1955 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster - AZH-CARS

Car Review


Post Top Ad

1955 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster

Maximilian Edwin Hoffman spent hours attempting to influence the Daimler-Benz Board of Management to construct a fairly priced sports activities automobile for the American marketplace. When he sooner or later received the go-beforehand from the then Director General Dr. Fritz Könecke, the fashionable American nevertheless felt he had misplaced out. This changed into because of the suggestion from De-velopment leader Dr. Fritz Nallinger recommending that the small sports activities automobile Hoffman desired to construct need to be built at the platform of the one hundred eighty Saloon. Hoffman's instantaneously rejoinder changed into to the impact of "That's now no longer going to return back to anything." Later, the automobile buff accurate-naturedly conceded: "I misplaced - the final results changed into the Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL."

The superb Board assembly in Stuttgart, considered because the consultation which gave start to the well-known a hundred ninety SL, happened on September 2, 1953. The human beings liable for the enterprise had invited Max Hoffman due to the fact the entrepreneurial American have been uploading European motors to america ever considering the fact that 1946 and had proven an unfailing intuition and a great stage of prescience. He changed into consequently the proper character to associate Mercedes-Benz while it got here to penetrating the American marketplace.

The Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL, whose potentialities of fulfillment have been rated so low via way of means of its distant places godfather after what had for him been a disappointing assembly with the Board of Management changed into, collectively with the legendary three hundred SL Gullwing, to throw open the doorways of the American marketplace to the world's oldest car brand. With this in mind, Hoffman changed into promised the three hundred SL for the "International Motor Sports Show" in New York, held from February 6 to 14, 1954. And its child brother, the a hundred ninety SL, changed into to make its debut along it. The aim changed into to win the hearts and minds of the American public with an fashionable sports activities automobile from a famend company - one that blended an interesting layout with a modest fee tag.

This of route intended that the engineers have been left without a extra than 5 months to increase this automobile. Things needed to pass swiftly, and simply weeks after the assembly with Hoffman, the administrators at Daimler-Benz have been already analyzing preliminary draft designs for the brand new automobile. Two weeks later, they met to assess the primary 1:10 scale version and 8 weeks after that, the primary 1:1 version changed into prepared for his or her inspection. Then the already breathtaking tempo of improvement genuinely increased. The ground meeting of the one hundred eighty version needed to be tailored to healthy the brand new layout notions and the proper engine needed to be found. The tight agenda additionally intended that the shapes for the wood blocks which might subsequently supply upward thrust to the frame of this automobile had to be in very last shape no later than October 31, 1953. Faced with this time pressure, it changed into in the long run to be Walter Häcker who made the decisive adjustments to the draft designs for the frame shape, culminating withinside the unmistakable individual of the a hundred ninety SL.

While the designers have been operating flat out and with exquisite enthusiasm on the brand new sports activities automobile, the Board of Management have been giving essential idea to the destiny version policy. One of the reviews from those Board conferences therefore states that the Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL need to be considered as a sports activities tourer in preference to as a racing sports activities automobile.

Double greatest in New York

Finally, on February 6, 1954, the New Yorkers enthusiastically replied to the advent of the a hundred ninety SL with their hallmark exuberance and style. The German journal "Automobil + Motorrad Chronik" mentioned a "turbulent debut". Other newspapers and magazines additionally marvelled on the elegant sports activities automobile from Stuttgart and knowledgeable their readers of the brand new "Star withinside the Automotive Firmament", heaping reward on its "delicate elegance". Another German journal, "Motorrundschau" then encapsulated what many human beings have been via way of means of then taking into consideration the Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL: "A tantalising dream for the heaps of human beings for whom the three hundred SL might constantly be unattainable."

Nevertheless, for an preliminary period, the more youthful brother of the motor racing supermegacelebrity remained no much less elusive for the shopping for public due to the fact the a hundred ninety SL, after inflicting this type of sensation, changed into in reality now no longer placed on the marketplace - now no longer straight away anyway. The designers have been nevertheless being vociferous approximately various weaknesses: of their eyes, the automobile nevertheless did now no longer have pretty the proper appearance and the brand new engine, later used withinside the saloon model of this version, nevertheless behaved in a alternatively idiosyncratic manner. All in all, there has been no hiding from the reality that the fast tempo of improvement had left no time for thorough trials and take a look at cycles. Under no situations changed into Mercedes-Benz inclined to dispense with this rigorous technique to a brand new product.

The engineers as a result set approximately coaching their engine higher manners. They experimented with numerous carburettor configurations, changed the shift lever configuration, and the frame first exhibited in New York changed into additionally subjected to some of refine-ments. This system did away with the stylised air consumption at the bonnet, the the front fringe of the bonnet changed into offset in the direction of the windscreen, the bumpers, flip alerts and tail lighting have been changed and the acquainted "comet tail" bulges above the wheel arches at the SL fashions additionally regarded above the rear wheels of the changed a hundred ninety SL. This very last model changed into first unveiled to an admiring public on the Geneva Motor Show in March 1955. Volume manufacturing began out in May 1955, as soon as the car had com-pleted all its technical trials and changed into deemed in shape and prepared for lifestyles at the open street.

At this point, the Mercedes a hundred ninety SL regarded on a degree where, at the least throughout its early days in Germany, it appeared truly out of place. Back in 1955, street site visitors changed into nevertheless ruled via way of means of -wheeled types of transport. Most Germans might now no longer have dared to dream of ever proudly owning extra than the tiniest of motors - often no extra than a modi-fied bike with stabilisers. On the opposite hand, the pressure and fear of locating someplace to park have been nevertheless absolutely unknown - at this time, a complete of 1.6 million motors shared a street community a few 129,238 kilometres in duration, of which 2,174 kilometres have been toll road. Nowadays, even though the variety of kilometres on the street community has nearly doubled, with a 5-fold growth withinside the duration of toll road sections, the roads in Germany need to convey nearly forty five million passenger motors.

The 12 months which gave start to the Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL additionally noticed the partition of Germany, while the 2 German states received separate autonomy. At the identical time, while the Warsaw Pact changed into established, the political temperature among East and West dropped nicely under zero - the Cold War brought about worry in a exquisite many human beings.

Despite all this, there has been nevertheless optimism withinside the air. The first vague symptoms and symptoms of the financial miracle have been beginning to emerge in West Germany, prompting the plenty aspired for upturn in fortunes. The scarcity of people triggered mind of turning to Italy as an preliminary supply of migrant people. At the identical time, Italy have become the dream vacation spot for vacation travel.

While the the front pages of newspapers have been reporting on the global combat in opposition to polio with the brand new "Salk" vaccine, the sports activities pages have been enthusing approximately the race-music successes of Mercedes-Benz motors. They swept to victory withinside the Grand Prix activities in Belgium, Great Britain, the Netherlands and in Argentina. Mercedes driving force Juan Manuel Fangio have become World Champion. The motors with the supermegacelebrity logo additionally ruled all the world's maximum gruelling long-distance races - the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio and the Tourist Trophy.

A automobile for the heart

Meanwhile, the journals and magazines have been busy discussing the Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL. "Auto Motor und Sport" taken into consideration it to be an "fashionable, rapid sports activities tourer which also can be used as a wonderfully ordinary automobile for regular use," describing it as a automobile with "above-common roadholding". The identical book additionally went on to mention that the a hundred ninety SL "changed into famend for the reality that it simply maintains on going." It additionally praised the gentle pinnacle, claiming that it changed into "made to a excellent wellknown that, out of doors Sindelfingen, may want to simplest be matched in a totally few places withinside the world. The fast and handy operation required to elevate and decrease the convertible roof is a main gain of the a hundred ninety SL."

This had an nearly prophetic ring to it. At the time, no-one even imagined simply how essential a function this option might come to play withinside the fulfillment of the SLK-Class. "Das Automobil" struck an excellent extra enthusiastic note. "You can simplest very own a automobile like this whole-heartedly - it casts a spell on its owner" changed into the accolade it bestowed. This changed into observed via way of means of a scarcely much less excellent confession: "I changed into capable of experience for myself how plenty this automobile better my non-public standing, now no longer simplest with resort porters and girls younger and old. When you obtain this automobile, you're shopping extra than a way of transport. You also are obtaining popularity and, over and above the price of truly the usage of the automobile, you furthermore may benefit the type of accurate fortune that fills the kid who is living in each guy with delight."

Other guides tended to awareness their interest extra on technical details. One such journal, the "Automobil Revue", suggested its readers: "in phrases of street safety, the Mercedes a hundred ninety SL is one of the very greatest motors in manufacturing at this time." Then we have "Sports-Cars Illustrated" which indexed an extended string of advantageous features of the Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL in a sober, actual manner: "The synchromesh works whenever and the transmission is idiot-proof. You can pressure economically in case you so wish." At this point, the writer of "Sports-Cars Illustrated" sooner or later gave manner to enthusiasm and confessed: "Where the a hundred ninety SL chassis genuinely shines is while cornering and while using in a instantly line at excessive speeds. This is extra than only a pleasure, it's far genuinely a individual constructing experience."

Based on established technology

Unlike the three hundred SL Gullwing, the Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL changed into now no longer of route designed as a thorough-bred sports activities automobile. Instead, it changed into conceived as an fashionable -seater sports activities coupé for journeying and regular using. The chassis platform changed into borrowed from the short-wheelbase ground meeting of the one hundred eighty version with its acquainted single-joint swing axle with a reduced fulcrum point. The the front suspension with its subframe idea changed into derived from the one hundred eighty/one hundred eighty D fashions.

The a hundred ninety SL changed into powered via way of means of a newly evolved four-cylinder 1.9-litre engine with overhead camshaft which changed into able to handing over one hundred and five hp. Depending on street conditions, this intended the automobile may want to reap street speeds drastically in extra of one hundred seventy km/h and boost up from zero to one hundred km/h (approx. zero-60 mph) in approximately 14 seconds.

The Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL changed into to be had as a gentle-pinnacle Roadster or as a coupé with detachable hard-pinnacle with the extra alternative of a gentle-pinnacle as nicely. Other gadgets of non-obligatory device blanketed a sports activities model for motor racing, offering lighter doorways with a cutout for the arm, stripped away bumpers and a small Plexiglas windshield in the front of the driving force rather than a windscreen. However, the Oberste Nationale Sportkommission (ONS or Governing National Sports Committee) refused to approve this sports activities model which changed into consequently withdrawn in March 1956.

Although this marked the stop of any feasible motorsport profession for the a hundred ninety SL in Europe, it nonetheless got here 2d on the 1956 Grand Prix withinside the Portuguese colony of Mação and changed into presented Best in Class. In 1958 it went directly to victory in its magnificence of the Hong Kong Rally. The carrying profession of the a hundred ninety SL changed into now no longer even halted in 1961 while it changed into prepared with a diesel engine, occurring because it did to interrupt many information for diesel-engined motors.

Having stated all that, the Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL garnered even extra fulfillment on fashionable metropolis streets than it did at the race music. A wide variety of distinguished social figures selected this fashionable sports activities automobile to supplement their image, inclusive of Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra who drove a a hundred ninety SL withinside the film "Ten Thousand Bedrooms".

The Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL remained in manufacturing till 1963. Many element adjustments helped to outline its curriculum vitae. These blanketed the chrome trim strips at the top edges of the doorways and huge tail lighting selected for the 1956 version. From July 1957 the bumper overriders at the US model have become wellknown device on all fashions, and in October 1959 the coupé variations have been equipped with a brand new hardtop with an enlarged rear window.

The clearest indication of simply how plenty cherished and a success the Mercedes-Benz a hundred ninety SL changed into is proven via way of means of the manufacturing figures: among May 1955 and February 1963, no much less than 25,881 motors left the meeting strains in Sindelfingen - some distance in extra of the aspirations first of all mentioned at that decisive Board assembly lower back on 2 September 1953.