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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Mercedes-Benz Racing Car Transporter

    Phoenix from the ashes

    Comeback after more than 40 years

    The manufacture of the racing car transporter had already been a bold and visionary project in its "first life"; this was almost topped by the plan to reconstruct this witness to Mercedes-Benz motor sport history. Since there were hardly any drawings or documents relating to the racing car transporter's design, the relevant specifications had to be compiled in scrupulousy detailed work.

    The scrapping had proved to be a painful loss which over the years did not give the people responsible in the Mercedes-Benz Museum any peace. Especially as they received inquiries from all over the world time and again, asking about the famous racing car transporter's whereabouts and whether it would be possible to see or drive it.

    Extensive research within the company finally revealed that there were only a few records on this vehicle to be found in the Corporate Archives and contemporaries' documents.

    A great help proved to be staff reports on what happened at the time. In this way, important facts were reestablished, photos obtained and many details brought back into the light of day. Design drawings, however, were simply non-existent. Like so many other one-off cars at Daimler-Benz, the racing car transporter had been built without any design drawings being available.

    Finally, in 1993, Messrs. MIKA GmbH in Mölln in the north of Germany, specialists in the restoration of motor vehicles, were given the honorable task by the Mercedes-Benz Museum to rebuild the racing car transporter in true-to-the-original style based upon photos and data available - a challenge they mastered in admirable fashion. Almost 6000 working hours were spent on redesigning and building the racing car transporter. This meant seven years of fiddling, of elaborating the steering and gearshift geometries, of designing the cable harness, of manufacturing the cab's rear windows and all the details to be found under the sheet metal skin.

    As is so often the case, a very special delight for the MIKA staff was a tiny detail: the Mercedes star which once adorned the original's rear end is still available today - and its curvature fitted the copy perfectly. It is, incidentally, the 300 S's star.

    For safety reasons, a small deviation from the original was approved: the front wheels are equipped with 1989 SL disc brakes, and the disc brake between propeller shaft and differential was omitted. All other technical data and features like engine output, axle configuration, transmission spacing, exterior dimensions, bucket-type seats complete with upholstery fabrics, the location of the rev counter, the dimensions of the access rails, etc. are precisely the same as on the original transporter.

    When the replica was presented, a person who knew the original vehicle said "How wonderful it's back here with us," certain vibrations in his voice indicating that he was glad seeing something missed for such a long time come home again.
    I'm going to eat breakfast. And then I'm going to change the world.

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