The Brilliant engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, was the man behind Mercedes-Benz most legendary vehicles that positioned Mercedes ahead of the game.
It all started in London where Rudolf Uhlenhaut was born, July 15, 1906, to a German Father, and English Mother.
Uhlenhaut’s family moved to Brussels where he later commenced studies in Munich with a Master of Engineering in 1931.
In the same year, Uhlenhaut joined Mercedes-Benz, working under Fritz Nallinger on the development of Mercedes 170V.
In 1936 Uhlenhaut assumed leadership of the race-car development, he eventually became the Merecedes most ingenious engineer.
Many believe he was what made the most outstanding contribution in Mercedes racing in the 30s-50s.
Not only was he an engineer, he had incredible driving skills, and impressed everyone with his talent.
It’s with doubt that many of today’s Formula One engineers could be a competitive driver in a modern F1 car.
Uhlenhaut was definitely gifted when it came to cars, whether it was behind the wheel or developing.
He was appointed head of the department for passenger car testing in 1949 and again in 1954.
It was in 1952 that Uhlenhaut designed the famous most loved Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” race-car.
The iconic car was immediately successful.
The 300SL stood alone with its distinctive doors, first-ever production fuel-injection, and fastest top speed in the world.
The underpowered car achieved surprising success, winning important sports car races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Today, the 300SL is worth almost $5 million USD – a trophy for any car collector.
Rudolf Uhlenhaut had qualities on both professional and personal levels that made him a stroke of luck for Mercedes-Benz.
In 1955, he gained a company car, the road-legal 300 SLR named after him; “Uhlenhaut Coupe.”
This beast was capable of approaching 290 km/h and was considered by far the fastest car in the world in its day.
Uhlenhaut Coupe had signature gullwing doors, and a welded aluminium tube space frame chassis carried ultra-light electron magnesium-alloy bodywork.
This car is one of Mercedes-Benz most valuable cars to date – with nine developed and only two originals left.
He retired in 1972, and believe it or not but Rudolf Uhlenhaut never owned a car his entire life.
All the ingenious work he had achieved over the years at Mercedes-Benz remains unforgotten.
With that said, Dr Hans Liebold, a project leader on the C 111 project under Uhlenhaut said it perfectly;
“You always did your utmost for Uhlenhaut. Simply because no one wanted to disappoint him. He could do and knew a great deal, however he never talked down to anyone but treated everyone fairly as a partner.”
Uhlenhaut truly was a remarkable engineer, driver, and person from all the memories he had left behind.