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1913 Mercedes 28-60

Charles Bronson displays his dual bodied 1913 Mercedes 28-60 Torpedo Tourer and Town Car at the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance.



1913 Mercedes 28-60 in California circa 1930

When Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft was formed, it focused its talents on the creation of stationary engines. Experimentations in creating an automobile, and by 1895, several models were put into production. They were offered with several engine options and there various types of bodies. In keeping with the companies conservative nature, none of the cars offered were very sporting.


This changed when Emile Jellinke, an Austrian-born entrepreneur and Daimler agent, began requesting a racing car. He had driven a Daimler in the 1900 Nice Automobile Week but was very disappointed with the cars performance. A proper factory-built car was built, coupling a lightweight chassis with a powerful, 35-horsepower engine. Though the company was hesitant to build the car, Jellinke soon convinced them by placing an order for 36 such cars. The deal stated tat he was to be given exclusive sale franchise for Austro-Hungry, France, Belgium and America. The 36 cars were named after his eleven-year old daughter, Mercedes.


The Mercedes cars had a front-engine design, used a chain to drive the rear wheels, and engines that ranged from six to nine liters, though smaller 1,760 versions were available. As early as 1904, America had become an important market, with a quarter of Mercedes production destined for the US. This spawned the creation of a plant in the US, at Long Island City, New York. Production would continue in the US until 1907, when a fire destroyed the American factory.


The racing endeavor paid off for the Mercedes cars, when in 1908 a 140HP Mercedes driven by Christian Lautenschlager won the French Grand Prix. By this point in history, the Mercedes cars had become suitable for the road and were even being used by several European heads of state for official travel. The list of dignitaries included King Leopold of Belgium, England's Edward VII, and Kaiser Wilheilm II. The list of US clients included the Astors and Vanderbilts, Henry Clay Frick and Isaac Guggenheim.


This motorcar was first delivered as a four seat racing style open Torpedo Tourer to the Mayor of Olm, Germany, who employed a Mercedes factory racing driver as his chauffeur. In 1917, as documented in the original factory Build Sheets, the car was sent back to the factory and re-bodied as you see it today as a formal open-front Town Car. By 1920, the newly reconfigured car had found its way to California, where it traded hands several times between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It was not until 1997 that the original coachwork, the Tourer body, was rediscovered with the help of the factory and duplicated by Crailville of London.


Around 2000, restorations began on both bodies, the new Torpedo Tourer and the Town Car body, and a duplicate chassis was built. This second chassis is constructed out of polished wood, and features wooden radiators and wheels. This is a display chassis, built solely to showcase the Tourer body. Mark Goyette has worked on the restoration of this twin-bodied car for the last eleven years.




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