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2007 Detroit Auto Show: Mercedes Ocean Drive Concept

Mercedes-Benz showed its Ocean Drive Concept Car at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Needless to say, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were on hand to see the car in person. What we have here is a Mercedes interpretation of the four-door convertible last seen in production form in the 1960s Lincoln Continental Convertibles and more recently in concept form by an ASC Concept four-door Chrysler 300C Convertible.
Mercedes takes care in describing the Ocean Drive as a “one-off” design study. A concept only. Not intended for production. But as with many concepts, consumer reaction at auto shows is an important gauge whether or not a concept progresses from idea to reality.

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Ocean Drive revives the tradition of large luxury convertibles (so, this was only partially revived by the Chrysler four-door Convertible from 2006?). Beginning with a clean sheet of paper, Mercedes attempted to develop an extremely comfortable and elegant convertible.
Ocean Drive, as a four-door convertible, reminds us that there still may be potential in the premium luxury four-door convertible market. The days of elegant and distinctive droptop transportation with good accommodations in the rear seat have been gone for decades now. Does Mercedes have the resources and gumption to bring it to fruition?

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We’d Do a Dual Cowl Phaeton With a Retractable Hardtop
Ocean Drive has an all-new body with understated classic styling. A two-tone paint theme accentuates the bodysides. We could see Ocean Drive in Newport Beach, Newport, Rhode Island, Worth Drive in Palm Beach, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills (California, not Michigan). However, to make sure the coiffures of the ladies sitting in the rear seat were not mussed too much, we would have opted for a dual cowl layout with a second windshield aft of the front seats.
And, of course, we would have opted for a retractable hardtop rather than a soft top as shown on the concept. The hardtop would be a substantial engineering challenge on a vehicle the size of the Ocean Drive, but it may have been possible without compromising styling (much).
Read Mercedes’ blurb on design studies like the Ocean Drive:
Mercedes-Benz design studies – a stylistic journey into the future
The Concept Ocean Drive isn’t just designed to inspire dreams and fantasies; it also serves a very practical purpose. Because design studies are always a good opportunity for designers to play around with less familiar themes, to see things from new angles and to explore new ideas. Not just a pure design exercise, they are also a way of stimulating a closer dialogue with customers and of trying out new ideas on the general public. This helps the designers get a feel for future styling trends and to develop and implement new design idioms.
The unique luxury convertible design study from Stuttgart turns a “dream car” vision into reality. At the same time it is also an affirmation of the design excellence and values of the Mercedes-Benz brand, including the brand’s traditional basic principles like excellent build and quality, comfort, effortless superiority, value retention and safety. These values have now been joined by three further key messages: passion, fascination and innovation. The Mercedes-Benz design philosophy both perpetuate proven styling themes associated with the brand and at the same time combines them with new and surprising ideas and forms.
Styling conveys effortless superiority and elegance
Apart from the four doors, the outward distinguishing marks of the concept car include a very large and upright radiator grille, LED headlamps and taillights, two-tone paintwork and a striking interplay between taut lines and large, restful surfaces. This lends the one-off special an air of effortless superiority, power, elegance and forward-flowing energy.
The long side-window opening which, typically of a convertible, is not interrupted by a B-pillar or window frames, ensures seamless continuity between the exterior and the interior, even when the top is up. Extensive use of high-value materials –such as finest-quality leather, 3D-effect materials and large bird’s eye maple trim panels (in the interior and even on the soft-top compartment cover) – and many other thoughtfully designed interior details, highlight the luxurious, unique character of this design study.
Top-level engineering
The design study is based on the twelve-cylinder Mercedes-Benz S 600, on account of this model’s long wheelbase. The technical highlights include: the innovative soft-top mechanism resulting in smooth operation and fast closing times; the innovative AIRSCARF neck-level heating system, which is featured on all four seats, allowing occupants to enjoy top-down motoring even in the colder months of the year.

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