20 years of Mercedes-Benz motor racing history have produced a timeline of extraordinary victories which since 1894 also stand for outstanding innovations in racing technology.
At this year’s Techno Classica show in Essen (26 to 30 March 2014) Mercedes-Benz Classic celebrates this incomparable string of magical moments in engineering history with a presentation encompassing more than 30 racing cars from all periods and disciplines of motor sport. This unique kaleidoscope of motor racing history will be an illustrious highlight of the 26th world show for vintage and classic motor cars. The 4,800 square-metre Mercedes-Benz exhibition stand will be supported by a strong showing of the official German Mercedes-Benz brand clubs.
The 30-plus vehicles from 120 years of motor sport which Mercedes-Benz Classic is displaying at the 2014 Techno Classica range from the more than 110-year-old Mercedes-Simplex to the Grand Prix racing car of the last season. No classic motor show has ever before seen such an armada of racing cars from Mercedes-Benz brand history. “Techno Classica, as one of the most important venues for historical automotive culture in the entire world, is the befitting setting for this excellent presentation of original competition cars from twelve decades,” emphasises Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic.
“For us the year 2014 is entirely devoted to the magic moments from 120 years of Mercedes-Benz motor racing history. For Techno Classica, on our architecturally superb stand, we are showing competition vehicles from our own collection covering all eras of our motor sport history. They are the protagonists of a unique – and uniquely diverse – automotive heritage,” says Michael Bock.
Whether Grand Prix races or rallies, sports car races or the DTM, speed records or truck racing: throughout all periods, an extraordinary variety of disciplines feature in the motor sport history of Mercedes-Benz. The vehicle designs, the technical solutions – and the stories behind each of the displayed racers – accordingly run a broad gamut.
Relating these stories will also be the Mercedes-Benz brand ambassadors and experts who are guests on the exhibition stand during the Techno Classica. They include racing drivers Dieter Glemser, Hans Herrmann, Ellen Lohr, Klaus Ludwig, Steve Parrish, Björn Waldegaard, and Karl Wendlinger. The successes they achieved behind the wheel of Mercedes-Benz racing cars are a part of the brand’s unparalleled motor racing heritage.
Grand Prix wins since 1914
As to the Grand Prix cars, the presentation in Essen traces a historical arc that begins with the Mercedes 4.5-litre Grand Prix racing car of 1914. Exactly 100 years ago, Mercedes achieved a spectacular sweep of the first three places with this car in the 1914 French Grand Prix in Lyon. Via the legendary Silver Arrows W 25, W 125, W 154, and W 165 of the 1930s and their successor, the W 196 R model of 1954 and 1955, the exhibition takes viewers to the car that won the Indianapolis 500 for the Penske-Mercedes team in 1994. Finally, the new Silver Arrows of the Formula 1 from McLaren Mercedes and Mercedes-AMG Petronas carry the fascinating glimpse of the premier league of motor racing further to the racing events of the very recent past.
The racing and touring sports cars take visitors to the Mercedes-Benz exhibition stand all the way back to the beginnings of the Mercedes brand: The Mercedes-Simplex of 1902 stands for the brilliant successes with which Mercedes already put its stamp on racing in the very early days. The Benz brand, still a competitor of the Stuttgart-based company in those days, is represented by a 1910 “Prinz Heinrich” special touring car. The equally glorious period following the merger between Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie. is represented by the SSK. It is a member of the family of supercharged touring sports cars which dominated motor sport in the 1920s and early 1930s, and had the honour of being nicknamed “White Elephants” by enthusiastic spectators. The 300 SL (W 194, 1952) and 300 SLR (W 196 S, 1955) models tell the story of the extremely successful re-entry into motor racing after the Second World War. The Group C Sauber Mercedes C 9 racing sports car (1989) and the Mercedes-Benz CLK-LM (1998) continue the story, the latest chapter of which are the racing successes scored by customers with the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.
Continual success in the DTM
Mercedes-Benz has written a special chapter in touring car racing with its DTM involvement since the late 1980s. Six racing touring cars in all, from the 190 E 2.3-16 (1988) through the CLK-DTM (2001) to the DTM cars of the C-Class, stand for the equally successful and continuous involvement of the Stuttgart-based brand in the German Touring Car Championship (1988 to 1996) and the German Touring Car Masters since that series was established in the year 2000.
The gallery of rally cars shows that Mercedes-Benz is successful not only on racing circuits, but in off-road competition as well. Along with the near-series Mercedes-Benz 300 SE (W 112), which scored major international wins for the Stuttgart-based brand in the 1960s, this section includes a 280 E (W 123) from 1977 and a 450 SLC (C 107) from 1978. The successes in the renowned Paris–Dakar Rally are recalled by a Mercedes-Benz 280 GE (overall winner in 1983) and a Unimog U 400.
More than classic racing cars
The unique heritage from 120 years of Mercedes-Benz motor racing not only includes victories in classic races and rallies. The Stuttgart-based brand is also a great performer in special racing disciplines such as truck racing. A Mercedes-Benz racing truck with its heavyweight presence at the exhibition brings that message home. And the fact that perfect organisation in a racing department goes a long way to ensuring victory is shown by the “Blue Miracle” racing car transporter, which was built as a one-off in 1954 and served to carry the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows at high speed between the factory and racetracks during the 1955 season. Speed in entirely different dimensions is exemplified by a record-breaking car configured on the basis of the W 25 Grand Prix car in the mid-1930s. A Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG configured as an official Formula 1 Safety Car is a reminder of the traditional role which cars from Mercedes-Benz play in ensuring safety on racing circuits throughout the world.
Excellent setting for an outstanding show
The unique motor sport tradition of the world’s oldest car manufacturer finds an outstanding forum at the 2014 Techno Classica 2014. The trade show in Essen sets international standards for classic automotive culture. This is evidenced by the fact that more than 1,250 exhibitors from 30 nations offer everything one might be looking for in the area of vintage and classic motor cars and modern classics. More than 2,500 collector vehicles from various eras will be offered for sale at Techno Classica. But the show also covers the complete range of topics in the area of restoration, replacement parts, and service.
There will be more than 220 clubs and interest groups in attendance as well. Their activities make the Techno Classica the biggest club meeting of the classic car and young classic scene. The official Mercedes-Benz brand clubs will be out in force as well, presenting themselves close to the Mercedes-Benz Classic stand in hall 1 – once again setting a genuine highlight at Techno Classica 2014. “Good partnership with the officially recognised brand clubs is a special concern of ours”, says Michael Bock, “because at Techno Classica we jointly convey the unique fascination of the brand history of Mercedes-Benz.”
Through 30 March, the 20 halls and 3 outdoor exhibition areas of Messe Essen are then open to all comers. The organisers expect that this year’s show will beat the 2013 attendance figure of 190,000 guests.
Pictures: ©Philipp Deppe-MBpassion.de / Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic