1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL - famous Italian road race, 'Mille Miglia' - Classic car | MiniAuto




Rolf Uhlenhaut, lead engineer at Mercedes-Benz, emphasized lightweight construction and slippery aerodynamics during the development of the 300 Sport Leicht. To reduce weight, Uhlenhaut built a special tubular frame for the car. This frame consists of small tubes arranged in a grid pattern. Multiple triangles were used in the design to create a rigid chassis.




On March 12, 1952, Mercedes-Benz presented the spectacular 300 SL racing sports car to the media on a highway. From 1954 on, that highly successful competition car shaped the tradition of the Mercedes-Benz SL sports car line.

A stretch of motorway near Stuttgart became the stage for the presentation of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 194) on March 12, 1952. Two days earlier, the Stuttgart brand's press office had caused an uproar. act when issuing invitations to selected journalists. . It is not simply a question of "the new Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (ultra-light) sports car [...] performs public test drives for the first time". This is a clear statement that the brand is returning to motorsport, as the press release notes: 3 300 SLs have been registered for "the famous Italian road race, 'Mille Miglia' ', to be held on 3 and 4 May 1952".





The press photo sent with the invitation shows an animated sports car depicting the prototype SL lines. Its doors end at the waistline of the body. Then Mercedes-Benz extended the cutouts to the bottom, making it easier to get inside. What is completely new is the structure hidden under the body and made of thin aluminum-magnesium sheet: this is the coil cage, developed by Rudolf Uhlenhaut especially for this racing sports car and weighing 110 lbs, made of tubes. Thin only withstands compression and tension. It was this frame design that made it technically necessary to hinge the winged doors onto the roof. The M 194 engine is derived from the production M 186 engine used in the Mercedes-Benz 300 (W 186) representative car introduced in 1951. For use in motorsport, engineers have increased its power to about 170 hp. By tilting the engine to the left by 50 degrees and using a dry sump lubricant, it is possible to lower the mounting position. Other technical components in the 300 SL also derive from the Mercedes-Benz 300, the legendary "Adenauer" saloon and the sporty-luxury 300 S touring car (W 188).





The 300 SL is the car of the season. At the 1952 Mille Miglia, Mercedes-Benz took second and fourth with the 300 SL in the first race. The racing sports car also won three motorsport races in Bern, a two win in 24 hours by Le Mans and a four win in the motorsport on the Nürburgring. The last race of the 300 SL - now with 180 hp - was the third Carrera Panamericana of 1952 in Mexico. Karl Kling / Hans Klenk and Hermann Lang / Erwin Grupp achieved a legendary one-two victory.

In 1953, a successor to the highly successful 300 SL sports car was developed, the W 194/11. It was nicknamed the "Hobel" ("carpenter's plane") because of its distinctive forward design. However, that car was never entered in a race. From 1954, Mercedes-Benz decided to compete in the Formula 1 World Championship and focused on developing the W 196 R racing car.





The complex design of the chassis included two large bulkheads running down the side of the car. These grid-sections proved difficult as they occupied the inner quarter panels where normal doors would reside. This gave rise to the gullwing doors which would become a trademark feature of the 300SL up to 1955.

Untertrkheim and Sindelfingen were responsible for the design of the lightweight aluminum body. Thier results produced a low body, featuring integrated headlights and, more importantly, aerodynamically efficient lines. Thanks to the engine placement at 50 degrees, the front of the body was significantly low and flat. This helped the SL achieve a phenomenal Cd value of 0.25.

The engine, was a further development of the M186 inline-6. It was placed at 50 degrees in the engine bay to reduce the overall height. Unique features included an oblique cylinder head arrangement and overhead camshafts.








1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL - famous Italian road race, 'Mille Miglia' - Classic car | MiniAuto 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL - famous Italian road race, 'Mille Miglia' - Classic car | MiniAuto Reviewed by News For You on August 16, 2021 Rating: 5

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