October 1, 2023


Just Do Automotive

Mechatronik: Inside The Mercedes-Benz Masters

6 min read

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 concept. Frank noticed a possibility to take in depth AMG and Mercedes-Benz information he realized on the job, and use it to flip the prevailing merchandise he was engaged on up a notch.


At this level, Frank knew all the things there was to learn about retrofitting up to date handsfree telephones (and keep in mind, this was new tech again then) into older Mercedes-Benz fashions. He needed 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 return, changing into an trade chief in distinctive, custom-order Mercedes-Benzes, geared up with not simply the newest expertise accessible, but in addition fashionable powerplants to match the trendy expectations of the three-pointed stars on their bonnets.


Displaying 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 effectively versed within the historical past and fervour 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.


Right now, Mechatronik focuses on two main working areas (three if you happen to rely Cartique, the Mechatronik supercar dealership, which we are able to 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 difficulty or downside that fazes the Mechatronik workforce right here in Stuttgart. Throughout my tour I noticed all method of buyer vehicles being maintained in and across the storage.


These vehicles had been flawless. Mechatronik’s upkeep division isn’t some form of primary mechanics shed with just a few C-Class diesel taxis up on ramps getting new wheel bearings. No, the shoppers who deliver their vehicles listed below are worldwide. These individuals have uncommon, low-mileage examples of Mercedes-Benz’s best 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 informed 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 likelihood is they’ll have one CLK GTR being labored on. After I visited, the workforce had two in. One, the silver street automobile you possibly can 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 aspect for upkeep. Seeing these vehicles in bits actually provides to the magic of engineering that went into creating them. Nothing was compromised in an effort 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 characteristic within the Mechatronik’s garages. This go to passed off a pair days after Mechatronik’s annual open home weekend, and so they nonetheless had a few of their most attention-grabbing initiatives 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 varied ’90s Mercedes on the time,” Kevin started to inform me.

“Right now, 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 client’s father.”


“Sticking with our heritage, we retrofit varied digital items onto the vehicles. ABS and ASR get built-in in, in addition to creature comforts corresponding to electrical home windows or heated seats,” defined Kevin. These are issues we take with no consideration at present, however keep in mind 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 this can be 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 excellent stitching in a completely {custom} inside.


Should you didn’t know higher, you wouldn’t be capable to inform that these choices weren’t accessible on the unique base vehicles. “The vehicles aren’t made to be race vehicles. We attempt to hold the texture of the previous automobile with issues just like the previous steering field and interval appropriate visuals.” 


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


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 all around the world the place upkeep of an previous, authentic Pagoda is sophisticated. The M-SL although may be sorted in locations corresponding to South Africa or Australia which aren’t the better locations to personal previous vehicles. Take a Mechatronik’s Pagoda to a Benz supplier although, and also you’ll have extra luck.” After-sale servicing and restore is one thing I didn’t even contemplate earlier than speaking to Kevin.


Even in a spot like London although, the place basic 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 attraction that comes hand in hand with the usability of the vehicles.

Add within the iconic seems of the Pagoda and you’ve got your self exactly what Mechatoniks got down to create – an ideal, usable basic every day driver.

Michał Fidowicz
Instagram: candyshowroom


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