Mercedes-Benz: 25 Revealing Facts (circa 1969)

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Donald Healey
Mercedes 280SL In Testing
1. Mercedes-Benz employs one inspector for every 11 workers, and pays them to criticize their heads off. By the time a Mercedes-Benz gets the final stamp of approval, it has undergone thousands of separate inspections.

2. Every Mercedes-Benz body is welded in 10,000 places. No bolts to work loose as the miles add up; this is one car that wont age to the sad tune of rattles, squeaks and groans.

3. Every Mercedes-Benz sits on a fully independent swing axle suspension system, first used on the company's racing machines. This suspension allows firm and stable roadholding regardless of speed and dips without jarring or pitching. No 'Sea-sick' feeling.

4. All Mercedes-Benz engines use overhead camshafts in place of ordinary valve actuation. This allows extremely high engine speeds in total smoothness, and safety, and quiet. And it permits these engines, only half the size of most V8's, to cruise at over 90 mph all day if required.

5. Million-dollar machines electronically balance every Mercedes-Benz crankshaft, adding to the vibration-free high-speed cruising comfort for which these cars are famed. Engine tolerances are measured in 10,000ths of an inch.

6. Every engine is test-run before being mounted in the car. Many are run for over an hour on special test rigs, and checked with a battery of gauges for any sign of undue noise or friction. Engine oil during this test is replenished more than 60 times - flushing away every speck of dirt and debris.

7. Every Mercedes-Benz model carries disc brakes at all four wheels as standard equipment. Front and rear brake systems on all cars are separately activated; if one system somehow failed, the second would take over to stop you.

8. Vital suspension steering and brake parts are tightened during assembly by hand with a unique torque wrench-designed for
the job by Mercedes-Benz engineers. When the exact pre-determined pressure is reached, this ingenius device squirts a blot of yellow paint on to the part. A follow-up inspector then simply counts the blots to check that the job has been perfectly done.

9. Each of the four coil springs used in a Mercedes-Benz suspension is selected to form a matched set, by way of four special tests. This ensures a balanced ride, down to the finest degree.

10. The steering system of your Mercedes-Benz carries its own- tiny built-in shock absorber, to cushion road shocks and damp them out before they can affect your hands on the steering wheel.

11. Before they are sealed, many hollow or hidden parts of a Mercedes-Benz body-such as the insides of the rocker panels are brushed with a zinc dust compound to foil the inroads of condensation and eventual rust.

12. After welding, many vital seams in the body of every Mercedes-Benz are ground down by hand, then packed with pewter, then ground down again and polished to invisibility. No jagged, shabby, depressing signs of hasty workmanship.

13. Prior to painting, every Mercedes­Benz body is drowned in a 52-ton primer bath. This rich anti-corrosion coating seeps into every nook and cranny.

14. When the primer has been baked on, 25 pounds of permanent plasticized undercoating are sprayed on to the underside and wheel wells of every Mercedes-Benz. Another safeguard against rust.

15. The body is given four coats of paint-hand polished between coats, the final paint coat applied by hand -for a smooth 'lustrous finish which is especially salt-resistant.

16. tires on all Mercedes-Benz cars are super premium grade and far exceed the minimum requirements set by new U.S. safety laws. They are proved capable of carrying a full passenger and luggage load, at normal specified air pressures, in continuous high-speed cruising. Note too that all Mercedes-Benz wheels are statically and dynamically balanced at the factory - even the spare.

17. A four speed, fUlly-synchronized manual or automatic transmission comes as standard equipment on all Mercedes-Benz models, except 300 and 600 series which are equipped with automatic transmission only.

18. All chromium trim on Mercedes­Benz cars is given two coats of copper and another of nickel before plating.

19. The interior of even the smallest Mercedes-Benz offers, in many respects, more passenger space than the largest sedans.

20. A unique ventilation system draws in clean air via a scoop on the hood, and exhausts stale air through ducts at the rear of the cabin. You enjoy constant fresh air, even with all windows shut, in all sedans.

The seats in the Mercedes-Benz cars were designed and shaped in consultation .with leading orthopedic physicians. These contoured, firmly upholstered seats envelop you-supporting vital kidney, back and knee-joint areas.

22. Seat springs are actually tuned to the car's suspension motions, erasing millions of tiny jiggling movements that can add up over long trips to muscle fatigue.

23. The optional Daimler-Benz .automatic transmission has four forward speeds. You can operate it like a manual shift, or as an automatic. Using the hydraulic coupling principle instead of common torque converters, this transmission cuts slippage to almost nil. Fuel economy is virtually equal to manual gearboxes.

24. The Mercedes-Benz power steering uses a servo-booster that adds steering assistance progressively, as more and more effort is needed. You never lose touch with the front wheels. There is none of the freakish lightness and loss' of road 'feel' for which power-assisted steering is often derided.

25. The timeless body styling of all Mercedes-Benz models requires no annual changes. To Mercedes-Benz owners this means no unpleasant surprise every year at 'new car time'.

The history of Mercedes-Benz engineering development proves a constant link with safety in motoring.

There is not one safety feature vaunted by other automobile manufacturers that Mercedes-Benz have not had for some years. Most of these are patented by the Daimler-Benz company which permits other car makers to use some of them.

None but Mercedes-Benz has them all. The 'safety zone' is one such idea. (Patentschrift 30/10/52 No. 854157). Unlike conventional automobile construction, the exclusive Mercedes­Benz body and frame design actually features a body within a body.

Body construction at the front and the rear of the car, however, is resilient to severe impact. This simply means that in the event of collision, either at the front or the rear of the car, these sections yield to the impact and provide cushioning protection. Surely the patented Mercedes-Benz 'Safety Zone' is the safest car interior human ingenuity has yet devised.

Fashionable styling will always attract some prospective buyers. But Mercedes-Benz only change designs when the new model represents a significant step forward in technical achievement.

There is always quite a time lapse between the introduction of one new series of models and the next. Forward­looking designs, high quality materials, thorough production methods, careful checks, repeated tests, well-planned service: all these things help to retain the value of Mercedes-Benz cars.

15% of all Mercedes-Benz staff engaged in car production are inspectors. But they are not alone. Each of the components has to pass through innumerable automatic control points before assembly. There are 3,700 Mercedes-Benz service stations in 156 countries throughout the world, staffed by experienced technicians, many of whom have been to the works in Germany for training.

They give individual attention to your Mercedes-Benz car. Service facilities for Mercedes-Benz cars in Australia are excellent. Lane's Motors, the Victorian distributor for Mercedes­Benz, have recently installed a dynamometer and engine performance analyser which are now in constant service in the tuning department.

Engine and transmission components can be put through their paces under actual road conditions. Cars can be kept in perfect tune for maximum performance and economy, without the need for road testing. This in-depth service is now a matter of routine in the. regular 12,000 mile check carried out on all Mercedes­Benz vehicles.
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