Monday, January 29, 2007

The Blue Renntransporter

Race car transporters are bland and utilitarian by nature. Very rarely does a transporter attract more attention than the car it is carrying. When a transporter attracts more attention than the legendary W196 or 300SLR it is carrying, it is time to stop, stand back, and admire.

In the mid-1950s, Mercedes-Benz created a one-off transporter to carry its silver W196 and 300SLR racers. Called the Renntransporter ("race transporter" to us), it stirred more interest and commotion at the silver starred paddock than the famed race cars themselves.

The Renntransporter was an amalgamation of pre-existing Mercedes vehicles. The frame was from the 300S. The front and rear of the truck were stretched. The interior, including the checkered cloth seats, was borrowed from the 180 series. A detuned 300SL engine, from 215 to 192 horsepower, was transplanted. The SL's grill was also borrowed. Only the rear glass was created solely for the Renntransporter. The glass was designed so that it matched the aerodynamic profile of the W196 it often carried.

After the 1955 season, the Renntransporter was displayed at various venues, including the United States, for P.R. purposes. In fact, "Max. Speed: 105 m.p.h." was stenciled on the rear fender of the Renntransporter while it was briefly Stateside. It then sat in disrepair and was finally scrapped in 1967. In the ensuing years, tales of the Renntransporter reached epic, almost mythological proportions. A replica, based solely on anecdotes and black and white photos, was built in the 90s and unveiled at Goodwood in 2001. It took 6,000 man hours and seven years to complete. The only complaint about the new Renntransporter? It is bluer than the original.

I say-- Give the replicators a break; they had no color photos to work with!



Jamie said...

I run a gardening blog, and some of my oldest posts from a few years back still toss up comments, and that's what I'm doing here on your blog.

I was just searching for info on the Renntransporter, as I've just taken delivery of the Premium Classixx 1:43 model of the Renntransporter with a W196 on on the back, and that's how I find myself here, commenting on your 2007 post. There's also a 1:87 model of the same by Bubmobil (which I've bought for a diecast collecting friend as a gift).

Thanks for your post on the Renntransporter, but oddly enough, I'm also a French car fan from way back, a resident of Australia, and so exploring your blog I've discovered something of a kindred spirit about all sorts of motoring things.

I look forward to staying tuned to your great blog from now on.

Maxichamp said...

@Jamie: Welcome, Jamie. This blog, and my knowledge and exposure to odd cars, have come a long way since that 2007 post about the Renntransporter.

Feel free to go through some of my old posts. Here are a few series you might enjoy:

A visit to a cool private collection:

A visit to the Mullin car museum:


Shahid Fazal said...

Hi... Even I stumbled upon this blog as I was looking some information on Mercedes Renntransporter... I am a Diecast Collector with some 400 odd scale models... I have recently acquired a Premium Clasixxs 1:43 'Blue Wonder'.