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How many Mercedes-Benz SSKL existed?


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#1 Leif Snellman

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 18:25

How many Mercedes-Benz SSKL chassis were built?

In his book "Quicksilver Century" Karl Ludvigsen says three.
But looking at the pictures in the book the answer is perhaps more complex than that.

On page 130 a picture shows four M-B cars on the factory yard, Ludwigsen claims in the caption that two of them are SSKLs but I think it is a simple mistake and that actually three of them are, namely those with plate numbers IIIA-0100 , IIIA-23326 and IIB-12153. That is confirmed by other pictures in the book.

But then there is another picture of a SSKL on page 129 with plate number IA-5566 making four cars altogether unless the plates were changed for some unknown reason.

SSKL cars were "sold" to Caracciola, Stuck and von Brauchitsch.

IIB-12153 is the one bought and rebuilt to a streamliner by von Brauchitsch and used for winning the 1932 Avusrennen.
IA-5566 was the one used by Stuck to become hillclimb champion in 1932.
IIIA-0100 was rebuilt by M-B as an streamliner and with it Otto Merz had his fatal Avus 1933 crash.

That leaves us with IIIA-23326 , was that the car used by Caracciola, including for his 1931 German GP and 1932 Mille Miglia victories, or was he using the IIIA-0100 or perhaps both?

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#2 anjakub

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 19:02

Leif,

IIIA-23326 was used by Hans Stuck for winning the Grand Prix Lwów in 1931.
IA-5566 was used by Hans Stuck for Grand Prix Lwów in 1932.
... but in these events both cars are described as Mercedes-Benz SSK :confused:

#3 Don Capps

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 19:48

Once upon a time I nosed around into this and all I got was a headache for pretty much the reasons mentioned. I didn't count rivets -- now I wish I had! -- but anjakub recounts a good reason for the headaches, what they were described as being and what it was assumed they were. I decided that this was one of those challenges best left to others. If I can find my notes I will see that whatever I have is passed on. I recall being convinced that it was three chassis, but then being unsure as whether that was the right number after eyeballing the aforementioned plate numbers and then failing at the possible matchups. Good luck.

#4 Leif Snellman

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 21:16

Thanks Don! :lol:

anjakub,
Well they definitely looks like SSKL to me in the pictures. (unless someone has used a drill on the SSK)
Sheldon claims that the Stuck's 1932 Lwow (Lemburg) car in fact was a SSKL
But on the other hand for some reason Sheldon gives von Brauchitsch's and Merz' 1933 Avus cars as SSK !?

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 21:20

There's a Mercedes SSK (or there was?) in Australia that was said to be a spare team car for Le Mans (1930, 1931?). When it was unused, it was rebodied and sold to an Indian Maharajah or something...

It's surely not beyond the bounds of possibility that a spare SSKL was also available?

#6 Doug Nye

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 21:22

Originally posted by Leif Snellman
How many Mercedes-Benz SSKL chassis were built?


OK Leif - between which dates??????  ;)

#7 dbw

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 03:18

i remember at pebble beach years ago while the proud owner of a sskl held forth to the crowd,the fellow that drilled the chassis rails stood unnoticed a few feet away....only in california..[i hope] :rolleyes:

#8 Leif Snellman

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 07:16

Originally posted by Doug Nye
OK Leif - between which dates??????  ;)

Seriously Doug, before 1934! And I'm only accepting holes drilled by Wagner :lol:

#9 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 08:30

Information assembled from Griffith Borgeson, Karl Ludvigsen and Erwin Tragatsch.

From the 32 type SSK built between 1928 and 1929, only 5 were converted in 1931 by the factory to type SSKL with engine power increased from 225 hp for the SSK to 300 hp on the SSKL (in most cases). The very first SSKL was raced by Caracciola with Wilhelm Sebastian at the 1931 Mille Miglia, which they won. There were no drilled out holes in the chassis at the engine and sides, differently on later modifications of Stuck’s and von Brauchitsch’s SSKLs.

Tragatsch writes that researching the commission books at Daimler-Benz turned out in a SSKL production of 12 cars between the years 1929 and 1934. Additionally to the early factory modifications of 1931, five customer SSKs were changed in 1932 and one each in 1933 and 1934 to SSK "L"s. The engines of these later models were probably not changed to the desired 300 hp. The idea was to lighten the chassis by about 125 kg. It seems that the SSKL history has not yet been researched in detail.

1931 SSKL drivers:
Rudolf Caracciola
M. v. Brauchitsch
Hans Stuck
Otto Merz (possibly this car also served as factory research vehicle)
Otto Spandl (engine was possibly not modified to 300 hp)

1932 SSKL drivers:
v. Brauchitsch
Hans Stuck (bought and drove Caracciola's factory car of 1931)

1933 SSKL drivers:
Otto Merz (SSKL with factory streamlined body crashed fatally at AVUS practice)
v. Brauchitsch
Hans Stuck on few occasions

#10 anjakub

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 08:57

Leif,
I have reviewed several photos from Lvov GP in 1932. On one (first start row from rear) I have noticed drilled out holes in the frame of Stuck’s car. It can indicate, that there was Mercedes Benz SSKL.

#11 Leif Snellman

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 09:27

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
From the 32 type SSK built between 1928 and 1929,

So the 32 SSK includes all the SSKLs as I guessed? (I belived them to be 31 by the way :stoned: )

#12 Michael Müller

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 17:21

I also have a figure of 31 SSK's in my mind, however, I'm not quite sure about this. Only one thing is obvious - there are less built than existing today…!
There are at least 2 - may be even 3 - SSKL replicas around today, which are officially described as replicas. I remember a discussion I had about this with Berthold Rückwarth 15 or 20 years ago when he started construction, and if I remember correctly he told me that it was not only a matter of drilling holes, but also the thickness of the frame profiles was lower than that of an SSK. If this is really correct, than we have in fact a certain number of original factory SSKL's which are no conversions.

The cars with "IIIA" (Stuttgart) registrations for sure are pure factory cars, the Stuck car was correctly registered in Berlin (IA), and the von Brauchitsch car in Munich (IIA). Was not his own car, but as far I remember it belonged to a relative of him, cousin or uncle or something like this, have to check. This car for sure was a customer conversion, and no ex-factory car.

#13 Leif Snellman

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 19:05

Thats correct Michael, 3.5 mm steel in the SSKL frames against 4mm for SSK according to Ludvigsen. And the SSKL was indeed owned by Manfred's wealthy cousin. What does "IIB" stand for? Is that München as well as IIA?

#14 917

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 19:26

Werner Oswald, Mercedes-Benz Personenwagen 1886-1986, 3rd edition, Stuttgart 1986 (translation by me):

Only almost 300 cars of this range were built, about 150 type S, about 110 type SS and about 35 type SSK. Due to several conversions we have no exact figures. The factory alone converted five type S cars to SS and one to SSK. Another seven SS cars were also converted to SSK. Foreign subsidiaries of the Daimler-Benz AG (and probably other companies) made also such conversions, but no number is known. Remarkable seems further that there are no SSKL in the order books of the factory, though the factory had for sure at least one car. This car and the few other SSKL were hence registered as SSK and converted from them.



#15 VAR1016

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 19:39

Clutton stated in "The Vintage Motor Car" that 12 were built. It was added that those fitted with the "Elephant" blower were rather rarer.

PdeRL

#16 917

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 20:19

Halwart Schrader, Mercedes-Benz Automobile, Vol. 1: Vom 28/95 zum SSKL (1913-1933), paperback ed. 1993 (translation by me):

The SSKL of which there were never more than seven cars by the factory...



#17 Michael Müller

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 08:01

Originally posted by Leif Snellman And the SSKL was indeed owned by Manfred's wealthy cousin. What does "IIB" stand for? Is that München as well as IIA?

Sorry, my mistake. The MvB car had IIB instead of IIA, which is "Oberbayern" (Upper Bavaria).

#18 Michael Müller

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 08:08

It seems that every source gives different figures. But what should be the exact definition of "SSKL"? MB as it seems officially listed all cars as SSK, which makes any definition more or less unofficial. In my opinion a real SSKL is only a car with the thinner frame profiles plus the 300 HP elephant blower. Everything else are only improved SSK's, even if manufactured by the factory as new cars.

#19 GIGLEUX

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 16:31

Effectively quantties vary if we search in different sources. On my side I found:

Michel Morelli, Mercedes in Competition: some 10 SSK were lightened of 125 kg.

Halwart Schrader, The supercharged Mercedes: 7 SSKL, 31 SSK, 114 SS, 149 S

Jügen Lewandowsk, Mercedes Ben Catalogue Raisonné: 38 SSK, 7 SSKL and write: "Three of these models were built in addition to four SSK cars which were drilled at the works with the characteristic SSKL holes making them 125 kg lighter.

125 kg seems to be the only common base!

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#20 Michael Müller

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 18:00

Don't believe that 125 kgs could be saved by drilling holes. Believe this is the figure including the thinner frame profiles, and if so, the conversions could not have a minus of 125 kgs.

#21 GIGLEUX

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 18:38

You are perfectly right Michael but the drilling operation was the most spectacular and that's what people at the time retained. The quantity of holes differed from one car to another the champion being Stuck4s one (IIIA 23326).

#22 Michael Müller

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 21:04

IIIA 23326 based on the registration was a works car in 1931. For 1932 Mercedes-Benz decided to stop factory racing, and therefore the car may have been sold to Stuck and registered in Berlin with IA 5566.

Another works car in 1931 was IIIA 23107, see photo below (seems to be damaged or retouched, but clearly an SSKL, although the caption says SSK.

Posted Image

Unfortunately Caracciola's MM car seems to have been driven without registration, wings looks identical, but head lights are different.

The registration of the AVUS 1933 Merz car (IIIA 0100) seems to be no normal registration, but something like a temporary one, or a testing plate (like PROVA in Italy).

#23 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 October 2003 - 12:35

Just came across an article on the 38/250 series in Motor Sport Feb 1952. According to a table (self-admittedly "far from complete") just one SSKL was known to still exist at that date, in the MB Museum. 6 SSKs were known in Britain, 6 more in the USA and one in Australia.

#24 robert dick

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Posted 25 October 2003 - 13:24

More confusion :
30 years ago the German historian Paul Simsa wrote an article for the Motor Revue mentioning that, according to the latest compilation of the Mercedes experts, 42 SSKs had been built.
Simsa did not mention the number of SSKLs, but he wrote that the Mercedes archives define the SSKL as
- a pure factory car,
- characterised by the large blower + the lighter/smaller profile chassis whereby the wholes were not simply drilled but reinforced by crimpings/seams.

= = = =

A few words about the famous commission books :
I just know the commission books of the period before WWI, but in principle their content remained the same in the twenties and thirties : Most probably a type designation S, SS, SSK or even SSKL is not mentioned in these books; sometimes the bore/stroke ratio is mentioned, sometimes the wheelbase, but not in all cases. So it is rather difficult to sift out the SSKs and nearly impossible to sift out the SSKLs by dint of the commission books alone.

#25 Jonas

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Posted 25 October 2003 - 15:24

Originally posted by Vitesse2
6 SSKs were known in Britain, 6 more in the USA and one in Australia


At that time there was also an SSK in Sweden. I'm a bit surprised that this wasn't mentioned in the article since the car is fairly well known here. The car still exists in Sweden today.. To my knowledge a very original SSK (not SSKL obviously..) that has been in Sweden and/or Finland since the early 30's

#26 Michael Müller

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Posted 25 October 2003 - 16:14

I'm fascinated about the SSK since the 70's, since I heard such a beast the first time under full throttle. In fact it was the car of B. Rückwarth, at that time Sports President of our club (ASC), and he was - and still is - one of the few able to drive this car at racing speed.
Already at that time a couple of shortened S and SS had been known, some chopped already in the 30's, others only lately…! So Simsa's "compilation" for me is very doubtful.

In fact some SSKL's after drilling had been reinforced again by welding a rather thin steel sheet around the middle part of the frame. Can be spotted quite well below on Caracciola's Mille Miglia car.

Posted Image

The effect is doubtful, because this sheet seems to be not stiff enough to prevent the frame from possible cracking. However, it seems to be the only logical reason for these sheets, because it makes no sense to lighten the frame by drilling only to add this weight again with additional sheets. Probably the first versions had been lightened over "the point of no return".

Robert, I agree with the early commission books showing no type designation. However, it has to be considered that before WWI there was no real type designation, except tax hp / brake hp.

And the Finnish SSK for sure is that of Karl Ebb, or?

#27 Jonas

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Posted 25 October 2003 - 20:32

Originally posted by Michael Müller
And the Finnish SSK for sure is that of Karl Ebb, or?


I think so, yes. In Sweden there was also the SSK that Widengren used to own before he bought his Monza Alfa-Romeo, but where that car ended up I don't know.

#28 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 25 October 2003 - 21:44

Originally posted by Michael Müller
...In fact some SSKL's after drilling had been reinforced again by welding a rather thin steel sheet around the middle part of the frame. Can be spotted quite well below on Caracciola's Mille Miglia car...
...The effect is doubtful, because this sheet seems to be not stiff enough to prevent the frame from possible cracking. However, it seems to be the only logical reason for these sheets, because it makes no sense to lighten the frame by drilling only to add this weight again with additional sheets. Probably the first versions had been lightened over "the point of no return"...

The above statements need to be supported by source information [PLEASE!?], before we can go any further. Nowhere have I found statements to the effect that Daimler-Benz covered the holes again on the MM car only after it may have dawned on their engineer's minds that the chassis might not last the whole 1000 mile Italian race with all the holes. Besides that this would makes no sense, I cannot imagine that Max Wagner was such a shortsighted engineer since he could build on years of Benz chassis-drilling experience. It seems much more likely, that the chassis rails were not drilled between the firewall and the radiator as stated by Karl Ludvigsen.

#29 Leif Snellman

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Posted 25 October 2003 - 22:08

Originally posted by Michael Müller
And the Finnish SSK for sure is that of Karl Ebb, or?

It is belived that the guy originally ordering the car cancelled his order and that then a Finn named Rolf Parviainen, son of a millionare, saw the car in Berlin in June 1929 and bought it. Ebb borrowed the car for a race at Solvalla, Sweden in 1931 and after having won the race he bought the car from Parviainen. Sometimes in the 40s the car then went to Sweden where it went from owner to owner before finally ending up in bad shape at a junk dealer. There it was found by an Swedish enthusiast named Lindblad. It took him 20 years to put it back in shape with assistance from Daimler Benz.

Chassinumber: 35998
Licence plate in Finland A-4005, in Sweden: BFA315 (?)

http://www.autosite....ercedes SSK.htm

#30 Michael Müller

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 18:15

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
The above statements need to be supported by source information [PLEASE!?]

Posted Image

Okay, not welded, but rivetted...! Source? Ludvigsen Bible...!

These cover sheets (or how should we name it?) could be spotted at Caracciola's and Stuck's cars, the first for sure, the latter most probably, works SSKL's. May be even both cars are identical.
The length of these sheets is different, here (Caracciola Nürburgring 1931) they begin directly in front of the spring joint, identical as at the MM car.
The Stuck car has the posterior sheets removed.

Posted Image

But still sheets in the frontal part, the rivets could be spotted very well. And if the 1932 Stuck car indeed is the 1931 Caracciola works car, then under the posterior sheets in fact holes are hidden.

In my earlier posting I doubted the stiffening function of such sheets, but the pictures clearly show they are there... Already B. Rückwarth in my chat with him 15 or 20 years ago mentioned these sheets, and also he had - at least at that time - no logical explanation. And if there is one capacity worldwide about the supercharged Mercedes' - than he must be the person. He even was - may be he still is - advisor for the Mercedes-Benz museum for these cars.

So any logical explanations for these mysterious sheets, please?!

#31 dretceterini

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 18:27

I see no point to these cover sheets either, as they certainly would not do anything to strengthen the chassis.

#32 Michael Müller

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 21:25

I apologize for quoting myself

The effect is doubtful, because this sheet seems to be not stiff enough to prevent the frame from possible cracking. However, it seems to be the only logical reason for these sheets, because it makes no sense to lighten the frame by drilling only to add this weight again with additional sheets.

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 21:59

Preventing ingress of water that might interfere with electical components? Or driver comfort?

#34 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 26 October 2003 - 23:07

Originally posted by Michael Müller
...The length of these sheets is different, here (Caracciola Nürburgring 1931) they begin directly in front of the spring joint, identical as at the MM car.
The Stuck car has the posterior sheets removed...

I have yet to see pictorial evidence that the first SSKL, Caracciola’s MM car, was drilled or "sheeted" at the side between Radiator and forward joint of rear spring either before its first race on April 13 or even at the Mille Miglia itself. I do not question drillings or "sheetings" in this chassis area at the car’s later appearances at Rabassada (May 17), Zbraslav-Jílovištĕ (May 31), Eifelrennen (June 7), Kesselberg (June 14), German GP (July 19), Schauinsland (July 26), Avusrennen (August 2), Tatra (August 16), Mont Ventoux (August 30) and Svab (September 20). That of course brings up the question whether or not Caracciola indeed raced the "MM" chassis at all the above events.

#35 Michael Müller

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 09:31

Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
I have yet to see pictorial evidence that the first SSKL, Caracciola’s MM car, was drilled or "sheeted" at the side between Radiator and forward joint of rear spring either before its first race on April 13 or even at the Mille Miglia itself. I do not question drillings or "sheetings" in this chassis area at the car’s later appearances.

Okay, now we come closer... :)
I agree that on the MM picture above it could not clearly be spotted whether the hole-free part is plain frame or cover sheet. However, it is strange that the hole-free area begins just in front of the spring joint, equivalent to the sheeting of the Nürburgring car.

But the main question still remains - what was the deeper sense of these sheets...?

#36 dbw

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Posted 27 October 2003 - 16:28

from a practical standpoint, depending on how deep the footwells were, the sheeting could prevent heat transfer to the interior..see the sheet right next to the exhaust pipe..the foreward covers may act as dust/water barriers. .they do look a bit hastily applied so they may have been added for some reason discovered later...also it may be noted that on the t-59 bugattis the lightening holes on the frame were closed from the back side with light alloy sheeting...effectively closing off any "
window" effect of the holes....however in typical bugatti fashion the holes could still be seen from the outside and worked well both aesthically and as a visual statement to the competition.....too bad the cars didn't perform as well as they looked......

#37 robert dick

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 09:16

The oscillation attitude of ladder frames was often influenced by inserting pieces of wood into the U-shaped frame members, not to reinforce the frame but to relocate/change the nodal point/oscillation amplitude of the frame. This method always appeared when the frame was relatively flimsy in relation to the engine size, for 1000-kg cars until 1906 and for cyclecars (Salmson, Amilcar) during the twenties.
Possible that in the case of the SSKL the sheet had the same task.

#38 Michael Müller

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 14:21

Up to now the only logical-looking solution...

#39 D-Type

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 15:00

robert, you may have a point. Plating the chassis would restore the stiffness of the chassis to something very close to its original value. In addition to affecting the natural oscillational frequency this would also affect the roadholding. The plate would not need to be as thick as the material removed in the original drilling to restore the original stiffness.

I am talking about stiffness, the resistance to deformation under a load, not to ultimate strength. With the size and spacing of rivets, these would be the limiting factor as regards strength (whether the rivets themselves or the plate around them).

Looking again at the pictures that Michael posted, I see that the chassis aft of the spring shackle has been drilled for plating. even if it has not been plated. (I'm referring to the smaller holes above and below the big ones).

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#40 Michael Müller

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 16:50

Originally posted by D-Type
Looking again at the pictures that Michael posted, I see that the chassis aft of the spring shackle has been drilled for plating. even if it has not been plated. (I'm referring to the smaller holes above and below the big ones).

No, this small holes are also lightening, you can spot them also on other places where for sure not plating was scheduled. Also the Benz RH and the later GP cars had this pattern of drilling - as far as I remember.

#41 IMV

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 21:17

Originally posted by Michael Müller
So any logical explanations for these mysterious sheets, please?!


Maybe just simple protection against filling the frame of stones and dust flying off from the front wheels in sharp corners on dirty tracks ???

Michal

#42 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 November 2003 - 21:39

Much more likely...

The way those covers are rivetted on precludes any prospect of adding strength.

#43 robert dick

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 09:42

Adding strength was not the purpose of the wood inserts used on the Salmsons or Amilcars. The purpose was to change the eigenfrequency of the chassis, in other words to damp the oscillation of the frame by changing the frequency. This could also be achieved by just clamping a steel sheet over the frame, for example with a thin layer of rubber between steel sheet and main frame.
Just a suggestion...

#44 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 12:04

From a purely practical point of view, disregarding any - probably parallel - notion of serving to stiffen the perhaps 'over-drilled' chassis frame or serving to change its flexible response to road shocks, it was quite common for thoughtful entrants of drilled-chassis cars to add shields simply to prevent - most notably in wet weather - the drillings and nooks and crevices filling up with heavy mud, gravel and rocks.

This approach was very similar to that employed for years now on rally and rallycross cars in which the wheelarches are carefully plated-in around the wheels to prevent the open caverns of the standard bodyshells accumulating perhaps 50-100lbs or more of such debris...with the inevitably adverse effect that lugging all that extra weight around would have upon the car's performance.

When you consider some of the surfaces over which such cars as the S-series Mercedes competed - and some of weather encountered therein - this could have become a consideration. Undertrays were certainly fitted on some of the cars to prevent similar accumulation underneath. And of all contemporary motor sporting entrants Mercedes-Benz were certainly amongst the most intelligent and thoughtful.

When it comes to weight saving Alfa Romeo's early works 8C-2300s commonly used chassis frames made of thinner-gauge material than their standard production, and when these were drilled in places for lightness Luigi Chinetti - the Paris agent - had some rigidity returned to the frames by sleeving them with suitably-sized U-channel sheet sections which popped inside the standard channel, and were then dab-welded to it. Some lightening holes were then re-cut, passing through both pieces of this now 'laminated' chassis channel.

DCN

#45 D-Type

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Posted 04 November 2003 - 12:08

robert

You and I are talking about different facets of the same thing. The natural frequency of a 'structure' is a function of its stiffness (EA for a stretched string, EI in flexure or GJ in torsion).

Ray,

I agree with you. The rivetted plates don't have the capacity to add to the strength.


However, stiffness if not the same as strength. If you make two dimensionally-identical structures, one in mild steel and one in high tensile steel they will have the same stiffness (and natural frequency) as Young's modulus is effectively the same regardless of the grade of steel. The ultimate failure strength of the high strength steel one would be higher than the mild steel one.

To visualise the effect, think of a wobbly bookcase. You nail a sheet of hardboard to the back and it doesn't wobble any more. But if you push it sideways hard, the hardboard round the nails gives way and it wobbles again. You then nail on a plywood back. Again it stops it wobbling, and you have to push it harder to break the plywood. The wobbliness is stiffness, the resistance to being loaded to failure is strength.


Looking closely at the photos, the attached plates appear to be bowed slightly so they are probably light gauge and probably aren't stressed. This suggests that they are intended to be some sort of grit and gravel protection. If you were to stress the chassis up, say by cornering hard or by going over a bump, the sheets would come into play and stop the chassis flexing. Once the load got too high for the rivets or the thin sheet around them then something would give and the stiffening effect would be lost.

#46 robert dick

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Posted 05 November 2003 - 08:55

Sorry to be a nuisance :
When examining some photos of the SSKL chassis, I got the impression that it could be possible that the engine area too was covered by sheets.

Is it sure that the the SSKL frames were not drilled in the engine area?
Or is it possible that the frames were drilled from the front to the rear end, continuously, including the engine area?
And that the area between the radiator and the bulkhead was covered by sheets on all cars, and the seat area in addition only on the Caracciola car in 1931?

#47 Michael Müller

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 16:18

Originally posted by anjakub IIIA-23326 was used by Hans Stuck for winning the Grand Prix Lwów in 1931.

Any proven evidence for this?

#48 anjakub

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 17:31

Michael, I check it and probably no.

I found one photo with licence plate IIIA-23326 (magazine "Raz, Dwa, Trzy" from 1931 - only car's photo without background, maybe not taken in Lwów). On another photos Stuck drove car without licence plate. I'll search the other sources.

#49 Michael Müller

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 07:30

Yesterday I dived again into this topic, hence the question about the Stuck car. However, I now did not doubt this anymore.

The thread starts with this photo, which is published in Carl Ludvigsen’s “Mercedes-Benz Renn- und Sportwagen” (don’t know the original English title) :

Posted Image

It took me some time to identify the corresponding event based on the race numbers, because I always believed that IIIA-23326 was Caracciola’s 1931 car, and I could not find any r/n 10 for him. Then I remembered this photo which I posted earlier in this thread:

Posted Image

The caption “SSK” is wrong of course, obviously the SSKL in contemporary documents was mostly designated as SSK only. The registration is IIIA-23107, where IIIA stands for “Stuttgart”. This is the only photo known to me of Caracciola in an SSKL showing an registration plate.

By appointing now IIIA-23326 to Stuck, and IIIA-23107 to Caracciola, the whole thing makes sense. There are a lot of studio photos of IIIA-23326 showing the car with white wings, whereas Caracciola’s MM and GP Germany had dark wings (most probably maroon resp. dark red). And now also the group picture above very simply can be solved. It has been taken during (resp. before or after) the German Grand Prix on the Nürburgring on 19 July 1931.

The car on the right (IIB-12153, #2) is Manfred von Brauchitsch’s private SSK, which has been converted to SSKL already. Next to him (IIIA-23326, #10) is Hans Stuck with a works car, then Otto Merz with another works car (IIIA-0100, #12), and finally Otto Spandel (Spandl?) with a private SSK (IIIP-4170, #22).
And who’s missing? Mr. Caracciola with the 3rd works car, registration IIIA-23107 und r/n 8.

Based on this the answer to Leif’s original question would be:
There had been 3 works SSKL,
- IIIA-23107 for Caracciola
- IIIA-23326 for Stuck
- IIIA-0100 for Merz
and additionally an SSK converted by the factory to SSKL,
- IIB-12153 for von Brauchitsch
Whether in 1932 or later other private SSK’s had been converted to L specification is another story.

And now we are able to drop another one of Don Alfredo’s fairy tales, that one of the “one man racing team” of 1931 - driver Caracciola, manager Neubauer, co-pilot Sebastian, and mechanic Walb...!
At least for the German GP they entered a full works team with 3 cars, and Stuck at least entered a works SSKL for the Lvov Grand Prix, the Avus-Rennen, and the Masarykuv Okruh at Brno.

In 1932 Mercedes-Benz in fact dropped all racing activities. Caracciola went to Alfa-Romeo, and although always described as “private car sold to him with substantial discount” IIIA-23107 for sure was registered at Stuttgart. Stuck bought IIIA-23326 from the factory and re-registered her at Berlin (IA-5566), and IIIA-0100 was kept by Mercedes up to that tragic AVUS race in 1933. And of course von Brauchitsch continued racing his private IIB-12153.

I could not find any traces of the Caracciola car after 1931, and also not of the 1933 AVUS crash car. The Stuck SSKL disappeared at the end of 1932, and the MvB car after the 1933 season.

#50 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 30 June 2004 - 08:51

Originally posted by Michael Müller
...There had been 3 works SSKL,
- IIIA-23107 for Caracciola
- IIIA-23326 for Stuck
- IIIA-0100 for Merz
and additionally an SSK converted by the factory to SSKL,
- IIB-12153 for von Brauchitsch...

I still think that there existed "5" SSKL's in 1931, at least at the German Grand Prix.
1 - Rudolf Caracciola
2 - M. v. Brauchitsch
3 - Hans Stuck
4 - Otto Merz (possibly this car also served as factory research vehicle)
5 - Otto Spandl (engine was possibly not modified to 300 hp)