One hundred years of commercial vehicle history at the Retro Classics 2019

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 5, 2019

Daimler Trucks will be exhibiting twelve Mercedes-Benz trucks at the Retro Classics 2019. The vintage vehicle fair will take place from 7 to 10 March 2019 at the trade fair grounds in Stuttgart. The motto of Daimler’s truck exhibition this year is one hundred years of (long-distance) freight haulage, and its exciting history can be experienced at the Retro Classics.

A tour through history begins with the Benz 1CN. Truck drivers were exposed to wind and rain, earning them a reputation for toughness and rightly so: the steering wheel and brakes were operated without any power assistance. The 1.0 to 1.5 tonne 1C model (with a 4.7 litre engine and 35 horsepower) was built for three years starting in 1917. In 1921 it was further developed to become the 1CN model and manufactured until the merger with Daimler in 1926.

Mercedes produced the L 4500 model with its simple wooden cab until 1949. In the fifties, the L 311 model was the backbone of the economic miracle and almost 146,000 units of this robust truck were produced in the plant in Mannheim and used for a huge range of operations.

In 1958 the 3-axle LP 333 also known as the ‘millipede‘ was characterised by its maximum payload. And helped the cab-over-engine design to its breakthrough. The L 1113 with its short bonnet was the typical distribution vehicle of the early sixties. It was the distribution vehicle typically used for construction materials and consumer articles in the newly built cities. The LP 1519 with its modern, cube form was one of the first trucks to leave the brand new plant in Wörth in 1963. Technologically it was a huge jump forward: it was the first truck with a dual-line EG braking system instead of the previous single-line brake. At Mercedes-Benz the dual-line braking system has been used since 1964, but did not become mandatory for all trucks until 1972.

The NG (New Generation)/the SK (Schwere Klasse/Heavy Class) in the seventies lasted around 25 years. The German television series ‘Auf Achse‘ with Manfred Krug and a blue and white Mercedes-Benz NG truck sharing the lead role on adventurous journeys to the Near East and North Africa is an authentic witness to this period.

The era of the four Mercedes-Benz Actros generations began at the IAA 2018. Today‘s new special model, the Actros Edition 1, continues the steady development of commercial vehicle technology with its numerous technological innovations such as MirrorCam, Active Drive Assist, Active Brake Assist 5 and the Multimedia Cockpit.