Mercedes Benz Marks 60 Years of SL at Amelia Concours

Mercedes Benz Marks 60 Years of SL at Amelia ConcoursThe famous 1952 300SL “Gullwing” coupe responsible for securing Mercedes-Benz first Le Mans victory and reinvigorating international racing glory for the three-pointed star is marking its 60th anniversary with an appearance alongside the all-new 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL550 at the 17th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 9-11, 2012.

The meaning of the famous “SL” letters literally stands for “Super Light” and the 1952 SL with its lightweight tubular frame laid the foundation for the iconic Mercedes-Benz SL lineage. The 300SL was unlike any Mercedes-Benz racer that came before it. It was the first in decades to share DNA with a production car, utilizing a combination of series-production technology and innovative lightweight construction.

In June 1951, the Daimler-Benz board made the decision to return to international racing and later that year production began on the 300SL. A total of ten W 194 series cars were built for the 1952 season. In its debut year, the 300SL proved to be an extremely successful race car for Mercedes-Benz with a second and fourth place finish in the Mille Miglia, a triple victory in the sports car race in Bern, a double victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a triumphant quadruple victory in the sports car race on the Nürburgring. The last big adventure of the season was participation in the third La Carrera Panamericana, a race over five days and eight stages, 3,100 kilometers through Mexico. Mercedes-Benz accepted the challenge and entered two coupes and two roadsters in this rally, all powered by engines with an output boosted to 180 hp. Karl Kling with Hans Klenk and Hermann Lang with Erwin Grupp reaped no less than a legendary double victory for Mercedes-Benz in November 1952 in this contest. And although this car was never sold to the public, it did light the fuse for the development of the series-production SL-Class from Mercedes-Benz.

300SLThe iconic Le Mans-winning 300SL coupe entered by Bruce and Jolene McCaw is the honored centerpiece among a collection of Mercedes-Benz racing and production cars on the 18th fairway of the Golf Club at Amelia Island on Sunday, March 11, 2012.

Sharing the same spirit of the 1952 300SL six decades later, the all new 2013 SL550 is making its Concours debut at Amelia Island. For the first time, Mercedes-Benz has implemented an all-aluminum bodyshell in the 2013 SL series-production model. The designers used even lighter magnesium for the cover panel behind the fuel tank and roof. Only very few components are made from other material such as high-strength steel tubing integrated into the A-pillars for added safety. The new aluminum bodyshell weighs 275 pounds less than its predecessor and the result is perceptible and measurable. The decrease in weight translates to improved performance and efficiency. Beyond design, performance is fortified with the new V8, which produces 429 hp from its displacement of 4663 cc. This is approximately 12 percent more horsepower than its predecessor despite some 0.8 liters less displacement. Fuel consumption has been reduced while at the same time the torque via twin turbo has increased from 391 lb-ft to 516 lb-ft – a gain of 32 percent.

About the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Now in its second decade, The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated nearly $1.8 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities on Florida’s First Coast. The 17th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 9-11, 2012. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027.

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Natalie Wood’s Mercedes to be at Amelia Concours

Natalie Wood's Mercedes to be at Amelia ConcoursNatalie Wood’s Mercedes-Benz is just one vehicle to appear among other legendary Hollywood Star Cars once belonging to Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth and Tom Mix.

The motion picture and the automobile came of age together. By the late Twenties movies began to talk and cars became practical daily transportation. A few grand marques, like Duesenberg and Cadillac, also became badges of status and social rank. Power, speed and exclusivity were coin of the realm.

By the Fifties a new type of car had emerged as Hollywood’s favorite. Mercedes-Benz’s 300SL had won Le Mans in 1952 and become the new high technology flagship for the venerable German marque. Speed, power and exclusivity still mattered most to Hollywood’s elite and, with Mercedes-Benz’s Le Mans one-two victory, impeccable and incomparable built quality, the 300SL had no trouble occupying the same Hollywood role Duesenberg had two decades earlier. Like the Duesenberg, 300SLs even appeared in several movies, most notably Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas.

Natalie Wood’s personal 300SL stood out from all other cars on Hollywood’s streets. Wearing optional Rudge knockoff wheels, her 300SL was already rare. But it was Wood’s sense of esthetics that really set her 300SL roadster apart.

Natalie Wood's Mercedes-Benz

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“She had it painted pink,” said Bill Warner, founder and Chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, “Pink with a lipstick red leather interior, as if driving a 300SL around Hollywood didn’t attract enough attention.”

Wood was a star for practically her entire life. At the age of nine she starred in her first movie, the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947), with John Payne and Maureen O’Hara. Just a decade later the starlet took delivery of her 300SL. That December she married actor Robert Wagner.

Natalie’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL will compete in the 300SL class at the Amelia Concours honoring the 60th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz first Le Mans win in 1952. Today it wears a traditional, factory approved silver-blue color. A meticulous restoration made certain that all the details in Wood’s national award winning 300SL are correct. Such small details as the period-correct Becker in-dash radio and even the ownership documents in the glove box and the proper type of hose clamps were installed to restore the elegant German roadster to showroom condition.

Ginger Rogers’ 1929 Duesenberg to be at Amelia Concours

Ginger Rogers' 1929 Duesenberg to be at Amelia Concours

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The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Foundation announced today that a 265 horsepower 1929 Model J Duesenberg that once belonged to Hollywood darling, Ginger Rogers, will appear at the upcoming Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, March 9-11, 2012.

Rogers’ automobile will join Rita Hayworth’s Ghia-bodied Cadillac, Natalie Wood’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster and Tom Mix’s custom Cord 812 roadster in a grouping of legendary Hollywood star cars that will be featured at the event.

Duesenberg became the unofficial car of the stars in 1930s Hollywood. Gary Cooper, Tyrone Power and Clark Gable were other famous names in Duesenberg’s order book. But Rogers’ was indeed unique. As the first Murphy-bodied Duesenberg, her 1929 Model J Convertible Coupe was also the first from the Pasadena, Calif. custom coach building emporium to have a disappearing convertible top. Its original reptile-pattern embossed leather upholstery is now gone, but current owner John Groendyke of Enid, Okla. was careful to replicate the original pattern and hides.

Like its original owner, Rogers’ 1929 Model J is also a movie star, appearing in the 1933 film The Gay Divorcee, the second of the Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire musicals and the movie that introduced the dance called “The Continental.”

“Duesenbergs have a physical presence,” said Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance founder and chairman, Bill Warner. “Ginger’s stands out even in a group of Duesenbergs.”

Rogers made her Broadway debut in the 1929 production aptly named Top Speed. She eventually went on to win Best Actress Academy Award in 1940 for her portrayal of the title character in the feature film Kitty Foyle. She is best remembered as Fred Astaire’s dancing partner and starred in ten films with Astaire. She died in Hollywood in 1995, having lived to see her co-star from the 1951 film Storm Warning become President of the United States.

Just 481 Model J Duesenbergs were ever built.

About the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Now in its second decade, The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated nearly $1.8 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities on Florida’s First Coast. The 17th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 9-11, 2012. For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call 904-636-0027.

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Concours d’Elegance Returns to Amelia Island

Mystery Car found on www.ameliaconcours.org

Mystery Car found on www.ameliaconcours.org

Amelia Island is home for the 15th Anniversary of the Concours d’Elegance to be held at the Ritz Carlton, March 12 to 14, 2010. The Mystery Car for 2010, which created quite a buzz, is the Norman Timbs Special. Many more pictures of this incredible beauty can be found on www.ameliaconcours.org. On March 14th, it will be on display in the manicured lawns, better known for this event as, the field of dreams‚ of the Ritz Carlton and the Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach.

Richard Petty, of NASCAR fame, is this year’s honoree and will be the key note speaker at the annual dinner on March 13.

The Concours d’Elegance is one of the premier automobile events in the nation that features over 250 vintage autos from private collections across the country. Many of the vehicles on display this year are rarely seen. The Concours is much more than a car show, this is a magnificent fund raiser for Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, who are there to help you through the most difficult times we face.

For more information and details about the show visit www.ameliaconcours.org or call (904) 636-0027.

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