Anybody remember the Mercedes-Benz R-Class? Long story short, it was Mercedes-Benz’s attempt to popularize the MPV-meets-SUV segment, which included the likes of the now-deceased Chrysler Pacifica.
Even with the Mercedes-Benz image, this car was a failure due to it being hideously ugly and overly expensive — a failure that Mercedes later admitted. Once sales began, the starting price of the R-Class was very close to the starting price of the flagship S-Class. So, unless you owned a 5-star hotel with airport-transfer service, the R-Class never really justified its usefulness over the S-Class.
Keeping all of that aside, the R-Class isn’t exactly the type of car that would cross most minds when it comes to modification. At SEMA, however, cars showcased don’t really bend to convention. With that thought in mind, Infinite Auto Design decided to lease some new life to the forsaken R-Class.
Underneath that AMG-esque body kit is a standard R500 that is powered by an unmodified 5.0-liter V-8 engine. This means it cranks out 302-horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque, which isn’t too bad for a minivan-SUV crossover in its era.
The exterior embraces the full blown treatment that any car at Infinite Auto Design would receive. It gets custom-built front and rear bumpers that add some eye-candy to the standard and rather boring design. The car is then wrapped in a gray matte paint job and fitted with a set of delicious looking, 20-inch Forgestar wheels.
Overall, this car can only be appreciated for its attempt at injecting a few ounces of "cool" into the R-Class, much like the nowhere-to-be-seen R63 AMG.
The 1957 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing is without question one of the most iconic vehicles in auto history so when you’re in the presence of one, it’s important to treat the car with utmost care and delicacy.
At the 2011 SEMA Auto Show, we saw a 300SL Gullwing at the BASF Booth, except that this particular one was fine-tuned by no less than Chip Foose/Foose Design in collaboration with the world leader in automotive OEM and refinish technologies. Before being sent off to Foose Design for the cursory aerodynamic improvements, BASF was already familiar with the 300SL, having spearheaded a restoration project that was actually featured in a 2008 episode of Dream Car Garage.
As far as Foose’s responsibility on the car was concerned, the man with the tuning Midas touch was tasked to give it some subtle, yet significant styling cues. To begin his work, Foose removed the 300SL’s front and rear bumpers, replacing them with custom fabricated units that have been redesigned to offer slimmer and more elegant trim. The company also took time to make enhancements on the rear bulge just above the rear wheel, making it symmetrical to the front wheel house bulge. The car’s grille and shell, together with the nose emblem, were all treated to minor modifications while the car’s new side trim was machined, milled, filed, and polished, just before undergoing final chrome plating. New headlights were also installed while the bezels were machined out of billet aluminum before being fit back to the front fenders. And finally, Foose outfitted the 300SL Gullwing with a clean set of Foose wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Nero tires.
The SEMA Show is not just for American tuners and their tuning packages. Wald International, the famous Japanese tuner, has also confirmed their presence in Las Vegas with a tuning package based on the Mercedes-Benz R230 SL-Class. The model will be displayed courtesy of U.S. distributor Jonari Corporation.
The tuner has said nothing about an engine upgrade, but the exterior has been heavily modified, although its not something that we’re particularly impressed about. The aerodynamic package includes: a front bumper fascia, front sports fenders, side skirts, rear bumper fascia, quarter panel wheel arch extensions and a trunk spoiler.
As far as we’re concerned, the element that totally ruins the look of the car is a DTM sports muffler with twin exhaust pipes placed in the middle of the rear diffuser. The final element includes a new set of Renovatio R12 wheels in sizes 9J x 20-inch at the front and 11J x 20-inch at the back.
Three years ago at the 2008 SEMA auto show, noted tuning firm RENNtech, together with Mercedes-Benz, unveiled the GLK350 Hybrid Pikes Peak Rally Car where it subsequently won the 2008 SEMA Show tuner build-off competition. The vehicle’s amazing debut at SEMA resulted in it becoming one of the most-sought after performance-modded racers in recent times, appearing in countless automotive trade shows while also partaking in a number of track events and extensive real world driving miles.
This year, the car is finally serving its last legs and to give it the fitting swan song it deserves, RENNtech, together with its partners, decided to give it a complete styling overhaul in time for its last tour-of-duty with Mercedes USA here in the US. The first leg of the tour was held at the Pittsburgh International Automotive Show a few weeks ago where the revamped GLK350 Hybrid Pikes Peak Project was officially unveiled to the public. From Pittsburgh, the award-winning vehicle will make stops in a number of US cities, including Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and Denver.
As soon as the tour concludes, RENNtech’s masterpiece will officially be enshrined as a permanent collection at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Vehicle Museum in Irvine, California, making it the second RENNtech-tuned work to be officially designated with this honor.
In the meantime, keep checking out RENN-tech’s website to find out the tour schedule for GLK350 Hybrid Pikes Peak Rally Car. It might end up in your city so you better be prepared to give it a warm welcome.
UPDATE 03/10/2011: Renntech has revealed the first video of their GLK350 project which shows both the exterior and interior of the vehicle. Check it out after the jump!
Details on the Mercedes GLK350 Hybrid Pikes Peak Rally Car by Renntech after the jump.
There’s no typo in the title, in case you’re wondering. And if looks can be deceiving, we won’t blame you if you think that this 1961 Mercedes 190SL is just a restored classic. But the truth is, it’s not. On the contrary, in fact.
This, dear folks, is the Mercedes-Bent 190SL.
The project, which was the brainchild of Hot Rods and Custom Stuff, began by taking a 1961 Mercedes 190SL and stripping it of its original parts with only the car’s body left standing. Then, Hot Rods and Custom Stuff widened and lengthened the 190SL’s body to accommodate all the new parts that were going to be put in, most notably the platform of a 2004 Mercedes SL600.
After hours and hours of labor, the finished product is what was unveiled at SEMA 2010 – a car that seamlessly blended old school looks with new school performance features, a marriage that is both awesome to look at and even better to drive.
Details after the jump.
Just yesterday we brought you the official details on the Japanese tuners Wald International and their latest member of the Black Bison lineup, the 2010 Mercedes Benz E Class. The unique body kit manufacturer was well represented at this year’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas with one such modified Mercedes as well as a Black Bison Edition Nissan GT-R. The Black Bison kit is characterized by a large mouth front bumper complete with projector style driving lights underlined by a bold front lip and lots of carbon fiber. The fenders are always bulged out to accommodate additional rubber leading into bolder side skirts and finishing off with some aerodynamic aids out back. Although you may have never heard of the Japanese tuner before, once you see one in real life they are unforgettable.
Here is a closer look at another one of the four Mercedes GLKs that will appear at SEMA. The RENNtech GLK is inspired by the winged, unlimited-class rally cars of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The GLK Pikes Peak Rally Racer is powered by a 3.5 liter V6 engine combined with an electric motor.
RENNtech is using components from the latest Mercedes-Benz high-performance 3.5-liter V6 Sport engine. These include a special intake manifold, cams and cylinder heads, to which RENNtech has added its own long-tube headers, composite air intake and RENNtech ECU software. Engine output is up to approximately 350 hp (up from 268 hp). The total output is even higher when combined with the power from the electric hybrid drive.
Press release after the jump.
Last week we posted four customized Mercedes GLKs that were making their way to SEMA. Now here’s a closer look at one of the more outrageous versions, the Urban Whip. Developed in cooperation with RoBrady Design, this small SUV is turned into something like a tall roadster.
RoBrady Design removed the roof, shorted the windshield, and lowered the ride height by 64mm. As usual with a SEMA car, there is special attention paid to wheels and tires. The Urban Whip featuresl 26” Asanti AF 150 chrome wheels with custom black accents and wrapped in 295/25 ZR26 Pirelli Scorpion rubber for a perfect ride.
Full details and press release after the jump.
What better way to launch a new car in the U.S. than by first showing the country outlandishly customized (and sometimes hideously butchered) versions of the car first? Four customized Mercedes GLK will make their way to the 2008 SEMA Show: Widestar, Urban Whip, Pikes Peak Rally Racer and Rock Crawler. This presentation also represents the GLK premiere on the North American market, where sales are scheduled to begin in January 2009.
The GLK Pikes Peak Rally Racer created by Renntech is inspired by the legendary Pikes Peak Hill Climb in Colorado. The car comes with hybrid module that seems to be more geared for acceleration than green.
GLK Urban Whip was created by Boulevard Customs and features a significantly widened bodyshell, massive 26-inch wheels and a new on-board entertainment system.
The GLK Rock Crawler was designed by team at the Legendary Motorcar Company. Their creation features a winch system that can provide wakeboarders and snowboarders with assistance.
Brabus will bring the most conservative design, but that’s also because it is production ready.
The base vehicle for Boulevard Customs, Legendary Motorcar and RENNtech is the series production GLK350 with a 3.5 litre V6 engine generating 272 hp, while BRABUS opted for the diesel-driven GLK 320 CDI 4MATIC. The base versions of all models are equipped with the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission.
Press release after the jump.
Mercedes lovers should prepare and schedule a visit to the 2008 SEMA show as the German carmaker will reveal no less than 4 new GLK concepts from Brabus, RENNtech, Boulevard Customs and Legendary Motor Cars. The RENNtech Rally Racer concept brings the first hybrid powertrain to enhance acceleration off the line and out of the corners. Brabus Widestar excels in exterior design with the GLK300 BLUETEC which features flowing front and rear wheel arch flares and redesigned front and rear bumpers complemented with exclusive BRABUS wheels and an interior to match. Boulevard Customs is preparing a wide body styling kit with massive 26-inch wheels and tires, redesigned interior and ground-pounding stereo system. The last concept, developed by Legendary Motor Cars, brings an innovative winching system to propel skate and actually "grind" down the vehicle’s specially integrated side rails.
Mercedes is preparing four GLK Concepts for SEMA Show. The four Mercedes-Benz GLK SEMA concepts showcase the bold, expressive nature of GLK350 luxury SUV prior to its official showroom debut in January 2009.
The four concepts include: RENNTech Rally Racer, inspired by the unlimited-class rally cars at the storied Pikes Peak Hillclimb; BRABUS Widestar - developed by Mercedes-Benz tuning experts Brabus of Bottrop, Germany, this striking wide-track “designer suit” for the GLK includes flowing front and rear wheel arch flares and redesigned front and rear bumpers complemented with exclusive BRABUS wheels and an interior to match.
The Urban Whip – Florida-based Boulevard Customs is sure to turn heads with a wide body styling kit, massive 26-inch wheels and tires, redesigned interior and ground-pounding stereo system. And the last one The Four Corners Rock Crawler – Exotic and muscle car restoration specialist Legendary Motor Cars design includes an innovative winching system to propel skate and wakeboarders up to speed and actually “grind” down the vehicle’s specially integrated side rails.