MERCEDES 300 SL LE MANS
400 units serie
In the years after the second world war, there was plenty uncertainty about the regulation that would be adopted for the new F1. Finally, in 1952 a rules were approved and started to be used in 1954.
In the Mercedes' competition department they decide in this lapse of time to take part in the competitions and to win sport cars' races, preparing so the future silver arrows' arrival.
This team, directed by the professor Nallinger, with the inestimable help from Uhlenhaut and the mythical Neubauer, had the honor to develope the Mercedes 300 SL.
The mechanics came from the Mercedes 300, conveniently retouched to achieve 177 C.V.; the motor was inclined 35 degrees to the left to reduce the bonnet's height. The mechanic esemble was mounted in a multitubular steel chassis. This disposition caused great problems of accessibility to the interior, but they were resolved making exchangeable the steering wheel and creating the celebrity "seagull wings" doors, which characterize the model which Slot Classic has made this time.
On April, 1 from 1952, it was introduced to the press, and in these dates Alfred Neubauer already had the pilots to drive them: Rudi Caracciola, Hermann Lang and Karl Kling.
Finally the first race came, which wasn't other than the mythical Thousand Miles, in which they had a first rate competence, detaching the Ferrari team, with Bracco, Tarufi, the Marzoto brothers, Castelloti and the veteran Biondetti, absolute recordman since 1938 and winner of the race in 4 times. Finally the Bracco's Ferrari would win, but the Mercedes would give a great resistance, where we must highlight the fight between Lang and Tarufi, that would end with the abandonment of both, and the fight between Kling and Bracco, taht would end with the italian pilot victorious, and with Kling and his Mercedes with a brand second place. Carraciola would end in fourth place after Fagioli's Lancia.
In the next race, the great Berna race for sport automobiles, Carraciola suffered a grave accident, which would motivate his retreat from the active motor racing.
For the 24 hours of Le Mans, there were three cars presented, with the following dorsals:
Nº20 - Helfrich – Niedermayer
Nº21 - Lang – Riess
Nº22 - Kling – Klenk
Making a conservative race, without forcing the mechanics, they will achieve to arrive at the 12 hour occuping the second and third place, after the Le Levengh's Talbot. Just at one hour from the final, the Talbot's motor breaks, and from that moment the Mercedes wouldn't have rival and they imposed clearly, ranking Land and Riess the first, beating the race's record at 155,575 Km/h, which until then had the Walter Witeheart's Jaguar. Helfrich and Niedermayer would rank in second place, while Kling and Klenk had to abandon at the ninth hour due to a motor break.
For the Panamericana race, Mercedes displaced to Mexico four car for three teams: two coupes and two spyder. Kling and Land chase the coupes and the american John Flitch, the last Mercedes' support, was who drove the Spyder.
As in Le Mans, Neubauer's consignments were sharp: to have a gingerly beginning and at the middle of the race to force at maximum.
The race was a fierce combat between the three Mercedes and the Vittness' Ferraris; Bracco and Chinetti. Two of the Ferraris would have to abbandon and only Chinetti made furious attacks that Land knew how to control.
In the final ranking, the last place was for Kling, remaining the second for Lang.
After this demonstration Mercedes parked in the museum these wonderful automobiles,dedicating all the potencial of his competition department to the F1, but they were the basis for the Mercedes 300 SL Seagull Wings from 1954, mythic automobil, which is nowadays a very desired item by the collectors.