Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart Germany

Two years ago I was able to pay a visit to Stuttgart's Porsche Museum while en-route from Freidrichshafen to Hamburg. This year saw a visit to the Mercedes-Benz Museum, also located in Stuttgart. I'm not going to go too much into detail, as all of the information is much-better presented at the museum's website (the link above).
Located in a stunning structure, compromised of a double helix, it well documents the history of the automobile - all the way from it's invention to present. Which is fitting, as Karl Benz is widely credited with inventing the automobile, the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen:
Boasting a top speed of 10 MPH from the 954cc, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine.

During the same time frame, Gottlieb Daimler's company was fitting their engine in alternate applications, including the world's first motorcycle, the 1885 Daimler Reitwagen:
And his very own motorized carriage, the Daimler Motorkutsche (1886):

And the 1888 Motorboot "Marie", built for Reich Chnacellor Otto von Bismarck:
Recognizing the potential of the internal combustion engine, soon it was being affixed to all sorts of machinery, such as the 1892 Daimler Motor-Feuerspritze, the first fire engine:

Original Mercedes-Benz-inspired artwork by Andy Warhol hangs on the walls:
A historic timeline makes for fascinating reading as you make your way down through the various exhibits, putting the cars that you are about to see in perspective with the times. Along the way small items such as original tooling to produce logo hub caps and badging is presented:

1909 Benz 20/35 PS Landaulet
a true "dually"

1904 Mercedes-Simplex Touring Limousine
1902 40HP Mercedes-Simplex
mid-1920s Mercedes-Fahrradwerke bicycle
1923 Mercedes 10/40 PS Sport-Zweisitzer (front)
(I failed to note the car behind)
1938 Mercedes-Benz 260D Pullman-Limousine, the world's first diesel-engined passenger car
w/a blistering 59 MPH top speed
1932 Mercedes-Benz Lo 2000 Diesel Pritschenwagen
M-B's first diesel truck
1936 Mercedes-Benz 500k Spezial-Roadster
500K interior
500k front
500k detail

Mercedes did an admirable job discussing their involvement in the second world war, but I didn't take any photos of their military engines. So, moving on to the 1950s and the second-most beautiful car ever made*, the 1955 300 SL "Gullwing" Coupe:
silver over red, my second-favorite M-B color combo
300 SL Roadster

I'll take mine in SLR guise...
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR "Uhlenhault-Coupé"

...complete with my favorite vintage M-B interior, blue plaid:
groovy 1960 Mercedes-Benz LK338 Kipper (dump truck)

Interesting one-off test-wagon that gathered telemetry data via cables connected to the test car that it was following. Two engineers sat on wicker seats in the back and monitored the data:
Would look great on Coast Hwy with a couple of longboards strapped to the top.

Moving on to the race cars. Since I'm a sucker for both rally cars and the R107/C107 models, this 500 SLC Rallyewagen had to be captured:
The adjacent 300 SE Rallyewagen is pretty cool as well:
A row of impeccable Silver Arrows:
1955 Mercedes-Benz 2.5l Stromlinienrennwagen
1952 Mercedes-Benz Rennsportwagen 300 SL
1952 Mercedes-Benz 2.5l Rennwagen W196R
(bodywork suspended to show construction)

And my favorite vehicle in the collection, a reproduction of the "Blue Arrow" 1955 Mercedes-Benz Rennwagen-Schnelltransporter (high-speed racing car transporter):
The original was scrapped in 1967, this faithful reproduction was created by photographs and the first-hand recollections of those who worked on and around the original.
sorely in need of a vintage SL on the bed
amazing glasswork
Leaving the museum, one sees a few more gems:
1939 Mercedes-Benz Weltrekordwagen T80
designed by Ferdinand Porsche to achieve a speed of 600 km/h (373 MPH)
Mercedes-Benz C111

Overall it's very much recommended. An incredible museum with the high standards of quality that one would expect from an industry leader such as Mercedes-Benz. However, I found it lacking many historically important and well-designed and engineered models from the 1960s through present. No W123 or W124 sedans (was hoping to see one of my all-time favorites, a Porsche-engined 500E) no displays showing the evolution of the iconic S- or SL-class models. No Red Pig. Yeah, many of these are the "young classics", but they're still vitally important in the history of the storied brand.

Thanks again so very much to Alex and Pia for the fantastic hospitality and tour.

And one more C107 Rallyewagen, encased in glass in the parking garage:
*after the Jaguar E-Type coupe