Friday, June 28, 2019

Mercedes-Benz and the 2019 Silvretta Classic

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Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (W 198) from 1955, start number 417 as had been the case with the car driven by John Cooper Fitch at the 1000 Miglia in 1955. Photo from the 2019 1000 Miglia.

“Dream cars on dream roads” – this phrase summarises the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon, one of the most renowned regularity rallies for classic cars. In the 22nd rally from 4 to 6 July 2019, Mercedes-Benz Classic will be participating with six vehicles from the corporate collection and ALL TIME STARS, the brandʼs own vehicle dealer for classic cars. The Stuttgart-based brand is a premium partner of the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon in 2019.
One of the vehicles is a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (W 201) from 1990. On board this classic car will be Mercedes-Benz Classic brand ambassador and former DTM champion Klaus Ludwig, reverently called “King Ludwig” by his fans, accompanied by influencer Shareen Raudies. The budding engineer is known as Shareen Queen especially on Instagram (@shareenqueen), where she also regularly brings her own black Mercedes-Benz 190 E to the forefront. The saloon accompanies her in her everyday life as well as on social media. The “Queen” and “King Ludwig” are sharing the cockpit of the “ EVO II” during the rally – a truly royal team.
In connection with the 125 years of Mercedes-Benz motorsports anniversary, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (W 198) is commemorating a legendary highlight of the 1955 motorsports season: at that time, a production sports car of this type with start number 417 (driven by John Cooper Fitch and Kurt Gessl) won the class award for GTs with engines over 1.3 litres in the Italian 1000 Miglia road race from Brescia to Rome and back. Fitch also clinched fifth place in the overall standings. Two more 300 SL Gullwings followed in second and third places in the class classification.
The standard-production sports car 300 SL Gullwing launched in 1954 was directly descended from the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) used in 1952. It was with this vehicle that the brand staged a successful return to motorsports after the Second World War. The unique sporting tradition of the Gullwing, with its characteristic gullwing doors, was continued from 1957 onwards by the 300 SL Roadster. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS racing version derived from this open sports car was driven by Paul OʼShea to win the 1957 SCCA National Sports Car Championship in the USA in the D category. Mercedes-Benz Classic will be taking part in the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon with a 300 SL Roadster from 1958.
The fascination of the 1970s
The wide range of sporting characteristics in Mercedes-Benz cars is illustrated in the Silvretta Classic by two very different classics from the early 1970s: on the one hand, there is the C 111-II experimental vehicle built in 1970, which was then equipped with the M 116 V8 engine for comparative tests. This gave the engineers the ability to compare the Wankel engine, which was then being tested in the C 111 (1969) and C 111-II (1970), with a state-of-the-art reciprocating piston engine in a similar experimental car.
Despite considerable public interest in the breathtaking coupé with the lines of a super sports car, the C 111-II never went into series production. However, the Stuttgart brand later derived a number of record-breaking cars from these experimental vehicles in which the rotary engine was tested: in 1976, the C 111-II D kicked off and was then followed by the C 111-III (1978) and C 111-IV (1979). All three of these vehicles set numerous records on the Italian high-speed test track in Nardò.
The Silvretta Classic 2019 features a 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet (W 111) from 1971 as a representative of the culture of luxurious sporting travel in open-top vehicles. This premium class cabriolet in metallic blue with parchment-coloured leather is one of the classics available through ALL TIME STARS, the Mercedes-Benz Classic car dealership (, which has its own showroom in the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Its history: the four-seater was delivered to a buyer in Munich in 1971 and later became part of a collection of Mercedes-Benz classics. The vehicle is accompanied by comprehensive documentation of its heritage with maintenance logs and other supporting documents. The 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet is offered in the Collectors Edition of ALL TIME STARS.
G-force and EVO II
The high-altitude roads in the Alps with their passes and breathtaking views are a feature of the Silvretta Classic. Also up in the mountains, but off the beaten track, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class was born 40 years ago in February 1979. A short-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz 300 GD cabriolet from 1989 acts as a reminder of this special chapter in the history of the brand during the rally. This rare open-top version of the off-road classic with a five-cylinder diesel engine was built between 1979 and 1991.
One real highlight from Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon is the high-performance 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (“EVO II”) saloon, which Klaus Ludwig and Shareen Raudies are taking out on the road. This 173 kW (235 h.p.) top-of-the-range version of the 1990 W 201 compact class was rebuilt by Mercedes-Benz Classic in 2013 for historical motorsport events. The DTM racing rally cars of the same name from the early 1990s served as models for this one. The “EVO II” is reminiscent of highlights from 125 years of Mercedes-Benz motorsports such as the triple victory in the DTM overall standings in 1992: on that occasion, Klaus Ludwig won the championship, followed by his teammates Kurt Thiim and Bernd Schneider.
The stars shine over the Alpine dream roads
Mercedes-Benz Classic is a premium partner of the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon in 2019 which will, once again, be exploring breathtaking, high-altitude roads in Austrian Voralberg. By participating in this outstanding event in the automotive classic calendar with six vehicles from the corporate collection and ALL TIME STARS, the brand is also supporting public appreciation of the regularity drive that is headlined as “dream cars on dream roads”. A total of around 180 historically important classics, built up to 1999, are taking part in the rally.
On Thursday, 4 July 2019, at 3 p.m., the “Montafon” first stage will set off on the 118-kilometre run from Partenen via Gargellen, Schruns and Sankt Gallenkirch on the Silvretta High Alpine Road to the dayʼs destination at Bielerhöhe. On Friday, 5 July 2019, the teams will take the second leg of the “ Silvretta” and set off early at 7:30 a.m. This leg runs 330 kilometres over the Bielerhöhe and Silvretta High Alpine Road to Ischgl, Landeck, Piburg, Lech, Zürs and Kappl to the destination in Gaschurn. This dayʼs section includes the passes Hahntennjoch (1,894 metres), Flexenpass (1,773 metres) and Arlbergpass (1,793 metres). The third and final stage of the Silvretta Classic, the “ Bregenzer Wald” (Bregenzer Forest), will start on Saturday, 6 July 2019, at 9 a.m. and cover 178 kilometres from Partenen to Schruns. The route includes the Faschinajoch pass (1,486 metres).
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