The old girl looks good for her age.

Would you believe that almost 90 years ago to the day, the car pictured here won the Nurburgring’s inaugural race? Piloted by Rudolf Caracciola, this Mercedes-Benz Model S – appropriately given the nickname "White Elephant" – took home the checkered at the Nurburgring, and kicked off a generation of Mercedes racing heritage to follow.

In order to celebrate the historic racing event, the German automaker thought it only appropriate to look back on one of its most historic models with fondness. June 19, 2017, marks 90 years to the day that the historic race was held in Germany. Introduced in 1927, the Model S was based on the Model K from the year prior. The new "S" moniker stood for "Sport," naturally, and power came courtesy of a supercharged six-cylinder engine. At full tilt, the Model S was capable of producing 124 horsepower. 

Mercedes-Benz Model S White Elephant
Mercedes-Benz Model S White Elephant

Using the chassis off a Model 24, the Model S was lighter and came aided by improved driving dynamics specifically for use on the track, unlike any other production Benz before it. The engine was moved 279 millimetres further towards the rear, and the chassis weighed in at just 1,270 kilograms, nearly 230 kilograms lighter than the outgoing Model K.

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Following its success on the Nurburgring, Mercedes entered the Model S at the Baden-Baden Automobile Tournament on July 5, 1927. With Rudolf Caracciola and Willy Walb behind the wheel, the Benz took home a first-in-class win with an average speed of 165.8 kilometres per hour over a span of 4.9 kilometres between Ettlingen and Rastatt, Germany. The Model S’ success continued throughout 1927 and up until the vehicle was discontinued in 1933, replaced by the SS and SSK.

Source: Mercedes-Benz

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