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Mercedes 300SL Le Mans 1952


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#1 figoni

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 21:30

Okay my question is does anyone know anything about the Mercedes 300SL's that raced at Le Mans in 1952 esp. 0006/52 and 0007/52. I would especially like to know what happened to them post Le Mans. I have heard that they where involved in a fire ?? and where sold in the late 1990's. Purely out of curiosity, nothing else.

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#2 Q-8

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 21:58

Great question - I wish I could help you. I am a huge SL fan.

#3 Michael Müller

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 08:35

00006/52

Registration W 83-3146
At Le Mans T-car with airbrake, r/n 22
Converted to spyder for the Nürburgring race, driven by Theo Helfrich.
Re-converted to coupé and shown at the Paris Motor Show as the Le Mans winning car.
After this information is contradicting, Lewandowski writes that the car remained in Germany, sold 1970 to the US, where it has been converted to a standard 1955-type coupé but with roadster head lights.
Riedner/Engelen write that it was sold to the Daimler-Benz affiliate in Argentina in 1953.
Auctioned in 1999 by Brooks together with 00007/52 in bad condition (fire damage) probably to the USA, 2002 restoration by Mercedes-Benz Stuttgart.

00007/52

Registration W 83-3784
Winning car at Le Mans, r/n 21, large doors, driven by Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess.
Concerted to spyder for Nürburgring, driven by Lang to victory , r/n 21 again.
Used at the Carrera Panamerica as service car driven by the German journalist Günther Molter.
Shown on various exhibitions in Germany with registration plate of 00006/52.
1953 re-converted back to coupé and equipped with the new fuel injection engine, used by testing engineer Dr. Moll.
1959 sold to motorsport photographer Jess Alexander, white 1955 aluminium body, roadster rear axle.
1960 damaged at accident, repaired at the factory, and painted in green. Sold in 1963 to San Francisco.
Auctioned in 1999 by Brooks together with 00006/52 as rolling chassis for reported $ 1.9 million (both cars). Today the car is presented in the Le Mans winning outfit.

All info without any guarantee on correctness, accumulated from various publications only.

#4 figoni

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 21:31

Cheers for that after a bit of searching I have actually found out it is A Bruce McCaw I dunno if that is correct but hey what doesnt he own :drunk:

#5 D-Type

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 00:37

One thing that puzzles me about the original W194 is the gullwing doors - or lack of them.

I always understood that they had gullwing doors because the cills were so high you couldn't have normal doors. For the production 300SL the door opening was bigger and the cills had to be beefed up considerably. And when they produced the production 300SL roadster in about 1957 they had to beef them up again to compensate for the loss of the stiffening from the roof.

So how were they able to convert the original gullwings into roadsters so easily? Or did the 1952 roadsters have no doors?

#6 Michael Müller

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 18:42

The W194 roadsters had small doors, basically the lower part of the coupé doors. Considering the sophisticated and complex tubular frame I can not believe such concersion was easy, on the other side they converted back to coupé, so there must have been a simple way.

The official statement for creating the roadsters was saving weight whereever possible. But there was no competition at all at the Nürburgring race, the class "sports cars between 2 and 3 litres" had been created exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, normally the top class was up to 2 liters only. So this was simply a test event, cheaper than hiring the track... :cool:
The organizers also created a class up to 8 liters (!) in order to allow one supercharged W194 to be entered. No idea how they calculated the factor, because there was no FIA/ONS rule for supercharged sports cars. Anyhow, the "8 liter" 300 SL participated in training, but did not take the start.

#7 dretceterini

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 19:54

Were there only two of the "first series gullwings" built? I am aware that at least one car really didn't have doors at all, just a section in the roof itself that flipped up, and the driver had to climb in over what was essentially a very tall sill..

#8 Michael Müller

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 19:58

As you can see from the serial numbers there had been more than these 2 only, in total 11. The first 5 initially had the small doors only (window and part of the roof), in order to comply with the Le Mans rules the doors later had been enlarged.

#9 David Birchall

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 22:11

I was closely studying both cars the other day. The "Air brake" is quite extraordinary.... :drunk:
Apparently it almost caused the front wheels to leave the ground and SERIOUSLY effected the steering.
Both cars were restored by a gentleman in the Black Forest and look surprisingly unshiny :)
If Figoni would like to pm me I could try to put him in touch with the "Location" if it is important. Suffice it to say that these two cars were not the stars of the collection....

#10 Michael Müller

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 22:18

So no restoration by Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, but by Kienle...?

#11 David Birchall

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 22:25

A sublet job apparently.

#12 Ian McKean

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 22:31

I had no idea that Mercedes used an air brake before the 1955 Le Mans event. can anyone post photos o drawings of the 1952 air brake?

Thanks in advance!

#13 Frank S

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 05:07

Could this be it?

Posted Image

Mercedes air-brake on a closed car
From "Best Cars of 1952" article
AutoSpeed&Sport 52-12

Pertinent part of he article.

Remainder of scanned pages.

--
Frank S

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 05:38

Easy to see why it tended to make the front light...

Much, much higher than those on the 300SLRs three years later.

#15 Peter Morley

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 09:14

Looks like the result of cross-breeding a March 711 with a 300SL

#16 HaleMerced

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Posted 12 April 2011 - 23:14


If anyone is wondering what happened to Serial number 0001/52 I am bulding an exact copy using all the correct components the factory used in 1951.

See my website for it @ www.w194.com

Edited by HaleMerced, 12 April 2011 - 23:22.


#17 venator

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 15:10

I had no idea that Mercedes used an air brake before the 1955 Le Mans event. can anyone post photos o drawings of the 1952 air brake?

Thanks in advance!

For the 1952 air brake design, see British Patent 720994, for the later version see United States Patent 2932370.
http://worldwide.esp...mp;locale=en_EP
http://worldwide.esp...mp;locale=en_EP

#18 Doug Nye

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 20:18

Hmmm - I can think of several who would take issue with the website's claim about recreating "the most innovative automobile of the 20th Century...".

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 15 April 2011 - 20:19.


#19 David Birchall

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 23:34

Look on the bright side--your C Type could compete against it Doug :)

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#20 Doug Nye

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 09:14

:p. :up: