Mechatronik: Inside The Mercedes-Benz Masters

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 title 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 prevailing merchandise he was engaged on up a notch.


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


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, outfitted with not simply the newest know-how out there, but additionally fashionable powerplants to match the fashionable expectations of the three-pointed stars on their bonnets.


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


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


At present, Mechatronik focuses on two main working areas (three if you happen to rely Cartique, the Mechatronik supercar dealership, which we will have a look at one other time.)


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


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

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


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


Subsequent to that? Oh, only a CLK DTM carrying 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 vehicles in bits actually provides to the magic of engineering that went into creating them. Nothing was compromised with the intention to pursue racing victory.


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


Nevertheless it’s not simply the mid ’00s and late ’90s that function 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 attention-grabbing tasks out on show for me to {photograph}. Their fashions of selection are the W113 SL Pagoda and the W111 Coupe.

Now, if Mechatronik are certified for the job of taking care of these vehicles, 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 vehicles.


Charmingly known as the M-SL or the M-Coupe (M standing for Mechatronik), these vehicles 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 numerous ’90s Mercedes on the time,” Kevin started to inform me.

“At present, our vehicles include a selection of two V8s – both a 4.3 or 5.0, each of which got here new in Mercedes vehicles 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 deliver their very own Pagodas, that are household heirlooms. Maybe the automobile was owned by the shopper’s father.”


“Sticking with our heritage, we retrofit numerous digital items onto the vehicles. ABS and ASR get built-in in, in addition to creature comforts resembling electrical home windows or heated seats,” defined Kevin. These are issues we take as a right right this moment, however do not forget that we’re speaking about Sixties vehicles 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 includes deep-diving into each single side of the automobile, from a restored, virtually new powertrain, to an immaculately repainted physique and ideal stitching in a completely {custom} inside.


For those who didn’t know higher, you wouldn’t be capable of inform that these choices weren’t out there on the unique base vehicles. “The vehicles aren’t made to be race vehicles. We attempt to preserve the texture of the outdated automobile with issues just like the outdated steering field and interval right visuals.” 


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


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 vehicles go to clients everywhere in the world the place upkeep of an outdated, authentic Pagoda is difficult. The M-SL although could be sorted in locations resembling South Africa or Australia which aren’t the better locations to personal outdated vehicles. Take a Mechatronik’s Pagoda to a Benz vendor although, and also you’ll have extra luck.” After-sale servicing and restore is one thing I didn’t even take into account earlier than speaking to Kevin.


Even in a spot like London although, the place traditional automobile possession is less complicated 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 appeal that comes hand in hand with the usability of the vehicles.

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 every day driver.

Michał Fidowicz
Instagram: candyshowroom


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