Mercedes-Benz Will Glam Up Lake Como With Ultra-Rare Racing Classics

Concours d'Elegance / 2 Comments

You won't get many opportunities to see these beauties.

Mercedes-Benz wants to steal all the eyeballs at Lake Como this weekend, as it's taking several high-profile classics that hardly ever see the light of day.

Lake Como consists of several events, and Mercedes will be present at all of them, hoping to lure attendees away from whatever special one-off BMW has in store.

The cars in question celebrate Mercedes-Benz's advancements in motorsports and aerodynamics, so don't expect to see the F1 team's W13 racecar there. Merc wants to show off successful cars, not flops. Sorry, Lewis.

We're talking about the Sauber-Mercedes C 9, the W 194 300 SL, and the 540 K Streamliner. Let's take a closer look at these beauties.

Mercedes-Benz AG

W194 300 SL

The 300 SL race car won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1952, and this particular example belongs to a private collector. It will partake in the main event, the famous Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este.

It's an important car for Mercedes-Benz for multiple reasons. After WWII, sanctions stopped the Germans from developing anything dangerous, so they spent time building epic racing cars. The 300 SL's lineage can be traced to the current range, where its spirit lives on in vehicles like the Mercedes-AMG SL 63 and the AMG GT.

Mercedes used a sedan's axles, transmission, and base engine to build this car. The defining feature was the lightweight but robust roll cage, which left no room for conventional doors. That's how the iconic gullwing doors were born.

Merc's US distributor convinced the Germans that the 300 SL would be a smash hit as a road car, and the result was the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.

Mercedes-Benz AG
Mercedes-Benz AG

Sauber-Mercedes C 9

Villa Erba will be treated to the Sauber-Mercedes C 9, which achieved a one-two in Group C of the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans. The car in Villa Erba is the model that came second, driven by Mauro Baldi, Kenny Acheson, and Gianfranco Brancatelli. The victorious C9 was driven by Jochen Mass, Stanley Dickens, and Manuel Reuter. In addition to the Le Mans victory, the C9 also won the 1989 World Sports Car Championship.

The C9 represents Mercedes' official return to Group C circuit racing, sporting a familiar silver hue to pay tribute to the Silver Arrows era.

Mercedes-Benz outsourced the chassis but equipped the car with its own 5.0-liter turbocharged V8 that produced roughly 700 horsepower.

Mercedes-Benz AG
Mercedes-Benz AG
Mercedes-Benz AG

540 K Streamliner

The 540 K Streamliner is part of the 500 K/540 K class, which has some dubious customers. Luckily, an unnamed American GI gave it a more favorable story by claiming the deputy fuhrer's 540 K as his own. That's not this car, however.

The 540 K Streamliner is a one-off built to optimize aerodynamics in an era where people didn't consider it. Thanks to the 180 hp eight-cylinder and drag coefficient of Cd = 0.36, it could reach a top speed of 185 kph or 115.6 mph. Not bad for the 1930s.

The Streamliner will be displayed at the FuoriConcorso, close to the city center.

Mercedes-Benz AG
Mercedes-Benz AG
Mercedes-Benz AG

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