- Cubic Mercedes-Benz cab-over trucks of the 1960s and 1970s
- The nickname “advent calendar” refers to the numerous maintenance flaps
- Mercedes-Benz Museum Close-Up: Cars, Architecture and Exhibition Design No. 4/2021
Stuttgart. Close-Up – the name of the Mercedes-Benz Museum’s series says it all. Each instalment tells surprising, exciting, profound stories, showcasing details of a vehicle, exhibit or an element of architecture and design. In the spotlight this time: the Mercedes-Benz LP 1513 heating oil tanker from 1974. It comes from the generation of cubic cab-over trucks and is nicknamed the “advent calendar”.
No. 4/2021: The “advent calendar”
24 little doors: Where in the Mercedes-Benz Museum is there an advent calendar? Of course, in the shop. In the pre-Christmas season, fans of the brand can choose between four different model kits, whose parts are concealed behind the 24 doors. A 300 SL Coupé (W 198) or a Mercedes-AMG GT Coupé (C 190), for example, will emerge by Christmas – it doesn’t always have to be chocolate.
Advent calendar for the whole year: Rather surprising, on the other hand, is an “advent calendar” that is on display all year round in the Museum’s permanent exhibition in Collection Room 2: Gallery of Carriers. It is an LP 1513, which is on the road as a heating oil truck in the 1970s. It has three doors at the front, plus additional flaps inside the cab, and in other places as well. This design is the reason the whole truck family of “cubic cab-overs” got its advent nickname. There aren’t as many doors as on a real advent calendar – and, of course, you can’t expect chocolate or model kits behind them either. But what is behind the doors?
Cubic cab: The heating oil tanker in the Mercedes-Benz Museum, built in 1974, belongs to the medium-duty series of commercial vehicles with a so-called cubic driver’s cab, introduced in 1965. This generation of trucks with the star was also available in a light-duty version (likewise from 1965 – as the first products of the then new plant in Wörth) and in a heavy-duty version as early as 1963. Visually, the three classes can be distinguished by the headlamp position, for instance: on the light-duty “advent calendars” they fill the entire radiator grille height, on the medium-duty trucks they fill the lower half, and the heavy-duty commercial vehicles have the headlamps below the radiator.
Radiator, headlamps and more: The radiator grille of the heating oil tanker hides the three most prominent doors of this “advent calendar”. In the middle, a flap hinged at the bottom opens, behind which the radiator with a filler nozzle for the coolant can be reached, among other things. To the left and right, doors with vertical hinges provide access, for example, to the headlamps for changing bulbs and the ventilation flaps to the interior of the cab. The engine and the filler neck for the oil, on the other hand, can be reached by the driver from inside the cab: there is a service hatch on the transmission tunnel between the seats.
“Pullman truck”: In keeping with Mercedes-Benz tradition, the different variants bear the abbreviation “LP” in front of the numerical sequence of the model designation. “L” stands for the German word for truck and “P” (derived from “Pullman”) for a cab-over. The combination of the numbers 1513 on the exhibit at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Collection Room 2: Gallery of Carriers thus refers to a gross vehicle weight rating of 15 tonnes and an engine output of around 130 hp. To be precise, the in-line six-cylinder engine with a displacement of 5,675 cc develops 96 kW (131 hp).
Classic modernism: Ergonomically and aesthetically, the cubic front cab-overs clearly point the way to the modern age. However, their technical design also partly follows classic concepts. This applies in particular to the tilt function of the cab, which was missing at the beginning. This is the reason why various major components are made accessible via numerous flaps.
The last little door: Production of the cubic Mercedes-Benz cab-overs came to an end in the mid-1980s, with only the light-duty models still being built at the end. However, the principle of maintenance flaps distributed over the driver’s cab has long since outlived its usefulness because even the late “advent calendars” are offered with a tilting cab. And in subsequent model series, such as the “New Generation” (NG) produced from 1973 onwards, the tiltable cabs were standard from the very beginning. They can be tilted forward hydraulically, allowing convenient access to the technical components. 9,406 units of the LP 1513 were built from 1967 to 1976.
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