Mercedes-Benz: History & Cars


Mercedes-Benz can trace its heritage back to the dawn of motoring when Daimler-Benz produced the world's first internal combustion engine in 1885. The name Mercedes came from the daughter of one of Benz's directors and was officially adopted in 1926, bringing together the two names.

From the 1930s a stream of amazing models has continued to flow from the German giant including the great pre-WW2 cars, 300SL, giant 600 and modern S-Class models. Today the company continues to lead the world in automotive engineering and quality after its recent merger with US giant Chrysler.

Gottlieb Daimler and his partner Wilhelm Maybach developed at their workshop in Bad Cannstatt a high-speed petrol engine which they fitted to a carriage in 1886. In 1900 an Austrian businessman living in Nice, Emil Jellinek, who had bought a Daimler in 1896 and then sold a few to his friends, persuaded Daimler to design something new. When the car, named Mercédès after Jellinek’s daughter, was shown at 'Nice Week' in March 1901, it caused a sensation. Featuring a pressed-steel chassis giving a low build, mechanically operated inlet-valves for better engine control, a gate gearchange for ease of use, and a honeycomb radiator, the overall refinement of the Mercédès was immediately recognised.

The cars were bought by the elite of the motoring world for touring in the grand manner whilst the Mercédès reputation was further enhanced by winning a number of top rank races including the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup and the French Grand Prix races of 1908 and 1914.

In the difficult German economic climate of the 1920s the Daimler-Mercedes concern and the Benz Company amalgamated in 1926 and the future of these two pioneer marques was secured.

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