Gallery of ancestors.
A photo shoot for the S-Classes.
Portrait of a family get-together.
Half past seven in the morning in Sindelfingen: a great deal of hustle and bustle in the ISS DEBEOS studios. The history of the S-Class and its predecessors, so full of tradition, is to be literally “illuminated” in the space of a few days. The studio with a floor space of almost 900 square metres provides the optimal prerequisites for a meeting of these grandiose family members. Two photographers, five assistants, several Mercedes-Benz Classic employees and numerous helpers are bringing history to life. “The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has a long and rich history”, explains Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. “The term S-Class was introduced officially 40 years ago in 1972, together with the 116 model series. However the continuous line of ancestors goes back much further – right back to the origins of the Mercedes brand at the beginning of the 20th century”.
A collection of great names.
These vehicles were a part of the gallery of ancestors. The representational vehicles, models 300 (W 186, W 189) and 600 (W 100) are just as much a part of the S-Class history as the line of ancestors beginning with the 220 model (W 187) from 1951. The importance of the model series' history through to the present day can be summarised using this family of vehicles. It is the epitome of innovative technology, of comfort at its best and future-oriented safety systems. “Thus the S-Class plays the leading role with regard to a number of aspects”, explains Bock. The 1904 Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp touring car, the Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 460 (W 08), a 1931 “Grand Mercedes” and the “Adenauer Mercedes” from 1952 were amongst the stars involved in the elaborate photo shoot in Sindelfingen in addition to ten other luxury saloons from the past through to the newest S-Class.
Every generation of the S-Class and the preceding model series was a pioneer of its time with regard to innovation, style, comfort, safety and quality.
An exhibition of the stars.
The Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp from 1903 is an early example. The then top model of the brand is represented in the collection by a particularly spectacular exhibit: the elegant touring saloon was once personally owned by Emil Jellinek, who had a decisive influence on the brand and whose daughter is the brand's namesake. A further highlight is the 770 model “Grand Mercedes” presented in Paris in 1930 and whose status is expressed in its name. The supercharged car used to serve as an exclusive vehicle, particularly for crowned and uncrowned heads of state as well as important figures from industry and the world of finance. The first owner of the exhibit photographed in Sindelfingen was an American finance tycoon. He spent his honeymoon touring with the eight-cylinder in southern Spain and North Africa, before he took the vehicle back with him to New York. Each of the models carries the magic of this magnificent history, each in its own way.
For the love of vintage cars.
The sequence of the photo shoot reads like a Who is Who of the great automobiles of the past. Harry Ruckaberle, studio manager at the ISS DEBEOS studios enthuses “We have never had so many vintage car jewels from Mercedes-Benz here. The vehicles are all from Mercedes-Benz Classic's extensive collection”.
The logistics should not be underestimated either. “Many of these classics are not allowed to be driven”, explains Ruckaberle. “We moved each one into position, one after another in order to be able to show them off to their best advantage using our patented new light technology”.
Cast in the newest light.
This is an assignment which should not be underestimated and which is unique in the history of Mercedes-Benz Classic. The use of Circulight©, the new lighting technology from ISS Debeos, was also a true highlight for those involved. The shapes, lines and details of the car's bodywork are accentuated precisely and true-to-original. “This is taken care of by a fully-mobile light sail which is around 13 metres high and almost 3 metres wide. The sail circles the car with the help of an electric motor thus simulating an all-round glow”, says Ruckaberle. A total of four photos are made of each vehicle: from the front, the side, from an angle at the front and at the back. Thus all of the vintage vehicles were photographed in an ideal way and the photos were then put into a perfect sequence on the screen. Which vehicle does he like best?
“We are talking here about Mercedes, so all of the vehicles are impressive and of high quality. However the ‘Grand Mercedes’ really does appeal to me. This photo shoot was both an honour and a challenge!”