non-paved roads. In circuit racing, the new car was very hard to master, though, due to the swing axle rear suspension design initially adopted by Porsche (relatively advanced for its day, it is now utterly obsolete because of its many problems). His career with Auto Union was quite successful. In 1934, he won the German, Swiss and Czechoslovakian Grand Prix races (as well as finishing second in the Italian Grand Prix and Eifelrennen). There was no European Championship for the circuit races that year, or he would have won it. Wins in a number of hill-climb races brought him European Mountain Champion, the first of three he would eventually collect. In 1935, he won the Italian Grand Prix (along with second at the German Grand Prix; he also won his usual collection of hill-climb wins, again taking the European Mountain Championship. 1936 was leaner; he placed second in the Tripoli and German Grands Prix, finishing second in the competition for the European Championship. After Stuck missed a number of hill-climbs because of injuries suffered in accidents, that year the European Mountain Championship fell to his famous team-mate, Bernd Rosemeyer. 1937 was equally lean, bringing only second places in the Rio de Janeiro and Belgian Grands Prix. 1938 opened poorly; Stuck was either fired from, or quit, the Auto Union team (accounts from the two sides differ). After a series of injuries to other team drivers, as well as pressure from the German government (again, accounts differ as to what combination of factors was the cause), he was re-hired, and proved himself by winning a third European Mountain Championship, his last major pre-war success.

Hans Stuck

Hans Stuck

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Saturday 25th February 1978

39 years ago

Visitors to the Chicago Auto Show flocked to see the Mercedes-Benz C-111 sport coupe equipped with a turbocharged 5 cylinder diesel engine, that set three world records, averaging 156.5 mph for 10,000 miles. Additionally that year, Oldsmobile offered its Starfire Firenza, Holiday 88 coupe and sport-painted Cutlass Supreme. Buick showed a 75th anniversary Riviera, and Chrysler introduced its subcompact front-drive Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon. Dodge used a pair of space-suited presenters from the imaginary planet "Omni" to promote the car. Concept cars on show included the American Motors Crown Pacer, American Motors Gremlin GT, Chevrolet Black Sterling. Dodge Big Red and Ford Corrida by Ghia.

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Sunday 30th April 1978

39 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz C-111/3 research car sets nine world records for diesel-engined cars, including 2,345 miles in 12 hours (an average of 195.39 mph)

Mercedes-Benz C-111/3

Mercedes-Benz C-111/3

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Sunday 15th October 1978

38 years ago

The prototype 3-litre diesel Mercedes C111-3 attained 203.3 mph in tests on the Nardo Circuit Southern Italy. The car, with an air drag coefficient of .191, maintained an average speed of 195.4 mph over a 12 hour period, covering a record distance of 2344 miles and averaged 16.0 liters/100 km at 316 km/h (14.7 mpg at 195.4 mph). The C111-3 was powered by a 170 kW (230 hp) at 4,500 rpm straight-five OM617 turbocharged Diesel engine. A later 372 kW (500 hp) 4.8 L twin KKK-turbocharged V8 version set another record, with an average lap-speed of 403.78 km/h (250.958 mph). It was achieved by Hans Leibold in 1 minute, 56.67 seconds on May 5, 1979. Mercedes-Benz introduced the C112 at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1991 as a proposed production sports car. The car used a mid-mounted 6.0 L V12 engine. After accepting 700 deposits, the company decided not to proceed with production.

Mercedes C111-3

Mercedes C111-3

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Sunday 25th February 1979

38 years ago

Christie's Ltd., the London-based auction firm, held its first collector car auction in Los Angeles. M.L. Bud Cohn purchased a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K roadster for $400,000. High-end automobile auctions are commonplace today, and Mr. Cohn's purchase seems like a bargain, considering that in 1987 a 1963 Ferrari GTO hardtop sold for $1.6 million.

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Wednesday 4th April 1979

38 years ago

Dr Hans Nibol, driving the Mercedes-Benz C111/IV with a 4.8-litre V8 petrol engine (368 kW/500 hp) at the Nardo track in Italy, set several speed records, including the closed track record of 250.918 mph.

Mercedes-Benz C111/IV

Mercedes-Benz C111/IV

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Saturday 5th May 1979

38 years ago

In a trial, Dr Hans Liebold lapped the 7.85 mile high speed track at Nardo, Italy in 1 min 52.67 sec in a Mercedes-Benz C111-IV experimental coupe, at an average speed of 250.958 mph – a new record average lap speed on a closed circuit. The car was powered by a V8 engine with two KKK turbochargers with an output of 500 bhp at 6200 rpm

Mercedes-Benz C111-IV

Mercedes-Benz C111-IV

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Sunday 23rd September 1979

37 years ago

The new S-class Mercedes-Benz 280 S, 280 SE, 280 SEL, 380 SE, 380 SEL, 500 SE and 500 SEL (Series 126) models and the 300 TD Turbodiesel (Series 123) were all presented at the IAA in Frankfurt am Main.

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Friday 22nd August 1980

37 years ago

Alfred Neubauer (89) racing manager of the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix team from 1926 to 1955, died. Neubauer used to repair motor vehicles while he was an officer during his service in the Imperial Austrian army. After the First World War, he joined the Austrian car manufacturer Austro-Daimler, where Ferdinand Porsche appointed him to be chief tester. From 1922 onwards, Neubauer also drove in races, although without any great success. In 1923, when Ferdinand Porsche moved to the Daimler Works at Stuttgart (Daimler-Benz was not founded until 1926), he took Neubauer with him. In 1926, recognizing that he himself was not a great racing driver, Neubauer got an inspiration that let him create the position of racing team manager (Rennleiter). Racing drivers in those days being isolated from the outside, they often did not know their position in a race. Occasionally a driver would learn that he had won after a race merely by surprise. To overcome this situation, Alfred Neubauer devised a well thought-out system, with flags and boards, to give his drivers more tactical information. When he tried out the system for the first time at the 1926 Solituderennen on 12 September 1926, the chief steward demanded angrily that he leave the track, since his 'antics' were irritating the drivers. To Neubauer's explanation that he was the Rennleiter, the organizer responded: ‘Are you mad? I’m the Rennleiter’. The Mercedes-Benz team was soon winning races with SS and SSK racing cars, frequently in the hands of Rudolf Caracciola, the best driver during those days. Neubauer's contribution lay not just in his tactical skill, but also in the perfectionistical, almost military drill of the pit crew, which constantly gave the team a time advantage over its rivals. Neubauer's organization at the Mille Miglia in 1931 was a master stroke. To reach each staging post before Caracciola arrived, he repeatedly criss-crossed Italy with his team. According to Neubauer, the origin of the Silver Arrows phrase was due to the cars being overweighted at their first race. Neubauer's story states that the rules prescribed a weight limit of 750 kg, whilst one day before the new cars' first race they weighed in at 751 kg. This led to Neubauer and Manfred von Brauchitsch eventually coming up with the idea of removing the cars' white paint. The silver-coloured aluminium bodywork was exposed, and the Silver Arrows were born. However, this story is a fabrication by Neubauer himself, a well-known raconteur. The debut race was run to Formula Libre rules, meaning there was no weight limit. Additionally, there are no reports or photographs from the time suggesting that the cars were ever run in white paint. The Silver Arrows years were dominated by German racing cars and the rivalry between Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. In its most successful phase, the Mercedes-Benz team's regular drivers were Rudolf Caracciola, Hermann Lang, Manfred von Brauchitsch, and Richard Seaman. After the Second World War, Mercedes-Benz was anxious to return to racing as soon as possible, but a new formula was announced for 1954, and there was insufficient time to produce a new model. As a compromise solution, the design of the Mercedes-Benz 300 was adapted. This resulted in a new racing car, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. With this car, Neubauer achieved victories at the Carrera Panamericana and the Le Mans 24-hour race. When Mercedes-Benz cars returned to Grand Prix racing in 1954, the new Silver Arrows proved to be much superior than they had been before the war. Juan Manuel Fangio was World Champion in 1954 and 1955. Probably Neubauer's worst day as racing manager was at Le Mans in 1955, when a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR driven by Frenchman Pierre Levegh, was catapulted into the crowd, killing more than 80 people. After consultation with Stuttgart, Neubauer withdrew the remaining cars from the event. After the shock of Le Mans, Mercedes-Benz withdrew from racing altogether, and Alfred Neubauer retired.

Alfred Neubauer

Alfred Neubauer

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Wednesday 10th June 1981

36 years ago

The last 'der Grosser' Mercedes-Benz 600 was produced, ending a production run of 2,677 units over 18 years.

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Friday 12th August 1983

34 years ago

(13th-21st ): A record Mercedes-Benz drive took place in Nardo, Italy. In only 201 hours, 39 minutes and 43 seconds a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 runs 50,000 kilometers, setting a world record. In addition to this achievement, two further world records are set over 25,000 kilometers and 25,000 miles, and nine class records are set.

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Saturday 13th August 1983

34 years ago

(13th-21st ): To demonstrate the reliability of its car’s, Mercedes-Benz set a number of world records with the Mercedes 190E. From this day to August 21st at the circular high-speed track in Nardò, Italy, three sports vehicles covered a distance of 50,000 kilometers (31,068 miles) over the course of just 201 hours, 39 minutes and 43 seconds. The cars also set two world records over a distance of 25,000 km (15,534 mi), one world record for 25,000 miles (40,233 km) and nine other records in their class. The cars ran full-throttle in fifth gear at 6,000 rpm, averaging 247.94 km/h (154.06 mph) and little over 22 liters/100 km (c. 11 mpg). The record cars were largely identical to the series production version, which debuted a month later at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show

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Sunday 12th January 1986

31 years ago

American singer Luther Vandross was injured and his passenger killed, when his Mercedes-Benz went out of control and crashed on Laurel Canyon Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Vandross was charged with vehicular manslaughter. Pleading to a lesser charge, the case was quietly settled out of court with a payment to the Salvemini family for about $630,000.

Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross

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Saturday 7th February 1987

30 years ago

As they did every year, crowds lined up early to get in to the 1987 Chicago Auto Show. Although their primary objective was to get a glimpse of the latest models, the fortunate few were able to see sports legends Walter Payton and Michael Jordan up close. Cadillac had a fresh idea in 1987, turning out the two-passenger Allante convertible as a rival to the Mercedes-Benz 560SL. Riding a shortened Eldorado chassis, it had bodywork designed and built by Pininfarina in Italy. Among Buick's contribution were a series of performance cars based on the old rear-drive Regal coupe. In addition to the Grand National, the limited-edition Buick GNX went on sale in 1987, built by ASC Inc., with a $30,000 price tag. Only 500 were produced

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Monday 19th October 1987

29 years ago

Racer Hermann Lang (78), one of the great drivers of the 1930s, died of natural causes. The German made his racing debut on the 16th June 1935 at the Nürburgring, finishing 5th. He went on to win several Grands Prix and to become the 1939 European Hill Climb Champion, at the time quite a desirable title. World War II robbed him of his best years, but he emerged as a Formula 1 driver in 1951 with an outdated Mercedes-Benz W 154. Driving the Mercedes 300 SL sports car he won the 1952 Eifelrennen, the Prix de Berne and together with Fritz Riess, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The following year he showed up at the Swiss GP with a Maserati, finishing fifth. Mercedes entered Formula 1 officially in 1954 but at age 45 Lang missed out on a podium finish at his home Grand Prix by going off. Hermann had to accept that his racing days were over, he retired from the sport but remained working for Mercedes.

Hermann Lang

Hermann Lang

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Wednesday 17th February 1988

29 years ago

The ten-millionth Mercedes-Benz car produced since the war rolled off the production line at Sindelfingen, Germany.

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Sunday 9th October 1988

28 years ago

Felix Wankel, the only twentieth-century engineer to have designed an internal-combustion engine which went into production, passed away at the age of 86 in Lindau, Germany, where he did much of his research and where Wankel Research and Development is still located. During World War II, Wankel developed seals and rotary valves for German air force aircraft and navy torpedoes, for BMW and Daimler-Benz. After the war, in 1945, he was imprisoned by France for some months, his laboratory was closed by French occupation troops, his work was confiscated, and he was prohibited from doing more work. However, by 1951, he got funding from the Goetze AG company to furnish the new Technical Development Center in his private house in Lindau on Lake Constance. He began development of the engine at NSU Motorenwerke AG, leading to the first running prototype on 1 February 1957.Unlike modern Wankel engines, this version had both the rotor and housing rotating. It developed 21 horsepower. His engine design was first licensed by Curtiss-Wright in New Jersey, United States. On 19 January 1960 the rotary engine was presented for the first time to specialists and the press in a meeting of the German Engineers' Union at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. In the same year, with the KKM 250, the first practical rotary engine was presented in a converted NSU Prinz. At this time the "Wankel engine" became synonymous with the rotary engine, whereas previously it was called the "Motor nach System NSU/Wankel". At the 1963 IAA, the NSU company presented the NSU Wankel-Spider, the first consumer vehicle, which went into production in 1964. Great attention was received by the NSU in August 1967 for the very modern NSU Ro 80, which had a 115-horsepower engine with two rotors. It was the first German car selected as "Car of the Year" in 1968. In Japan, the manufacturer Mazda solved the engine's chatter marks problem. The engine has been successfully used by Mazda in several generations of their RX-series of coupés and sedans, including the Mazda Cosmo, R100, the RX-7 and more recently the RX-8. Mercedes-Benz completed it's C111 experimental model in 1969 with 3-rotor Wankel engine. In 1970 next model which had a 4-rotor Wankel engine could reach top speed 290 km/h but reached never serial production. Wankel became a success in business by securing license agreements around the world. By 1958 Wankel and partners had founded the "Wankel GmbH" company, providing Wankel with a share of the profits for marketing the engine. Among the licensees were Daimler-Benz since 1961, General Motors since 1970, Toyota since 1971. Royalties for the Wankel GmbH for licensure were 40%, later 36%. In 1971 Wankel sold his share of the license royalties for 50 million Deutschmarks to the English conglomerate Lonrho. The following year he got his Technical Development Center back from the Fraunhofer Society. From 1986 the Felix Wankel Institute cooperated with Daimler Benz AG. Daimler Benz provided the operating costs in return for the research rights. He sold the Institute to Daimler Benz for 100 million Marks.

Felix Wankel

Felix Wankel

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Monday 8th May 1989

28 years ago

Rudolf Uhlenhaut (82), Anglo-German engineer and executive for Mercedes-Benz, died. The son of a German father and a British mother Uhlenhaut studied mechanical engineering at the University of Munich before going straight into the Mercedes-Benz experimental department in 1931. He became involved in engine development programmes until the middle of 1936 when unexpectedly he was named technical director of the newly formed Competition Department at the age of 30. That year Mercedes-Benz had struggled to be competitive in Grand Prix racing and decided that the best course of action would be to test the cars himself to see what was wrong with them. He then designed a new car for 1937. The Mercedes W125 was one of the classic racing cars of the era and took Rudi Caracciola to the European title that year. A change in the formula for 1938 meant that Uhlenhaut had to design a completely new car for 1938. The result was the W154 which was the dominant Grand Prix car in 1938 and 1939 with Caracciola and Hermann Lang both winning European titles with the cars. Uhlenhaut stayed with Mercedes-Benz during the war years and helped the company rebuild afterwards. The company re-entered competition in 1952 with the 300SL and in June that year Hermann Lang and Fritz Weiss won the Le Mans 24 Hours in one of the cars. and at the end of the year Karl Kling and Hans Klenk won the Carrera Panamericana. In 1954 the company returned to Grand Prix racing with the Uhlenhaut-designed streamlined W196 which was immediately dominant, taking Juan-Manuel Fangio to the World Championship that year. The company signed up Stirling Moss to be Fangio’s team mate in 1955 and Fangio won the title again. Mercedes-Benz also won the World Sportscar series with the 300SLR which won the Mille Miglia, the Tourist Trophy and the Targa Florio. The company also won the European Rally Championship with Wrener Engel in a 300SL. At Le Mans, however, one of the cars crashed into the crowd, causing the worst disaster in motor racing history and at the end of that season the company withdrew from competition. Uhlenhaut stayed with the company and became chief development engineer for passenger cars, notably with the Wankel rotary-engined C111 which appeared in 1970, until he retired.

Rudolf Uhlenhaut

Rudolf Uhlenhaut

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Wednesday 6th January 1993

24 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz CLK was presented at the "North American International Auto Show" in Detroit, US. The CLK introduced a new market niche for Mercedes-Benz. Although the W208 used components from the E-Class (W210), aesthetic based on the E-Class and had a specification level higher than the E-Class, it was in fact based on the less expensive C-Class (W202) platform. Two versions were initially available: the four-cylinder CLK 200 (136 PS (100 kW; 134 bhp)) and four-cylinder supercharged and CLK 230 Kompressor 193–197 PS (142–145 kW; 190–194 bhp). The CLK320 Coupé was introduced in the 1997 model year, powered by a 218 PS (160 kW; 215 bhp) 3.2 L V6 engine. The CLK GTR FIA GT1 racing car appeared in 1998, powered by a 5.9 L V12 engine; 25 road-going CLK GTRs were made. The CLK 320 Cabriolet and the 279 PS (205 kW; 275 bhp), M113 4.3 L V8-powered CLK430 appeared in 1999. All models were available in both coupé and convertible form. In Europe, the supercharged I-4 powered CLK200 Kompressor was also available, reaching impressive 193bhp, thanks to euro2 permissive emission specs. In late 1999 for the 2000 model year, a facelift was launched which incorporated, among others, a revised instrument cluster with a bigger multifunction display, steering wheel with controls for the multifunction display and radio, Tiptronic automatic gearbox, revised bumpers and new side skirts. Wing mirror-mounted turn signals were not implemented until 2001 for the 2002 year model. In the United States, the CLK430 could be equipped with a "Sport Package," which gave it the external styling of the more powerful CLK55 AMG, and equipped it with the same wheels and tires as its AMG counterpart (see section "CLK55 AMG"). This allowed it to reach up to 0.83G's of lateral acceleration, and 66.5 mph on the slalom run. The high-performance CLK 55 AMG, which was introduced first in Europe in 2000, was powered by the 372 PS (274 kW; 367 bhp) M113 5.4 L V8 engine; the CLK55 AMG Cabriolet was launched in 2002, the last model year of this body style.

Mercedes-Benz CLK 320 (C 208)

Mercedes-Benz CLK 320 (C 208)

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Sunday 19th September 1993

24 years ago

Production of the Ford Orion ended. A total of 534,239 Orions were sold throughout the car's 10-year life. Orion Mark I: In the early 1980s, Ford's model line-up and image was changing. The company's older saloon line-up was replaced mainly by hatchbacks, from the Escort to the Granada and the new Sierra (which replaced the Cortina). The Orion was designed to fill the market demand for a traditional four-door saloon, left by the demise of the Cortina. The Orion looked similar to a contemporary Escort at the front, but the rear of the body was totally different; the Orion had a long flat boot (making the car a three-box saloon design) rather than a Hatchback or Station wagon body like the Escort. Although the Orion's length was similar to that of the contemporary Ford Sierra,[clarification needed] the latter had more rear legroom with the Orion having a larger boot. Ford initially offered the Orion in only GL and Ghia trim levels, missing out on the very lowest specification levels available on the Escort. Only 1300 cc and 1600 cc CVH engine options were available (though with both Carburettor and Fuel injection options on the 1.6 Ghia). A lower specification L model was introduced in 1984 as was the option of a 1.6 Diesel engine on L and GL models.The Orion Ghia 1.6i standard features included Central locking, sunroof, front sport seats, electric windows, rear head restraints, tachometer and an information binnacle informing the driver when the vehicle needed maintenance. All of these features were rare equipment on a small family car in the 1980s, giving the Orion upmarket pretensions. Other cars in the small executive saloon class competing with the Orion included the Volkswagen Jetta, Mercedes-Benz 190, Rover 200, Vauxhall Belmont, Daihatsu Charmant, BMW E30 and the Volvo 360. The Orion 1.6i shared the same engine as the Escort XR3i and offered similar performance and handling without the insurance unfriendly tag that the XR badge started to command in the late 1980s. The 1.6i was topped by a luxury limited edition called the 1600E in 1989, the 1600E name harking back to the Mark II Ford Cortina 1600E as both were considered as decent performance and well-equipped saloon cars for the working person. The Orion 1600E was available in black, white and metallic grey and had RS alloys, wood cappings on the dashboard and doors, and grey leather seats. Only 1,600 were made, and only 1,000 of these had leather trim. Eventually though, as the years went by, Ford brought the styling and engineering of the Orion closer to the Escort's. Lower-specification models crept into the range. Ford Orion Mark II: In 1986, the Orion received the same facelift as the rest of the Escort range. The Mark II brought the option of anti-lock-brakes (Anti-lock braking system) and a heated front windscreen to the range. The CVH engines were upgraded and were now 'lean burn units' and various models in the range could run on Unleaded fuel without modifications to the cylinder head or to the fuel system. Improved locks were fitted across the range, and a number of other improvements were carried out. Orion Mark III: The third generation Orion had its début in September 1990, but received the similar media criticism that the Escort endured for its lack of design flair as well as the disappointing refinement of some of its engines — particularly the low powered 1.3 OHV and 1.4 OHC petrol units. As with the Escort, the arrival of the Zetec 16 Valve engines and Suspension (vehicle) changes in 1992 improved the Orion's dynamic qualities. The range topping Orion Ghia Si (sports injection) had 130 bhp (97 kW) out of its 1.8L DOHC Zetec unit, making this the fastest production model Orion that Ford produced through the cars 10 year life. Saloon versions of later Escort series: In September 1993, a decade after the cars launch Ford dropped the Orion badge (following Vauxhall Motors drop of the Vauxhall Belmont in 1991) in most markets (excepting Argentina) and simply used the Escort trademark for all body styles; amongst other things this kept the Escort in its traditionally commanding position high in sales charts. The Escort saloon was discontinued in 1998, when production was pruned back on the launch of the Focus. Sales of the Escort-badged saloon were not as strong as those achieved by the Orion, as saloons of this size continued to fall in popularity throughout the 1990s.

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Friday 4th March 1994

23 years ago

A joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and SMH (today The Swatch Group Ltd) was announced to the world’s press.

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Thursday 15th September 1994

23 years ago

Ford produced the three millionth Ford Transit. In continuous production since 1965 in four basic generations to the present day, the van was produced initially at Ford's Langley facility in Berkshire (a former WW2 aircraft factory which produced the Hawker Hurricane fighter), but as demand outstripped the capability of the plant, production was moved to Southampton, where it has remained ever since. Transits have also been produced in Ford's Genk factory in Belgium. The Mk.1 Transit was introduced to replace the Ford Thames, a small van noted for its narrow track and was in direct competition with similar looking vehicles from Rootes's Commer range. The Thames failed to win over company users in significant enough numbers, so Ford went back to the drawing board. Henry Ford II's revolutionary step was to combine the engineering effort of Ford of Britain, and Ford of Germany together to create a prototype for the Ford of Europe of today - previously the two subsidiaries had been in direct competition with each other. The Transit was a huge departure from the European commercial vehicles of the day - its broad track and American-ized styling gave it a huge advantage in carrying capacity over comparable vehicles of the day and revolutionised light goods transport. Most of the Transit's mechanical components were adapted from Ford's car range of the time. Another key to the Transit's success was the sheer number of different body styles - panel vans in long and short wheelbase forms, pick-up truck, minibuses, crew-cabs to name but a few. The engines used were the Essex V4 for the petrol engined version in 1.7 L and 2.0 L capacities, while a 41 bhp (31 kW) diesel unit sourced from Perkins was also offered. The Perkins diesel engine was too long to fit under the Transit's stubby nose section, which had to be restyled for the diesel version. The 1978 Transit Mk.2 was essentially a facelift of the predecessor, with a restyled nose section, new interior, and the introduction of the Pinto engine from the Cortina in place of the Essex V4. High performance versions intended for police or ambulance use used the 3.0 L V6 version of the Essex engine. Ford's own "York" diesel engine was made available during this time also in place of the rather underpowered Perkins unit. Today most Transits sold are diesel-powered. The Mk.3 version appeared in 1986 and was notable for its all-new bodyshell, which was of "one-box" design (i.e the windscreen and engine hood are at the same angle), and the front suspension was changed to fully independent configuration. A major facelift in 1995 gave the Transit a new nose and dashboard, along with the DOHC 16 valve version of the Pinto engine in the gasoline-powered versions. Ford introduced in 2002 the Transit Connect, a smaller panel van aimed at replacing the older Escort and Fiesta based models. It shares very little with the full-size Transit in terms of engineering, although is produced alongside the larger van in a new purpose built facility in Turkey. The fourth generation of the Transit was officially launched in January 2013 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A OneFord globally developed vehicle, the new-generation Transit was designed by Ford of Europe and co-developed with Ford in North America. In a break from the previous generation of the Transit, there are two distinct body forms: Mid-size front wheel drive: now a distinct model, branded Transit/Tourneo Custom. It is intended to compete with vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz Vito/Viano and Volkswagen Transporter T5. Full size rear wheel drive: a full size version, to enable Transit to better replace the outgoing 40-year-old Econoline/E-Series in the North American market. While the front-wheel drive V347 Transit was sold alongside the E-Series in Mexico starting in 2007 (replacing the Freestar minivan), this generation of the Transit is the first to be officially sold in the United States and Canada. As part of the development cycle, Ford loaned examples of the previous-generation (V347/348) Transit to high-mileage drivers in the United States for evaluation purposes and durability testing. Both versions external design look evolved from the New Edge styling used from the previous-generation model to the Kinetic design adopted by the OneFord global models since 2010; the interior drew cues from the third generation Ford Focus. The Transit has been the bestselling light commercial van in Europe for over 50 years, and in some countries the name "Transit" has passed into common usage as a term applying to any light commercial van.

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Monday 17th July 1995

22 years ago

The legendary Argentinian driver Juan Manuel Fangio (84) nicknamed El Chueco ("the bowlegged one", or El Maestro ("The Master"), who dominated the first decade of Formula One racing, died. He won the World Championship of Drivers five times, a record which stood for 46 years until beaten by Michael Schumacher—with four different teams - Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Maserati. Regarded by many as one of the greatest drivers of all time Fangio holds the highest winning percentage in Formula One - 46.15% - winning 24 of 52 Formula One races he entered.

Juan Manuel Fangio

Juan Manuel Fangio

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Monday 22nd April 1996

21 years ago

At the 66th Turin International Motor Show, the series version of the Mercedes-Benz SLK was publicly presented for the first time. The designation "SLK" derives from the company's design mission to create a roadster that was at once sporty, light and short—in German: sportlich (sporty), leicht (light) und kurz (short). It was powered by a 193 hp 2.3 L supercharged straight-4 engine and a choice of automatic transmission or 5-speed manual transmission. The SLK was a modern incarnation of the 1950s Mercedes-Benz 190SL by returning to four cylinders and a 94-inch (2,400 mm) wheelbase. The roof design, marketed as the Vario-Roof, consists of a folding steel hard top divided in half along a transverse axis. Both halves are linked by a kinematic mechanism which is locked securely when the roof is closed. At the touch of a button on the centre console, a hydraulic system with five cylinders controls the fully automatic folding process in which the boot lid is also integrated. It opens by tipping to the rear so that the two roof halves have sufficient movement to pivot backwards as the roof opens; the roof sections then position themselves on top of each other and fold into the boot. If the roof is to be closed, the same sequence of movements is performed in reverse order. The hydraulic system stows the roof in the upper section of the boot. A plastic roller blind separates the roof from the luggage space below, a volume with a capacity of 145 litres in the first-generation SLK. With the roof closed, the load volume increased to 348 litres (12.3 cu ft). Two fixed roll-over bars behind the seats worked with the A-pillars to form an integrated system offering a high degree of roll-over protection. The steel roof provides added protection, which is normally found in a coupe, but with the flexibility of a convertible at the same time. Worldwide sales hit 55,000, over double the entire nine-year production of 190SLs, and between 1996 and 2004, over 311,000 SLKs were sold.[citation needed] The very first U.S.-market R170 Mercedes SLK was completed on November 1, 1996 and went on sale in January 1997 for the 1998 model year. The last was completed on April 7, 2004.

Mercedes-Benz SLK

Mercedes-Benz SLK

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Thursday 13th June 1996

21 years ago

German designer of the pre-war Mercedes-Benz 540K and post-war Mercedes-Benz 300SL, Friedrich Geiger (88) died.

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Tuesday 17th December 1996

20 years ago

The 15 millionth Mercedes-Benz car produced since the war rolled off the Sindelfingen line in Germany.

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Monday 13th January 1997

20 years ago

Detroit (North American) Auto Show opened. Production cars introduced included the Chevrolet Corvette C5, Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Durango, Ford Escort ZX2, Mercedes-Benz CLK, Subaru Forester, Toyota Sienna, and the Volvo C70 convertible.

Ford Escort ZX2

Ford Escort ZX2

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Friday 30th May 1997

20 years ago

Béla Barényi (90), the father of passive safety in automobiles, who developed the concept of the crumple zone, non-deformable passenger cell, collapsible steering column etc. and other features of Mercedes-Benz automobiles, died.

Béla Barényi

Béla Barényi

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Saturday 7th February 1998

19 years ago

A Chevrolet Corvette convertible featured on the cover of the 90th Chicago Auto Show program. A record-breaker crowd of 1,080,637 attended the 1998 show. Big hits at the annual event, were the Volkswagen New Beetle, 1999 Chevy Tahoe Z71, Ford Libre concept convertible, Mercedes-Benz Maybach, Kia sponsored Elan sports car, and the debut of next-generation Mitsubishi Galant.

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Thursday 12th November 1998

18 years ago

Daimler-Benz completed a merger with Chrysler to form Daimler-Chrysler. The merger was contentious, with investors launching lawsuits over whether the transaction was the ‘merger of equals’ that senior management claimed or actually amounted to a Daimler-Benz takeover of Chrysler. Daimler-Chrysler appeared to run as two independent product lines until 2002 when the company launched products that integrated both sides of the company, including the Chrysler Crossfire, which was based on the Mercedes SLK platform and utilised Mercedes’ 3.2L V6, and the Dodge Sprinter/Freightliner Sprinter, a re-badged Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. They demerged in 2007 when Daimler agreed to sell the Chrysler unit to Cerberus Capital Management for $6 billion.

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Thursday 11th March 1999

18 years ago

The Zonda C12 made its debut in Geneva. Powered by a 6.0 L Mercedes-Benz V12 engine producing 389 hp, mated to a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox. The C12 could accelerate to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.2 seconds and to 100 mph (160 km/h) in 9.2 seconds.

Zonda C12

Zonda C12

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Wednesday 17th March 1999

18 years ago

DaimlerChrysler unveiled the first driveable zero-emission, fuel cell car in the US, that demonstrated a 40% increase in fuel cell power and up to three times the range of a battery-powered vehicle. NECAR 4 (New Electric Car), used fuel cell technology to generate electricity and water vapour. Based on a Mercedes-Benz A-class compact car, NECAR 4 could achieve 90 mph and travel nearly 280 miles (450 km) before refuelling. The fuel cell system was incorporated in the vehicle floor allowing the compact car to comfortably seat five passengers and leave plenty space for luggage.

NECAR 4

NECAR 4

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Sunday 9th January 2000

17 years ago

Concept cars introduced at the Detroit (North American AutoShow included the GMC Terradyne and the Mercedes-Benz Vision SLA.

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Friday 18th January 2002

15 years ago

A 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, purchased from the 1937 Berlin Motor Show stand for movie mogul Jack Warner was sold by RM Auctions at Phoenix at an auction for $3.6 million.

Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster

Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster

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Tuesday 18th March 2003

14 years ago

Karl Kling, German F1 driver died in Gaienhofen on Lake Constance, Germany due to natural causes. He was 92. It has been stated that Kling was born too late and too early. Too late to be in the successful Mercedes team of the '30s and too early to have a real chance in 1954 and 1955. Unusually, Kling found his way into motorsport via his first job as a reception clerk at Daimler-Benz in the mid-1930s, competing in hillclimb and trials events in production machinery in his spare time. During the Second World War he gained mechanical experience servicing Luftwaffe aircraft, and after the cessation of hostilities he resumed his motorsport involvement in a BMW 328. Kling was instrumental in developing Mercedes' return to international competition in the early 1950s, and his win in the 1952 Carrera Panamericana road race, driving the then-experimental Mercedes-Benz 300SL was a defining point in assuring the Daimler-Benz management that motorsport had a place in Mercedes' future. Called up to the revived Mercedes Grand Prix squad in 1954 he finished less than one second behind the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio on his Formula One debut, taking second place in the 1954 French Grand Prix at the fast Reims-Gueux circuit. This promising start was not to last, and with the arrival of Stirling Moss at Mercedes in 1955 Kling was effectively demoted to third driver. However, away from the World Championship, Kling took impressive victories in both the Berlin Grand Prix (at AVUS, another high-speed circuit) and the Swedish Grand Prix. He left the Formula One team at the end of the season, to succeed Alfred Neubauer as head of Mercedes motorsport. He was in this post during their successful rallying campaigns of the 1960s, occasionally taking the wheel himself. On one such occasion he drove a Mercedes-Benz 220SE to victory in the mighty 1961 Algiers-Cape Town trans-African rally.

Karl Kling

Karl Kling

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Friday 24th October 2003

13 years ago

A ‘Fastest Caravan Tow’ record was achieved when a Mercedes-Benz S600 driven by South African Eugene Herbert reached a speed of 139.113 mph towing a standard caravan at Hoedspruit Air Force Base in South Africa.

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Friday 6th February 2004

13 years ago

On the cover of the official 2004 Chicago Auto Show program were the door-prize Lexus SC 430 convertible and the Acura TL four-door sedan during the First Look for Charity evening event. American singer and songwriter Cyndi Lauper entertained the crowds in the Mercedes-Benz exhibit during the black tie affair, which was held the evening prior to the public opening of the 96th edition of the auto show. That year, more than $2 million was raised for 16 local charities. Making their public debuts at the Chicago show were the 2005 Buick LaCrosse and '05 Mercury Montego. Dodge displayed the Ram Rumble Bee pickup, which returned for model year 2004, and the PT Cruiser lineup was expanded to include a convertible. Carroll Shelby was on hand to present the Ford Shelby Cobra concept car.

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Friday 3rd September 2004

13 years ago

A 1929 Mercedes-Benz 38/250 SSK was sold for $7.4 million by Bonhams at Sussex, UK. The purest sports car of its time, a trio of SSKs swept the podium at the 1927 German Grand Prix. Thirty-three cars were built, and all lived hard lives--today only a handful of original and complete cars survive. This was a desirable short-wheelbase car, fully documented from new, unrestored and still wearing its original coachwork.

Mercedes-Benz 38/250 SSK

Mercedes-Benz 38/250 SSK

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Sunday 6th March 2005

12 years ago

Giancarlo Fisichella in a Renault R25 won the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne. The first attempt to start the race was yellow flagged, due to the stalled McLaren of Kimi Räikkönen, who would eventually start the abbreviated race (57 laps from 58) in pit lane. When the red lights did finally go out, front row starters Fisichella and Jarno Trulli protected their positions and led the rest of the field through the first lap. Starting third in his home grand prix, Mark Webber– in his Williams debut– was outsprinted to the first corner by David Coulthard's Red Bull. Rubens Barrichello and Fernando Alonso each moved up three spots on the first lap, showing more of their cars' true potential than what was seen in the rain-soaked qualifying. Sato made the best start, moving from last place to 14th. Jacques Villeneuve had the worst start– his first in the Sauber– as he dropped five positions on the opening lap after losing forward momentum in a first-corner position skirmish. As Fisichella and Trulli raced away at the front, Coulthard began to gradually fall back, holding up Webber, Nick Heidfeld (also making his Williams debut), Christian Klien, Juan Pablo Montoya and Barrichello. Several seconds further back was Villeneuve, struggling to hold off a charging Alonso, who was himself just ahead of Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher (in his first start for Toyota). Close behind were Felipe Massa, Sato, the elder Schumacher, and Räikkönen, who doggedly pursued the champion but could not find a way past. The four rookies were a little further back: the two Jordans of Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan led the Minardi duo of Patrick Friesacher and Christijan Albers. Alonso passed Villeneuve, only to have the Canadian retake the position moments later. But just before the first round of pit stops, Alonso would finally find a way around the former champion, saving any podium hopes for the young Spaniard. While passing backmarkers on lap 15, Coulthard and Webber nearly collided with one another; Webber briefly went onto the grass, but no serious damage was done. After lap 17, unable to pull out of the pits due to a gearbox problem, Albers retired his Minardi, which had lost second gear as early as the formation lap. This was the only mechanical retirement of the afternoon. Fisichella remained firmly in command after his first pit stop, although he briefly relinquished the lead while refueling. Barrichello gained the most in the pits, as he moved up from eighth to fourth place; Alonso continued his hard charge, gaining four positions as well. However, Trulli's Toyota slowly began dropping back, getting passed again and again; it would later turn out to be a blistered rear tyre, which would affect him for the remainder of the race. Teammate Ralf Schumacher had a problem of his own, and was forced to pit twice in quick succession to tighten a loose safety harness. Räikkönen was able to get by the elder Schumacher into tenth (his starting grid position) and pull away from the champion in pursuit of Heidfeld. After Michael Schumacher's second stop, he emerged from the pitlane just ahead of Heidfeld, who thought he saw an opening going into the third turn. Schumacher, who momentarily lost sight of Heidfeld's Williams in his mirrors, closed the door on his fellow German, forcing him onto the grass. With no traction on the grass, Heidfeld braked in vain, sliding into the side of the F2004M, pushing both cars into the gravel. Heidfeld's race was finished; although Schumacher was able to get his Ferrari back on track, nevertheless he retired in the pits soon thereafter, due to collision damage. Montoya went onto the grass briefly at Turn Eight as he prepared to make his second call to pitlane; this, plus another off-track excursion while tangling with a backmarking rookie, cost him valuable time. When he later lost part of his rear deflector, Montoya eased up to finish the race and to preserve his Mercedes-Benz power plant for the next race. Teammate Räikkönen also lost a significant portion of his deflector, which became imbedded under his side barge board; mechanics were later seen removing it during a pit stop. After the second round of stops, the final order of finish was nearly determined. While most of the field slowed to conserve engines, Alonso continued pushing hard on Barrichello's heels. Barrichello, despite battling a brake balance problem, was able to answer the challenge, and held off Alonso for second. Fisichella, who flawlessly managed the gap to his nearest opponent all race long, easily took the chequered flag for his second career victory, with his only other victory coming for Jordan in 2003. He never put a foot wrong, and his R25 chassis, although not seriously challenged, performed flawlessly to claim the inaugural race of the season. Teammate Alonso clocked the fastest lap of the race, and was noticeably the fastest car on track for most of the event. Interestingly, both BARs pulled into the pits on the final lap of the race; by not officially finishing the event, they effectively exempted themselves from the new two-race engine rule. By taking advantage of this loophole in 2005 regulations, they were entitled to replace the cars' Honda engines in Malaysia without incurring any penalty. The loophole was immediately closed, as a car was in future required to have a genuine technical problem to be entitled to a new engine.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Australian Grand Prix  2005

Giancarlo Fisichella, Australian Grand Prix 2005

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Friday 1st April 2005

12 years ago

Mercedes-Benz lined up three cars for a world record-breaking attempt on the high-speed circuit in Laredo, Texas. All of them completed 100,000 miles without problems. Each of the record-breakers covered 20,000 laps, testing the powertrain, suspension, electronic components and body structure to the utmost. In addition to 22 international records in their class, the Mercedes-Benz E 320 CDI models established world records by covering 50,000 miles (80,467 kilometres) at 225.456 km/h, 100,000 kilometres at 225.903 km/h and 100,000 miles (160,934 kilometres) at 224.823 km/h.

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Saturday 14th May 2005

12 years ago

The seventh Gumball 3000 rally began at Trafalgar Square and progressed 3000 miles from London to Brussels, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and onto to Dubrovnik in Croatia. The cars then were transported by ferry to Bari, Italy, followed by a transit to the Targa Florio circuit in Sicily, before heading north to Rome and Florence. The finish line was in Monaco's Casino Square prior to the Formula One Grand Prix. Participants included Daryl Hannah, rock stars and supermodels driving vehicles ranging from the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee to Ferrari Enzos and Mercedes SLRs. Known to be heading towards London, five drivers were arrested on May 9, 2005 by the Catalonian traffic police when caught speeding between Sagunto and Tarragona. The Spirit Trophy was awarded to Sue Bellarby and Kathy Huddart, whose Caterham 7 broke down just shy of the finish line. The two were transported to the finish line by Gumball legend Alex Roy in his "Guardia Civil" Team Polizei BMW M5 who finished 2nd dressed as a Spanish cop. The year's unofficial winners were Greg and "Kalbas" in a Mercedes 2004 CLK-DTM, who edged out a week-old Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren because a tyre was destroyed just short of the finish line.

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Saturday 21st January 2006

11 years ago

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class was been heralded as 2006’s Best Luxury Car by the motoring magazine What Car?

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Friday 10th February 2006

11 years ago

Vehicles introduced at the opening of the Chicago Auto Show included, Bentley Continental GTC convertible, Ford Expedition, Lexus ES 350, Lincoln MKZ (formerly the Lincoln Zephyr, Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG and Volkswagen Rabbit.

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Wednesday 15th February 2006

11 years ago

The 1,000th Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren rolled off the production line at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. The vehicle, which was painted black and equipped with its unique trademark carbon bodyshell, was designated for a customer in Japan.

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

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Saturday 15th July 2006

11 years ago

A supercar set a new land speed record for central London of 175.7mph on an airport runway. The £317,500 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren hit the top speed during a challenge event at London City Airport.

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

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Sunday 29th October 2006

10 years ago

Mercedes-Benz World was opened at the famous Brooklands race circuit in Surrey. Spread over three floors with over 100 cars on display, including a 300SL Gullwing and a McLaren Mercedes SLR sports car, Mercedes-Benz World offered driving lessons to anyone over 1.5 metres tall, including children.

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Thursday 5th April 2007

10 years ago

The Lexus LS 460 was named World Car of the Year at the New York Auto Show. Other winners selected by the jury of 48 international motoring journalists from 22 countries were the Audi RS4 (World Performance Car) and Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec (World Green Car).

Lexus LS 460

Lexus LS 460

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Saturday 19th May 2007

10 years ago

Los Angeles, California, was the first stop on a cross-country road show launched by Smart USA to promote the attractions of its “ForTwo” micro-car, which was scheduled for release in the United States in 2008. In the early 1990s, Nicholas Hayek of Swatch, the company famous for its wide range of colourful and trendy plastic watches, went to German automaker Mercedes-Benz with his idea for an “ultra-urban” car. The result of their joint venture was the diminutive Smart (an acronym for Swatch Mercedes ART) ForTwo, which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997 and went on sale in nine European countries over the next year. Measuring just over eight feet from bumper to bumper, the original ForTwo was marketed as a safe, fuel-efficient car that could be manoeuvred easily through narrow, crowded city streets. Despite its popularity among urban Europeans, Smart posted significant losses, and Swatch soon pulled out of the joint venture.

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Tuesday 17th July 2007

10 years ago

The £200k Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster was unveiled to the press. Powered by a supercharged (Kompressor) 5.5-litre, 617-bhp, AMG V8 engine, the SLR McLaren Roadster had a top speed of 207 mph and could accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

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Tuesday 18th December 2007

9 years ago

Lewis Hamilton was suspended from driving in France for a month after being caught speeding at 196 km/h (122 mph) on a French motorway. His Mercedes-Benz CLK was also impounded.

Hamilton after taking pole at the 2007 United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton after taking pole at the 2007 United States Grand Prix.

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Friday 28th September 2012

4 years ago

It was announced after much speculation that Lewis Hamilton would be leaving McLaren after the 2012 season to join the Mercedes-Benz works team for the 2013 season onwards, partnering Nico Rosberg, after signing a three-year contract with the team.

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Monday 18th August 2014

3 years ago

China's government reported that Mercedes-Benz had violated anti-monopoly law and charged excessive prices for parts, adding to a growing number of global automakers snared in an investigation of the industry.

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