On 28 September 1977 the Mercedes-Benz star shone at its brightest outside the Sydney Opera House: Andrew Cowan and Tony Fowkes and their teams had won the London to Sydney Rally, both driving Mercedes-Benz 280 E (W 123) saloon cars. Two more of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles were among the top ten finishers. Alfred Kling and his team achieved sixth place with their Mercedes-Benz 280 E and Herbert Kleint’s crew came in eighth in a similar vehicle.
For the 123 model series, the rally was proof both of the cars’ sporting endurance and performance and their comfort and reliability. This was a point emphasised by the Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler-Benz AG at the time, Dr Joachim Zahn, at the victory celebration in Stuttgart in 1977. The 123 series was launched in 1976 and remained in production until the beginning of 1986. It was available as a saloon (W 123), a coupé (C 123) and an estate (S 123), and also as a chassis base for special bodies.
From Opera House to Opera House
The start of the marathon 40 years ago was the overture to an event of operatic proportions: 69 cars set off from Covent Garden Opera House in London on 14 August 1977 to compete in the toughest rally in the world, with the teams needing to cover well over 30,000 kilometres across three continents in 30 days and nights. Three sea crossings were also on the agenda. The finish line of the 1977 Singapore Airlines London–Sydney Rally was situated at another famous music venue on the opposite side of the world: the Sydney Opera House in all its architectural splendour.
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Mercedes-Benz Wins 1977 London to Sydney Rally