by Philipp Deppe | 30.Juli 2012
Mercedes-Benz Classic will fly its colours at this year’s Schloss Dyck Classic Days from 3 to 5 August 2012 with an exquisite selection of historic vehicles. On exhibit at the event surrounding the moated castle in Jüchen in the Rhine district of Neuss will be a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, a Mercedes-Benz 500 SL Rallye, a Mercedes-Benz 500 K as well as a Mercedes-Benz C 111.
In addition, a 300 SL racing car from 1952 and an SL 63 AMG Safety Car from 2008 will provide some excitement on the track. Furthermore the Mercedes-Benz Düsseldorf plant will exhibit classic light-duty commercial vehicles on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. And as always visitors to the festival will have the opportunity to meet famous Mercedes-Benz racing drivers from various motor sport eras on site.
This will be already the seventh edition of the Schloss Dyck Classic Days. For the first time the event will last three whole days. As far back as 60 years ago, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing car (W 194) laid the foundation for the successful motor sport activities of the Stuttgart-based brand after Second World War. Classic racing cars still exude a very special fascination today when their historic engines are started and they subsequently begin to drive. Racing driver legend Hans Herrmann will climb behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 194) from 1952 to drive some demonstration laps on the track outside the Dyck Castle gates. On all three days Dieter Glemser will pilot the pace car of the individual special races, the original Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG Safety Car (R 230) that saw action during the 2008/2009 Formula 1 season.
Sir Stirling Moss will travel to the Rhineland this year as a guest of honour of the festival organiser and will also be available to Mercedes-Benz Classic on all three days. The former Silver Arrow pilot can expect his own paddock with a selection of his legendary winning cars. The racing driver legend will fulfill requests for autographs in the paddock – in the immediate vicinity of his winning Mille Miglia car, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR from 1955 with the famous starting number 722.
A special feature at this year’s Classic Days Schloss Dyck will be the light-duty commercial vehicles from the Mercedes-Benz Düsseldorf plant, which celebrates its golden jubilee. Since April 1952, some 3.5 million vans sporting the Mercedes star have been produced there. This includes a number of model series such as the L/O 319, L 406 D/L 408/O 309, T1, T2, and Sprinter that have shaped and enriched the daily lives of many. These days the Düsseldorf plant produces the latest Sprinter NCV3 model as a panel van and as a crew bus.
The program of the Classic Days, to which enthusiasts and collectors travel from all over Europe, focuses on several themes. “Racing Legends” presents track races for historic competition vehicles up to model year 1961. Solo and sidecar motorcycles manufactured in 1940 and before also race against the clock on the 2.8-kilometre track near the moated castle.
Sports and racing cars will start in the categories “Classic” (1910 through 1925), “Historic” (1926 through 1949) and “Modern” (1950 through 1961). There will also be the special races “Milestones of the Compressor Era” for supercharged racing cars manufactured between 1920 and 1960, “Formula Monoposto” for one-seater Formula racing cars which date from the years between 1930 and 1965 as well as “Historic Grand Prix Cars“ for Grand Prix cars built between 1920 and 1965.
“Jewels in the Park” is the name of the second dazzling highlight of the festival at Schloss Dyck. The exclusive vehicle presentation is once again rated as a top event in category A by the FIVA (Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens), the worldwide association for historic vehicles – on par with the Villa d’Este and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Just 40 rare vehicles qualify for the contest on the meadows directly next to the castle.
Various special exhibitions and themed presentations will round out the program of events at the Schloss Dyck Classic Days. One such special item on the agenda will be the presentation of classic vehicles on the Miscanthus Field – named after the decorative Chinese reed grass which grows there. For two days it will be transformed into a one-of-a-kind vast open-air museum presenting the cultural history of the automobile with many hundreds of vehicles on show. Another reason behind the strong presence of the Stuttgart-based brand is the close relationship with the official Mercedes-Benz marque clubs: Some 400 members and their vehicles from all over Europe are expected to attend.
The vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Schloss Dyck Classic Days 2012
Mercedes-Benz 500 K “Barn Find”, 1934
Mercedes-Benz entered the market segment of the international luxury class in the 1930s with its eight-cylinder supercharged car. The “Typ 500 mit Kompressor”, or 500 K (model series W 29) for short, emerges in 1934 in eight different body styles: as a streamlined saloon with the melodic name “Motorway Courier Car”, as a 4-door saloon, back then still referred to as a “Sedan”, as a cabriolet in three variants, as a 2-door open touring car, and as a roadster. The ultimate variant was the particularly elegant and luxurious Special Roadster, only 29 of which were ever built. The 500 K and its successor, the 540 K, acquired legendary status not only on account of their superlative power and performance, but also by virtue of their beguilingly attractive and high-quality bodies. With its tailor-made form and elegant flowing lines, the “Sindelfingen Body” rose to benchmark status in the 1930s.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing car (W 194), 1952
In 1952, Mercedes-Benz got involved in international motor sport again with the 300 SL racing car of the W 194 series. The basis of the vehicle was an extremely lightweight yet highly rigid tubular frame, clad in an elegantly curved light-alloy body made from aluminium-magnesium sheet metal. Because for reasons of rigidity the tubular frame builds comparatively high on the sides, the W 194 could not be fitted with conventional doors; thus the racing car ended up with its iconic gullwing doors that attach to the roof. This detail was adopted in 1954 by the production sports car 300 SL (W 198) and quickly earned it the moniker “Gullwing” in the English-speaking world.
The W 194 was powered by the six-cylinder in-line M 194 engine that was rated at 170 hp (125 kW) and had a cubic capacity of 2,996 cc. The 300 SL was presented in March 1952 and had its racing debut in the Mille Miglia in May 1952. Among the greatest achievements of the W 194 in its first and only racing season was the triple victory in the Grand Prix of Bern, the spectacular double victories in the 24-hour race at Le Mans and in the 3rd Carrera Panamericana in Mexico as well as the win in the “ Great Jubilee Prize at the Nürburgring ”.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W 196 S), 1955
Mercedes-Benz won the 1955 World Sports Car Championship with the 300 SLR. This sports car was effectively a W 196 Formula 1 racing car equipped with a two-seater sports car body and a three-litre, eight-cylinder in-line engine made of light alloy in place of the 2.5-litre Formula 1 engine with its steel cylinders.
Developing 310 hp (221 kW), the 300 SLR was far superior to its competitors of 1955, as reflected by its one-two wins in the Mille Miglia, the Eifel race at the Nürburgring, the Swedish Grand Prix and the Targa Florio. The 1955 Mille Miglia was won by Stirling Moss assisted by navigator Denis Jenkinson (starting number 722) at an unsurpassed average speed of 157.65 km/h; the “prayer book” proved invaluable in achieving this victory: These pace notes, an innovation at the time, allowed Jenkinson to direct the driver Moss across Italy very effectively. Juan Manuel Fangio (starting number 658) came in second driving solo.
Mercedes-Benz 500 SL Rallye (R 107), 1981
As part of the rally activities in 1979 and 1980 with the SLC Coupés of model series 107 Mercedes-Benz also seriously contemplated using the shorter and more agile roadster. For the 1981 season four vehicles were prepared. Walter Röhrl, the top driver at the time, was hired for rally racing. Röhrl conducted extensive test drives with a Mercedes-Benz 500 SL that was equivalent to this vehicle.
For rally racing the vehicle was fitted with a shorter final-drive ratio, designed for fast acceleration at a correspondingly lower top speed. To transfer the 320 hp (235 kW) of the performance-tuned V8 engine to the road, the driven axle was fitted with a limited-slip differential with a locking rate of 80 per cent, resulting in spectacular – and in the hands of a master – at the same time safe drift angles. A special distinguishing feature of the M 117 engine was its reliability and longevity.
Also impressive was the weight reduction from 1586 to 1350 kilograms, obligatory for motor sport use. And that despite added features such an aluminium roll cage, auxiliary headlamps and all the other rally equipment. Also noteworthy was the parking brake operated by an upright lever that facilitated “setting the approach angle” of the vehicle before bends. However, the vehicle never saw any action because Mercedes-Benz ceased its rally activities before the start of the season.
Mercedes-Benz C 111, 1969
At the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) in September 1969, Mercedes-Benz presented an unusual car: the C 111. The world queued up to see this “test lab on wheels” with its wedge-shaped body and upward-opening gullwing doors. The colour, an orange metallic, originally designated “rosé wine”, also helped to rivet attention. Less conspicuous, but no less unusual, were the technical innovations. The body consisted of fibreglass-reinforced plastic and was riveted and bonded to the steel-frame floor system.
The C 111 served to test the rotary engine. A three-rotor unit developing 280 hp (206 kW) provided the power and permitted a top speed of 260 km/h – quite remarkable for the time. Just a few months later a thoroughly revised version of the C 111 was shown at the Geneva Motor Show. It featured a four-rotor Wankel engine with an output of 350 hp (257 kW). The car accelerated from rest to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds and reached a top speed of 300 km/h.
Little more was heard about the Wankel engine; diesel technology now became the focus of research. And record-breaking versions of the C 111 again captured public interest: in June 1976, April 1978, and May 1979 the C 111 completed runs on the high-speed test track in Nardo in southern Italy, which produced several absolute world records over various distances.
Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG Safety Car (R 230), 2008
Since 1996 Mercedes-Benz has provided the Official F1 Safety Cars for the races of the Formula 1 world championship. The SL 63 AMG (model series R 230) provided the basis for the 2008 season. The vehicle was developed by the AMG Performance Studio and was powered by a 6.2-litre V8 engine developing 525 hp (386 kW). The Official F1™ Safety Car is always called upon when accidents, bad weather or other dangerous situations jeopardise a safe race. Fast lap times are a must for the Safety Car because otherwise the engines of the Formula 1 cars would overheat while at the same time their tyres and brakes would cool off too much. Numerous modifications to the production vehicle are required to deliver the kind of performance demanded on the racetrack.
One important aspect of this Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG was strategic lightweight design. Bonnet, front and rear fascia, front fenders and the boot lid are all manufactured from extremely lightweight yet strong carbon-fibre composites (CFC). Since the Safety Car is always driven with the roof closed, the Vario roof and its mechanical and hydraulic systems were eliminated as well. The Safety Car pilots also must do without insulation materials for noise control and heat reduction. The results: despite the additional weight for auxiliary equipment, such as for example the custom roof-mounted signal light bar, the extensive communications system, larger and additional coolers for engine and transmission oil, coolant and power steering, the Safety Car with full fuel and without occupants weighs 220 kilograms less than a comparable SL 63 AMG production car.
Source: Daimler AG
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