Advertisement

Guides

Safety Body

  • Sketch showing a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE with crumple zones, rigid safety passenger cell and seat belts, 1959. - 0
  • 1939-1959: Patent specification no. 947 048 "Steering wheel for motor vehicles" with impact absorber in the steering wheel, May 1954. - 1
  • The wedge-pin door lock featuring two safety detents. It made its debut in a production model in 1959 in the Mercedes-Benz 220 (W 111), the world’s first passenger car to feature a holistically designed safety body. - 2
  • The wedge-pin door lock featuring two safety detents. It made its debut in a production model in 1959 in the Mercedes-Benz 220 (W 111), the world’s first passenger car to feature a holistically designed safety body. - 3
  • Fin tail Mercedes 220 SEb, 1959-64 (rear-view mirror on the front fender). - 4
  • The Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111/112) of 1961 was the first coupe in the world with a safety body based on Béla Barényi's patent.with a safety body based on Béla Barényi's patent. - 5
  • Mercedes-Benz model 220 SEb of model series W 111: Hidden under the attractive body are bent longitudinal members which allow the crumple zones to deform in a controlled manner. - 6
  • Mercedes-Benz model 220 SEb of model series W 111, model of body; the bent longitudinal members allow the crumple zones to deform in a controlled manner. - 7
  • Front door of the Mercedes-Benz 220 Sb from the 111 series. - 8
  • Steering wheel and instrument panel of the Mercedes-Benz 220 Sb from the 111 series. - 9
  • Mercedes-Benz 220 b of 1959. - 10
  • Steering wheel of the Mercedes-Benz 220 Sb from the 111 series. - 11
  • Passenger cell of the Mercedes-Benz 220 Sb from the 111 series. - 12
  • Print

August 1959: Mercedes-Benz introduces the safety body

Daimler-Benz AG first presented the new six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz 220, 220 S and 220 SE models in the fashionable fintail design at a press event on 11 August 1959. These were the first production passenger cars to feature safety bodies – having both a passenger cell with maximum stability (“rigid passenger compartment”) and front and rear crumple zones. These were designed to significantly reduce the impact of a collision on passengers and thus the consequences of an accident. Designed by Daimler-Benz engineer Béla Barényi, this concept found widespread acceptance and became an industry-wide standard in safety technology. The safety body also helped protect other road users – a stated development goal at Mercedes-Benz – since it absorbed some of the impact energy that would otherwise be transmitted to those with less protection on the road.

Barényi also used the W 111 series to launch other ground-breaking developments in safety technology. In it he premiered, for example, a safety steering wheel, which consisted of a large impact plate or steering column, with a plastically deformable element between the impact absorber and the actual steering column. These damping elements helped protect the driver in the event of an accident, for Barényi was well aware of the frequent serious injuries in earlier vehicle designs resulting from the so-called “lance effect” created by a rigid steering column and unpadded steering wheel. This occurred in frontal collisions when the steering wheel was projected towards the driver. Another innovation in the W 111 series was the design of the interior, which featured a padded instrument panel with controls that were both flexible and positioned lower.

The wedge-pin lock also found its first series application in the W 111 series. This lock featured two safety catches that effectively prevented the door from springing open or jamming in the event of an accident. This was important for two reasons: first, it meant the passenger cell maintained its full rigidity, thereby protecting the survival space for driver and passengers; and secondly, it prevented occupants from being thrown out of the vehicle – this had been a cause of serious injury for decades. Although Mercedes-Benz introduced the safety belt in 1958, given the highly controversial nature of the issue at the time the Federal Republic of Germany did not make it compulsory until 1976. Somewhat unusually viewed from the current perspective, controversy over the seat belt initially meant there was no penalty for failure to comply with its use. The fine of 40 DM was not introduced for driving without a seat belt until 1984.

Further information from Daimler is available on the internet at: www.media.daimler.com

COMMENTS

Find Articles

Please select a field.

To

 GO
 

Advertisement

 

Magazines

Magazines

Put your passion into gear

From Customs, Chevys, Fords to the Classics, these magazines provide the latest cutting edge information to fuel your passion.

MODEL INFORMATION

Required Information

 GO