Mercedes-Benz at the 2019 Techno Classica: Fifty years of the C 111 brand legend, sports car stars and the future of the car from 1903 through to the new EQC

Apr 3, 2019

Highlights of the brand's entire history will be presented by Mercedes-Benz Classic at the Techno Classica from 10 to 14 April 2019 in Essen: a total of six vehicles bring the history of the legendary C 111 research and record-breaking vehicles to life. The 40 PS Mercedes-Simplex from 1903 and the EQC from 2019 (combined power consumption: 22.2 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, preliminary figures)* exude the spirit of innovation that has shaped automotive development at Mercedes-Benz right from the start. ALL TIME STARS, the Mercedes-Benz Classic car dealer, is bringing two special sports car stars to the 30th Techno Classica. Brand ambassador Jutta Benz will tell the story of her great-grandparents Carl & Bertha to children at the event. Along with brand clubs and ClassicPartners, Mercedes-Benz Classic will be exhibiting in Hall 1 at the Essen Exhibition Centre in a designated area of around 4,500 square metres.

Mercedes-Benz Classic will participate in the organiser's press conference on Wednesday, 10 April 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Congress Center West.

Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz Classic will be making a major appearance at the 2019 Techno Classica for a legend in the brand's history as the fascinating family of C 111 experimental and record-breaking vehicles – with all of its variants –can be experienced up close and in person at the stand in Hall 1. Mercedes-Benz officially presented the C 111 at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) 50 years ago in September 1969. There, the company showcased an elegant, futuristic high-performance sports car in a compact wedge shape with a three-rotor Wankel engine painted in the bright orange metallic "vin gris". A super sports car study from 1966 revealed how big the step up actually was that designers used to revitalise the Mercedes-Benz design language for the presentation of the C 111 three years later. The two gullwing-door sports cars from 1966 and 1969 can be seen at the Techno Classica together with their successors.

The thoroughly updated and stylistically more pleasing C 111-II with a four-rotor Wankel engine, suitable for everyday use, was presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1970. Once again, it fuelled demand for this new super sports car from the Stuttgart brand which many enthusiasts regarded as a possible successor to the 300 SL (W 198) from the 1950s. The spectacular Wankel-engined sports car remained a research vehicle, however, and did not enter series production.

Instead, a series of highly successful record-breaking vehicles were built from 1976 onwards. The first was the C 111-II D, powered by a 3-litre, five-cylinder engine fitted with an exhaust gas turbocharger and a charge air cooler. With effect from 12 June 1976 Mercedes-Benz set a total of 16 world records with this vehicle on the test track in Nardò (Italy).

The aerodynamically perfected, record-breaking C 111-III (turbo diesel, 1978) and C 111-IV (V8 petrol engine, 1979) are based on this design. Both vehicles were used by Mercedes-Benz to once again set spectacular records in Nardò, where the C 111-III set a new diesel record in April 1978 at 321.9 km/h over the 500-kilometre stretch, while the C 111-IV followed in May 1979 with a new circuit world record of 403.978 km/h. The C 111 family's grand appearance at the Techno Classica is thus also a fitting way to mark Mercedes-Benz's anniversary year of "125 Years of Motorsport".

Departing into a new age

The unique tradition of the innovative culture makes clear the comparison between the 40 PS Mercedes-Simplex from 1903 and the current EQC (combined power consumption: 22.2 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, preliminary data)*. Just as the Mercedes-Simplex was the first modern car to shape the future of the automobile more than 120 years ago, the Mercedes-Benz EQC likewise sets standards today as the first Mercedes-Benz model representing the new EQ product and technology brand. To this end, the model symbolises the beginning of a new era of mobility at Daimler characterised by the Mercedes-Benz initiative CASE (Connectivity, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric).

Sporty starred classics from ALL TIME STARS

ALL TIME STARS, the Mercedes-Benz Classic car dealer, is bringing two special sports car stars to the Techno Classica: the early 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198), which caused a sensation with its original "barn find" condition on the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in Florida in early March 2019 and the second 280 SL "Pagoda" ever made from the W 113 model series.

The 300 SL "Gullwing" bears chassis number 43 and is in the "barn find" condition it was in when found by ALL TIME STARS and the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center Irvine, USA in a garage at the end of 2018. The dream sports car was shipped to Miami in 1954 and then registered for just ten years. Today ─ except for the preparation for a new paint job ─ it is still completely original. This includes the body, glass components, grey leather interior, powertrain, wheels and the original "Englebert Competition" tyres.

The 280 SL is part of the ALL TIME STARS "Concours Edition". It was built in 1967 as a pre-production vehicle of the new 113 model series, which launched in 1968. The vehicle exhibited is a "work preparation car" and was the second 280 SL "Pagoda" ever to leave the assembly plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. In August 1968, it was shipped to Italy. The silver metallic roadster with its red MB-Tex interior and black soft top was restored from 2017 to April 2019 and will be presented to the general public for the first time at the Techno Classica.

In addition to these two highlights, ALL TIME STARS will bring two more SL sports cars to the Techno Classica event. The Mercedes-Benz 560 SL of the R 107 model series from 1989 with a black paint scheme, black interior and a black soft top is part of the ALL TIME STARS Collectors Edition. The vehicle has only driven 69,000 kilometres and has had only one owner. A Mercedes-Benz SL 320 from the exclusive Edition Mille Miglia (R 129, one of just twelve vehicles built) dates back to 2000.A Mercedes-Benz E 60 AMG represents the pinnacle of sportiness in the upper mid-class segment. This top model of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class from the W 124 model series, which is based on the 500 E from 1993 to 1994, was built almost 150 times over. The E 60 AMG was one of the first high-performance cars to be jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG. This vehicle has also had just one owner. ALL TIME STARS will also be showcasing a Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupé (W 111) from 1971 as well as a Mercedes-Benz 230 GE from 1985 to mark the 40th anniversary of the G-Class. The off-road vehicle was delivered to Spain in 1985 and acquired by the ALL TIME STARS experts.

The Mercedes-Benz Classic dealership has been around since 2015. The range extends from pre-war to recent classics. Models from the 1950s to the 1990s are particularly popular with customers. ALL TIME STARS ensures maximum transparency by thoroughly examining every vehicle offered according to 160 criteria, plus a Classic Data expert report. The ALL TIME STARS are technically at least in condition 2, and are categorised into several editions.

A history of looking forward

Jutta Benz, Mercedes-Benz Classic brand ambassador, will be making a guest appearance at the stand during the Techno Classica event on Saturday, 13 April and Sunday, 14 April. She will be reading to children, telling the story of Carl, the inventor of the car, and Bertha, his courageous and visionary wife. The characters in this story are the great-grandparents of the brand ambassador. The history of the car began in 1886 with the patent application for Carl Benz's motor car. Bertha Benz's 1888 long-distance drive was the first major test of this innovation with which Mercedes-Benz changed the world from the outset and will continue to change it in the future by developing new mobility solutions.

In keeping with this glimpse into the birth of the car, the Mercedes-Benz Museum will present an authentic replica of the Benz Patent Motor Car as a photo point for visitors at the Techno Classica. On the opposite side, in the presentation area of the ALL TIME STARS Concours Edition, Gottlieb Daimler's riding carriage (1885) and motor coach (1886) will be showcased.

Reproduced replacement parts from the 3D-printer

The Mercedes-Benz Classic Service & Parts team will be presenting other topics at Techno Classica, such as the Mercedes-Benz Repair™ with its master craftsman's body, paint and glass programmes. You can also find out about spare parts from the 3D printer and get to know the possibilities and limits of the process. Already available are an interior mirror base for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé (W 198), the spark plug holder from the tool kit of this sports car icon, and sliding roof slide jaws for the W 100, W 110, W 111, W 112, W 114/115, W 123 and W 201 series. Other highlights include the presentation of spare parts to be produced in future by additive manufacturing such as the Mercedes-Benz star for the boot/trunk of the W 110, W 111 and W 112 as well as the housing for the speedometer of the SL/SLC models 107.

Grand appearance and a good partnership

The Mercedes-Benz Classic stand in Hall 1 at the Essen Exhibition Centre will measure some 2,125 square metres at Techno Classica 2019. In total, however, the brand with the famous star will be exhibiting on around 4,500 square metres as the recognised Mercedes-Benz brand clubs and ClassicPartners are in the direct vicinity of Mercedes-Benz Classic.

Currently, there are 80 recognised Mercedes-Benz clubs worldwide. With a total member base of some 100,000, they represent indispensable brand ambassadors who ensure that the Mercedes-Benz tradition remains strong. From the ranks of the brand clubs, the following organisations with a total of 20 vehicles will be exhibiting at the Techno Classica:

  • AMG Owners Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz 190 SL-Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz Geländewagen-Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz Interessengemeinschaft e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz Modellauto-Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz R/C 107 SL-Club Deutschland e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz R 129 SL-Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz SL-Club Pagode e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz SLK-Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz SLR.CLUB e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz Veteranen Club von Deutschland e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz W 123-Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz W 124-Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz W 201 16V Club e.V.
  • Mercedes-Benz W 201/C-Klasse Club e.V
  • Unimog-Club Gaggenau e.V.
  • vdh e.V. –
  • Mercedes-Benz Kompressor-Club e.V.

The Mercedes-Benz ClassicPartners will be exhibiting at the Techno Classica in a presentation area measuring 1,100 square metres together with Leseberg Classic (Hamburg), Rosier Classic Sterne (Oldenburg), Herbrand Classic (Kevelaer), Köster (Oberhausen) and Lueg Classic (Essen and Bochum). The extensive service portfolio ranges from maintenance and repair services to the sale of replacement parts and vehicles. In total, the Mercedes-Benz ClassicPartners will be displaying 20 classic vehicles for sale. The network of companies specialising in old and young classics of the brand with the star is a successful concept as in Germany alone, the number of Mercedes-Benz ClassicPartners almost doubled last year from 25 to 46. Every enthusiast will find the right specialist for their queries and their vehicle in the dealer search at Mercedes-Benz Spain is a new addition, and will set up the local network together with two new ClassicPartner operations from Barcelona and Bilbao. Mercedes-Benz Classic will welcome the two operations and the colleagues responsible from Mercedes-Benz Spain into the Mercedes-Benz Classic Partner family at Techno Classica.

World stage for automotive classics

The 30th Techno Classica at the Essen Exhibition Centre will take place from 10 to 14 April 2019. Wednesday (10 April) is "Happy View Day" and preview day on which the fair will be open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. From Thursday (11 April) to Sunday (14 April), the Techno Classica will be open to visitors daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Friday (12 April), there will be extended opening hours until 7 p.m. Last year, the fair attracted almost 190,000 visitors, some 1,250 exhibitors and over 200 clubs. Approximately 2,700 classic cars were on offer.

* Power consumption and CO2 emissions figures are provisional and were determined by the Technical Service. The range figures provided are also provisional. EC type approval and conformity certification with official figures are not yet available. There may be differences between the stated figures and the official figures.

Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicles at the 2019 Techno Classica

40 PS Mercedes-Simplex (1903)

The Mercedes-Simplex was launched in March 1902 to replace the legendary Mercedes 35 PS, whereby the "Simplex" add-on was intended to emphasise just how easy the new high-performance model was to operate. In December 1900, its direct predecessor defined the car's distinctive shape for the first time. Characteristic features include the long wheelbase, the light and powerful engine installed low down and the honeycomb radiator integrated organically into the front end, which was to become distinctive for the brand. The Mercedes 35 PS marked the final departure from the carriage style that had previously dominated the industry. This, then, made it the first modern car and ─ like the Mercedes-Benz EQC of today ─ set a milestone standing for the reinvention of the car. The concept of the Mercedes was so trend-setting that by the end of 1902, it was adopted by almost all manufacturers.

Technical data of the 40 PS Mercedes-Simplex
Production period: 1902–1909
Cylinders: 4/in-line
Displacement: 6,785 cc
Output: 29 kW/40 hp at 1100 rpm
Top speed: 100 km/h

Mercedes-Benz SLX design study (1966)

The 1965 design study was by Mercedes-Benz stylists Giorgio Battistella and Paul Bracq, who worked feverishly on a mid-engined super sports car in the mid-1960s. Internally known as the SLX, the design study was realised in the spring of 1966 as a 1:1 scale wooden model and underwent testing in a wind tunnel. It exuded the classic design spirit of the 1960s. The prototype illustrated just how important the creative development step was to the C 111, which was presented only three years later. The designers behind Bruno Sacco and Josef Gallitzendörfer totally revamped the Mercedes-Benz design idiom with the sensational Wankel sports car.

Mercedes-Benz C 111 experimental vehicle (1969)

The C 111 experimental vehicle, which Mercedes-Benz showcased at the IAA in Frankfurt in September 1969, immediately became a crowd pleaser at the fair. This "rolling test laboratory" amazed visitors with its upward-opening gullwing doors, a pronounced wedge shape and an orange metallic finish. Other innovative features included the fibreglass-reinforced plastic body and the powerful, three-rotor Wankel engine, which delivered outstanding performance. With a top speed of 260 km/h and a 0 to 100 km/h acceleration of 5 seconds, the C 111 is a true super sports car that combines fascinating design with pronounced sportiness.

Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz C 111 AMG experimental vehicle
Presentation: 1969
Rotary piston: 3
Chamber volume: 1800 cc
Output: 206 kW (280 hp) at 7000 rpm Top
speed: 260 km/h.

Mercedes-Benz C 111-II experimental vehicle (1970)

Just six months after presenting the C 111, Mercedes-Benz once again caused a stir as a thoroughly revised version of the high-performance sports car with the Wankel engine made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1970. The C 111-II had even better performance thanks to its 257 kW (350 hp) four-rotor engine. With the redesigned body it was even more appealing than its predecessor and suitable for everyday use in every respect. 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 data of the Mercedes-Benz C 111-II experimental vehicle
Presentation: 1970
Rotary piston: 4
Chamber volume: 2400 cc
Output: 257 kW (350 hp) at 7,000 rpm
Top speed: 300 km/h

Mercedes-Benz C 111-II D record-breaking vehicle (1976)

One of the six experimental vehicles of the C 111-II variant presented in Geneva in 1970 was converted into a diesel-powered record-breaking car in 1976. To this end, the C 111-II was equipped with a 140 kW (190 hp) turbo diesel engine based on the five-cylinder production engine to test the performance limits of the diesel passenger car and demonstrate its reliability. Outside mirrors and folding headlamps were dismantled for improved aerodynamics, and the handbrake was also removed. In June 1976, the C 111-II D was used on a 64-hour record-breaking drive in Nardò, southern Italy. The vehicle continued to set a total of 16 international records ─ and reach average speeds in excess of 250 km/h.

Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz C 111-II D record-breaking vehicle
Use: 1976
Cylinders: 5/in-line
Displacement: 2,998 cc
Output: 140 kW (190 hp) from 4,200 - 4,700 rpm
Top speed: 254 km/h

Mercedes-Benz C 111-III record-breaking vehicle (1978)

On the heels of the success of the C 111-II D, a new record-breaking run demonstrated that the car's potential was far from being exhausted. The car's design was then revisited and thoroughly reworked. In addition to an even more powerful engine, focus was placed on optimising aerodynamics: the vehicle was given a longer wheelbase and a body designed for the lowest possible drag, with a sensationally low cd value of just 0.183. In April 1978, the C 111-III, which again found its way to the high-speed track in Nardò, achieved nine world speed records. Over the 500-kilometre distance, it reached an average speed of 321.9 km/h.

Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz C 111-III record-breaking vehicle
Use: 1978
Cylinders: 5/in-line
Displacement: 2998 cc
Output: 169 kW (230 hp) at 4,200 - 4,600 rpm
Top speed: 327 km/h

Mercedes-Benz C 111-IV record-breaking vehicle (1979)

In 1979, the C 111 set its sights on yet another speed record. This time around, it was a question of beating the circuit record of almost 356 km/h set in 1975. For this purpose, one of the two C 111-IIIs was provided with a new front section and two fins at the rear instead of just one to optimise aerodynamics and driving stability at extremely high speeds. The new record-breaking car is powered by a 368 kW (500 hp) 4.8-litre V8 engine, which is based on the 4.5-litre production engine from the S-Class and SL and is additionally fitted with two exhaust gas turbochargers. In May 1979, the C 111-IV achieved a new speed record of 403.978 km/h ─ once again on the circuit in Nardò.

Technical data of the Mercedes-Benz C 111-IV record-breaking vehicle
Use: 1979
Cylinders: V8
Displacement: 4,800 cc
Output: 368 kW (500 hp) at 6,200 rpm
Top speed: 404 km/h

The brand ambassador of Mercedes-Benz Classic at the 2019 Techno Classica

Jutta Benz
Born on 1 October 1943 in Mannheim

She has a famous surname: Jutta Benz. In 1886, her great-grandfather Carl Benz invented the world's first car as a totally novel, all-embracing and therefore revolutionary design. His wife, Bertha Benz, great-grandmother of Jutta Benz, greatly influenced and assisted in the development work. She supported her husband in every possible way, regularly contributing good ideas of her own to make the car ready for mass production. She is famous for her long-distance drive in the Benz Patent Motor Car from Mannheim to Pforzheim, which she completed with both sons in August 1888, 130 years ago. The journey was both a test of endurance and proof of the functionality of the great invention. No wonder, then, that Jutta Benz has tremendous admiration for her great-grandparents ─ in particular her great-grandmother as a woman of outstanding skills for her time. After all, publicly exhibited creativity and equality were anything but the norm back in the day. In this context, Bertha Benz and her husband symbolise the success and evolution of the car and the Mercedes-Benz brand. Jutta Benz is the last bearer of the Benz name who can be directly traced back to Carl and Bertha Benz.

Three C 111s: the first version of 1969 (left), the test vehicle "Hobel" ("Plane") (right) and the second version of 1970 presented in Geneva.
Record-breaking car Mercedes-Benz C 111-IV with V8 petrol engine during the record attempt in Nardò, May 1979.
Mercedes-Benz C 111-II experimental vehicle with a four-rotor Wankel engine. 1:1 scale model for design approval.
Mercedes-Benz C 111-II, the second version of the experimental vehicle. Photo taken in March 1970 on the test track in Untertürkheim.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198), ALL TIME STARS "barn find".
Mercedes-Benz C 111-III record-holding car during the record-breaking drive in Nardò, April 1978.
Mercedes-Benz C 111-III record-holding car during the record-breaking drive in Nardò, April 1978.
The Mercedes-Benz designers Giovanni Battistella (left) and Paul Bracq next to a 1:5 design model of the super sports car study SLX, 1965. The project was later discontinued but started again with the C 111.
First-version Mercedes-Benz C 111 together with three Mercedes-Benz production saloons on the test track in Untertürkheim. Photo taken in August 1969.
40 PS Mercedes-Simplex, 1903.
Mercedes-Benz C 111-II experimental vehicle with a four-rotor Wankel engine (1970). Studio shot.
Record-breaking car Mercedes-Benz C 111-II D during the 64-hour record attempt in Nardò, June 1976.
Premiere of the Mercedes-Benz C 111 at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt/Main from 11 to 21 September 1969.
Record-breaking car Mercedes-Benz C 111-III of 1978. Photo taken in the same year.
Mercedes-Benz C 111 experimental vehicle (1969). The Mercedes-Benz design team for the C 111 headed by Josef Gallitzendörfer (next to the vehicle) developing the shape for the first variant of the experimental vehicle in 1969.
40 PS Mercedes-Simplex, 1903.
Mercedes-Benz C 111-IV record-breaking car with a V8 spark-ignition engine during the record-breaking drive in Nardò, May 1979.
1:5 design model of the super sports car study SLX in the wind tunnel, 1966. The project was later discontinued but started again with the C 111.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198), ALL TIME STARS "barn find".