Original meets original: For the first time, a work of art by Andy Warhol from the "Cars" series and the model vehicle Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé can be seen together. The "Cars" series by pop art pioneer Andy Warhol (1928 to 1987) is world famous. It shows selected vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and the previous brands in a striking, colorful implementation that is typical of the North American artist. The first of his motifs at the beginning of the photo series in 1986: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL "Gullwing" (W 198).
"Gullwing" by Brabus
From June 21 to 26, 2022, the work of art depicting the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL and the sports car can be seen in the immediate vicinity of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The original screen print comes from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection. The vehicle is provided by BRABUS GmbH, Bottrop, together with proof that it is the sports car that Warhol used as a model for the "Cars" series of pictures.
The joint presentation is an absolute premiere. Because the world-famous, iconic work of art and the specific vehicle have never been shown together before. The exhibition in the atrium of the Mercedes-Benz Museum is accessible free of charge. “Andy Warhol's 'Cars' series marks the culmination of this artist's creative output. They are works of timeless beauty,” says Bettina Haussmann, Head of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. "Now, for the first time, we are offering all those interested in art the opportunity to admire his depiction of the 300 SL and the 'model vehicle' provided by BRABUS together."
The history of the 300 SL "Gullwing" with the registration number "EI-DR 1"
The 300 SL was built from 1954 to 1957. Only 1.400 vehicles are made at the Sindelfingen plant, largely using manufacturing methods. The "Gullwing" is one of the most famous Mercedes-Benz vehicles - and was voted "Sports Car of the Century" in 1999.
The vehicle with the license plate "EI-DR 1" was privately owned for 39 years until BRABUS GmbH bought it in 2020 and found that it was the exact model vehicle for the "Cars" series of pictures. This "Gullwing" was made in 1955 in the color combination silver-grey (DB 180) with blue leather (DB 355) and Rudge wheels. During this time in private hands, a photo of the 300 SL with the number plate "EI-DR 1" ended up in a sports car book. According to research by BRABUS GmbH, Andy Warhol used the photo of this vehicle as a template for the first motif in his "Cars" series. The artist has never seen the vehicle itself in the original. BRABUS restored the vehicle according to manufacturer specifications.
An expertise from Mercedes-Benz Classic confirms the authenticity of the 300 SL. Mercedes-Benz Classic regularly compiles expert opinions on high-quality classics from the Mercedes-Benz brand. The detailed contents of these reports include a description of the individual vehicle's history and an assessment of the vehicle's authenticity. All expertise is based on extensive research on the vehicle itself and in the extensive archives of Mercedes-Benz AG.
“Cars”: Series of images celebrating the centenary of the automobile
In 1986, the then Daimler-Benz AG commissioned Andy Warhol to create the “Cars” photo series to mark the centenary of the automobile. The aim is to have 80 pictures, based on 20 selected vehicles from Mercedes-Benz and the predecessor brands, documenting the history of the automobile from the Daimler motorized carriage and the Benz patent motor car from 1886 to the present day. Warhol was unable to complete the series: by the time he died in 1986 and 1987, a total of 36 paintings and 13 large-format drawings depicting eight different models had been completed. The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection still owns 30 screen-printed images and drawings from the completed series. They are made accessible to employees and an international public both internally in the company and in museum exhibitions.
The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection is founded in 1977. The collection focuses on the abstract avant-garde of the 20th century and contemporary art: Examples of abstraction in the context of the Bauhaus and classical modernism, Concrete Art, Constructivism and Informel after 1945, European Zero Art, Minimalism and Conceptual Art, Neo- Geo, postminimalism and conceptual tendencies in international contemporary art, automotive-related art, international photography, video art and sculpture. The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection reflects the commitment to art as an important part of the social identity and cultural profile of Mercedes-Benz Group AG. The global presence of the company is reflected in the greater mobility of the collection, but also in the form of increased inclusion of international positions that follow the basic orientation of the collection.
"The dialogue between art and automotive history will play an increasingly prominent role in the permanent exhibition at the Mercedes-Benz Museum," says Bettina Haussmann. “In addition to the works of art we are already showing in the museum, we will be making further items from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection accessible to the public from October. We are very much looking forward to further strengthening this cultural component here in our company.”
The BRABUS Classic 6 star restoration on this 300 SL Gullwing
Recently, around two years after the purchase, the BRABUS Classic 6 star restoration of this vehicle was completed. More than 4 working hours and countless new parts were invested. Of course, in exactly the same specification as the sports car was once delivered as a new vehicle from Daimler-Benz. Perfection is the top priority and so this gullwing was first dismantled and cataloged down to the last screw. Necessary new parts were procured, reusable original components were remanufactured in pristine new condition.
The body and the frame were completely stripped of paint and derusted. Experienced master tinsmiths meticulously restored them to their original state. Complete corrosion protection with the latest paint protection technologies was just as much part of the scope of work as perfect painting in the original color "Silver Gray 180 metallic". Parallel to the body work, the entire drive train was completely rebuilt by BRABUS. Special classic lubricants from technology partner Motul guarantee maximum operational safety for daily driving.
The BRABUS Classic specialists also made no compromises when it came to the chassis and brakes: they replaced all components with new parts, thus guaranteeing optimal active safety. The two-seater cockpit was reupholstered in the BRABUS upholstery shop true to the original and perfectly upholstered down to the last corner. For this, as originally used ex works with this specific vehicle, only leather in the original color “Blue 355” and fabric and carpet in exactly the same color “Gray L 1” and quality were processed.
After completing the work in the various departments, the sports car was reassembled with the utmost precision in the BRABUS Classic Manufactory at the headquarters in Bottrop. Of course, not only all mechanical wear parts, but also all seals and the on-board electronics were completely renewed.
After completion of the restoration, the leading German classic car expert organization Classic Data, like every Mercedes classic car newly built by BRABUS Classic, also evaluated this 300 SL Gullwing. And also gave this vehicle the condition grade 1 with the addition "new car character". The vehicle will remain in the possession of BRABUS Classic until further notice.
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