Looking both back and ahead in time, Mercedes-Benz Design presented the Vision Mercedes Simplex at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, calling it “a sculpture embodying the heritage and future of the luxury brand.”

The sculpture also “symbolizes the transition into a new era of design and technology,” the company said, “creating an homage to the historical legacy and the birth of the brand.”

The original Mercedes 35 PS (above) and the sculpture it inspired (below)

The vehicle was inspired by the original Mercedes 35 PS, a high-performance car developed by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1901 at the suggestion of Emil Jellinek, for whose daughter the car was named.

Rather than a carriage-based design, the 35 PS featured modern vehicle architecture and dominated the Race Week competition in Nice, France. 

“The sculpture ‘Vision Mercedes Simplex’ recalls this historic event and carries the pioneering spirit and the stylistic character of those days far into the 21st century,” the company said.

At the unveiling

The two-tone color scheme reflects the 35 PS, Mercedes said, adding that the transparent aspects of the of vehicle’s wheels are meant to reflect “lightness and efficiency.”

“The entire sculpture lives from the interplay between clearly and powerfully drawn surfaces and precise technical details,” the company said.

While the grille may appear to be a typical radiator, it actually is a large 3D black-panel display. 

“The omission of a windscreen – as on its historic role model – reinforces the uncompromisingly sporty character and allows a seamless transition from the front-end to the instrument panel,” Mercedes said.

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