Obituaries 2009


Stuttgart, Germany, Dec 28, 2009

Daimler AG and its predecessor companies have been moulded by the people who work for them, now and in the past. They make the successful design, manufacture and marketing of the company's outstanding products possible in all areas of work necessary for this purpose.

In 2009 several personalities who rendered major services to the company passed away. In acknowledgement we present their personal histories. May they also stand for all those who are not honoured on this occasion.

- Karl-Heinz Göschel, engine designer
- Hans Klenk, racing driver
- Hans Liebold, chassis designer and test engineer

Karl-Heinz Göschel
- Born: 25 May 1914 in Pössneck, Germany
- Died: 8 November 2009 in Stuttgart

The university-trained engineer Karl-Heinz Göschel was one of the fathers of petrol injection in the internal combustion engine. Prior to the Second World War and during the war he worked on this subject at Daimler-Benz AG as an engineer in aero engine testing, initiating fundamental improvements in the DB 605 and DB 603 engines to enhance high-altitude performance.

After 1945 he joined vehicle manufacturer Gutbrod as an engine designer and, together with Hans Scherenberg, who also was employed there after the war, made petrol injection in the car fit for series production in the two-stroke engine. In 1952 Göschel too returned to Daimler-Benz AG. Together with Scherenberg he made a great contribution to the introduction of petrol injection in the four-stroke M 196 engine that saw service in the W 196 Grand Prix racing car and in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR sports car, as well as in the M 198 engine for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that came out on the market in 1954. In 1958 Scherenberg entrusted him with the supervision of heavy-duty engine testing – for Daimler-Benz an unusual career leap.

Finally, under the direction of Rudolf Uhlenhaut, chief car designer, Göschel became "Head of Passenger Car Testing in Untertürkheim", as the official title went, in 1967 – the place restriction was made because Karl Wilfert at Passenger Car Development in Sindelfingen would not have put himself under the control of a 'general testing manager'.

Göschel directed car testing and put his stamp on it up until his retirement at the end of June 1980, after which he received a consultancy contract. When the contract expired at the end of April 1981 his work for Daimler-Benz AG ended. His son Burkhard Göschel also is pursuing a successful career in the automotive industry, among other things at BMW as Management Board member responsible for Development, and at Magna.

Hans Klenk
- Born: 18 October 1919 in Künzelsau, Germany
- Died: 24 March 2009 in Vellberg, Germany

Hans Klenk was one of the racing drivers who supported the return of Mercedes-Benz to motor sport at the beginning of the 1950s. In 1952 he competed together with Karl Kling in one of the three 300 SL (W 194 series) racing sports coupés which were used in the Le Mans 24 Hours. This race ended in a double victory for Mercedes-Benz, but the car of Kling and Klenk with competitor's number 22 dropped out during the night because of damage to the alternator. In the major long-distance races of 1952, the Mille Miglia in Italy and the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico, Klenk was the co-driver of factory driver Karl Kling. The Carrera brought Mercedes-Benz another double victory, not least all due to Klenk's invention of the "prayer book", containing an exact description of the route. Before the race he covered every inch of the 3200 kilometre route and made a note of any unusual features according to the km reading of his car so that he could tell the driver about them during the race. At the same event the 300 SL had a collision with a vulture, but that could not stop the duo.

During his youth Klenk took an enthusiastic interest in cars and airplanes. At the tender age of eleven he took up gliding in his home town Schwäbisch-Hall-Hessental. A personal contact with aircraft designer Willy Messerschmitt convinced Klenk not to pursue his desired career as a surgeon, and he began studying aircraft and automotive engineering in Munich. During the war, Hans Klenk was a fighter pilot and flew a Messerschmitt Bf 109. He saw service in Schleswig-Holstein, Italy and elsewhere. In the early 1950s he set up an engineering office of his own in Stuttgart and built sports cars in small series using BMW components. In 1951 he participated in national formula circuit races with the Meteor racing car designed by him, with good results, at which point Mercedes-Benz became aware of him.

But his racing career was short: an accident during training on the Nürburgring put an end to it in July 1953. He barely escaped death and was unable to walk properly since the accident. He found a new professional alternative at Continental Gummiwerke, Hanover, where he initially served as racing manager and then, until retirement, as head of Public Relations.

Hans Liebold
- Born: 12 October 1926 in Erfurt
- Died: 3 October 2009

Hans Liebold rendered great services for several generations of Mercedes-Benz passengers, particularly as chassis engineer. In addition, outstanding vehicles of the brand were created with his participation, for example in the late 1960s and early 1970s all variants of the C 111, the Experimental Safety Vehicles of the 1970s, and several economobiles in the late 1970s.

Liebold had a reputation for being the "fast project manager", as his colleagues called him. With a new type of chassis engineering he ensured not only safe, comfortable handling of the new Mercedes-Benz car models, he also was adept at assessing the interaction of all components and arriving at the best results through meticulous tuning effort. As a driver he was extremely skilled and precise, even at high speeds and critical physical limits – he felt quite comfortable with them, as he said of himself.

As a young man, before and after the Second World War Hans Liebold was very keen on flying and got his first pilot's licence at the age of 17. Over the years more would follow, including an aerobatics licence. After the war he studied mechanical engineering and automotive engineering at Hanover Technical University, obtaining a diploma and following it up with a doctor's degree. In 1957 he went to Stuttgart for an interview with the legendary head of Testing, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. He received a job in Passenger Car Advanced Design, was appointed manager of the Advanced Design department in car testing after a few years, and finally became Main Department Head Testing Passenger Car Advanced Design.

From the first day his work was determined by the search for ever new technical solutions, especially in chassis technology. Safe handling, comfortable suspension tuning and sophisticated axle developments were among his primary tasks, although he knew a great deal about all areas of the automobile. His thoroughness was influenced not least of all by his first superior, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, who was one to always thoroughly look into matters himself to gain new insights.

Under Uhlenhaut, Liebold was also project manager for the legendary Mercedes-Benz C 111. In the first two versions Wankel engines provided the motive power; afterwards, in several variants, diesel engines with which the performance capabilities of the up-to-date compression-ignition engine were demonstrated in several record-breaking runs. The last variant of the C 111 featured a turbocharged V8. With it Liebold clocked a speed of 403.978 km/h in 1979 to set a record for circuits. Hans Liebold retired at midyear 1991.

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