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Mercedes - Accident research 2

If we wanted to record the new developments after the Second World War with the S-Class, then we would have to start with the 300 S (W 188) from 1951 and assign it to the upper class, but not really interesting in terms of security, which is what this chapter is supposed to be about.

That was really a construction method with a frame and structure, can actually still be assigned to the pre-war models. The next one was called the W 180, which, given its appearance three years later, suggests a longer development period. Its highlight was the self-supporting body.

At this point we save ourselves the distinction that still exists in truck or van construction, for example into a partially load-bearing construction. Even in cars today you can still see side members that could perhaps be assigned to this category.

There are also coupés that already have such a stiff floor pan that you can turn them into a convertible without making any major changes by cutting open the roof. But by self-supporting we mean that the roof is absolutely necessary to ensure the necessary stability.

Was the new pontoon body also a step towards safety? At least the corners of the vehicle became easier to see from the inside. Otherwise, negative report, and if you find one with a baffle pot on the steering wheel, then it's not standard.

However, the development of safety concepts was in full swing and came into their own for the first time with the large tail fin (W 111 and 112). As the name suggested, the vehicles were significantly longer than their predecessors, which of course benefited the occupants in the event of an accident.

Nevertheless, you don't know what to mention first, whether the baffle pot together with the significantly defused dashboard, the body that was tested for strength in a rollover with doors that can still be opened at the end, or the first static three-point seatbelt.

This alone would all be attributed to passive safety, i.e. that which occurs after the actual accident, but at least as important is that which prevents the accident. You can perhaps add the air suspension available with the 300 SE, as does the new disc brake technology.

For the following types 108 and 109, strangely again a smaller number for the series, only the hydropneumatic compensation spring remained at the rear for the active and the deformable steering column, which reduced steering wheel intrusion into the interior, on the passive side of preventing accidents and their consequences.

Yes, you're right, it wasn't until the W 116 that the manufacturer's so-called S-Class actually began, and it was also a different car in terms of its external appearance. The fenders were fully integrated, the headlights were horizontal and the radiator grille was correspondingly lower.

However, the double bumpers from the predecessor remained. Not unimportant in an accident, because if they are too narrow, they reach below or above the object of impact, meaning they do not help to mitigate the impact or protect parts of the vehicle that are more expensive to replace.

But much more important was an invention that had already existed for a long time, for example in airplanes. The Bendix company from the USA was a leader and in 1960 joined forces with Telefunken to form 'Teldix', which was, among other things, Mercedes' partner in the development of a mechanical ABS system.

Of course, first of all with analog technology it was possible to compare the driving speed and the wheel speeds when braking. However, the sensor technology was apparently not steady and trustworthy enough. After all, ABS releases certain parts of the brake. If this happens uncontrolled, it can of course lead to total failure.

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