Mercedes-Benz exhibits 14 classic construction vehicles and three modern-day dump trucks at the Retro Classics show in Stuttgart
Long-nosed and round bonnet trucks celebrate the 1960s
From the "Big Boys" of the economic miracle to the latest Arocs models for the construction industry
Construction vehicles past and present ‑ "Trucks you can trust"
Stuttgart – This year's Retro Classics 2013 show, which is taking place in Stuttgart from 7 - 10 March, will see Mercedes-Benz exhibit no less than 14 historic trucks, three modern-day dump trucks and two heavy-duty trucks. As a result, visitors to the commercial vehicle area in Hall 8 will be treated to a journey through the history of the Mercedes-Benz construction vehicles of the post-war years, made up primarily of all-wheel dump trucks which once tackled operations in the building industry - and in some cases continue to do so to this day.
The range of exhibits going on display comprises the "Big Boys" deployed during the economic miracle and the period of reconstruction in the 1950s, the long-nose, round bonnet models and first cab-over engine LP trucks of the 1960s, as well as the so-called "new generation" of the 1970s and 1980s, in which microelectronics subsequently enabled some groundbreaking innovations to be made - such as ABS (1981), ASR (1986), electropneumatic power shift (EPS), today known as the "Telligent gearshift system" (1985), and finally the CAN bus, through which the entire vehicle electronics can be controlled.
Such advances paved the way for the Actros, which first appeared in 1996 in Hockenheim and will now be on display at Retro Classics as a construction vehicle in the guise of the Actros 1 and Actros 3 stages of development. At the turn of the millennium, microchips enabled the introduction of such developments as the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Lane Keeping Assist and the advanced emergency braking system, which in the worst case scenario is able to initiate automatic emergency braking - all features which the former captains of the highway would not even have dared dream about. Marking the latest state of the art in construction vehicles is the new Arocs, which is shortly due to celebrate its world premiere at the "Bauma" show in Munich
(15–21 April) and can be viewed at Retro Classics in the form of a design study.
The first trucks were fired up - using petrol from the pharmacy in those days - some 117 years ago in Bad Cannstatt, where in 1896 Gottlieb Daimler built his motor car for the transport sector. Just one year later, the Daimler-Motorengesellschaft introduced a transport carriage with a payload of 5 tonnes. The ability to transport 5 tonnes of bricks or sand in a single trip is still quite an achievement for some builders even today. At the time, however, Emperor Wilhelm II cared little about such things: "There's no future in automobiles. Horses are the way forward", he said in 1904. Gottlieb Daimler, on the other hand, was already making promises back then: "You can rely on my truck". Today this has become a promise which is recognised around the world: "Trucks you can trust".
The "5.0-tonne spur gear hub drive truck
The "5.0-tonne spur gear hub drive truck" producing 35 hp was manufactured by Daimler from 1908 to 1911. Daimler made use of the spur gear hub drive, while Carl Benz in Gaggenau preferred the chain drive. But even the very first Daimler truck anticipated the principle of the planetary axles that are still used on construction vehicles today. The spur gear is the name for the smaller, driving gearwheel in a pair of gears. In a differential transmission, the spur gear drives a larger crown wheel. The technology of the planetary axle was refined in 1953, and subsequently enhanced by numerous truck manufacturers. Today's Mercedes planetary axles are produced in the Gaggenau plant, which last autumn celebrated the 40th anniversary of producing such axles. Since 1972 more than 2.4 million such special axles have been manufactured, helping to ensure that construction vehicles remain mobile even in the most difficult of terrain.
"Trucks you can trust", as intended by Gottlieb Daimler, was therefore not an empty promise back then, just as it is not an empty promise today. This very sentiment is demonstrated by the veteran trucks dating back to the time of our great-grandfathers, and many of these models still run like clockwork today. These are the classic vehicles which in earlier decades helped to establish the good reputation of the Mercedes-Benz brand. Today, the modern trucks from Mercedes-Benz undeniably stand for quality - a fact demonstrated by the reliability of the three-quarters of a million Mercedes-Benz Actros vehicles operating day in, day out in over 100 countries throughout the world.
You can see an overview of the Mercedes-Benz exhibits at Retro Classics 2013 in the attached table.