Waldegard Racing Against the Clock
Why in such a hurry?? Let's turn the clock back in time.
Bjorn Waldegard is regarded as one of Sweden's foremost rally drivers of all time and together with his co-driver Hans Thorszelius, they won many World Cup titles - including becoming the World's first Official World Champion in 1979. Many years later in 2019, postumt, Bjorn Waldegard was elected to the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) "Hall of Fame". It was the first time a rally driver was elected. Together with Stig Blomqvist, also a Swedish rally driver.
The Mercedes Benz Club in Sweden bought a Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC in 2018 and modified it to a replica of Waldegard's racing car. Bjorn Waldegard competed with it on the Ivory Coast (Bandama Rally) in 1979 and 1980. Bjorn came 2nd in 1979 after Hannu Mikkola from Finland, but nevertheless became World Champion (WRC) overall that year. In 1980 Waldegard won this Bandama Rally with the new 500 SLC. On December, 1980, Mercedes-Benz ended its participation in the WRC, with the victory of a Mercedes 500 SLC, which at that time had a 340 horsepower V8 engine and a 3-speed automatic gearbox with rear-wheel drive. Today, almost nothing in the rally context.
Waldegard narrate in his book "Rally became my life" about how he became a racing driver for Mercedes-Benz (Daimler-Benz) two seasons 1979-80. "They made a good bid for the Acropolis and Portugal and also guaranteed four other interesting challenges in three different continents - Safari, Bandama, New Zealand and Argentina. It was a challenge to try to help Mercedes with such a difficult car on ordinary asphalt roads, although I had my guess that it would be tough to compete in a two ton Mercedes in Europe. Above all, it was the brakes and tires that broke".
"Elegant and sporty, powerful and safe", that´s how Mercedes-Benz described their new W107 series. The model was manufactured during longtime, from 1971-89, with many different engine configurations.
September 2019, I drove this, our Swedish 450 SLC and became inspired to put together pictures and movies from that trip, into a little story. We drove the car between two locations and came in time pressure. To build an excitement, I looked for footage from Waldegard's competitions in Africa. Together with these, I have built two parallel events.
This movie, is a warm and honorable film about Bjorn Waldegard and the love for a beautiful and impressive car from Mercedes-Benz. I hope you find the short movie interesting.