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Forty years of the “Light Class” – the Mercedes-Benz LN2

Forty years ago, after an international press presentation in Rome, the Mercedes-Benz LN2 trucks began to conquer the light-duty truck segment

Forty years ago, after an international press presentation in Rome, the Mercedes-Benz LN2 trucks began to conquer the light-duty truck segment. The trucks do not bear an official name as such. Produced between 1984 and 1998, they replaced the lightweight LP, which had been the number one in its segment for almost 20 years. Since the introduction of the LN2, light-duty trucks have also had a clear-cut and timelessly designed tilting cab. They were already somewhat anticipating the design of the heavy-duty class (SK as of 1988).

The “Light Class” covered a larger range than its predecessors: With a gross vehicle weight of 6.5 to 13 tons (models 709 to 1320, later even up to 1524), it overlapped at the bottom end of the range with the Düsseldorf van/T2 segment and at its top end with the Mercedes-Benz NG/SK.  In addition to short-distance, distribution and construction-site haulage, the Mercedes-Benz LN2, with power output categories of 90 to 204 hp and henceforth a long-distance cab with sleeper compartment, satisfied the increasing use of this vehicle class in long-distance haulage. From this date on, the truck range of what was Daimler-Benz at the time served all purposes and weight categories.

The Mercedes-Benz LN2 trucks were developed from scratch. They offered more active safety and a high level of driving comfort. The vehicles had body lengths comparable to those of LP trucks, a shorter wheelbase and power steering as standard, which made them more maneuverable. Technical progress was evident in all vehicle components – from the cab to the drivetrain, chassis and brakes. For the first time, series-production trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 6.5 t or more were already equipped with a full compressed-air brake system; it now also allowed the installation of the anti-lock braking system offered by Daimler-Benz in light-duty trucks. The four and six-cylinder OM 364 and OM 366 engines in the Light Class were extensively developed in order to achieve a high transport speed as part of the drivetrain optimization process. It originated in the OM 312, the forefather of the 300 engine model series dating back to 1949. Another novelty: For the first time, Daimler-Benz relied on low-profile tires in the Light Class in commercial vehicle design, which were intended to contribute to safe handling under all conditions. The optimized handling included neutral cornering properties, irrespective of the load condition, virtually no self-steering movements when braking or deflection, precise directional stability and minimal rolling movements.

When the new “Light Class” trucks replaced the previous light LP models in 1984 after almost 20 years of production, this was a huge step. From the 709 to the 1320 (later even up to the 1524), there were finely graduated weight and engine output variants. All-wheel drive was also available. Despite extensive standard equipment, state-of-the-art vehicle technology down to the last detail and tilting driver’s cabs, the new models were able to exceed the proven high profitability of the LP predecessor series: Their load volume and transport capacity was higher, and fuel consumption as well as maintenance and repair costs were cut by ten percent each.

The most widely used model of the LN2 model series – a 7.5 ton truck with 136 hp and the model designation 814 – is part of the Classic Collection of Mercedes-Benz Trucks. It bears the market launch advertising slogan at the time on its tarp. The vehicle will be exhibited in front of the Daimler Truck Campus in Leinfelden-Echterdingen until May 15, 2024.

Technical data of the truck on display: Mercedes-Benz LN2

Year of construction: 1991
Displacement: 5.958 cc
Performance: 136 hp/100 kW
Speed: 90 km/h
Engine: OM366 six-cylinder diesel engine

SOURCE: Daimler Truck

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