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The Mercedes-Benz W 194 was a car originally only made in 1952 inserted under the name Mercedes 300 SL racing car from Mercedes-Benz .

As of the same name from 1954 sold road cars (but with the type designation Mercedes-Benz W 198 ), he was both a coupe with gullwing doors , as well as roadsters built and deployed.

Development for 1952

In 1951, the then CEO of Daimler-Benz AG Wilhelm Haspel observe international motor sport very closely. After test run with the 12-year-old pre-war models in South America showed their unsuitability for current contests with the Daimler-Benz fell AG's decision in 1952 not yet again at the Grand Prix (now Formula 1 refers) to compete, but at least at major sports car races to participate, and for this purpose to build a racing car named the "300 Sport Light" received. To the existing drive train from the sedan 300 (Adenauer) further developed and incorporated into a completely new body.

Of the M 194 developed engine sports differed from the "civilian" three-liter six-cylinder in-line engines, not only in performance (increase of 115 PS/85 kW to 170 hp/125 kW), but also a special feature: it was at an angle inclined by 50 ° to the left installed (semi-recumbent). Firmly attached to a four-speed gearbox, also taken directly from the 300 sedan was indeed robust, but - like the engine - not easy. The engine and transmission of the maturing W 194 was, therefore do nothing in terms of weight. Also acquired from the 300 axes were made of steel. Sun was looking for weight loss and other potential speed increase. They were, as things only in the frame and the body, and to find a possible windschlüpfigen construction. Rudolf Uhlenhaut, head of passenger car test at Daimler-Benz, took his idea of a lightweight tubular frame again, with whom he some are had discussed years earlier. This idea developed its engineers continue to completion. There was a slight, very thin tubes assembled into triangles, extremely stiff space frame, the elements in terms of a " K-truss "only to pressure and train has been claimed. He weighed only 50 pounds and was not only a hallmark of the W 194 series and presented the 1954 version, but also the successful racing and racing sports cars of the years 1954/55. The 300 SL weighed only 1100 kg to 1780 kg instead of the 300 S.

The car body fell through the obliquely-mounted engine and the desired aerodynamics very low, unadorned to the subfloor, with flat front, streamlined shape curves retracted headlights and fully covered by the bodywork wheels. In the classic Mercedes-Benz radiator with star as a hood ornament was like before the war in favor of a flat race car front waived - but not on the Mercedes star sat tall and conspicuous on the grid of the cooling air intake. The Coupé essay fell from as narrow as possible. The windshield was clearly oblique and the A-pillar back rounded, elongated went over the large rear window in the streamlined rounded tail. The result was a 1.8 square meters with relatively small frontal area and the excellent c W-value of 0.25.

To a tube frame to give high stability, it must be in the area of ​​the passenger compartment as wide and be designed high. Open the door and began to the first vehicles above the belt line and was so small that it was extended up to the roof, and with upward-opening doors, the spectacular and later so famous gullwing doors. If both of them were opened this reminded spread wings, christened by the Americans "Gull Wings" (gullwing). By the French "Papillon" (butterfly) Driver and passenger increased rather than from the top of the page. In order to master the entry over the high side wall better, there were in the lower part of the body edge, a boarding step.

The interior was fully dressed and exuded an already unusual for a racing car comfort. Speedometer and tachometer were under a common hood, including the slightly smaller gauges for water temperature, fuel pressure, oil temperature and oil pressure. Even a stopwatch was installed. The high-sided bucket seats wore a thin, yet comfortable padding in plaid wool. The four-spoke steering wheel was on the facilitation of the entry removed. The long, angled lever sticking out from under the dashboard, the "crutch" handbrake was placed flat on the left hand side. Gave headrests or seat belts at the time it is not a power steering was reserved for luxury cars.

The original 300 SL, chassis number W 194 010 0000 1/52, the first test runs completed in November 1951 on the Solitude circuit just outside Stuttgart, on the Nürburgring and the Hockenheimring . The car had. Still a narrow tires on steel wheels with no central locking, but with hubcaps The dashboard was not yet occupied, the footwells were still without suede lining and on the boot lid is not Mercedes star and 300-SL-lettering at the final location.

On 12 March 1952 the press was the racing coupe Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, which comes unusually smooth and low - it was just 1,225 millimeters high - on the motorway A81 presented between Stuttgart and Heilbronn.

racing success

1952, the vehicle part in major sports car races of the year.

For the first time the new SL had the Mille Miglia in early May showed speed and reliability in this endurance race achieved a second and fourth place.

The price of Bern in Bremgarten managed a triple victory. The 24-hour race at Le Mans the race cars ended abruptly with a double victory. The winners were named Hermann Lang and Fritz Riess with an overall average of 155.575 km / h, a new record in the Le Mans history. Second was Theo Helfrich and Helmut Niedermayr. A race in the Eifel race at the Nurburgring also ended with a triple success. At year-end, the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico, the 300 SL won again unexpectedly. Mercedes-Benz thus tied to the great success in racing before the Second World War on.

Further developments in 1953

In 1953, further improvements were tested on prototypes. The revised bodywork was now in parts of magnesium sheet metal that is even lighter than aluminum. She won in a wind tunnel, especially in the bow area,. An optimized form not only a new look, but also a better air flow through the engine compartment The engine heat came not through the transmission tunnel to the rear, but streamlined over a short distance by "gills" in the fender side to the outside. Also the engine power increased. With new Weber dual-horizontal carburetor, a new cylinder head with larger channels and further enlarged valve six cylinder came to achieve 200 hp. It was exactly 201 hp. The setting of the carburetor was complex, and thus the developer gave not satisfied. They wanted more reliability.

The solution to the problem was fuel injection . The implementation of this technology in the circumstances of the 300-SL-engine proved by the experience of the injection in the aircraft engine is not too difficult. Provided for in the 1953 version offered this engine - one of the first fuel injector in the car - 215 hp and was internally M 198 . The special (and tricky) it is. Direct injection into the combustion chamber (rather than into the intake manifold), a technique that dates back to the aircraft and was received with gasoline engines in passenger cars until the 2000s, again When M 198 was not the injector in the cylinder head, but in the cylinder wall and splashed diagonally upwards towards the outlet. Characterized this is cooled and supports the evaporation of the fuel. The injector was run over by the piston rings and was thus protected from the worst impact of the hot combustion gas.

The cylinder block of the M 198 consisted of a light metal. Gearbox and fuel tank were then made of light metal. To get more weight on the rear axle, the wheelbase should be shortened and hiking gear, oil tank and battery in place. The attachment points for the rear axle were lower, the rods led directly to the wheel hub.


In 1954 the 300 SL road car (was Mercedes-Benz W198 ) sold, first as a coupe with gullwing doors, then a roadster built.

The successor as race car but on the Formula 1-type Mercedes-Benz W 196 is based and had an 8-cylinder engine was only in 1955 under the name Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR used.