In celebration of 125 years of Mercedes-Benz motorsports, the manufacturer is participating in the 22nd Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon with no fewer than six classic vehicles. From 4 to 6 July 2019, racing driver Klaus Ludwig and influencer Shareen Raudies (@shareenqueen), amongst others, will be taking part in a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (W 201) on Vorarlbergʼs dream routes – which include the legendary Silvretta Hochalpenstrasse, the high-altitude mountain road.
Stuttgart. “Dream cars on dream roads” – this phrase summarises the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon, one of the most renowned regularity rallies for classic cars. In the 22nd rally from 4 to 6 July 2019, Mercedes-Benz Classic will be participating with six vehicles from the corporate collection and ALL TIME STARS, the brandʼs own vehicle dealer for classic cars. The Stuttgart-based brand is a premium partner of the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon in 2019.
One of the vehicles is a Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (W 201) from 1990. On board this classic car will be Mercedes-Benz Classic brand ambassador and former DTM champion Klaus Ludwig, reverently called “King Ludwig” by his fans, accompanied by influencer Shareen Raudies. The budding engineer is known as Shareen Queen especially on Instagram (@shareenqueen), where she also regularly brings her own black Mercedes-Benz 190 E to the forefront. The saloon accompanies her in her everyday life as well as on social media. The “Queen” and “King Ludwig” are sharing the cockpit of the “ EVO II” during the rally – a truly royal team.
In connection with the 125 years of Mercedes-Benz motorsports anniversary, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (W 198) is commemorating a legendary highlight of the 1955 motorsports season: at that time, a production sports car of this type with start number 417 (driven by John Cooper Fitch and Kurt Gessl) won the class award for GTs with engines over 1.3 litres in the Italian 1000 Miglia road race from Brescia to Rome and back. Fitch also clinched fifth place in the overall standings. Two more 300 SL Gullwings followed in second and third places in the class classification.
The standard-production sports car 300 SL Gullwing launched in 1954 was directly descended from the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) used in 1952. It was with this vehicle that the brand staged a successful return to motorsports after the Second World War. The unique sporting tradition of the Gullwing, with its characteristic gullwing doors, was continued from 1957 onwards by the 300 SL Roadster. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLS racing version derived from this open sports car was driven by Paul OʼShea to win the 1957 SCCA National Sports Car Championship in the USA in the D category. Mercedes-Benz Classic will be taking part in the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon with a 300 SL Roadster from 1958.
The fascination of the 1970s
The wide range of sporting characteristics in Mercedes-Benz cars is illustrated in the Silvretta Classic by two very different classics from the early 1970s: on the one hand, there is the C 111-II experimental vehicle built in 1970, which was then equipped with the M 116 V8 engine for comparative tests. This gave the engineers the ability to compare the Wankel engine, which was then being tested in the C 111 (1969) and C 111-II (1970), with a state-of-the-art reciprocating piston engine in a similar experimental car.
Despite considerable public interest in the breathtaking coupé with the lines of a super sports car, the C 111-II never went into series production. However, the Stuttgart brand later derived a number of record-breaking cars from these experimental vehicles in which the rotary engine was tested: in 1976, the C 111-II D kicked off and was then followed by the C 111-III (1978) and C 111-IV (1979). All three of these vehicles set numerous records on the Italian high-speed test track in Nardò.
The Silvretta Classic 2019 features a 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet (W 111) from 1971 as a representative of the culture of luxurious sporting travel in open-top vehicles. This premium class cabriolet in metallic blue with parchment-coloured leather is one of the classics available through ALL TIME STARS, the Mercedes-Benz Classic car dealership (www.mercedes-benz.com/alltimestars), which has its own showroom in the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Its history: the four-seater was delivered to a buyer in Munich in 1971 and later became part of a collection of Mercedes-Benz classics. The vehicle is accompanied by comprehensive documentation of its heritage with maintenance logs and other supporting documents. The 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet is offered in the Collectors Edition of ALL TIME STARS.
G-force and EVO II
The high-altitude roads in the Alps with their passes and breathtaking views are a feature of the Silvretta Classic. Also up in the mountains, but off the beaten track, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class was born 40 years ago in February 1979. A short-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz 300 GD cabriolet from 1989 acts as a reminder of this special chapter in the history of the brand during the rally. This rare open-top version of the off-road classic with a five-cylinder diesel engine was built between 1979 and 1991.
One real highlight from Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon is the high-performance 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (“EVO II”) saloon, which Klaus Ludwig and Shareen Raudies are taking out on the road. This 173 kW (235 h.p.) top-of-the-range version of the 1990 W 201 compact class was rebuilt by Mercedes-Benz Classic in 2013 for historical motorsport events. The DTM racing rally cars of the same name from the early 1990s served as models for this one. The “EVO II” is reminiscent of highlights from 125 years of Mercedes-Benz motorsports such as the triple victory in the DTM overall standings in 1992: on that occasion, Klaus Ludwig won the championship, followed by his teammates Kurt Thiim and Bernd Schneider.
The stars shine over the Alpine dream roads
Mercedes-Benz Classic is a premium partner of the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon in 2019 which will, once again, be exploring breathtaking, high-altitude roads in Austrian Voralberg. By participating in this outstanding event in the automotive classic calendar with six vehicles from the corporate collection and ALL TIME STARS, the brand is also supporting public appreciation of the regularity drive that is headlined as “dream cars on dream roads”. A total of around 180 historically important classics, built up to 1999, are taking part in the rally.
On Thursday, 4 July 2019, at 3 p.m., the “Montafon” first stage will set off on the 118-kilometre run from Partenen via Gargellen, Schruns and Sankt Gallenkirch on the Silvretta High Alpine Road to the dayʼs destination at Bielerhöhe. On Friday, 5 July 2019, the teams will take the second leg of the “ Silvretta” and set off early at 7:30 a.m. This leg runs 330 kilometres over the Bielerhöhe and Silvretta High Alpine Road to Ischgl, Landeck, Piburg, Lech, Zürs and Kappl to the destination in Gaschurn. This dayʼs section includes the passes Hahntennjoch (1,894 metres), Flexenpass (1,773 metres) and Arlbergpass (1,793 metres). The third and final stage of the Silvretta Classic, the “ Bregenzer Wald” (Bregenzer Forest), will start on Saturday, 6 July 2019, at 9 a.m. and cover 178 kilometres from Partenen to Schruns. The route includes the Faschinajoch pass (1,486 metres).
Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles at the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon 2019
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (W 198, 1955)
In February 1954, the 300 SL standard-production sports car (W 198) celebrated its world première at the International Motor Sport Show in New York. The coupé was called the “Gullwing” or the “Papillon” (butterfly) owing to its distinctive roof-mounted doors, which resembled a gullʼs wings. The high-performance sports car was based on the legendary 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) from the 1952 season. It was the first standard-production car with a four-stroke petrol injection engine. With an engine output of 158 kW (215 h.p.) – a good 25 per cent more than the carburettor motor racing version of 1952 – and a top speed of up to 250 km/h, the W 198 was in the top echelon of production sports cars in its day, which also predestined it for racing. One legendary triumph was the triple class victory of the 300 SL “ Gullwing” in the 1955 1000 Miglia. John Cooper Fitch and his co-driver Kurt Gessl took fifth place in the overall classification in car number 417, which represented their starting time of 4:17 a.m., and led the field of production sports cars with engines over 1.3 litres ahead of two other Gullwings. Between 1954 and 1957, a total of 1,400 of the 300 SL Gullwings were built, no fewer than 867 of them in the year of its 1000 Miglia class victory in 1955 alone.
Technical specifications for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (W 198)
Year built: 1955
Displacement: 2,996 cc
Power: 158 kW (215 h.p.)
Top speed: Up to 250 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198, 1958)
At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1957, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 300 SL Roadster (W 198) as the successor to the 300 SL (W 198) Gullwing coupé, which had made its début in 1954. On a technical level, the open-top sports car was very like the coupé, although the modified space frame allowed the installation of conventionally attached doors, which were necessary for open-top driving. The suspension was also modified: the single-joint swing axle with a lowered pivot point superseded the classic two-joint version on the 300 SL Roadster, which was equipped for the first time with a compensating spring. From autumn 1958 onwards, the roadster was also available on request with a detachable coupé roof. It was from the standard-production 300 SL Roadster that the Mercedes-Benz engineers developed the 300 SLS racing variant with which Paul OʼShea won Category D of the American Sports Car Championship in 1957. This completed the circle, as the 300 SL was based on the racing car of the same name (W 194), which was used very successfully in motorsports in the 1952 season. In 1961, the 300 SL Roadster was provided with disc brakes, and a cast-aluminium engine block in 1962. Production of the 300 SL Roadster was discontinued in 1963 after seven years. Those seven years saw a total production of just 1,858 units of the highly exclusive sports car, which is today an especially sought-after classic car.
Technical specifications of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198)
Year built: 1958
Displacement: 2,996 cc3
Power: 158 kW (215 h.p.)
Top speed: Up to 245 km/h
Mercedes-Benz C 111-II experimental vehicle with a V8 engine (1970)
Just six months after presenting the C 111 in 1969, Mercedes-Benz once again caused a stir: as a thoroughly revised version of the high-performance sports car with the Wankel engine made its début at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1970. The C 111-II had even better performance thanks to its 257 kW (350 h.p.) four-rotor engine. With the redesigned body it was even more appealing than its predecessor and suitable for everyday use in every respect. It was this second version of the research vehicle that served as the basis for a V8 variant of the C 111 fitted with the 147 kW (200 h.p.) M 116 production engine. This C 111-II with a reciprocating piston engine served as a comparison vehicle for driving tests. Although numerous blank cheques arrived in Stuttgart, the C 111-II did not enter series production. Development of Wankel engines at Mercedes-Benz was also not pursued any further – contrary to original plans – and the engine range was eventually discontinued.
Technical specifications of the Mercedes-Benz C 111-II experimental vehicle with the V8 engine
Year built: 1970
Displacement: 3,499 cc
Power: 147 kW (200 h.p.)
Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet (W 111, 1971)
The Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet was the flagship model in the W 111 cabriolet range built between 1961 and 1971. In terms of design and style, the family of luxurious open-top cars was based on the “fintail” saloons of the W 111 series unveiled in August 1959. The coupé and cabriolet models featured the same safety body with crumple zones that had been introduced as a world first for the saloon models. Alongside the 220 SE and its successor, the 250 SE, the exclusively equipped, powerful 300 SE (W 112) complemented the range of luxury two-door models from 1962 to 1967. Mercedes-Benz introduced the 280 SE in early 1968, followed in September 1969 by the 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet, which was a far more powerful version with an all-new 3.5-litre V8 engine. The new flagship model was exceptionally refined while also offering sports car-like performance. The cabriolet also underwent slight stylistic modifications: the radiator grille was lower and wider, for instance, while the bonnet was flatter at the front. The eight-cylinder cabriolet, of which just 1,232 units were built, is today one of the most sought-after classic cars of its era.
Technical specifications of the Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 cabriolet (W 111)
Year built: 1971
Displacement: 3,499 cc
Power: 147 kW (200 h.p.)
Top speed: 205 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 300 GD cabriolet (460 series, 1989)
Since its launch in the spring of 1979, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has been produced at the Graz-Thondorf plant, which belonged to Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG at that time and was built specifically for this purpose in 1977. Within the original range of the Mercedes-Benz G-Series, comprising four models, the 300 GD was the more powerful variant of the two diesel models, and its 65 kW (88 h.p.) engine was around the middle of the range. In the early years, the 300 GD was the most frequently built model of the W 460 series. During this period, the station wagons in the range boasted by far the highest production volumes compared to delivery vans and open versions, whereby the short-wheelbase variants clearly predominated initially. The rare cabriolet with the blue/blue colour combination is a relatively late specimen of the 460 series, which was replaced in 1989 by the extensively revised and more luxurious 463 series.
Technical specifications for the Mercedes-Benz 300 GD cabriolet SWB (460 series)
Year built: 1989
Displacement: 2,998 cc
Power: 65 kW (88 h.p.)
Top speed: 130 km/h
Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (W 201, 1990)
Mercedes-Benz Classic rebuilt this car with the 173 kW (235 h.p.) series production engine in 2013 on the basis of the DTM racing rally car of the same name from the early 1990s to take part in historical motorsports events. The Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution was created in 1989 for use in the German Touring Car Championship. The most important modification compared with the previous year’s model, the 190 E 2.3-16, was the new engine: the 2.5-litre, sixteen-valve unit delivered up to 250 kW (340 h.p.). Comprehensive modifications were necessary to remain under the maximum weight of 1,040 kilograms as specified in the regulations. Kevlar was used for numerous body parts, such as the bonnet, boot lid and spoiler. In May 1989, the new racing touring car won its first-ever race with Roland Asch at the wheel. As early as August 1989, work began on the second development stage ─ “Evolution II” at the Mercedes-Benz in-house “sport technik (st)” department. The resulting racing touring car, now with 274 kW (373 h.p.), won its very first race in August 1990 with Kurt Thiim at the wheel. In the 1992 season, Klaus Ludwig raced the “ EVO II” to the driversʼ title of the German Touring Car Championship (DTM).
Technical specifications of the Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II (W 201)
Year built: 1990
Displacement: 2,463 cc
Power: 173 kW (235 h.p.)
Top speed: Approx. 250 km/h
The brand ambassador of Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Silvretta Classic Rallye Montafon 2019
Born on 5 October 1949 in Bonn, Germany
Honoured with the title of “King Ludwig” by his fans, the outstanding racing driver and three-time DTM champion Klaus Ludwig began his motor racing career in the early 1970s with slalom races, orientation rallies and touring car races. His first major successes included the German Motor Racing Championship (DRM) title in 1979 and 1981, and victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979, 1984 and 1985. Ludwig came to the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in 1985, where he initially drove for Ford and won his first title in 1988. In 1989, he moved to the AMG-Mercedes team, with whom he won two championship titles (1992 and 1994, runner-up in 1991) and a total of 19 race victories in the years up to 1994. In 1995 and 1996, he competed in the ITC (International Touring Car Championship) for Opel Team Rosberg. He subsequently returned to AMG-Mercedes, winning the driver and team trophy in the International FIA GT Championship together with Ricardo Zonta in 1998. Afterwards, he officially retired from motorsports. In 2000, however, he made a comeback and competed in the new German Touring Car Masters (DTM), ending the season and his racing career with a third-place finish in the overall standings, driving a Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM.