Mercedes Sculpture Revives A Record-Breaking Streamliner

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Could the Aesthetic Progressive Luxury sculpture lead to an electric speed record attempt?

Mercedes calls this a "sculpture," not a concept car. And with good reason: it doesn't actually have wheels, an engine, a cockpit, or really any of the other basic elements you'd expect to see on an actual automobile. But as a design piece, it's pretty stunning. Called the Aesthetic Progressive Luxury sculpture, it pays tribute to the streamlined racing car that the legendary Rudolf Caracciola drove down the Autobahn in 1938, hitting a record 432.7 km/h (268.87 mph) across a flying kilometer from Frankfurt to Darmstadt.

A fitting chapter from Daimler's history to relive, and to our eyes, this installation does a pretty good job of it. With no mechanical or moving elements whatsoever, there's not much else in the way of details to disclose about the sculpture. It looks like it was crafted out of a single piece of metal (or resin, or what-have-you), with tiles cut out of it. And it's altogether pretty darn slick. The question is whether Mercedes intends to do anything with it beyond putting the sculpture on display. It was revealed as part of a showcase the German automaker has put on to celebrate its design efforts – particularly its new EQ sub-brand of electric vehicles.

Could Mercedes develop this into a new streamliner in pursuit of an electric speed record? We can certainly hope. But for now, we'll just have to admire the form for what it is. The record, for what it's worth, is currently held by the Venturi VBB-3 Streamliner. Otherwise known as the Buckeye Bullet and developed at Ohio State University, it reached a top speed of 550 km/h (342 mph) nearly two years ago at Bonneville.

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