Sunday, June 10, 2018

Mercedes 300 SLR: Interior and chassis

The chassis sure has some idiosyncrasies. Enormous inboard front drum brakes require driveshafts to connect them to the wheels, but can be bigger than the wheels would allow. They also reduce unsprung weight substantially. Cooling, however, might not have been ideal as the radiator is immediately in front of the drums.

The view from the rear highlights just how far over the engine is tipped. One would expect this would be needed with a typical prewar long stroke motor, but the motor was apparently square at 78 x 78 mm, having been expanded from the oversquare (76 x 68.8 mm) 2.5 litre GP engine.

I mentioned the driver having to straddle the clutch housing; the driveshaft runs under the seat and between the left side inboard rear drum and the lower swing axle control arm.

The transmission was at the rear under the gas tank, and appears to include a mechanical fuel pump driven off the back of it. As this is likely the location of the remote starter motor in the race version, one could expect the transmission input shaft to reach all the way to here.

Interior shots show the pedal arrangement on either side of the tunnel, with a partition designed to keep the passenger's left foot off the throttle. Or maybe the brake ... Uhlenhaut had a reputation for being somewhat fearless, and some race cars of that period did have a central throttle.

High, wide sills cover the tubular frame through the cockpit area, as in the 300 SL, and are the reason for the gull wing doors. De Lorean went for gull wing doors, too, but in that case the chassis, consisting of a Lotus-designed backbone system, did not make them essential.

The interior, as befits a car built for the director of engineering of Mercedes Banz, is snug but well trimmed in red and plaid. The plaid is surprising. Was Uhlenhaut of Scottish descent, perhaps? He was born in London, and his father appears to have been posted there by a German bank, but Wikipedia says his wife, Hilda Brice, was English, not Scottish.

The next bits will be tricky as the 'birdcage' chassis is not well modeled forward of the cockpit, and the floor pan is slightly twisted in  this location where it is not strengthened by the 3D superstructure. Glue and clamps will be required to get the cockpit to sit flat and to pull the frame straight. Stay tuned!

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