“60 years of the SL” – the anniversary of the sports car will be celebrated at the world’s largest trade fair for classic vehicles from 21 to 25 March 2012
Eight fascinating representative examples of the SL model series will be on display at the Mercedes-Benz stand in Hall 1
Stuttgart – For Mercedes-Benz Classic, the year 2012 is all about “60 years of the SL” – even at the Techno Classica trade fair in Essen. Eight of the coveted sports cars from different eras will grace the exhibition hall in Essen from the 21 to 25 March 2012. The exhibit will cover a broad range of vehicles, from the 300 SL (W 194) racing car built in 1952 to the newest member of the SL family: the R 231 SL.
“This year marks the 24th anniversary of the Techno Classica, one of the highlights in the Classic calendar,” says Michael Bock, head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. “We would like to invite all fair visitors to join us in celebrating the anniversary of the SL-Class.”
In the 4,500 square metre exhibition area occupied by Mercedes-Benz Classic in Hall 1 of the Messe Essen, the Mercedes-Benz brand will bring to life the fascination associated with all aspects of its unique history. This time the prized SL models from the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection will take centre stage.
Mercedes-Benz Classic will present its complete line-up at the Essen trade fair. For example, a variety of commercial vehicle model series will be on display. No matter whether a classic or a young classic car, all Mercedes-Benz vehicles have a place in the multifaceted history of the automobile. Not only Mercedes-Benz Classic, but also some of our long-term partners will equally be exhibiting their offerings at the Techno Classica. Authorised Mercedes-Benz dealers Leseberg Automobile (Hamburg), Rosier Classic Center (Oldenburg) and Autohaus Weicker (Kelkheim) will present their specialist expertise in classic vehicles, both in the workshop and in the form of vehicle sales.
A true icon in Mercedes-Benz history will be presented at the Techno Classica: the oldest SL still in existence. The first 300 SL (W 194), the premier vehicle from 1952, no longer exists. It was always under factory ownership and was scrapped in the 1950s. But the second vehicle built, with chassis number 194 010 00002/52, is still around and has been under factory ownership ever since its manufacture. The “/2” stamped on various parts serves as proof of its authenticity. During the extensive restoration by Mercedes-Benz Classic, all parts of the fully dismantled vehicle were inspected. Some parts were restored to as close to the original condition and highest level of quality possible. “One clear requirement was to maintain the original condition and patina of the sports car. Now the 300 SL shines like new – yet still proudly displays traces of its exciting life story,” says Michael Bock.
The vehicle also exemplifies the overall preoccupation of Mercedes-Benz Classic in maintaining authenticity. During restoration of the 300 SL, every effort was made to keep and recondition as many of the original parts as possible. This is often more complex than reproducing them, but it is necessary when it comes to maintaining the historical condition and thus authenticity. And even if reproduction of a part is necessary, then it must always meet the original specifications. The Classic division of the original manufacturer has access to extensive technical documentation and, in such case, can apply the original methods and materials used. Thus the vehicle once again conforms to the original standard.
The appearances by Mercedes-Benz clubs at Techno Classica in 2012 will once again clearly demonstrate the connection with historic vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. The presentations by the clubs will be integrated in the overall exhibition of Mercedes-Benz Classic. This year, all 17 of the German Mercedes-Benz clubs officially recognised by Mercedes-Benz will present themselves and their various activities.
The Techno Classica in Essen is the world’s largest trade fair for classic vehicles. It will be held from 22 to 25 March (preview on 21 March). Founded in 1988, the event has become the leading international trade fair for vintage vehicles and young classics. Alongside passenger cars, the show also features racing cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles. This year, over 1200 exhibitors from some 30 countries will be present in Essen; the organisers expect around 180,000 visitors from more than 40 countries.
Mercedes-Benz SL vehicles on exhibit at the 2012 Techno Classica
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing car (W 194), 1952
The roots of the SL are in motor sports. With its victories in international competitions, including the Mille Miglia, the 24 hour race of Le Mans, and the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico, the 300 SL (W 194) racing car from 1952 is considered the standard for all sports cars bearing the distinguished SL abbreviation, which stands for “super light”. The oldest SL still in existence will be on exhibition at the Techno Classica. The second vehicle built, bearing the chassis number 194 010 00002/52, has been under factory ownership since its manufacture and underwent extensive restoration by Mercedes-Benz Classic in 2011.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198), 1955
In 1954, with the development of the series production W 198 sports car based on the 300 SL racing car (W 194) of the same name, Mercedes-Benz managed to build the European dream car par excellence of the 1950s. The rare aluminium-bodied “Gullwing” model, which will be on display at the 2012 Techno Classica, plays up the sporty standard of the vehicle: only 29 of the particularly light version of the production sports car developed for motor sports were ever built.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198), 1956
Based on the legendary “Gullwing”, the open 300 SL Roadster (W 198) made its début in 1957. The open two-seater design of the vehicle body became a typical defining feature of the SL family. The preproduction vehicle from 1956 will be on display. This specimen, which at the time was used in races, has been owned for a good while now by rally legend Eugen Böhringer.
Mercedes-Benz 230 SL (W 113) “Pagoda”, 1963
In 1963 the 230 SL appeared as the first model of SL series W 113. Its exterior features bold, straight lines as well as the distinctive SL face with the large central Mercedes star. The high windows of the inward dipping hard-top roofline and the narrow pillars that bear the weight of the removable hard-top convey an air of lightness and are reminiscent of temples in the Far East. The car thus quickly earned the nickname “Pagoda”.
Mercedes-Benz 500 SL Rally (R 107), 1980
To this day, more R 107 vehicles have been produced than any other vehicles in the SL series, in part due to its long production life of 18 years. The car also almost became a rally champion. A 500 SL series car was built for the 1981 season, and the driver contract with Walter Röhrl had already been signed, but then the company withdrew from the rally sport at the end of 1980 before the season even started. The original vehicle will be at the trade fair.
Mercedes-Benz 500 SL (R 129) from Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, 1991
In March 1989 Mercedes-Benz débuted the R 129 model, which features numerous technical innovations and has carried the SL into the new millennium. Thanks to its harmonious and successful design, the SL quickly found many fans in prominent circles. The vehicle on exhibit, a 240 kW (326 hp) 500 SL, was driven by Lady Diana from January 1992. She was the first member of the British royal family to personally drive a foreign automobile.
Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMG (R 230) Safety Car, 2009
After 12 years of production and two model refinements, the R 129 was replaced in 2001 by the R 230. The SL now featured a steel folding roof for the first time. Thus it became an open car and coupé all in one. The transformation takes just about 16 seconds at the touch of a button. In 2008 and 2009 the SL 63 AMG, with a powerful 386 kW (525 hp), 6.3 litre V8 engine, became the Official F1™ Safety Car for Formula 1. This SL reminds us of the motorsport roots of the SL family and will be on exhibit at the 2012 Techno Classica. It was extensively modified for circuit use, which included reducing its weight, and it does not have any roof mechanism and no fixed soft top, for example.
The new Mercedes-Benz SL (R 231), 2012
In the spring of 2012 the R 231 finally arrived on the market as the next generation of Mercedes-Benz SL-Class vehicles. The new SL is now made almost completely out of aluminium for the first time ever and weighs up to 140 kilogrammes less than its predecessor. The designers drew on tradition, but also incorporated new perspectives and visionary ideas when designing the latest generation of the SL. The result was classic, balanced proportions typical of the SL: the long bonnet is followed by a recessed, compact cabin. Fine details, a prominent tail-end and an air inlet grille with chrome fins from the Mercedes-Benz design trove emphasise the fact that this car is part of the SL legend.