The history of road sports cars

The fastest cars in history: 1946 to now

It dominates the racing season and helps Rudolf Caracciola obtain his third European championship title driving a Mercedes-Benz. For the season the W is thoroughly redesigned. It is given an even more powerful engine, a lower front section and a modified tank that makes possible a more balanced weight distribution throughout the entire race.

The W racing car with its 1. The reason is the decision taken by the organisers to hold the race in the Italian colony only for vehicles of the so-called Voiturette formula with 1. The intention behind this decision is to displace German competition, because neither Mercedes-Benz Tripoli winner in , , and nor Auto Union winner in can present a racing car for this class. In many design details, this W is based on the current 3-litre W Grand Prix car.

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Hermann Lang wins the spectacular desert race for the third time, incumbent European Champion Rudolf Caracciola finishes second, while the fastest Italian car crosses the line a good four minutes later. When, after the Second World War Mercedes-Benz plans to return to motor sports, this comeback can only be contemplated for sports car races: a new set of rules is announced for Formula One, to come into effect in , and limited resources prevent the development of a Grand Prix vehicle according to the previous formula before then.

The new SL racing sports car W has to make use of existing components: axles, transmission, and the basic engine are taken from the Mercedes-Benz W representative saloon. Entirely new is an extremely lightweight yet highly torsionally rigid spaceframe, clad in an elegantly curved, streamlined bodywork made from aluminium-magnesium sheet metal. Since the spaceframe reaches quite far up the sides, the W cannot be equipped with conventional doors — this is how the racing sports car gets its characteristic doors, pivoting from the roof.

From , this feature is also adopted by the SL W series-produced sports car based on the racing car. The car is powered by an M kW hp in-line six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 2, cc.

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In , Mercedes-Benz returns to Grand Prix sport with a fully newly developed racing car. The W R complies with all the conditions of the new Grand Prix formula of the CSI Commission Sportive Internationale : cc displacement with, or 2, cc without, supercharger, no restrictions on fuel composition. From its 2, cc displacement the W R delivers, kW hp at 8, rpm in and kW hp at 8, rpm in For at first a streamlined version is built because the opening race in Reims France allows very high speeds.

After this a second variant with free-standing wheels follows.

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The spaceframe of the W R is light and sturdy, the chassis has a torsion-rod suspension and a new single-joint swing rear axle as well as turbo-cooled Duplex drum brakes. For its powerplant the engineers choose an eight-cylinder in-line engine with direct injection and desmodromic positively opened and closed springless valves, which make high engine speeds above 8, rpm possible.

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Fangio finishes the season as World Champion. With a further improved version of the streamlined car he wins the Italian Grand Prix in and by the end of the season he is again World Champion. In addition, Mercedes-Benz deploys the W R with different wheelbases, likewise the arrangement of the drum brakes is varied.

The result is a superior racing car that dominates the season, too, and helps Juan Manuel Fangio win his second World Champion title with Mercedes-Benz.

In most of the Formula One races of and it is not the streamlined car that is driven, but the classic monoposto with free-standing wheels. This variant is significantly better suited to extremely curvy racetracks, because it allows the driver to take the measure of curves better. The W R is re-worked for its second season: The straight intake manifold, which enables an increase of the engine output to kW hp , and the additional dome on the left side become the outward distinctive features of the version of the vehicle.

Apart from this the SLR is not powered by special methanol-based racing fuel but by premium petrol. Its output, kW hp and its unexcelled fatigue strength and reliability make the SLR far superior to its competitors of , a fact it goes on to prove with its double victory at the Mille Miglia and wins in the Eifel race, the Swedish Grand Prix and the Targa Florio Sicily. At the Mille Miglia, Stirling Moss and his co-driver Denis Jenkinson starting number come in first with the average speed, unequalled to this day, of It is thus just as famous as the SLR driven on the racetracks.

However, the pilots opt for the roadster version, in particular because of the noise levels to be expected in the cockpit. The deployment in long-distance races planned for the racing season, beginning with the Carrera Panamericana slated for November , makes a closed vehicle appear more comfortable and thus more adequate. However, the long-distance race in Central America is not approved by the Mexican government and is thus not held in The customary modifications include the reinforcement of chassis elements and body components, an increase in the size of the fuel tank and adaptation of the engine characteristics to the given application.

Measures here included reinforcing chassis elements, enlargement of the fuel tank and adaptation of the engine characteristics, for example by lowering the compression ratio in the interests of a longer engine life. The transmission and final-drive ratios were also varied. The Mercedes-Benz SE as a rally vehicle dominated the touring car scene from Argentina to Germany in and Daimler-Benz AG highlighted this fact at the time as a selling point for the series production saloons.

The saloons did undergo certain modifications, however, according to their intended form of use. For the return to Grand Prix racing in the season, the Mercedes-Benz racing department built three special transporters to ferry the model W Silver Arrows to and from their races.

The Mercedes-Benz bus model O served as the basis for the closed racing transporters. In contrast to the L truck, the bus has a substantially lower chassis with a drop over the rear axle. This creates the necessary space to transport two racing cars one above the other in the large box bodies.

In all, bodybuilder Ludewig in Essen built three racing transporters with voluminous box bodies for Mercedes-Benz. Two of these served to transport vehicles, while the third O was fitted out as a mobile workshop. The fleet for racing events also included an L pickup and — as of — the legendary open transporter based on a Mercedes-Benz S.

Mercedes-Benz Classic has rebuilt one of the O racing transporters in highly authentic style.

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Deutsch Deutsch English English. Company Vehicles. Dear visitor, Daimler AG has undergone a reorganization. Read more. Benz Patent Motor Car. The patent specification is regarded today as the birth certificate of the automobile. Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Being a role model means leading the way. Mercedes-Benz S-Class — always ahead of its time. Mercedes-Benz SL. For more than 60 years the Mercedes-Benz SL has been the epitome of a sports car legend.

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Silver Arrows. A dream come true: 60 years of the Mercedes-Benz SL. Triple triumph: 40 years of the Mercedes-Benz model seri Mercedes Grand Prix racing car, Mercedes-Benz kilogram racing car W 25, Mercedes-Benz W 25 record car, Mercedes-Benz kilogram racing car W , Mercedes-Benz 3-litre W racing car, Mercedes-Benz 1. Mercedes-Benz SL racing sports car W , Mercedes-Benz 2.

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Behind the wheel of history’s best road cars

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