It should also be remembered that a man named Karl Wilfert, who was previously responsible for bodywork development at the Sindelfingen plant, applied for a patent for the security door lock in 1949. The lock from Pin security entered series production in 1959 with the resplendent W111 Heckflosse.
1959 also marks the year of serial production of the passenger safety cell. Invented by the father of automotive passive safety, Béla Barényi, the safety cell was deployed by the aforementioned Heckflosse.
In August 1967, the safety steering system became standard on every three-pointed star in the range. This piece of technology consists of a steering column that telescopes in the event of a frontal collision and an impact absorber that reduces the risk of injury when impacting the steering wheel.
But alas, cars weren’t safe enough in an accident at the time. In 1970, for example, as many as 19,193 people were killed on the roads of West Germany. It is a very sad record that exceeds the number of road fatalities today, 31 years after the reunification of West Germany with East Germany.
There has been a similar development in many other countries, including the United States of America where the Department of Transportation initiated an experimental safety vehicle program in 1968. The United States government helped found the European Committee of enhanced vehicle safety in 1970, a well-intentioned organization. supported by Mercedes from the start.
The EEVC has been tasked with producing its own experimental safety vehicles, which brings us to the ESF 05 based on the W114 model series written by the legendary Paul Bracq. You know, the responsible for the 600 Grosser, the first generation of the 3 Series, and the 1972 BMW Turbo Concept that inspired Giorgetto Giugiaro to create the M1 mid-engined sports car.
Introduced in October 1971, the ESF 05 was the pioneer of the anti-lock braking system that we take for granted today. It also has several airbags, including airbags in the backrests of the front seats for the rear passengers. The original sedan also featured the seat belt pretensioner system that locks the belt in place in the event of an accident, restraining the occupant as quickly as possible while protecting the occupant from seat belt injuries.
The weird bumpers aren’t here for the show; They are 655 millimeters (almost 25.8 inches) taller than the car it is based on, the ESF 05 had to meet the draconian front and rear impact requirements envisioned by the EEVC. It weighed 655 kilograms (1,444 pounds) more than the W114 four-door sedan, and this man was given a V6 instead of the stock inline-six engine to save room for deformations. The shock-absorbing sheet metal in the front passenger area of the instrument panel and the polyurethane foam padding should also be highlighted.
Merc didn’t stop there, however. The automaker’s engineers decided to eliminate the ventilation windows in the front, and the power windows led to the omission of the cranks. Also worth mentioning is the range setting and a headlight washer system, as well as the laminated glass for the windshield and rear window. In comparison, tempered glass shatters into small pieces, laminated glass cracks but stays together, which decreases the risk of injury.
To sum it up well, the ESF 05 looks like what it does because the requirements for experimental safety vehicles were pretty serious for the automotive industry in the early 1970s. Specifically, the requirements included impacts before and rear with a fixed obstacle at 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour) and side impact with a pole at 20 kilometers per hour (12 miles per hour). In addition, the Mercedes-Benz ESF 05 had to withstand minor crashes up to 16 km / h (10 mph) without permanent deformation at the front or rear, hence the extra-long bumpers. .
From 1971 to 1974, the German car manufacturer developed a total of 35 experimental safety vehicles for the ESF program. The 2009 ESF S 400 Hybrid Concept is the direct successor to these vehicles, and the latest experimental safety vehicle introduced by Mercedes is the 2019 GLE-based ESF of the 2019 Experimental Safety Vehicle convention.