Every visitor to the Mercedes-Benz Museum will discover the diversity of the exhibition and the architecture from a very individual perspective. But which focal points of the museum and which of the stories they tell will become the focal point of that personal perception? Today, we will provide some insight from: Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Mercedes‑Benz Group AG.
“The Mercedes-Benz Museum is the brand’s treasure chamber. I am inspired by this place because the great exhibits document our long, great brand and product history and because they also provide the impetus for new design ideas. But as a designer, I keep looking ahead, of course, to create something new. That’s what drives me, that’s what drives us all in design. My team knows I get up every morning with one objective: ‘Come on, let’s do something fantastic.’”
The oldest luxury car brand in the world: 1902 saw the birth of the Mercedes brand. The 40 PS Mercedes-Simplex is from that era. At the museum, we see it as a sports car – but the luxury aspect is clearly recognisable.
“The history that the museum preserves always points the way for the brand and for our work. One classic example: the Mercedes brand was founded in 1902 and is therefore almost 120 years old. It has its origins in Nice, as a luxury brand. Luxury is allowed to be opulent in a positive sense: it can express strength without being obtrusive. And that is exactly what we are doing with Mercedes-Benz vehicles.”
“As far as opulence is concerned, the 1930s were a high point. Greater opulence than in the 500 K Special Roadster from 1935, which the museum shows in Legend Room 3, is hardly conceivable. That car was the epitome of luxury, a dream car. With its breathtakingly beautiful bodywork, that great cockpit, its bold overall conception. What does this mean for Mercedes-Benz today? It’s obvious: a luxury car can be opulent – and at the same time totally relaxed. That’s what every Mercedes-Benz car reflects.”
Wings all the way to just before the horizon: the 500 K Special Roadster was a pioneering luxury car of the 1930s that exuded opulence and relaxation. These values are reflected in every current Mercedes-Benz motorcar.
An absolutely stylish cockpit, designed with great clarity down to the smallest detail: “Completely up-to-date,” says Gorden Wagener – this could be incorporated in a modern car in exactly the same way. Even with today’s display technology.
“The 500 K Special Roadster has an extraordinarily beautiful cockpit. It is absolutely stylish and designed with excellent clarity right down to the finest detail. The finely detailed dials, the perfect colouring, the aesthetically pleasing, functional arrangement of all the instruments and switches: these are state-of-the-art features. This is exactly the same reason why our modern wraparound digital instrument clusters are also so well received. Its display technology is right up-to-the-minute. Thanks to its elaborate graphic design and intuitive user interface, it’s as timeless and elegant as the dashboards of yesteryear.”
Dream cars from 1955 until today: 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé. Its tremendous radiance makes it one of the absolute icons of the brand. The powerful Formula One technology incorporated in it could easily beat many modern super sports cars.
“Imagine all the dream cars there have been in the history of the company. For example, the 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé from 1955, now standing in Legend Room 4. A real rocket! It would easily leave some of today’s super sports cars standing.
And its design is fantastic. The car was only built twice. One is here in the museum, and the second can be seen regularly at international classical car events.”
From the high-bank curve back to the beginnings of motorsports: sporting prowess, just as much as luxury, is also included in the genes of Mercedes-Benz, stresses Gorden Wagener. Whether it is a racing car or a production car: every vehicle of the brand continues the story.
“Sportiness is also to be found in the genes of the brand. This is where the current radiator grille of the Mercedes-AMG came from. Where did the idea come from? From the 1952 300 SL racing sports car, which you can admire in Legend Room 7 ‘Silver Arrows – Races and Records’ along with numerous other sports cars. No other brand has as many treasures as Mercedes-Benz. And with every new car, we continue the story and fill the ancestral lines with life. That’s what makes my job so exciting.”
“The work on the ‘Vision Mercedes Simplex’ sculpture which we presented in September 2019 in Nice, that is, at the brand’s place of origin, was fascinating. Only a brand as strong as Mercedes-Benz can succeed in merging history and the future in this way. Vision Mercedes Simplex symbolises the transition to a new era of Mercedes-Benz luxury.”
Innovation is part of the Mercedes-Benz brand DNA. The Vision Mercedes Simplex of 2019 is a two-seater with exposed wheels, alternative drive concept, future-orientated user interface and a fascinating design that projects the pioneering spirit and design features of the historic 1902 model far into the 21st century.