Monday, December 5, 2011

Mercedes-Benz SL 107

Copyright DAIMLER AG

Stuttgart – Elegant and sporty, powerful and confident: the Mercedes-Benz SL 107 model series launched in the spring of 1971 was a classic Roadster embodying the very brand values which sum up the inventor of the motor car. After the SL models of the 1950's and the 113-series "Pagoda" SL, the 1971 sports car was the third generation of this vehicle family. And it was a model series which proved to be a runaway success: the Roadsters remained in production for a period spanning more than 18 years.
In the brand history of Mercedes-Benz, from the 1950's the SL models represented a combination of innovation and appreciation for tradition as well as high standards of sportiness, comfort and elegance. The 107-series SL Roadsters immediately expressed all of this in a particularly stylish manner: the open-top two-seater gave the impression of a strong, self-confident and imposing car. The fact that at the same time this Roadster was also designed as a comfortable touring car highlights a carefully thought-out detail: while the soft top typical of a Roadster provided flexible protection against the elements from spring through to autumn, for the colder months there was also a removable coupé hardtop - which blended seamlessly into the elegant lines of this sports car.
Copyright DAIMLER AG
Technically, the 107-series SL models set standards, particularly with their comprehensive holistic safety concept: the crash behaviour of the open-top two-seater was far ahead of its time. This was thanks to the carefully designed crumple pattern of the body and shell structure, for example, as well as highly resilient A-pillars and interior appointments designed consistently in line with safety criteria. These included the heavily upholstered dashboard, the deformable or recessed switches and levers, and also the new four-spoke safety steering wheel with impact absorber and wide, padded boss. In addition, the fuel tank was no longer installed in the rear end but above the rear axle, protected against collision.
The innovations in the area of active safety included measures to enhance being able to see as well as be seen: newly developed wind-deflecting mouldings on the A-pillars served to channel off mud-laden water in the rain and also kept the side windows clean, even in inclement weather. The wide wraparound indicators were also clearly visible from the sides, while the generously-sized rear lamps featured a ribbed surface profile to make them considerably more resistant to dirt build-up. Thanks to such details, the 107-series SL models were not only technical trend-setters for Mercedes-Benz passenger car development - which was repeatedly setting standards - but in the following years they also helped to define the style of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.
At the premiere of the 4.39-metre-long, 1.79-metre-wide and 1.30-metre-high (with roof closed) sports car in the spring of 1971, Mercedes-Benz initially presented the 350 SL model (147 kW/200 hp). From the spring of 1973, the 450 SL model (165 kW/225 hp) then also became available in European markets. Both models were powered by V8 engines - this use of eight-cylinder units in SL sports cars was a first in the history of Mercedes-Benz.
Copyright DAIMLER AG

Copyright DAIMLER AG

Copyright DAIMLER AG
During its extremely successful production period, which lasted some 18 years, the 107-series SL came to be equipped with a whole series of different six and 
eight-cylinder engines. In July 1974 the Stuttgart-based brand launched the 280 SL with a six-cylinder in-line engine developing 136 kW (185 hp). As a result, three SL engine variants were now available - another novel feature in the history of this model class. Over the course of time, all of the engines were modified slightly in terms of their output values, so as to be able to comply more closely with the stricter emission limits which in the meantime were introduced in most European countries.
In 1980 the 500 SL (177 kW/240 hp), featuring an all-alloy engine, became the new 
top-of-the-range model in the Roadster family, while the 350 SL was replaced by the 380 SL (160 kW/218 hp). A further facelift in 1985 resulted in the 300 SL (138 kW/188 hp) as the successor to the 280 SL, and all of the engines were now optionally available with catalytic converter. A new addition to the range was the 420 SL with V8 engine (160 kW/218 hp without catalytic converter, 150 kW/204 hp with catalytic converter). The most spectacular new development was the 560 SL (170 kW/230 hp), which was reserved for the export markets of the USA, Australia and Japan. Despite the larger displacement, the 5.6-litre model was not as powerful as the 500 SL: the reason for this was the sophisticated emission control system fitted to enable the SL to comply with the particularly strict emission limits of the US market.
From the moment of its premiere in 1971, the 350 SL already formed the basis, in both technical and style terms, for a four-seater coupé which was to replace the 111 model series luxury-class coupé, thereby becoming one of the forerunner models to today's CL-Class. Starting with the 350 SLC launched in the autumn of 1971, these SLC models had a wheelbase which was 360 mm longer (2820 mm instead of 2460 mm), to accommodate the row of seats in the rear.
The success story of the SL 107 model series ran from the spring of 1971 until the summer of 1989. During an era lasting some 18 years, the Mercedes-Benz plant at Sindelfingen produced a total of no fewer than 237,287 roadsters.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

1958 Aston Martin DB mark III Drophead coupe

Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions

178 bhp (SAE), 2,922 cc DBA inline DOHC six-cylinder engine, dual SU carburetors, twin exhaust system, synchronized four-speed manual gearbox, Laycock de Normanville overdrive, independent front suspension with trailing link, coil springs and Armstrong lever dampers, live Salisbury rear axle located by trailing links and transverse Panhard rod, and hydraulic front disc, “Alfin” rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 99"

- Very rare – one of only 84 Drophead Coupes built
- The ultimate iteration of the DB2, the first true postwar Aston Martin
- A well-maintained older restoration; showing just under 30,400 miles 
- Complete with a copy of the original Aston Martin build record

The landmark DB2, considered by many marque enthusiasts to be the first true postwar Aston Martin model, was introduced in May 1950. The ultimate and most highly-refined variant, the DB Mark III (the “2/4” designation was eventually dropped) was introduced in March 1957 and produced in both Fixed-Head and open Drophead Coupe form through July 1959, when it was ultimately succeeded by the all-new DB4, which was initially advertised by its manufacturer as “a companion to the DB Mark III.”

Polish-born Aston Martin engineer Tadek Marek thoroughly revised the existing six-cylinder W.O. Bentley/Lagonda engine design, with output rising to 162 bhp or 178 bhp with the optional twin exhaust system. Front disc brakes supplemented “Alfin” finned aluminum rear drum brakes, with the upgrade optional on the first 100 DB Mark IIIs produced and standard equipment on the ultimate Mark IIIB of 1958-1959. 

Styling and body fittings were updated, most notably with a revised grille opening inspired by the famed DB3S sports racer of 1953 to 1956. The new grille of the DB Mark III influenced Aston Martin styling for many years to follow, with this now-iconic basic design cue providing unmistakable brand continuity and essentially remaining in effect through the V-8 models of the late 1980s. Among the many other updates of the Mark III, a revised instrument panel designed by Frank Feeley echoed the grille’s shape and now relocated the gauges directly in front of the driver. 

In popular culture, while the later DB5 is most often associated with Her Majesty’s Secret Agent James Bond, Ian Fleming’s original novel Goldfinger actually had 007 driving a DB Mark III. Only 551 examples of the DB Mark III were produced during a relatively brief production run spanning 1957 and 1959, including one purpose-built competition model. Of those few cars though, only 84 were the elegant and sporting Drophead Coupe variant. With their Feltham-era, hand-built quality and legendary road-ability, the cars continue to be highly coveted today. 

According to a copy of its original Aston Martin production record, this handsomely presented original right-hand drive 1958 DB Mark III Drophead Coupe was delivered new to its first owner, Mr. Alfred W. McAlphine, on September 29, 1958. It was originally finished in Deep Carriage Green and well equipped with such desirable “Non-Standard Equipment” as Laycock de Normanville overdrive, a twin exhaust system (good for an approximate 10 percent power gain) and a wood-rimmed DB3S-type steering wheel. Following delivery to its original owner, Aston Martin Works Service maintained the car, and factory records list the work that was performed to the car in 1963, 1964 and finally on January 21, 1969, with only 1,339 recorded miles. 

Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions

In 2008 and at a recorded 30,184 miles, AM 300/3/1700 was inspected, serviced and received paintwork from Aston Workshop, the UK-based authorized Aston Martin service center. Today, the odometer of AM 300/3/1700 shows only about 30,400 miles. The car’s most recent private owners were the family of Bernie Madoff. As presented in its factory-correct Deep Carriage Green finish and now trimmed in tan leather upholstery, the car features the matching-numbers DBA six-cylinder engine. 

A recent inspection confirms that as presented the car is a slightly older restoration that has held up very well and also performed well on a recent road test. The bodywork, finish and brightwork present well, and the engine and engine compartment are commensurate with the car’s limited mileage and careful maintenance over the years. The tan interior upholstery appears to be quite new and bears few obvious signs of wear, other than some scuffing on the door sills. The wire-spoke wheels are shod in period-style and virtually new 6.00X16 Michelin “Sport Pilote” X tires. A newer and very nice black convertible top and matching boot, as well as a jack, a properly mounted wheel hammer and a tool kit, round out the package. 

The DB Mark III was the ultimate development of the groundbreaking DB2, which saw Aston Martin develop from a small specialist manufacturer to a marque of worldwide renown. The series provided the basis for Aston’s brilliant racing successes culminating in the 1959 World Sports Car Championship. Though marque connoisseurs have always appreciated them, demand for the DB Mark III has risen significantly in recent years. Its stature in today’s market is supported by its technical sophistication, excellent performance and eligibility for many of today’s most desirable vintage motoring events.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Groundbreaking projects after the Second World War

Design model for a possible Mercedes-Benz W 122 model series, featuring an SL "face", created by Hermann Ahrens and dating from the mid-1950's. It did not reach the series production stage.
·    Project in 1948: a small car measuring only 3.70 metres in length
·    The W 122 model series reached production maturity in the 1950's

After the Second World War, passenger car production commenced with the successful 170 V model, initially as an ambulance, police patrol car and delivery van. In July 1947, production of the Saloon variant also recommenced. At the same time a number of completely new vehicles were designed, some of which were very unusual creations. In 1948 a particularly small car, at least by Daimler-Benz standards, was created. It was a compact car with an overall length of 3.70 metres. It had two doors, a bench seat in the front for up to three people and another small bench seat in the rear for younger passengers. This two-door vehicle was driven by a four-cylinder engine with overhead camshaft and a displacement of 1.2 litres, derived from the 1.8-litre six-cylinder engine which was also in the project stage. Commenting on it in March 1949, chief engineer Fritz Nallinger said: "The design of a light, 2 to 2 ½-seater car (560 kg) decided on at that time has seen a great deal of progress in the meantime and is showing some promising results." Nevertheless, the vehicle, along with the two engines, remained stuck at the project stage. The 1.8-litre unit was subsequently developed into the M 180 model series 2.2-litre engine for the Mercedes-Benz 220.
Mercedes-Benz W 122 model series
A good three years later – while the passenger car model portfolio had in the meantime once again come to comprise the full established range, from the 170 V model through to the luxury car – the
Daimler-Benz board took the decision at its meeting of 2 February 1953 to design a car based on material and labour costs that were 15 to 20 lower than those of the 170 V model. It was to be the successor to the 170 V and 170 D models (W 136 I model series), after replacing the 170 S with the 180 model (W 120) in the autumn of 1953. Nallinger described the new vehicle thus: "It is clear that the body must be new, with a smaller interior and smaller window areas compared with the W 120. Width and length will be like the 170 S, two-door body, bulkhead, dashboard, luggage compartment like the W 120, front seats like the 170 V."
By 1956, the vehicle then referred to internally as the W 122 had reached a considerable degree of maturity. Based on all of the ingredients, it had the makings of a very successful future. Nevertheless, it did not make it into series production for two reasons: firstly, in 1958 Daimler-Benz took over Auto Union and as a result there was a certain conflict of interests between a large DKW and a small Mercedes-Benz. Secondly, shortly before their market launch the existing models of the W 111 series, as planned in their last version with their new safety concept of a W 122 series on the conventional platform of the W 120 series, were left appearing somewhat obsolete.
By today's standards, the appearance of the W 122 model series is extremely interesting: experiments were already underway with the design of an SL-look saloon as early as the mid-1950's. At the time, it was intended to replace the traditional Mercedes-Benz "face". Many years later it was offered as an alternative in the C-Class (204 model series), as part of the Avantgarde equipment line.
Mercedes-Benz W 118/W 119 (1960's)
Nallinger did not give up on his idea of an entry-level model, or lower end model, as he defined this vehicle group. With the purchase of Auto Union in particular there was a need for development in the medium term, since it was conceivable that the two-stroke vehicles under the Auto Union brand of DKW would not have a future, and there was still a need for a Mercedes-Benz product below the current model classes in order to achieve a coherent overall portfolio.
As a result, around that time the advance development department in Untertürkheim – headed up by Ludwig Kraus – designed a vehicle which was assigned the project designation W 118. For this the engineers planned to use a valve-controlled, horizontally opposed engine with a displacement of 1.5 litres and front-wheel drive. At the same time, a new highly-compressed four-cylinder inline engine (M 118), with a displacement of 1.7 litres, was also tested. The W 118 was developed further into the W 119. This had a new highly-compressed engine, called the "H-engine" by Daimler-Benz, which boasted a high compression ratio of 1:11.2 and was also very economical. With their SL face, low beltline, roof attachment clearance and rear design, the test vehicles produced were close to the Mercedes-Benz 230 SL (W 113) in terms of style. Even when considered by today's standards, the appearance of the model series is still considered to be very respectable.
In 1962/63, when problems arose with the two-stroke engines of the DKW F 102 at Auto Union, the Daimler-Benz subsidiary at the time, Nallinger dispatched Kraus to the town to help with damage limitation. In his luggage he had the plans for the W 119 model series and the
H-engine. This came to be used from the mid-1960's at Auto Union, where it was designated the "intermediate pressure engine". As a result, Daimler-Benz provided the subsidiary with a solution to the two-stroke engines, which were no longer considered contemporary, in the form of more modern four-stroke engines. Auto Union was sold to Volkswagen in 1964/65.
Shortly before his retirement in December 1965, Nallinger said: "For his part he assumed that this model – which, as indicated, we were already testing – would possibly be produced at BMW or Auto Union." And then continued to comment on the programme: "I believe that such a second car model, which can also be viewed as a collective model, must now [, many years later therefore,] be redesigned as quickly as possible and the issue of its testing tackled [...]."

We should perhaps give a brief explanation of the reference to BMW here: at the end of the 1950's, the company was experiencing financial difficulties which were to be addressed with the help of the Deutsche Bank and the involvement of Daimler-Benz.

Further information on Daimler is available on the internet at:
Official Press Release

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Villa d'Este

Villa d'Este

  • RM Auctions presents six automobiles from Bertone S.p.A at its debut sale at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, 21 May, 2011 

  • Auction represents the first time the Bertone vehicles have been offered for sale on the public market 

  • New consignments join an impressive roster of 30 of the world’s finest automobiles slated for the exclusive RM evening sale 

    LONDON (30 March, 2011) - RM Auctions, the world’s largest collector car auction house for quality automobiles, is pleased to announce that it has been chosen by the liquidators of the Bertone Museum to offer six motor cars and one-off design concepts from the celebrated Italian manufacturer and coachbuilder, Bertone. This stunning collection of cars is another fantastic addition to RM’s eagerly awaited debut sale at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Cernobbio, Italy, 21st May, 2011. 

    “RM is delighted to be aligned with the illustrious Bertone brand and truly honoured to have been selected to bring some of their most famous and extraordinary creations to the open market for the very first time. We look forward to providing our collector car expertise for the successful sale of these rolling works of art,” says Max Girardo, Managing Director, RM Europe. 

    Illustrating the craftsmanship and styling leadership of Ing. Nuccio Bertone and his firm, selected automobiles from the Bertone Collection that will feature in the upcoming RM sale include: the unconventional 1967 Lamborghini Marzal prototype, s/n 1001, driven by Prince Ranier and Princess Grace at the start of 1967 Monaco Grand Prix (Est. €1.000.000 - €1.800.000); the sensational 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero, s/n C/1160CPL, the first prototype of the mid-engined Stratos production supercar and the hugely successful rally car (Est. €1.000.000 - €1.800.000); and, the revolutionary 1963 Chevrolet Testudo, s/n 20927w207657, sporting an amazing and totally transparent one-piece windscreen and roof cover (Est. €500.000 - €800.000). 

    This magnificent collection of cars is completed with a 1974 Lamborghini Bravo, s/n NS46 01, an ultra low slung car with several styling cues from the Lamborghini Countach (Est. €150.000 - €220.000); a 1980 Lamborghini Athon, s/n S155/01, featuring clean, futuristic lines (Est. €150.000 - €220.000); and, an outlandish 1978 Lancia Sibilo, s/n S 12201, unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in April 1978 (Est. €60.000 – €100.000). 

    “These cars represent a highly significant slice of Bertone’s creative history, as well as a unique opportunity to purchase some of the best known and most influential dream cars ever built. This coupled with the fact that the upcoming auction represents the very first time that any of these six vehicles have been offered for sale on the public market, makes for a unique and very special ownership opportunity.We anticipate that they will be well received by the collector car world,” adds Girardo. 

    The exciting roster of Bertone automobiles joins a spectacular line-up of over 30 blue-chip automobiles consigned to the exclusive RM evening sale, which forms an official part of this year’s celebrated Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este weekend. With an average value per car approaching €1.000.000, the RM offering is considered one of the most spectacular collections of automobiles offered in recent auction history. 

    For full event details and a frequently updated car list, please visit or call RM’s London office at +44 20 7851 7070. 

    Event Details: RM Auctions at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 

    Sale date: 
    21 May, 2011 8:00pm – 11:00pm CET 

    Preview dates: 
    20 May, 2011 10:00am – 6:00pm CET
    21 May, 2011 10:00am – 6:00pm CET 

    Spazio Villa Erba,
    Largo Luchino Visconti, 4
    Cernobbio, Como, 22012, Italy

    Admission to the event requires the purchase of an official auction catalogue for €70. The catalogue admits two and must be presented at the entrance to the sale to be granted entry. 

    About RM Auctions 
    RM Auctions is the world's largest auction house for quality automobiles. With over three decades of experience in the collector car industry, RM's vertically integrated range of services, from restoration to private treaty sales, auctions, estate planning and financial services, coupled with an expert team of car specialists and international footprint, provide an unsurpassed level of service to the global collector car market. RM proudly holds four of the top five all-time records for the most expensive motor cars sold at auction. RM’s restoration division has achieved unprecedented accolades earning “Best of Show” honours at the world’s top concours events.

      As you can see from this press release there are many good and rare vehicles on this auction, but I have chosen one which I believe deserves special attention.I`m represent to you  Lot 122 - 1959 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder.
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions

  • Estimate:
    240 bhp, 2,953 cc overhead camshaft alloy block and head V-12 engine, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension via A-arms, coil springs and telescopic shocks, and rear suspension via live axle, semi-elliptic springs and hydraulic shocks, four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,600 mm (102.4")

    - Ex-Prince Alvise Hercolani and Wolfgang Seidel
    - Special features including hardtop and Superamerica side vents
    - Matching numbers and Ferrari Classiche certified
    - Extensive recent detailing work and motor and suspension rebuild
    - Shown at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
    - Known provenance, documented by Ferrari historian Marcel Massini

    In the pantheon of desirable open Ferraris, the 250 GT California Spyder, in both long- and short-wheelbase form, stands head and shoulders above the rest. It has all the elements Ferraristi look for: the perpetually desirable Colombo V-12, considerable rarity and a successful competition pedigree to match its sporting Pinin Farina lines.

    The California Spyder, in contrast to the luxurious custom-built 250 cabriolets that preceded it, was intended for the client in search of a fast, sparsely-equipped cabriolet Ferrari sports car, an open counterpart to the Tour de France berlinetta, perfect not only for spirited driving along the Pacific Coast or Cote d’Azur but also all-out racing.

    California Spyder production began in 1958, and some 11 examples had been built by the time it was announced as a separate model in December 1958. One California Spyder was entered by N.A.R.T. at Sebring early in 1959 and driven by Richie Ginther and Howard Hively. It finished ninth overall (behind four Testa Rossas and four Porsche RSKs) and won the GT class. Le Mans in 1959 conclusively demonstrated the performance of the California Spyder as the N.A.R.T.-entered, alloy-bodied car driven by Bob Grossman and Fernand Tavano finished fifth overall.

    Chassis no. 1307 GT
    The spectacular Ferrari offered here is the twenty-third of the total 50 long-wheelbase California Spyders built and is unique among them for several desirable and distinctive features, including the unusual Superamerica-style front fender vents and an insert air intake on the hood. Delivered on 27 March, 1959 to Prince Alvise Hercolani of Bologna, its certificate of origin was issued by Ferrari on 3 April, 1959.

    Hercolani retained 1307 GT for about six months, selling it to the racing driver and car dealer Wolfgang Seidel in October 1959. In fact, Seidel drove the car to the V Grand Prix de Bruxelles in Belgium, as pictured in Jean-Paul Delsaux’s book Les Grand Prix de Bruxelles. Seidel in turn sold the car in 1961 to the car’s third owner, Rolf Helm of Germany, before it was acquired by the fourth owner, William Morgan of Phoenix, Arizona. Morgan, who at the time lived in Wiesbaden, drove 1307 GT to Marseille, then put it on a boat to Corsica where he spent a two-week vacation with his wife. From there, the car boarded a boat for Genova before Morgan drove it to Modena.

    Mr. Morgan would own the car for several more years. It was serviced at the factory in September 1963 and shipped to Pleasant Hills, California in 1965, as Morgan had since relocated back to the United States. 1307 GT was finally sold on 22 September, 1966 to Mr. Edwin K. Niles, an attorney from California.
    The car then passed through two other known owners before it was acquired by the 29-year-old Jim Swartout, who would own the car for the next 30 years. In 1999, next owner Jonas Liden of Sweden commissioned a full restoration at Carrozzeria Autosport, Bacchelli & Villa in Bastiglia, Italy. Following a showing at the Ferrari Owners Club UK National Concours in 2001, the current owner acquired the car in 2003.

    Recent history

    After participating in the Texas 1000 and New England 1000, the car was stripped down to bare metal and refinished in a very attractive deep blue, the way it was during Seidel’s ownership. In fact, the owner believes the attractive silver hardtop was modified and adapted to this car during Wolfgang Seidel’s ownership. In addition to being shown at Meadow Brook in 2005, the car was also displayed at the 58th Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the special California Spyder category. As presented, it retains its original, matching-numbers type 128 D engine.

    Most recently, the owner invested an additional $115,000 to bring the car to the Platinum Award-level standards mandated by the Ferrari Club of America. To that end, a complete motor and suspension rebuild were carried out by noted marque specialist Greg Jones. The convertible top and bows were restored, and the entire car was detailed appropriately to Platinum standards. As such, everything from restoring the instruments to fitting the correct inside mirror and replacing the exhaust tips was necessary. Furthermore, the side vents, which at some point were replaced by California Spyder side vents, were replaced with the correct 410 Superamerica pieces.

    This exhaustive work has been documented with bills, receipts and photographs and, most importantly, was rewarded with certification by Ferrari Classiche, confirming the car is presented precisely the way it left the factory.

    1307 GT is unique in several important respects. Most apparent is the switch box placed over the driveshaft tunnel just behind the shift lever. It contains the ignition switch and other controls which normally would be mounted on and below the dashboard and instrument panel, giving taller drivers more leg and knee room. As mentioned, 1307 GT also has distinctive Superamerica-style front fender vents formed from bright-finished aluminium. Fitted from new with the desirable and more reliable twin Marelli distributors, its three Weber carburettors breathe through factory-fitted velocity stacks and are contained within a cold air box, both highly desirable performance options fitted to only a few California Spyders.

    As a long-wheelbase example, the trim, low lines of its topless coachwork are elegantly balanced by the placement of its wheels and tyres. The overall effect is long, low, sleek and decidedly sporting. The California Spyder is as close as Ferrari came to building a sports car since the early Barchettas, and only it and the later 275 GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Spyders have the elemental high-speed, open-air attitude that sets these cars apart from their more common cabriolet counterparts. 1307 GT is distinctive among even these rare and highly prized automobiles, the ideal mount for a variety of tours and events, or even, in the tradition of the late Bob Grossman, a competitive entry in the many historic racing and Ferrari club events where its participation would be welcomed.
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions
    Photo Credit: ©2011 Courtesy of RM Auctions

  • Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Woman Shows Off Car Nearly Half A Century Old

    Check this video with this ``Super Grenny`` and her car.

    Mercedes-Benz Classic: 1911 – The “Blitzen-Benz” becomes the world's fastest car in America


    Stuttgart/Mannheim, Germany, Mar 17, 2011

    - The record-breaking Benz 200 hp becomes the “Blitzen-Benz” in the USA
    - Absolute speed record of 228.1 km/h is achieved

    The first record-breaking outings of the Benz 200 hp provided early indications that this was a model destined to push back all previously known boundaries. For example, the speeds which this awesomely powerful car was aiming for meant that it quickly outgrew the confines of European race circuits. Benz & Cie. knew that there were suitable circuits on the other side of the Atlantic in the USA, and the decision was therefore taken in Mannheim to undertake record attempts there. Achieving success with the record-breaking car in North America – an important overseas market – would in any event not be bad for business.

    After completing a series of trial runs around Mannheim, the car was therefore shipped off to America in January 1910, complete with new body. The plan was for George Robertson to go head-to-head with the car against Ralph de Palma, who held records on a host of American circuits. However, not everything went according to plan: after discovering that Jesse Froehlich had taken delivery of the car, event manager Ernie Moross proposed a deal with the New York-based Benz importer: he offered his 150-hp Grand Prix Benz plus 6000 dollars in exchange for the record-breaking racer.

    The wily businessman even had a catchy name in mind – this was a lightning-fast car, so why not call it the “Lightning Benz”. The name was painted onto his new purchase. Moross’ driver Barney Oldfield lined up at Daytona Beach in Florida on 16 and 17 March 1910 without any kind of specific preparation for his record attempt - and duly posted a new best of 211.4 km/h. As such, the steam car record set by Marriott had been broken. However, the A.I.A.C.R. (Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus), the highest authority in car racing and the precursor to the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) which governs motorsport today, refused to recognise the record because the Benz had not covered the distance in the opposite direction as well – as specified in the competition guidelines – with the average from the two runs being used to determine the valid speed.

    Subsequently Moross organised a series of show events for the “Lightning Benz”. However, the car’s name was soon to lose its sheen in the eyes of its restless owner, who replaced it with the German translation “Blitzen-Benz” – presumably with the aim of further accentuating the car’s roots – and also had a small German Imperial Eagle painted onto the right-hand side of the hood. In late 1910 the American Automobile Association (AAA) took the step of excluding Barney Oldfield from all racing activities. In his most recent outings, Oldfield had subjected the Blitzen-Benz to such a severe battering that Moross had to have it repaired. His seat for the following season was taken by the former Buick works driver Bob Burman – much to the annoyance of Oldfield, who was well aware of the reserves of speed still locked up inside the car.

    Burman duly lined up at Daytona Beach on 23 April 1911, this long, wide expanse of coastline providing the perfect venue for high-speed trials. Tapping the car’s full potential, he squeezed out an average 228.1 km/h for the mile with flying start and 226.7 km/h over the kilometre with flying start. This was an absolute land speed record which was to remain unbroken by any other vehicle until 1919. Only Ralph de Palma was able to establish a new world record, clocking up a speed of 241.2 km/h (149.875 mph) over the flying mile at Daytona Beach on 12 February 1919 in his Packard.

    In 1911, the record-breaking Benz 200 hp was not only faster than all other cars and locomotives (the rail vehicle record of 1903 was 210 km/h), but also twice as fast as the aircraft of the time. The “Blitzen-Benz” spent the rest of the season decked out in “war paint”, with an imposing Imperial Eagle and thick trim lines being added to the paintwork. The car was now also fitted with a speedometer, with the transfer shaft located outside the car itself and extending forward to the right front wheel.
    The “Blitzen-Benz” embarked on a tour across the USA, becoming something of a sensation on wheels. However, a change in the regulations in 1913 stopped it in its tracks. With displacement limited to 7.4 litres, the legendary “Blitzen-Benz” was passed on to Stoughton Fletcher, who hired Burman to carry out the necessary conversion work during 1914. In October 1915, Fletcher then sold the car to Harry Harkness.

    On 2 November 1915 the car made its return to public life, re-badged as the “Burman Special” for a race against Ralph de Palma’s Sunbeam at Sheepshead Bay, New York, USA. However, the record-breaking car of years past was barely recognisable, with its wire spoke wheels now containing more tightly arranged spokes, concertina-type dampers fitted in place of spring-loaded shock absorbers, staggered seats, a bulge in the cockpit construction acting as a wind deflector, and a significantly longer and more rounded tail which sloped downwards towards the rear.

    In 1916 Burman was killed whilst at the wheel of a Peugeot, heralding the return of the “Blitzen-Benz” to England. In Easter 1922 it appeared at Brooklands, where it sported white paintwork, a modified engine cover and a new radiator. Count Louis Vorow Zborowski had taken over the reins, but was unable to pilot the “Blitzen-Benz” to any further success. In 1923 he tore the car apart and used some of the powertrain components for a new project of his own, the Higham Special.

    Source: Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA