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In May 1999, a new Show Car was entrusted to STOLA spa by the Mercedes Style Center.
This was Vision SLA, and the goal of the Stuttgart company was to present it in January 2000 at the Detroit show.

01Murat Günak, Head of Vision SLA Design.
In his team of designers Ferdinand Greiner and Hatmunt Sinkwitz.
02 Vision SLA

It was a small roadster of the A-Class family, designed by Murat Günak, assisted by Ferdinand Greiner and Hatmunt Sinkwitz under the supervision of Peter Pfeiiffer.
An unusual design for Mercedes, for first time the objective was to imagine a small sports car, up until then, the first one for the German constructor.
The interior was particularly unusual, the materials research department, directed by Andreas Langenbeck, in agreement with the stylists selected hide rather than the classic leather.

03Rivoli September 1999.

At the front, as with the more recent SLR you can see the features of the second series R171 Mercedes SLK that would then be put on sale in 2004.
The Mercedes technical representative was Gunter Holzel from the research department headed by Kramer.
This prototype was also created by Felice Chiara's team in co-ordination with Lucio Giarolo and Gioachino Grande.


06December 1999 Official photos of the Vision SLA before being transported to the Detroit Motor Show.

07Detroit January 3, 2000, Alfredo Stola poses with the newly presented Vision SLA.

It was the dawn of the second millennium, and therefore an opportunity to celebrate with a magum of Prosecco, specially brought from Italy, to toast with the managers of Mercedes on their stand.
The cap of the bottle caused great difficulty, everyone had a go at opening it, in the end it gave in, and the toast was made.

08Detroit January 3 G. Grande brings the bottle inside the salon.09H. Leschke, G. Grande, Jooss, P. Pfeifer,
M.Günak, Kramer.

10G. Grande and G. Holzel.11M.Günak, Kramer, X and G. Grande.

12H. Jooss, G. Holzer, X, P. Pfeiffer, M Gunak, Kramer,
A. Stola and H. Leschke.
13X, P. Pfeiffer, M Gunak and Kramer.

14P. Pfeiffer, X, M. Gunak, Kramer, G. Grande, A. Stola, K. H. Bauer and H. Leschke.

15Detroit January 4, 2002 Harald Leschke and Alfredo Stola on the second press day of the show
shortly before returning to Europe.



In January 2001, Mercedes commissioned a new project at Stola, the Vision GST. (Grand Sport Tourer).
A complex project and a great responsibility because with this project Stuttgart wanted to anticipate a new class, a new car segment that did not yet exist: the "Multi Purpose Vehicle".
A mix of minivan and SUV, with a certain sporting dynamism.
The goal was to probe the taste of the public for a hypothetical new type of Mercedes.
Under the direction of Peter Pfeiffer, designers Gorden Wagener, Christopher Benjamin and Steve Mattin followed the project for a whole year, together with the Stola team for every phase work.

01Gorden Wagener02Christopher Benjamin03Steve Mattin

The deadline to present Vision GST to journalists and professionals was the Detroit Motor Show on January 6, 2002.
The strategic importance of this presentation for Mercedes was that there was an agreement with the Government of the United States of America, to establish their first US production facility at Vance, Alabama.


For both the Stola modellers and the mercedes team this show car would be remembered as the most risky in their careers.

06Rivoli January 2001 Felice Chiara Head of the show car department of Stola spa.

07Valter Domenino08Roberto Giachino

09Fabio Sansalone10Nardiello and Peralta called spark and lightning.

11Beppe Comollo with an Albanian engineer.















The last 95 hours
from 02 to 6 January 2002

42From 2nd January to the evening of 5th, over 45 technicians and managers from STOLA s.p.a. and  Mercedes worked continuously for over 85 hours to complete the prototype.
The transportation from via Ferrero 9 in Rivoli to  Turin Caselle airport, and the consequent complex cargo operations on the cargo plane were taken care of by Alfredo Stola and Tiziano Novo together with the Ilyushin bridge crew through until dawn on 6th January, in that time, the Azeri cockpit crew, rested after a night's sleep, began the "check list" and 45 minutes later took off for Detroit.

43Rivoli January 2, 2002. A sort of dormitory is set up on the second floor of the prototype department to allow workers and managers to rest for a few hours.

442 January Rivoli. Cubeddu.452 January Rivoli. Mammone and Peralta.

463 January 2002 Rivoli.473 January 2002 Rivoli. G. Grande is recognized.

484 January 2002 Rivoli.

494 January 2002 Rivoli. We recognize G. Simeone and A. Tesauro and standing L. Rosetti.

504 January 2002 Rivoli. Giarolo and Laura.

514 January 2002 Rivoli. Comollo from behind with the blue shirt and to the right of him C. Pastore.

52Rivoli January 5, 2002 at 10.30. The Stola Team still at work.

Antonov An124 in Turin;
too surreal a story
known only by those who were there ...

53January 5, 2002 Turin Caselle Airport at 10.30,
A first Russian cargo plane is almost ready for take-off to Detroit.
It is an Antonov An-124 and is the largest transport aircraft in the world.




59Rivoli December 2001 Murat Günak, Peter Pfeiffer, Franco Stola and Roberto Stola.









74Rivoli January 5th 2002 at 9.00 pm
A few minutes before the Mercedes Vision Grand Sports Tourer prototype enters the elevator.
Alfredo Stola in the center with the whole Team della Stola s.p.a. The second on the left standing with the blue shirt is Tiziano Novo who will accompany Alfredo in the loading operations at the Turin Caselle airport.

75Rivoli January 5, 2002 at 21:40 Antonello Mulargia76Rivoli January 5, 2002 9:40 pm Christopher Benjamin

77Rivoli January 5, 2002 9:40 pm Felice Chiara project manager of the Stola for the Vision GST show car after 72 consecutive hours without sleep. He will rest all night in the company to return home the next day.

78Rivoli via Ferrero 9 at 21:45 the prototype is loaded on the container used for the cargo flight, destination Turin Caselle airport.79Rivoli via Ferrero 9 at 21:45 the prototype is loaded on the container used for the cargo flight, destination Turin Caselle airport.

80Rivoli via Ferrero 9 The container is about to be loaded onto the truck for Turin Caselle airport.
The precious cargo will arrive at the airport at 10:30 pm and Alfredo Stola and Tiziano Novo are waiting for it who will assist the loading on the cargo which will finish at 05:30 the next day.

Thanks to everyone's efforts, and to the extraordinary use of Azerbaijan Airline's Ilyushin II76 cargo plane, with a flight dedicated transport the Show Car to Detroit, the presentation was made on schedule.

81Turin Caselle January 6, 2002 08:45 am The Ilyushin II-76 takes off for Detroit with the "only" prototype of the Mercedes Vision GST in the hold. Cargo company is Azerbaijan Airline coming from Congo via London.

82January 7 Detroit. Motor show.
Peter Pfeiffer.
83January 7 Detroit. Motor show. Cristopher Benjamin,
Stev Mattin and Gorden Wagener.

84Detroit 7 January 2002 09:00 Official presentation to the press of the Mercedes Vision GST.

85Detroit January 6, 2002 09:00 Official presentation to the press of the Mercedes Vision GST.

For the first time in the history of Mercedes show cars, official photos were taken in Germany, after the Detroit presentation.
For the journalists press kit, virtual images were used, made in great haste by the designers of the Sindelfingen style center.

86January 24, 2002 Leonberg Renè Staud realizes the photographic service of the Vision GST87January 24, 2002 Leonberg Renè Staud realizes the photographic service of the Vision GST

88The interior of the Vision GST was the real problem with this unusual delay.
For a mistake of scale they were built twice.

On October 11th 2002, after suffering an illness since the beginning of 1999 and fighting to the end, Roberto Stola, president and 50% shareholder of STOLA spa and the companies wholly under his control, passed away.
89Rivoli March 2002. Roberto StolaFor 8 years Roberto worked and followed the Mercedes customer projects with a passion, establishing an extraordinary working relationship with them.
A special dedication, because Mercedes are special, and the gratitude for the trust accorded to STOLA s.p.a is unique.
As sign of the esteem in which this relationship was held, Harald Leschke was present at the funeral and CEO Dieter Zetsche sent a wreath of flowers.

 90 Dieter Zetsche.

91Rivoli November 23, 2002. The letter sent by Dieter Zetsche
to Alfredo Stola.



In the first months of 2003, following the success of the Vision GST presented in Detroit the year before, Mercedes ordered the STELLA Vision GST second series.
Having already started the new production plant in Albama, Mercedes aimed to show the evolution of the Grand Sport Tourer, which would then be called R Class.







Given their previous experience, STOLA in agreement with Mercedes delivered the Show Car at the end of October 2003 to Sindelfingen, and in January 2004 it was presented at the Detroit show complete with photographs taken more in advance than usual ...



For the record, in 2006 the production of the R Class started in the brand new American factory in Vance and was also the last show car created for Mercedes that was followed by the Stola family.





In April 2004, in his Rivoli office, Alfredo Stola,Harald Leschke of Mercedes Advance Design and Bernd Hoffmann, CEO of the historic tyre manufacturer Fulda, discussed the technical and commercial details of supplying a running prototype based on the Maybach.
The project was called Excelero and was financed by Fulda together with the automobile photographer Renè Staud.
The agreements provided that the design would be carried out by the design school of Pforzheim under the control of Advanced Design Mercedes and that Mercedes would supply the mechanized chassis and the relative technical assistance.
The fundamental request of this meeting is that the prototype would have to be suitable to be tested at the Nardó track at a maximum speed of 350 Km/h.
Fulda's goal is to re-invoke its history as a tyre supplier for the glorious 1938 Maybach, through an experimental prototype equipped with specially designed 315/25 ZR23 tires.

01Rivoli April 22, 2004 Harald Leschke directs the modelers of the Stola in the final phase of the style model.

In May 2004 the Maybach Excelero “style model” is in the final stage of development under the personal stylistic supervision of Harald Leschke.

02Villarbasse 13 May 2004 Alfredo Stola hosts Harald Leschke and Renè Staud for lunch. The occasion is the deliberation of the style model before painting.03Villarbasse 13 May 2004 Alfredo Stola hosts Harald Leschke and Renè Staud for lunch. The occasion is the deliberation of the style model before painting.

Alfredo Stola leaves the presidency of STOLA spa on July 26, 2004 and consequently will not participate in any way in the construction of the "running prototype".
Alfredo, Maria Paola and Francesco Stola on 11 May 2005 with no longer any relationship with STOLA s.p.a. they are unexpectedly guests for the personal invitation of Bernd Hoffman CEO of Fulda to the “world premiere”.
He had never visited Berlin and so this city will always be remembered by them for the Maybach Excelero.

04Berlin 11 May 2005 Before the presentation Alfredo Stola meets Jürgen Weissinger.05Berlin May 11, 2005 Alfredo Stola sees Bernd Hoffman again.

06In 2005, after 63 years, the Excelero brand reappears.On this exciting occasion, Alfredo will meet Harald Leschke, Jürgen Weissinger, Rene Staud and Bernd Hoffman again.
The show organized by Fulda is worthy of a Las Vegas show, and the quality of the “running prototype” created is extraordinary.

07Berlin May 11, 2005. Bernd Hoffman presents the Maybach Excelero running prototype at the world premiere.


Between 1995 and 26 July 2004 ,STOLA s.p.a built over fifty production car models for the Mercedes Style Center , these were "see through", "full", "aerodynamic", "scale" and "interior" exterior models.
An extraordinary breadth of work in which design was always provided by the Mercedes Style Centers, initially under the direction of Bruno Sacco, and from 1999 onwards by Peter Pfeiffer.
Designers were sent from the styling centers around the world to take up residency at the Rivoli model shop.

01Bruno Sacco02Peter Pfeiffer

The Mercedes designer and Stola modellers

03Klaus Busse04Hartmunt Sinkwitz05Steffen Kohel

06Peter Arcadipane07Gorden Wagener08Steve Mattin

09Michael Mauer10Murat Gunak11Cristopher Benjamin

It was often requested of STOLA s.p.a. to build more and more different models for the same car "Class".
Over time, among the Mercedes designers and Stola modelers, valued personal relationships and mutual technical appreciations were formed.
Speed and quality, combined with the harmony between colleagues allowed every possible change requested by the customer to be implemented, reinforcing the mutual esteem between the management of Sindelfingen and that of Rivoli.

121996 Rivoli a souvenir photo with the three designers Klaus Busse, Hartmunt Sinkwitz and
Steffen Kohel sitting on the floor The modelers of the Stola recognize themselves Ardagna,
Badino, A. Porzio, Samuelli, G. Federico, Domenino, Cena, Tassone, Sbeghen.

13Stola modelers who worked for Mercedes between 1994 and 2004.14Stola modelers who worked for Mercedes between 1994 and 2004.

15October 2000. Alpignano railway station. The group of modelers of the Stola on an award trip to the Paris Motor Show with the opportunity to see the Smart Coupè

16Rivoli 1998. Some modelers of STOLA s.p.a. together with Mercedes designer Marcello Sordo during the development of the future medium-duty M2 106 of the Freightliner. We recognize Della Rocca, Marcello Sordo, Cogerino, x, y, w.

It is difficult to recall in detail all the production styling models made in nine years, both exteriors and interiors, but many were for the "C-Class" Mercedes.
It is impossible (and futile) to say which of these style models built at Rivoli eventually went into production.
The reason is that once transported to Sindelfingen they competed with the many other models built internally by Mercedes.
Among these many works, in a sector that was more "Concept" than "Production" we cannot forget 3 advanced concepts, truck cabs for South America, an interior that was perhaps the first in the world completely designed and built for "Full Ambient Light" and a SLK, never revealed in public which was the embryo of the B-Class.



1996 in Rivoli in Stola spa six different style models of the C-Class SportCoupè W203 are produced at the same time

181996 in Rivoli in Stola s.p.a. the style model of this CL C 215 was not built but the master mathematical verification including the mathematics of surfaces created with the Mercedes stylist alongside.

1996 Rivoli in Stola s.p.a. two proposals of style models of the SL-Class R 230 are made.

201997 Rivoli in Stola s.p.a. the model of the SLK R 170 in spider version is not built but yes, a beautiful Shooting-Brake version. It never went into production.

Half 1997 in Stola s.p.a. two proposals of style models of the C-Class estate W 203 are made.

End of 1997 in Stola s.p.a. two proposals of style models of the type Viano W 639 are made.

23Rivoli 1998 in Stola s.p.a. a style model proposal for the future Freightliner M2 106 truck is created. The style is from the Mercedes Benz Design Center.

Rivoli 1999 in Stola s.p.a. two exterior styling models and one interior of the E-Class W 211 are finished.

1999 in Stola s.p.a. two proposals of style models of the restyling of the CLK W209 are made.

27Rivoli 2000 in Stola s.p.a. a very "Concept" style model of the B Class W 245 is created for the Mercedes Style Center to create the versions for actual production.

Rivoli 2000 in Stola s.p.a. a style model of the exterior and interior of the Smart Roadster is created aimed at production.

Rivoli in June 2000 is made only one model of outdoor style of the S-Class W221. A few months later a particular concept was created for the Como Style Center of interiors designed for an innovative "Full Ambient Light".

Rivoli 2001 in Stola s.p.a. Three style models of the CLS C219 are made. First two sedans and then a station wagon. The sedan style model chosen was used by Mercedes to build the CLS Vision in Sindelfingen then presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003. The conceptual idea of the Shooting-Brake it was then revived many years later on the next series X218 presented in 2012 at the Paris Motor Show.


Rivoli 2001 in Stola s.p.a. four style models of the ML-Class W164 are produced simultaneously, one of which with an even longer wheelbase.

In March 2004, Alfredo Stola, as on many other occasions,was called to Germany by Peter Pfeiffer. The reason was the future model of the W212 E-Class.
We agreed to produce three style proposals as soon as possible to "See Through in Hard Material" models.
These three production models were finished at the end of June of the same year, and would also be the last ones personally followed by Alfredo before leaving the presidency of STOLA s.p.a.

Rivoli June 2004 in Stola s.p.a. two style models of the E-Class W 212 are finished.


35The symbol of the Stola s.p.a. "no style design" guarantee of neutrality towards all the Style Centers in the world.Ten exciting and unforgettable years, important work carried out with, and for extraordinary people.
Dozens, dozens and dozens of show cars and models built under the total stylistic direction of the Mercedes Design Centers have made this work experience unique.

The aquaintances and friendships formed with great car professionals received either in Rivoli's model shop, or Mercedes global headquarters, during the execution of over eighty projects, including show cars, concepts and production models, will remain forever in the memory.
With the occasion of the centenary, the "100 Years of Work of the Stola Family", it is a duty to remember these people:

Bruno Sacco, Harald Leschke, Peter Pfeiffer, Gorden Wagener, Steffen Khoel, Jürgen Weissinger, Peter Arcadipane, Klaus Busse, Hartmut Sinkwitz, Michael Mauer, Steve Mattin, Andrea Deufel, Gerhard Honer, Joseph Gallitzendorf, Sielaf, Mürat Gunak Franz Lecher, Jürgen Hubbert, Dieter Zetsche, Antony Lou, Hans Dieter Futchik, Karl Henz Bauer, Hans Jooss, Olivier Boulay, Arno Jambor, Andreas Langenbeck, Johann Tomforde, Gerhard Steinle, Jürgen Bollmann, Verena Close, Stefan Sielaff, Michele Paganetti, Benjamin Dimson, Christopher Rhoades, Rood. Michael Fink, Uwe Haller, Gunter Holzel, Thomas Hase, Antony Lo, Kramer e Mark Fetherson, Hainz Jurgen Neu, Roland Schowob, Gary Jary Jackson, Uwe Frederking, Gerhard Hauser, Norbert Braun, Hans Peter Jordan, Jurgen Benkwitz, Jens Martens, Frank Roth, Mark Porter, Andreas Fischer, Stephan Domin, Uwe Escher, Martin Hart, Rolf Kimmerle, Sven Lange, Gerd Seiderfaden, Thomas Wunderlik, Simone Graf, Ertelt Carsten, Hans Günter Möller, these were the men of Mercedes, Smart e Maybach in this era.

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