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Mechatronik: Inside The Mercedes-Benz Masters

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Round half-hour from the birthplace of Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart is a specialist that’s been working on the marque since earlier than the flip of the millennia.

Again within the late ’90s, a passionate, graduate electrical engineer by the identify of Frank Rickert was working at AMG’s Affalterbach plant when he had an thought. Frank noticed a chance to take in depth AMG and Mercedes-Benz information he discovered on the job, and use it to flip the present merchandise he was engaged on up a notch.

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At this level, Frank knew every part there was to find out about retrofitting modern handsfree telephones (and bear in mind, this was new tech again then) into older Mercedes-Benz fashions. He needed to do extra to the automobiles than simply the devices although, so he made the bounce and began his personal firm.

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In 1997, Frank created Mechatronik. A German play on the phrases ‘mechanics’ and ‘electronics,’ Mechatronik would develop over the years to come back, changing into an trade chief in distinctive, custom-order Mercedes-Benzes, geared up with not simply the most recent know-how obtainable, but in addition fashionable powerplants to match the trendy expectations of the three-pointed stars on their bonnets.

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Exhibiting me round their amenities and telling me the Mechatronik story is my tour information, Kevin.

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Kevin has been a part of the enterprise since 2017, and is nicely versed within the historical past and keenness that goes into the corporate’s product. That itself is kind of spectacular, because the attain of Mechatronik’s work and talent is so huge that it stretches additional than any storage and workshop I’ve seen earlier than.

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In the present day, Mechatronik focuses on two main working areas (three should you rely Cartique, the Mechatronik supercar dealership, which we are able to have a look at one other time.)

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The primary space is restoration and upkeep. With over 25 years of expertise engaged on Mercedes-Benzes, there actually isn’t a difficulty or downside that fazes the Mechatronik crew right here in Stuttgart. Throughout my tour I noticed all method of buyer automobiles being maintained in and across the storage.

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These automobiles have been flawless. Mechatronik’s upkeep division isn’t some kind of primary mechanics shed with just a few C-Class diesel taxis up on ramps getting new wheel bearings. No, the shoppers who carry their automobiles listed below are worldwide. These individuals have uncommon, low-mileage examples of Mercedes-Benz’s best hits, and Mechatronik is the specialist they belief to take care of them.

With nice information comes a stacked CV to assist their work. Kevin proudly informed me that Mechatronik is the one specialist formally recognised by Mercedes-Benz that may legitimately service and preserve the CLK GTR.

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Go to the Mechatronik facility at any given time and likelihood is they’ll have one CLK GTR being labored on. After I visited, the crew had two in. One, the silver highway automobile you’ll be able to see within the images, and the second, a full GT1-spec automobile in bits, getting recommissioned again collectively for a brand new lease of life.

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Subsequent to that? Oh, only a CLK DTM sporting the ever iconic Vodafone livery… with the 4.0L V8 that powered the automobile to win the 2003 DTM championship out on the facet for upkeep. Seeing these automobiles in bits actually provides to the magic of engineering that went into creating them. Nothing was compromised with a view to pursue racing victory.

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My spotlight? Most likely the 190 E DTM automobile that Keke Rosberg drove within the 1992 championship a decade after his F1 championship win.

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But it surely’s not simply the mid ’00s and late ’90s that characteristic within the Mechatronik’s garages. This go to occurred a pair days after Mechatronik’s annual open home weekend, they usually nonetheless had a few of their most fascinating tasks out on show for me to {photograph}. Their fashions of alternative are the W113 SL Pagoda and the W111 Coupe.

Now, if Mechatronik are certified for the job of taking care of these automobiles, one can start to picture the care and a spotlight that goes into the second half of the enterprise. Alongside the upkeep, Mechatronik additionally construct their very own Mercedes-Benz fashions from the bottom up as custom-order automobiles.

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Charmingly known as the M-SL or the M-Coupe (M standing for Mechatronik), these automobiles obtain the Mechatronik remedy each in restoration and in upgrades. “The primary automobile we did was the Pagoda. Then, we used the two.3 V6 that got here in varied ’90s Mercedes on the time,” Kevin started to inform me.

“In the present day, our automobiles include a alternative of two V8s – both a 4.3 or 5.0, each of which got here new in Mercedes automobiles in 1997, such because the S500.”

Sourcing the automobile itself is exclusive to every buyer. Mechantronik can search them out, however usually the automobile is already within the proprietor’s possession. Kevin explains: “A few of our clients carry their very own Pagodas, that are household heirlooms. Maybe the automobile was owned by the shopper’s father.”

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“Sticking with our heritage, we retrofit varied digital items onto the automobiles. ABS and ASR get built-in in, in addition to creature comforts equivalent to electrical home windows or heated seats,” defined Kevin. These are issues we take without any consideration immediately, however keep in mind that we’re speaking about Sixties automobiles right here.

With that taken care of, the automobile is then given the Mechatronik remedy. I make this sound straight ahead, however it is a two to three-year-long course of. It entails deep-diving into each single facet of the automobile, from a restored, virtually new powertrain, to an immaculately repainted physique and ideal stitching in a completely {custom} inside.

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If you happen to didn’t know higher, you wouldn’t be capable of inform that these choices weren’t obtainable on the unique base automobiles. “The automobiles aren’t made to be race automobiles. We attempt to preserve the texture of the outdated automobile with issues just like the outdated steering field and interval appropriate visuals.” 

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“With that mentioned although they’re nonetheless fairly sporty. For instance, now we have an awesome relationship with KW and use their suspension parts on the automobiles. The purpose for us is for the M-SL and M-Coupe to be the right, usable traditional day by day driver, and we take dynamics into consideration right here. We make them completely good.”

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Kevin’s confidence is backed by the fruits of Mechatronik’s labour. The magic concerned with the M-SL and M-Coupe is their usability and reliability which comes from the newer, upgraded energy crops. “A few of these automobiles go to clients all around the world the place upkeep of an outdated, authentic Pagoda is difficult. The M-SL although might be sorted in locations equivalent to South Africa or Australia which aren’t the simpler locations to personal outdated automobiles. Take a Mechatronik’s Pagoda to a Benz supplier although, and also you’ll have extra luck.” After-sale servicing and restore is one thing I didn’t even contemplate earlier than speaking to Kevin.

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Even in a spot like London although, the place traditional automobile possession is simpler than ever, I nonetheless discovered myself strolling away from my go to to Mechatronik HQ lusting over an M-SL. It’s a part of the Germanic perfection and allure that comes hand in hand with the usability of the automobiles.

Add within the iconic appears of the Pagoda and you’ve got your self exactly what Mechatoniks got down to create – an ideal, usable traditional day by day driver.

Michał Fidowicz
Instagram: candyshowroom

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