A business built on heritage, the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California celebrates its fourth year in business by displaying a rare collection of rear-engine vehicles and successfully restoring its first museum car: a 1934 150 Sport Roadster, a rare mid-rear engine two seater that’s regarded as the only 150 known to exist. Two other rear-engine vehicles, the 130 and the 170 H, are also on display at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center.
Drawing on the expertise of their highly specialized technicians and facility’s capabilities, the MB Classic Center provided a full mechanical restoration. With the preservation of the original parts and vehicle a priority, they re-built transmission, brakes, steering and suspension systems, engineered a new wiring harness to for safety and reliability and fabricated missing components in order to make the 150 Sport Roadster street capable after not running for approximately 60 years. One of the most technologically innovative vehicles of its day, the three headlight 150 roadster features a swept split front windscreen, two free-standing spare wheels mounted in front of the rear wings, and a highly distinctive pointed boat tail featuring two translucent illuminated licence plates. Purchased second-hand in the late 1940s with a mileage of 44,500 kilometres, the150 Sport Roadster has not been roadworthy since that time.
Visually different than the 150 Sport Roadster, the 130 and 170H rear-engine vehicles appear strangely familiar to most people who see them. Featuring a rounded body, expressive wheel arches and bug-eyes lights, the 130 and subsequent 170 H offered passengers an extremely efficient vehicle package. For vehicles with a relatively short wheelbase, the engine mounted in the rear afforded passengers more leg room and improved comfort by creating optimum springing between the axles. The 1934 130 was the first fully-developed mass-produced rear-engine car both in brand history and indeed in the entire history of the automobile. While Mercedes-Benz has the honor of bringing the rear-engine concept to a new level and making it more widely known, the run was short and the 1936 170 H was the last rear-engine mounted model that wore the star logo. In 1946, 10 years after Mercedes-Benz finished production, the “VW Beetle” went on sale and the profile became recognizable.
About the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center
Opened in October 2006, the 28,000 square foot Classic Center located at 9 Whatney in Irvine, California is a stand-alone, two story facility which includes a paint and restoration shop, service bays, a parts department, a showroom for vehicles available for purchase. The Classic Center also helps customers find vintage Mercedes-Benz for purchase, supports those who are looking to purchase, and for those who already own a classic Mercedes-Benz, the Center provides the history of their vehicles by utilizing both its domestically held records and those held by the Daimler Archives in Stuttgart, whose historical industrial archives are among the largest in Europe. Mercedes-Benz Classic Center enhanced its U.S. website (www.mbclassiccenter.com) to include an online inventory of vehicles available and their history, a vehicle search function and a virtual showroom of the new facility at Irvine. Customers can call the toll-free number, 1-866-MBCLASSIC (1-866-622-5277) and speak to classic car specialists. With the customer’s vehicle chassis number or VIN, their classic car specialists can help identify correct parts and part numbers and order them directly through the Classic Center in Irvine, CA.
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