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Old 04-12-2005, 08:51 PM
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A bold idea

A one-off vehicle from the Mercedes-Benz testing workshops head

The legendary Silver Arrows were not the only vehicles that were the talk of the town in the early nineteen-sixties. The Mercedes-Benz racing department also hit the headlines off the racetracks, with its "fastest racing car transporter in the world".

In 1952, the board of management of Daimler-Benz decided that in two years time, 1954, it would return to Grand Prix racing. The company's racing department, which had already set up the extremely successful 300 SL racing sports cars in 1952, set out to translate the plans for a Grand Prix car - internally designated W 196 - into reality.

Parallel to this, it was, of course, essential to equip a workshop vehicle for servicing and repairs alongside the racetrack, and to build a truck for transporting the racing cars. Neubauer couldn't get the idea of a fast racing car transporter out of his mind.

The idea was presented to master craftsman Hägele, with the final words of encouragement being: "Come up with something good!"

Hägele was in charge of a test department in which chassis and running gear technicians, engine specialists and bodymakers produced prototypes.

The demands made on the transporter were specified easily enough: it was to be fast - very fast even when laden with a Grand Prix car or SLR racing sports car. It therefore had to have plenty of power and equally powerful brakes. It is no longer possible to retrace the individual steps in the production of the racing car transporter in every detail, but it is known that the vehicle was a joint development of Hägele's team.

Engineer Hennige finally suggested the combination of the X-shaped tubular frame from the 300 S, the highperformance engine from the 300 SL and interior fittings from the 180. Rudolf Uhlenhaut gave the green light and the team set out to tackle the work.
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