Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Italian Mercedes-Benz: Part 1

The Italian Mercedes-Benz: Part 1
By Dennis Adler

As the saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This Italian Mercedes-Benz- bodied 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300b Coupe has always been the object of mixed opinions, it’s styling far more contemporary than any other luxury car that Mercedes-Benz offered in 1955.

The 300s were DBAG’s luxury flagships in the Eisenhower years, With flowing fenders and dignified Sindelfingen coachwork influenced by pre-war tradition. This Pininfarina bodied 300b, built in 1955, forecast the look that Mercedes-Benz adopted when the 220S Coupe was introduced for 1957.
The styling of this 300b Pininfarina Coupe has been interpreted as a blend of several cars of the period, particularly the Bentley Continental, in profile, and the Facel Vega, from the rear. Pininfarina also bodied a few other 300S models but not as attractively as this one.

Company History
The Carrozzeria Pininfarina, one of Italy’s oldest and most admired design houses, was established by Batista Pinin Farina in 1930. From humble beginnings the firm specialized in design and construction of prototype and limited editions. In Iess than a decade Pinin Farina became one of the most respected coach builders in Europe. By 1939 the factory was producing one car daily and employed more than 500 workers.

A few years ago, Sergio Pininfarina, who succeeded his father as head of the firm in 1966, recalled that Pininfarina became famous because its prototypes were exhibited at all important motor shows throughout Europe. “This brought us private commissions to duplicate the prototype designs. My father believed that a car produced in a certain quantity was better than a one-off example.”
Sergio Pininfarina, (the family surname was Farina, and “Pinin” the father’s nickname. The business was Pinin Farina until 1961, when both family and company name were changed to Pininfarina), told us that prototype production was his father’s greatest ambition. “In a one-off car, you can reach a higher degree of finish,” he says, adding that building duplicates allowed the company to put its designs into the hands of many influential people.

In the 1950’s we began working with all the automobile manufacturers, not only in Italy but in Europe with Peugeot, in England with British Leyland, and with several Japanese firms.” Pininfarina noted that his father was the first Italian to design an American-built car, the Nash Ambassador. “The success of that car in America had a great effect in Italy, because here a success in a foreign country is highly regarded. We had these successes with many foreign automakers. We estimate that there are more than 25 million automobiles today with the Pininfarina name.” The number of Pininfarina-bodied Mercedes-Benz cars is considerably lower. Only three were designed and built in 1955 and 1956, each with a distinctively different body.

Styling Stages
This 300 was “dressed-up” in four stages, as documented by photographs before it was sold in 1956. Stage one, as the car was originally shown, used virtually no chrome trim except in the mandatory places like the radiator shell, bumpers, wheel and window trim.Even the headlamp bezels were painted. In stage two the bezels were all chrome, the only noted change.Stage three saw the addition of well-placed lower side molding, flat chrome bands around the front of the fenders, and extended chrome fairings on the auxiliary lamps. In its fourth stage, the car was displayed in Europe, and in this final version it appears today, with wheel well moldings and another belt molding to facilitate two-toning the hood and deck. This molding also bridges the gap in height between the bottom edge of the hood and the bottom of the pre-existing belt molding, occurring via a “hop-up” at the trailing corner of the hood.

Records indicate that it was not until Sindelfingen received and approved Pininfarina’s drawings that an automobile was delivered. Whether a complete car or just a running chassis was sent to Pininfarina is unclear. During an extensive restoration of this car, workers discovered a body identification tag with an assigned number under the left front kick panel (upholstery) on a structure manufactured by Sindelfingen. The tag number, 186.010 450005, indicated a 1954 300b sedan. DBAG records show that the car was sold to F.A. Saporiti, the Mercedes-Benz dealer in Milan, on January 17th, 1955, and shipped by rail to Turin. Saporiti then delivered it to Pininfarina for the new body. The November 1955 issue of Road & Track carries a photograph of this car on page 34 under the heading “New…From Italy.” The car was also pictured in international publications including Industria Automobilistica Italiana, 1957, and Automobil Revue, published in June 1955.

In 1956 the car underwent several exterior changes, mostly additional chrome moldings and a more defined two-tone paint scheme. After the European shows, it was sold and did not resurface until mid 1972, when opera singer Roland Dutro in Wiesbaden, Germany, wrote Pininfarina requesting body crests to put on the car following an accident. Two years later it was sold and found its way to America. Present owner Fred Kriz, Los Angeles Section, purchased it after it was discovered in the San Joaquin Valley as “an old clunker.” In August 1992 a lengthy restoration was completed by Scott Restorations, and the car was subsequently invited to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was judged best in class.

The distinctive styling is best viewed in profile. The sleek fender line draws your eye back to the modest kick-up forward of the C-pillar and the triple chrome molding accenting the greenhouse. Minor features include small trafficator turn signal lamps at the base of the C-pillars and two rear window wipers.

Whether or not you find this singular Coupe attractive, it is significant, providing a look back at the end of an era when the three-pointed star could be found atop the grille of a coachbuilt car.

Thanks to Stephan Cobos and David Grant of Scott Restorations for assistance with this article. As well as letters from Pininfarina, references from Mercedes-Benz, and notes from Bob Doehlar, these sources were used: Pininfarina, Architect of Cars by Michael Frostick, The Mercedes-Benz Since 1945, Vol. 1 by James Taylor, Road & Track, November 1955, and Mercedes-Benz Personenwagen by Werner Oswald.

Photographs by Dennis Adler

First published at, and used by kind permission of,

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 Maybach Pullman; Meet the new Boss, Even Better Than the Old Boss

Photo: MBUSA
2015 Maybach Pullman; Meet the new Boss, Even Better Than the Old Boss
by Marrs

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the newest addition to the revived Maybach lineup, this time giving us exactly what we think of when we hear the word "Pullman" which is nothing short of legendary in MB-speak. Find the entire MBUSA press release below, and may we also suggest that you start overturning couch cushions for loose change right now as prices start at well over half a million dollars (for the non-armored version).

The New Mercedes-Maybach Pullman

High-end luxury-class motor vehicle with a proud pedigree

The 50th birthday of the best-known Pullman sedan of them all, the Mercedes-Benz 600, is set to coincide with a special debut at the Geneva Motor Show: the launch of the new Pullman. Mercedes-Maybach's second model will assume the top-of-the-range position, with vis-à-vis seating in the passenger compartment and high-end automotive luxury that is traditionally associated with Maybach.

Its length of 21.3 feet (6.50 meters) alone is a sign of the special status of the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman. It provides space for a generously-sized and tastefully-appointed club lounge in the rear, which has a multitude of creature comforts fitted as standard. This chauffeur-driven limousine is more than equal to today's demands for the ultimate in exclusivity and luxury. The VIP occupants sit on two standard-specification executive seats facing the direction of travel. They can enjoy the greatest legroom in the segment; and can get into and out of the car with the greatest of ease and comfort. As is typical for a Pullman, the four passengers can sit facing each other in the compartment with an electrically-operated partition window. The prices for unarmoured models start at around half a million euros (as of mid-February 2015, EURO 500,000 = USD $566,922); the first customers will be taking delivery of their vehicles, which of course offer unrivaled scope for individualization, at the beginning of 2016 (this model is TBD for the U.S. market).

Many governments, rulers and royal families around the world have for decades chosen Mercedes-Benz sedans with the designation "Pullman" to drive them with the stateliness and style befitting their status. With its new model, the company is now extending its unique position in this demanding segment: "Quite apart from providing stately and stylish seating for high-ranking passengers in the comfort and spaciousness for which it is famed, the new Mercedes-Maybach Pullman is of course the embodiment of exclusivity at its highest level," commented Ola Källenius, Member of the Daimler AG Management Board responsible for sales and marketing of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "One can sense the significance and greatness of it in every detail."
The Mercedes-Maybach Pullman provides extremely spacious seating combined with unique features characterized by their extraordinary and perfect craftsmanship. It goes without saying that Mercedes-Maybach offers its customers unique opportunities to individualize the appointments of their top-class limousines. The exquisite Maybach paint finishes,  which are applied in several layers, count as part of  this specification.

With a length of 21.3 feet (6499 mm), the Pullman is another 3.5 feet (1053 mm) longer than the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class. The wheelbase is an impressive 14.5 feet (4418 mm). Furthermore, at 5.2 feet (1598 mm) in height, the Pullman is more than 3.9 inches (10 cm or 100 mm) higher than a Mercedes S-Class, resulting in a tangible increase in headroom.

The absolute top-of-the-range model is the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman S 600. Its V12 biturbo engine has an output of 390 kW (523 U.S. SAE hp). With displacement of 5980 cc, the maximum torque of 612 lb-ft (830 Nm) is available from 1900 rpm.

The name Pullman was originally applied to railway carriages with luxurious open-plan compartments manufactured by the American Pullman Palace Car Company. This name was soon also applied to the motor cars from Mercedes-Benz which were based on an extremely long wheelbase and offered a very generously-sized passenger compartment. In the rear, separated from the driver's area by a partition, there was space for four passengers to recline regally in four single seats facing each other.

Extremely spacious seating in the rear, entire vehicle interior is leather-clad
As its name suggests, the four seats in the rear of the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman are arranged vis-à-vis. The owner and VIP guests are seated in the direction of travel on two executive seats which are part of the standard specification; other passengers can sit on the fold-down seats facing backwards. If specifically requested, the Pullman can also be delivered in an exclusive version without the additional seats.

The executive seats offer a unique level of comfort thanks to their special adjustment kinematics. In contrast to the norm, the backrest is adjusted separately while the footwell and seat reference point remain unchanged. The cushion can be adjusted separately, with inclination and horizontal adjustment combined. For the executive seats, the maximum backrest angle is 43.5 degrees. The most upright backrest position of 19 degrees allows relaxed working in the rear. The reclining seats feature a calf support, which is freely adjustable for length and angle. The luxury head restraints come with an extra cushion as standard. The two first-class travelers in the rear have the greatest amount of legroom of any car in the segment, as well as 2.4 inches (60 millimeters) more headroom than in a Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

There is one design difference compared with the existing Pullman model: in the new model, all seats are easy to get to. This improvement was achieved thanks to the large rear doors and the position of the passengers on the executive seats, which is even further to the rear. A real boost in comfort for those heads of state and monarchs for whom protocol dictates that they must take their places ahead of their interpreters. This seating arrangement also preserves their privacy, as a large proportion of their bodies is hidden by the rear roof pillar.

The interior of the Mercedes-Maybach Pullman is upholstered in leather throughout as standard. Not only is the roof liner upholstered in high-quality leather, but also the door frames and seat consoles. As one would expect of a Maybach, there are three analog instruments in the roof liner informing passengers in the rear of the outside temperature, speed and time.

The partition wall between the rear and the driver's area ensures discretion. The glass partition wall can be lowered electrically. It can also change from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. This allows – in combination with the equally standard-specification curtains for the rear windows – for different levels of privacy. The standard-fit 16:9 format 18.5 inch (47 cm) monitor located in front of the partition can also be extended electrically.

Those who demand uncompromising quality of sound and appreciate perfect music reproduction can choose between two innovative Burmester sound systems. The existing Burmester surround sound system delivers the legendary and unmistakeable magical sound for which the high-end audio specialist from Berlin is famous. But as an option par excellence, the Burmester® High-End 3D Surround Sound System provides matchless listening pleasure and outstanding sound quality.
It goes without saying that Mercedes-Maybach offers its customers unique opportunities to individualise the appointments of their top-class limousines. The key account managers in the exclusive Maybach centres throughout Europe as well as the sales advisors in the Mercedes-Benz sales and service outlets are happy to provide further information on this.

The history: Pullman limousines from Mercedes-Benz
Happy Birthday: the best-known Mercedes Pullman, the Mercedes 600, is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2015. Mercedes-Benz first started offering the prestigious-looking variant in this model series as a "series-production vehicle" in 1965. Having said that, the tradition of offering exclusive limousines with the Pullman name goes back even further at Mercedes-Benz.

Three special-design examples of the model 300 in Pullman dimensions, referred to in the vernacular as the "Adenauer Mercedes," were made in 1960. And following on from the W 100 model series, in subsequent years there were Pullman versions of the S-Class 109 and 126 model series (special production) as well as the 140 and 220 (both standard production).

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mercedes-Benz USA Announces Details of New Corporate Headquarters in Atlanta

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (left) with MBUSA President/CEO/All Around Badass Stephen Cannon (right).

MBUSA to occupy interim office space in Central Perimeter before opening new, state-of-the-art facility in 2018

At a press conference today at the Georgia State Capitol, Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) announced the permanent and interim locations for its new corporate headquarters in Atlanta. Company President and CEO Stephen Cannon made the announcement with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.

MBUSA, which is currently headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, will construct a new, state-of-the-art headquarters facility on a greenfield site located at the corner of Abernathy and Barfield roads in Sandy Springs, expected to be completed in early 2018. Set near the intersection of Georgia 400 and Interstate 285, the approximately 12-acre parcel rests in one of Atlanta's largest and most sought-after commercial districts, offering numerous hotel, retail and restaurant options with easy access to public transit and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Present MBUSA HQ in Montvale, NJ.

"Mercedes-Benz is a marquis brand which deserves a marquis setting," Cannon said. "Our ambition is to be more than just a great car company – we want to be among the best companies in the world, and Atlanta will serve as the perfect foundation to foster that ambition for the future. We are looking forward to calling Atlanta home."

Beginning July 2015, the company will move into temporary office space at Sterling Pointe II, a 186,000-square-foot, Class A office building at the Perimeter Center complex in the neighboring city of Dunwoody.

"Mercedes-Benz USA's planned headquarters location in Sandy Springs is great for the city, metro Atlanta and for the entire state of Georgia," said Governor Deal. "I want to thank Mercedes-Benz USA and its leadership team for its decision to call Georgia home."

As part of the relocation, the automaker plans to hire hundreds of new employees from the Atlanta area. MBUSA will continue to maintain several operational business units in both Montvale and Robbinsville, New Jersey. Additional details on the new Sandy Springs facility, as well as MBUSA's Atlanta recruiting efforts, will be released in the coming weeks.

About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz products in the United States.  MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 14 model lines ranging from the sporty CLA-Class four-door coupe to the flagship S-Class.

MBUSA is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and customer service of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans, and smart products in the U.S.  More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at, and

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