Chassis #: 194/06
At the beginning of the 50s, Mercedes made its return to racing via the back door. The budget was small, and Formula 1 regulations were in constant flux. Re-entry into the world of sports car racing was the obvious solution. A team under the leadership of Rudolf Uhlenhaut immediately set to work. The six-cylinder engine which powered the type 300 official government cars was transformed into a racing engine with a new cylinder head and triple Solex downdraft carburetors. The engine and transmission were rather heavy, so weight had to be saved on the chassis and body. A tubular frame was designed, clad in aluminum bodywork with upward opening doors necessitated by the wide frame cross-section. The engine was canted at an angle of 50-degrees to the right to lower the hood line. The car was a masterpiece of intelligent design, and provided the driver with more comfort than any of the contemporary designs. Even the luggage compartment was worthy of its name; on the Carrera Panamericana, two spare wheels were carried. This car is a recreation built around an original W194 engine, equipped to the specification of the car John Fitch drove in the 1952 Carrera Panamericana. Two years later, at the urging of American Mercedes importer Max Hoffman, Mercedes produced the legendary 300SL 'gullwing' coupe based on the W194's design.