- Dunlop SP Sport D 8: Authentic looks, state-of-the-art safety
- Approved for speeds up to 240 km/h (150 mph)
The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Fellbach near Stuttgart has now had the classic Dunlop SP Sport D 8 in size 185 VR 15 reproduced by tire manufacturer Dunlop in Hanau, Germany. With this step, the Classic Center closes a gap in that in the past, matching tires with official Mercedes-Benz approval for the 300 SL (W 198 series) were only available from current production; however, these modern tires impaired the 300 SL’s classic appearance on account of their wider and flatter sizes. With its height-to-width ratio of 82 percent, the SP Sport D 8, by contrast, combines authentic historical looks with state-of-the-art engineering.
For this tire with a permissible top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph), the Classic Center obtained approval for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL from Daimlerr Passenger Car Development so that this tire can be fitted to the 300 SL without any worries. Stephan Bornert, Product Manager for Genuine Parts at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center: “Approval by Daimler Passenger Car Development means that the SP Sport D 8 meets all the stringent safety requirements which also apply to new vehicles. The test procedures required are extremely complex and can only be performed on the test facilities existing at the factory, but only in this way are 100-percent safety even under extremely difficult conditions and optimum handling and ride characteristics ensured.”
During their production period, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL sports cars were fitted ex factory with cross-ply tires in sizes 6.50-15 and 6.70-15 Extra Super Sport. These cross-ply tires are today available, if at all, as Dunlop Racing tires which, however, are suitable for operation on the road only to a limited extent; in addition, they are clearly more expensive than the more modern and safer radial-ply tires. The SP Sport D 8 in size 185 VR 15 now reproduced by Dunlop on original tools and largely in manual labor goes back to the D8 tread series which was entirely developed at the plant in Hanau, Germany, in 1984; it was continuously improved and remained as a standard tire in the Dunlop range until 1992.
The block-tread pattern with the distinctive middle rib reliably transmits driving and braking forces to the road and has excellent drainage (water-diverting) properties. The running-tread mixture of the D 8 ensures optimum tire-to-road adhesion even on wet road surfaces.
Peter Spieth head of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Fellbach, outlines the assignment of the Center as follows: “Our task is to restore classic Mercedes-Benz automobiles and ensure optimum replacement parts supplies for the classics with the three-pointed star. This also involves availability of safe and qualitatively advanced tires for exclusive Mercedes-Benz classics, i.e. tires which match the car’s overall appearance. This is why we initiated this rather complex reproduction of tires for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198).”
The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center’s initiative also benefits owners of high-performance sports cars with 15-inch wheels and top speeds in excess of 210 km/h (130 mph), which were produced by other brands in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Dunlop SP Sport D 8 in classic-car size 185 VR 15 can be obtained from your Mercedes-Benz dealer (order number: Q 440 2 185) or at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, Stuttgarter Straße 90, 70736 Fellbach, phone: +49(0) 711/17-8 40 40, fax: +49(0) 711/17-8 34 56.
The tires are, for the time being, available in a limited edition at a unit price of 295 euros net.