13 employees, 12 months production time, and a purchase price in excess of €100,000. It sounds like a high-end Mercedes. But that’s not quite right. It actually refers to the secure storage location for the key of a 300 SL Gullwing — inside a rather unusual safe.
In the year 1987, in Hungary, my father founded a family company to manufacture safes, gun safes, letter boxes, and steel cabinets. I followed him into the business and am responsible for project management and for our one-off productions.
One and a half years ago, we produced a particularly special one-of-a-kind. The customer was a real Mercedes-Benz connoisseur. He owns several models, including an S-Class, an AMG GT R (Combined fuel consumption: 11,4 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 259 g/km*) and a G500 (Combined fuel consumption: 12,1 – 11,5 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 276-263 g/km*). But the crowning glory of his collection is a 300 SL Gullwing, vintage 1956. He wanted to keep his car’s key in a very special place — a safe that looked as much like the car as possible.
Clearly the appointments of this special place would have to include original features of a 300 SL, such as the knobs from the cockpit, and the original color.
For especially unusual orders, our design team is called into action. The main challenge facing them was to transform the gullwing form into the vertical body of a safe. After a month of planning, we had the draft design for an upright hood with a small rear window.
Individual opening system
But the form wasn’t the only challenge confronting us. In addition to the car keys, the interior of the safe also had to hold the documents associated with the car collection and the customer’s wristwatches. The folders for the documents are made of carbon — exactly as the customer wanted.
Then we had the most important question of all — How is the safe opened? To do justice to the customer’s individuality and expectations, we planned a door that opened vertically upward. The door opening system is powered by a motor that draws the door up along two rails. It’s a little like the way a garage door opens.
The interior of the safe is divided into four drawers. The drawers are moved by another motor, and can be opened with the press of a finger.
The safe conforms to VdS grade III. Grade III safes normally weigh 200 kilos or more. The electronic lock has a special function known as a “silent alarm.” Neighbors and the police are informed in the event of a threat. As the name indicates, the alarm is silent and unperceivable for the burglar, thus giving the police more time to respond.
Sixteen chromed steel latch bolts secure the safe.
The exterior covers of the two smaller safe doors are made of specially lacquered ash burl — similar to the S-Class Coupe. The interior is covered with 11 meters of Alcantara, a hard-wearing microfiber material, and the outside with 12 meters of black leather.
The steel body and the interior appointments were complete — only the exterior form remained to be finished. This is made from carbon composite and took four months to manufacture. The right and left sides each feature an air outlet, and their measurements correspond to those of the original gullwing.
We got the dimensions from HK-Engineering GmbH. This company specializes in restoring 300 SLs and provided us with original parts and the DB180 silver paint.
The safe is finished. To further increase its resemblance to the 300 SL, we had the idea of mounting a clock like the one in the instrument panel of the 300 SL. We fitted digital time displays in place of the analog tachometers. The color of the clock surface can be changed by the touch function, according to the interior color combination of the 300 SL. This function can also be controlled by a mobile phone app.
We also fitted a fingerprint scanner to the outer door, so that the customer can open the safe with his fingerprint, as well as by using his mobile phone.
When the safe is open, it looks like an angel. That’s why the unique piece has been given the name of the angel “Nemesis,” and distinguished with the plaque “One-of-One.” The safe is one of a kind — a unique work of art with a high security standard.
* Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch“ neuer Personenkraftwagen entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.