Tennis legend Ion Tiriac has decided to share with the entire world its most valuable asset, Tiriac Collection, one of the largest and finest collections of classic cars in the world.
Tiriac Collection is housed by a futuristic looking 43,000 sq/ft building, recently remodeled to be more space efficient and be able to host a larger number of cars. One other small but significant detail makes Tiriac Collection even more tantalizing. Constantly cared for by a dedicated team of mechanics, all cars are fully restored, most of them on the very premises, and, above all, ready to be driven if Mr. Tiriac wishes so. The collection includes over 150 historical vehicles manufactured since 1899, only a third of the businessman’s total tally.
Ion Tiriac has had a lifelong romance with the automobile and particularly Mercedes-Benz. His very first car was in fact the elegant 280S Coupe, bought in 1969 to mark the culmination of one of his greatest tennis championship years. No wonder than that his museum, established as an homage to automotive passion, is hosting some of the most fascinating Mercedes-Benz four-wheeled jewels ever to have graced the world, many of which were made before the 1990’s. Scroll down for the full Mercedes-filled dream list.
1. Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss (2009)
Created as a tribute to the 1955 Mille Miglia winner, the legendary 300 SLR driven by no less famous Sir Stirling Moss, the special edition model is one of the most exclusive and extreme supercars ever made. One of only 75 models made, the example hosted by Tiriac Collection has only 390 km on board and is in fact the very last unit of the series. Power comes from a supercharged V8, a glorious 5.4 L unit good for 640 HP. Top speed is 350 km/h while the 100 km/h mark is reached in 3,5 seconds. A striking mix of retro and modern, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss is essentially a speedster with no roof or windscreen offered even as an option. The interior is also reduced to what Mercedes-Benz calls bare essentials featuring high-tech materials like carbon-fiber, aluminum and leather with a dedicated aluminum plate carrying the engraved autograph of racing legend Stirling Moss.
2. Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A (1937)
The 540 K Cabriolet A is definitely the Mercedes-Benz crown jewel of the Tiriac Collection. Valued at more than 2 million euros, the perfectly proportioned German open-top is also one of the rarest with only 83 Cabriolet „A” units ever built. Wearing the chassis number 169363, the model on display was delivered to a Dutch client in the autumn of 1937 with Sindelfingen Cabriolet A coachwork. Finished in stunning brilliant red with matching read leather interior, Ion Tiriac’s 540 K Cabriolet A was restored by Armando Picinino with chrome by Guy C. Roberge of Auto Re-Croming. The odometer shows 49.485 km, tens of thousand of miles filled with the divine sensations that only an old-school 5.401 cc inline-8 engine can offer. True, power is only 115 HP, enough though to tackle a Hollywood-style promenade. As a paranthesis, there is also a Roots supercharging system that can provide extra momentary power, up to 180 HP.
3. Mercedes-Benz 190 SL Roadster (1956)
The iconic luxury roadster was first shown in prototype form at the 1954 New York Auto Show and has been subsequently produced between May 1955 and February 1963. Mercedes-Benz 190 SL shared both its styling and engineering characteristics with the more expensive 300SL, using the same fully independent suspension as its sibling. What it did not inherit from the 300 SL was its purpose-built tubular spaceframe. The 190 SL was built on a shortened monocoque R121 platform modified from the W121 small saloon, instead. The engine with gearbox, front suspension and steering were all mounted on a detachable subframe, not different from modern cars. The 4-speed gearbox and 1.9-litre four-cylinder OHC engine were completely new. Fitted with twin-choke dual Solex carburetors it delivers 120 HP, sufficient to give the elegant roadster a top speed of 171 km/h. Ion Tiriac’s car has travelled only 60,729 km during its life-span and has been completely restored in 2012.
4. Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman (1968)
A true Mercedes-Benz fan collection cannot be complete without the 600 Pullman luxury legend. Launched in 1963 at the Frankfurt motor show, the original Mercedes-Benz Pullman 600 – codenamed W100, has become famous for its popularity with plutocrats, movie stars and dictators, with Uganda’s Idi Amin, Romania’s Nicolae Ceaucescu or Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito, among its controversial owners. The six-seater stretch limousine was 6,24 meters long and came in closed and open-top (Landaulet) versions with its wheelbase measuring 3,90 meters. A glorious, naturally aspirated, 6,3-liter V8 (matted to a then state of the art 4-speed automatic gearbox) with 250 HP and 510 Nm on tap helped the 2,6 tonne Pullman reach a top speed of 207 km/h (125 mph) and broke the 100 km/h barrier in less than 10 seconds. Its revolutionary hydraulic (air) suspension had one thing in mind, supreme confort; while a complex hydraulic system that powered everything from the widows and seats to the automatic closing doors, sun roof and boot lid. Chassis no. 10001412001100, the car featured by Tiriac Collection is made in 1968 with precisely 57,395 Km on the clock today.
5. Mercedes-Benz 250 SL Pagoda (1966)
Launched at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show, the W113 250 SL essentially replaced both the legendary 300SL and the 190SL. Lead designer Paul Bracq devised its distinctive, slightly concave hardtop, later set to inspire the “Pagoda” nickname. The bonnet, trunk lid, door skins and tonneau cover were made of aluminum in Mercedes’ quest to reduce weight. Retaining the sporty feel of the early SLs, the 250 SL moved the game on providing improved agility, a new engine and rear disc brakes. All models were equipped with an inline-six cylinder engine with multi-port fuel injection. The comparatively short and wide chassis, combined with an excellent suspension, powerful brakes and radial tires gave the W113 superb handling for its time. With 21,460 Km on board, the creamy white 250 SL on display is powered by a 2.496 cc in-line 6-cylinder engine credited with 150 HP.
6. Mercedes-Benz 300 Saloon “Adenauer” (1956)
Universally known as the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, beloved car, the Mercedes-Benz 300 was also the limo of choice for West German government officials. It wasn’t only fast and elegant, but also extremely spacious, setting the benchmark as one of very few contemporary vehicles capable of carrying six passengers in comfort. The 3.0-litre, overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine was essentially identical to its fuel-injected version of 300SL Gullwing fame. Initially developing 115 hp, the 3.0-litre, it received a welcome power boost for the succeeding 300b and 300c models, finally gaining fuel injection in the re-styled 300d of 1957. The 300 also marked the debut of significant innovations like servo-assisted brakes (from 1954), optional power steering (on the 300d), remote electrical control of the rear suspension ride height and the adoption of three-speed automatic transmission as standard on the latter. The rare, right-hand drive ‘300’ owned by Ion Tiriac was first registered in the UK on 1st of August 1956 and completely restored by Tiriac Collection’s engineers, in 2013.
7. Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM AMG (2006)
Essentially a special edition street version of Mercedes’s fully fledged race car built for the German DTM racing series (Deutche Tourenwagen Masters), the CLK DTM AMG became widely popular with Formula 1 legends like Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Jensen Button. To mark its exclusivity, Mercedes-Benz has only produced 100 coupes and 80 convertibles, easy to recognize thanks to the enormous air intake with spoiler lops in the fender, pronounced side rocker panels, carbon-fiber decorations and wide profile tires. The mighty 5.4-liter supercharged V8 under the bonnet erupts with 582 HP at 6,800 rpm. A six speed sequential automatic gearbox is the only barrier between the aforementioned arsenal and the rear wheels, with the 100 km/h mark hit in 3.8 seconds and the maximum speed rated at 322 km/h. Tiriac’s chemelleon looking car only has 747 km on its odometer, which means it is one of the purest CLK DTM AMG units on Earth.
8. Mercedes-Benz E60 AMG “The Hammer” (1994)
The Mercedes-Benz E60 AMG a.k.a. “The Hammer” crushed its Bavarian counterpart back in the 90’s. Built in very limited numbers between 1994 and 1995, it offered supercar credentials packed in the body of a limo. True, not a regular run-of-the-mill saloon, but a quite devilish looking creature. Even if both the E500 and E60 AMG came with the flared front and rear wheel arches with larger front bumpers and front foglights, the “957” AMG Technology Package in the VIN number of the vehicle almost guarantees the vehicle is an original E60 as left the factory. Finished off with large AMG wheels and graced by an equally monstrous 6.0L V8 engine, “The Hammer” offered 381 HP and could reach 0-100 km/h within 5.3 seconds. This particular model has covered 15.543 km and is equipped with the “Limited” sports interior, 17″ EVO-II alloys together with uprated AMG sports suspension and AMG twin outlet exhaust system.
9. Mercedes-Benz 220S (1957)
Back in its heydays, the 220 heralded Mercedes’ shift to uni-body constructed models. Compared to the prior 180-series “Ponton” line-up, the German manufacturer has went to great lengths in order to improve passenger space and available room under the hood for a new 2.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine with overhead valves. Servo-assisted brakes became standard-fit equipment beginning in September 1955. The 220S present in Tiriac Collection has first seen the daylight in August 1957. The dual Solex-carbureted engine delivers 120 horsepower, providing increased performance to match the model’s sleek and sophisticated styling. In all, 3,429 examples of the 220S Coupe and Cabriolet were built between 1957 and the end of production in 1959. Known as the “Daisy Rose,” the car on display has covered 23,755 miles and has been repainted approximately 30 years ago in the current two-tone livery, a strikingly unique combination for sure.
10. Mercedes-Benz 130 W23 2-Door Saloon (1934)
Last but not the least. Ok, we admit this might not be the prettiest model gracing the Tiriac Collection. But, as the grand-father of today’s compact Mercedes-Benz family consisting of the highly successful A-Class, B-Class, GLA and CLA models, the 130 has definitely earned its spot at the bottom of this top. Predecessor to the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle with design influence by Ferdinand Porsche, this particular example has in fact been previously owned by the Mercedes-Benz Museum and shows 18.657 km on its clock. Engine, brakes and electrical wiring were restored 2011. Longitudinally mounted at the rear of the car, its puny 1,308-cc engine helped the 130 reach a top speed of 92 km/h. In 1936, an improved 1.7-litre version was offered as a companion to the more conventional 170. Mercedes-Benz devised a very wide range of bodies. The 130 was available in sedan, open-top sedan and cabriolet versions. Even so, the “Mercedes-Benz Beetle” never caught on, leaving its Wolfsburg neighbour free to enjoy its success and, eventually, its legend status.