First of its kind: Mercedes Simplex 40 PS.

Sitting high and using strong hands, courageous drivers piloted the Simplex over the dusty tracks of the early days of motorsport. It was particularly impressive at the Nice Race Weeks between 1903 and 1905, where it sold the discerning high society on Mercedes.

Racing action: 1902–1905 I Cylinders: 4/in-line I Displacement: 6,785 cc
Output: 29 kW at 1,050 rpm I Top speed: 75 km/h

Long-distance star: 300 SL racing sports car.

With gullwing doors, bold central star in the radiator grille and chequered seat covers, the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) surprised everyone in 1952 with spectacular double victories at Le Mans and at the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico. The SL legend was born.

Racing action: 1952 I Cylinders: 6/in-line I Displacement: 2,996 cc
Output: 125 kW at 5,200 rpm I Top speed: 240 km/h

Fangio’s rocket: W 196 R Streamline.

It’s as if the airstream had shaped the Silver Arrow, which also looks really dynamic when stationary. With its curvy exterior, the W 196 R preferred to race on the straight, fast tracks and drove to the Formula 1 World Championship with Juan Manuel Fangio in 1954 and 1955.

Racing action: 1954/55 I Cylinders: 8/in-line I Displacement: 2,497 cc
Output: up to 213 kW at 8,500 rpm I Top speed: 300 km/h

Return of the Silver Arrows: Sauber-Mercedes C 9.

The Sauber-Mercedes C 9 Group C racing sports car still looks like an uncompromising, crouched Silver Arrow version of a young classic. It is thoughtfully designed in terms of function and aerodynamics. In 1989, it took the double victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the drivers’ title in the World Sports Car Championship with Jean-Louis Schlesser.

Racing action: 1987–1990 I Cylinders: V8 I Displacement: 4,973 cc
Output: up to 530 kW at 7,000 rpm I Top speed: up to 400 km/h