Nov 15, 2010

1927 Mercedes-Benz Model S

1927 Mercedes-Benz Model S

The Mercedes-Benz Model S was introduced in 1927 and produced through 1928. The vehicles were assembled in the Daimler-Benz factory located at Stuttgart, Germany with the body and coachwork being handled in Werk Sindelfingen, Germany. The S in the vehicles name represented Sport. During its production life span, 146 examples were produced, guaranteeing its exclusivity and making it a highly desired automobile among many collectors. The chassis it sat upon was a newly redesigned platform. It had a chassis-section style frame that sat low between the axles, rising near each end. The rear suspension was leaf-spring design passing under the axle. Under the hood lurked a supercharged inline-six cylinder engine capable of producing 180 horsepower, 120 in normal aspiration form. The engine was moved twelve inches back, when compared to its processor the Model K, to take advantage of better weight distribution and improve handling. All this equated to a low profile and lower center of gravity. The aerodynamics of the vehicle were greatly improved and provided less wind resistance. Most of the Model S vehicles were open bodies outfitted with coachwork from Daimler-Benz.

Sports Tourer

This 1927 Mercedes-Benz Sportwagen is the actual winner of the 1927 Nurburgring Race. The 'S' series Mercedes-Benz supercharged cars were very successful in pre-war sports racing, accounting for more victories than any other Mercedes-Benz pre-War car. Eight Sportwagen examples were prepared for the inaugural race after the 1927 merger between Benz and Mercedes. This example is the sole survivor that is still intact.
The S is absolutely the finest sports and road racing car ever produced by any manufacturer. It is one of the heaviest and most powerful of this type ever made.


This Sindelfinden bodied Sportwagen was originally delivered to Mr. Payne in upstate New York. He was a favored customer because he bought a new Mercedes every year. It eventually found its way to Dave Tunick in Connecticut. The current owners purchased this car over four decades ago, and finally treated it to a nine-year restoration. It is believed to be the oldest Sportwagen in existence. Power is from a 7.6-liter, six-cylinder engine.
Ferdinand Porsche designed the S-Type for Mercedes-Benz in 1927. The racer was constructed using pre-existing road version Mercedes vehicles, mainly the 400 and 630 models. The names of these vehicles came from their displacement size in liters. For example, the 400 had a four liter engine while the 630 had a 6.3 liter engine, both were equipped a supercharger and six-cylinders. The engine was one of the most appealing attributes of these vehicles. The drawbacks that robbed the vehicles of performance were its size, weight and basic suspension system. A cushy suspension and large size was ideal for luxury vehicles that carried the elite in society, but at the track the vehicles were in need of more performance characteristics. An attempt was made to enhance the sporty nature of the 630 by shortening the wheelbase, which brought about the 'short' (Kurz) version. This drastically improved the vehicles sporty appeal but more was needed to enhance the handling. Mercedes answer to this problem was the S-Type version which saw the chassis lowered and the engine moved back. This improved the vehicles balance. To improve its performance, the engine capacity was enlarged to 6.8 liters. Thus, the 680 S was born.

The Nurburgring 1000 km race debuted in 1927. The track is challenging with it 172 turns and 25.6 km length. The track tests both the driver and the vehicle in all scenarios such as power, braking, and cornering. At the first Nurburgring race it was the 680 S that emerged victorious, a true testament to the vehicles capabilities.

Future versions of the S-Type followed such as the 700 and 710 SS which saw horsepower ratings in the 225 range. Most were considered road going cars but there was little to distinguish a car that was meant for the track and one that was meant for the road. Obviously, the vehicles fitted with luxurious coachwork never saw any track time but the roadsters, speedsters, and coupes (for example) could be used for dual purposes.

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