Mercedes-Benz is giving an insight into the development of the distribution sector with twelve historic models and four modern commercial vehicles at the Retro Classics show in Stuttgart (13 – 16 March 2014).
The Mercedes star has emphatically made its mark on the distribution sector over the last 118 years of commercial vehicle history. Coinciding with the production start-up of the new-generation Atego, the commercial vehicle and classics experts at Mercedes-Benz are using the slogan “Distribution transport then and now” for their display this year. The distribution sector is Atego territory. In their respective eras, the Atego and its antecedents in the 7.5 to 11 t class were a common and defining sight on the roads. It would be no exaggeration to say that they are the real heroes of day-to-day commercial life. Without them our specialised economy would grind to a halt.
The very first trucks, for example the “Daimler 4 HP truck” of 1899, were already used for the short-radius day-to-day distribution of goods needed in daily life. Among the exhibits are a racing car transporter from the era of the ‘Silver Arrows’ based on the Lo 2750 of 1936, and the first truck from Wörth production, an LP 608 from 1965.
The vehicles on show in Hall 8 at the exhibition site by the airport come from private collectors, from the Wörth commercial vehicle plant and from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. To underline the contrast between then and now, the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth is sending four new vehicles to the show in Echterdingen, among them the latest Mercedes-Benz Atego with a beverage distribution body. The others are the latest SLT heavy-duty truck based on the Mercedes-Benz Arocs 4163 8×4, a four-axle tractor unit for extremely heavy-duty transport assignments with gross combination weights of up to 250 t, which was only presented to the public a few weeks ago, a heavy all-wheel drive tipper from the Arocs series and the new Mercedes-Benz Actros. Since 2001 the Retro Classics show in Stuttgart has established itself as one of the largest and most modern classic vehicle shows in Europe. Last year 77,000 visitors made their way to Stuttgart.
Fiery veterans and pioneers of the diesel age
Whether admiring the fiery veterans with glow tube ignition or the pioneering models of the diesel age from the 1930s – it is fascinating to follow the development of commercial vehicles from their initial “workhorse” status to the present-day sophistication of the high-tech Atego with its practically pollutant-free Euro VI technology.
The sight of the LP 608, a forward control truck with a Pullman cab which was the first model to leave the production lines of the newly completed Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth in 1965, is bound to make the eyes of enthusiasts light up. These light trucks from Wörth were a common sight on the roads right up to the early 1980s.
On display in Hall 8, an LP 813 with a beverage distribution body and an LK 814, one of the bestselling light trucks in the period 1984 to 1998, are still to be seen on the roads around Stuttgart on a daily basis. Which beautifully and amply justifies the brand claim “Trucks you can trust” – or as Gottlieb Daimler put it: “You can place your trust in my commercial vehicles.”