Taxi for the Silver Arrows.
'The Silver Arrows are one of the most amazing phenomena ever seen in motor racing.' Albrecht Würschum, Sales Manager at CMC Modelcars, could back up his claim with sales figures of their model range, but there's no need: just a glimpse of the 1:18 scale model of the Mercedes-Benz formula racing car from the 1930s and 1950s – or indeed the actual thing – is more than enough to convince most people.
'The Blue Wonder racing car transporter of the 1950s is a best-seller in our product range,' Würschum adds. 'That's why we've also made its counterpart from the first great age of the Silver Arrows.' Now collectors can provide their W 25, W 125 and W 154 models with a mobile garage, as originally used to transport the winning cars to the Grand Prix circuits and back.
No surviving original.
CMC Modelcars, which is based in Fellbach, not far from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, is one of the world's best known makers of accurate 1:18 scale models of historic cars and as such is an excellent partner for the creation of Mercedes-Benz miniatures. The Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive provides frequent support for CMC and allows the model-makers to take measurements from its original vehicles.
However, one major challenge they faced with the Lo 2750 racing car transporter used by the Mercedes-Benz racing division from 1934 to 1938 was that there is no surviving original vehicle and nor are there any design drawings of it. 'The reconstruction had to be carried out based on old photos and comparable vehicles,' says Werner Junginger, who has been a product developer at CMC Modelcars since 2001.
The Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicle collection does in fact include a reconstructed racing car transporter modelled on the original Lo 2750. 'This vehicle actually has a petrol engine and a shorter platform than the racing car transporter of the 30s, but it was still a good guide for us,' says Junginger. The experts at CMC were able to take measurements from an original diesel engine from the period at the Mercedes-Benz museum.
The dimensions of the loading platform and the positions of the spare wheels, the toolbox and the large fuel tank for long non-stop journeys could all be calculated by analysing archive photos. 'The transporters were used with the Silver Arrow W 25, W 125 and W 154 models, as you can see from the photos,' explains Junginger. 'The load area therefore has to be the correct size to be able to accommodate each of these model types.'
Measured, scanned and printed.
Once the measurements have been taken – either by hand or using a scanner, and sometimes supplemented by reconstructions – the quickest and best route to the finished model is via the data highway. Instead of making a master model by hand, the designers now convert their measurements into STL format, which can be sent to a 3D printer. This then produces an initial impression of the whole vehicle in white plastic. After this is checked against the original dimensions, the CAD data for almost every component – and for the Lo 2750 racing car transporter there are no fewer than 2365 individual parts, of which almost 2000 are metal – is sent one part at a time to the production department. Sales manager Albrecht Würschum puts the development costs prior to production at over 300,000 euros.
Around 15 hours of hand craft.
CMC Modelcars operates its own production site in China. Unlike the construction plant, most of the work here is done by hand: the parts are produced at the factory and the models assembled – screwed, clipped, riveted, soldered and glued together. The parts are painted and printed with the relevant designs prior to assembly. It takes a total of around 15 hours to assemble the racing car transporter from the 2365 separate parts.
Fascination in every detail.
Strictly speaking, the type Lo 2750 Blue Wonder 2 should really be called the Blue Wonder 1, having appeared at least 20 years before the high-speed transporter of 1955. The latter was equipped with a 300 SL engine and remained a one-off production. The racing car transporters from the 1930s often travelled in convoy: Mercedes-Benz fitted out at least seven Lo 2750 vehicles from the Gaggenau plant as racing car transporters. The CMC model, order number M-144, is also available from the Mercedes-Benz Classic store, priced at 719 euros.