Premium manufacturers tend to look only towards the future, but sometimes there are exceptions. And Mercedes-Benz is making an exception this year at Los Angeles Motor Show. Mercedes-Benz Design presents the “Vision Mercedes Simplex”, a sculpture embodying the heritage and future of the luxury brand.
The Vision Mercedes Simplex symbolizes the transition into a new era of design and technology. While, at the same time, creating an homage to the historical legacy and the birth of the brand.
In the spring of 1901, the history of mobility changed radically. At Race Week in Nice a car the likes of which the world had never seen appeared on the starting line: a high-performance car which Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft had developed at the suggestion of the visionary Emil Jellinek. The typical designs of the period were still closely related to motorized carriages.
The typical designs of the period were still closely related to motorized carriages. The Mercedes 35 PS, named after Jellinek’s daughter Mercedes, appeared with a completely new vehicle architecture and dominated the competitions in Race Week, which took place on the famous racetrack from Nice to La Turbie, right at the heart of what is now the Mercedes-Benz International Design Center Europe.
This design is acknowledged as the first modern car that heralded in a new era in vehicle design. This transformation began nearly 120 years ago, taking the first step away from high motorized carriage based designs to a flat vehicle design with a light high-performance engine installed low in the frame, featuring a honeycomb radiator integrated into the front. The Mercedes 35 PS was a pioneer of success and a role model for all the cars that were to follow. This vehicle layout presented for the first time over a century ago remains to this day the technical basis of all cars.
The sculpture “Vision Mercedes Simplex” recalls this historic event and carries the pioneering spirit and the stylistic character of those days far into the 21st century. Its message—Passion for luxury and innovation is part of the Mercedes-Benz brand DNA.
The “Vision Mercedes Simplex” reinterprets the historic Simplex as a two-seater with freestanding wheels, an alternative drive, exciting User Interface and a thrilling design. Its vehicle body with a dominant horizontal alignment sits as a monocoque amid the four large wheels, which form the outer points of the vehicle.
The omission of a windscreen – as on its historic role model – reinforces the uncompromisingly sporty character and allows a seamless transition from the front-end to the instrument panel. The slim reversing lamps are horizontally integrated into the rear section and separate the upper section from the lower section of the exterior shell, which envelopes the occupants like a protective cocoon.
The entire interior is an homage to the successful history of Mercedes-Benz and the DNA of the Simplex racing car. A transition between the exterior, interior and User Experience reflects the holistic approach of the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy. This is particularly evident in the flowing, flute-like transition between the hood and instrument panel with its minimal interface, which works via projections. The seamless look continues into the foot well.