There are two schools of thought when it comes to ingenuity: those who believe that innovation stems from careful planning and preparation, allowing for the best optimization of opportunities, and those who consider that spontaneity is paramount in the creative process, and allow ideas to grow in a less structured, more natural progression.
As a company comprised of many individuals, Mercedes-Benz has been able to modify and align both these thought processes to create some of the best vehicles on earth. They engineer for performance, as well as passion, to create the complete driver experience. Read on to learn more about the Mercedes biography and history.
A Brief History of Mercedes
The German automotive brand, now globally known as Mercedes-Benz, first appeared in 1926 under the name of Daimler-Benz. This original permutation resulted from a combination of expertise: the Mercedes, an automobile model first produced by DMG (Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft) in 1901, and the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen from Carl Benz. The Benz car has frequently been cited as the world’s first gasoline-powered car.
Gottlieb Daimler, born in 1834, is a crucial part of the Mercedes biography. He honed his expertise with extensive technical training and experience before eventually producing his signature contribution to the automotive industry. Although originally a gunsmith by trade, he completed his education at the Polytechnic School in Stuttgart, afterwards working first as a draftsman, then a Technical Director, before his innovative spirit drove him to independently develop his own low-weight internal combustion engine, today known as the “Grandfather Clock” engine. In 1890, to fund his quest to revolutionize vehicle engines, he joined Max Duttenhofer and Wilhelm Maybach to form DMG.
Wilhelm Maybach, hailed as the “King of Designers,” was the original engineer, designer, and industrialist for the DMG engine company. A central contributor to the creation of the Otto cycle engine, one of the world’s first four-stroke cycle gas internal combustion engines, he and his near-lifelong friend Daimler began their own company with two intentions: to improve upon the existing four-stroke design and to abandon the stifling limitations of the engine’s contemporary, stationary design and prepare it for vehicle installation.
Carl Benz, a pinnacle part of the Mercedes biography, was educated as a mechanical engineer and worked as a locksmith, designer, and workshop foreman. He took sole control of his own company in 1878, which he dedicated to work on a gas-driven two-stroke engine designed for installation in moving vehicles.
The first Benz Patent Motor Car was seen in 1886, reached only 400 rpm, and had three wheels with a single-wheel front axis. After multiple failed attempts to locate business partners who shared his engineering acumen and visionary passion for implementing vehicle engines, he at last started the company “Carl Benz Sohne” (Carl Benz & Sons) in 1906. Two decades later, in 1926, this company evolved into a precursor of the Mercedes-Benz we know today, the Daimler-Benz AG Company.
Original, Iconic Designs
Following the innovative Grandfather Clock engine design, Maybach designed the Phoenix engine that featured a single block cylinder casting, camshaft controlled exhaust valves, a spray-nozzle carburetor, and improved belt drive. This 2-cylinder, 4-horsepower Phoenix engine was a crucial part of the Mercedes biography and was featured in the world’s first automotive truck, developed by DMG and delivered to London (the center of demand, at that time, for a truck with a cargo-load capacity of 1500 kg) in 1896.
The first model of Mercedes, named for the daughter of one of its patron automotive entrepreneurs who became single-handedly responsible for the model’s mass production, made its debut later, at the “Nice Race Week” in March 1901. It has since been hailed as the first contemporary automobile. The three pointed star, now known worldwide as the contemporary logo of the Mercedes-Benz company, was first patented and placed to adorn hoods of the DMG company in 1910.
The first jointly developed passenger vehicles associated with the Mercedes biography were seen in the 1926 automotive show: the W02 (2-liter, 3/38 HP) and W03 (3-liter, 12/55 HP) models.
The Effects of World Wars
In the economic crash following the First World War, the United States underwent its first economic depression of a nationwide scale. In Europe, businesses underwent a similarly difficult, if less universally recognized, period of hardship. It was during this period that the Mercedes biography shows that the Benz company bought controlling shares in DMG, successfully merging the two automotive powerhouses.
It was also during this time that the Nazi party took control of Germany, the geographic base for both businesses. In the years that followed, a Second World War overtook the developed world, and governmental interests superseded economic power.
The Role of the Mercedes Biography in World War II
In Germany, the Mercedes-Benz company rose to contemporary power for its association with Hitler. Rarely did the charismatic leader make an appearance at that period without his traditionally established arrival — in a Mercedes-Benz, surrounded by bulletproof glass.
The German population of the time, whether inspired by infatuation or fear, boosted the Mercedes brand name to a near monopolistic domination of their domestic market. As of 1988, the Mercedes-Benz company had designated over $12 million (not accounting for inflation) in reparations to the families of the 46,000 forced laborers present in their factories during the Nazi war efforts.
In more recent years, Mercedes-Benz began catering to a more benign leader. The Pope has often been seen riding in a modified Mercedes vehicle throughout the years, made specifically for his needs.
Reaching the Global Market
Although both the cars and company began to grow in success, as well as prestige over the next few decades of the Mercedes biography, vehicles bearing the Mercedes-Benz name were rarely seen — and even more rarely recognized — outside of Germany before 1936.
When Mercedes-Benz vehicles began to appear outside of Germany during the late 30s and early 40s, the first American importations didn’t begin until 1952, under the guidance of Max Hoffman. Hoffman, an Austrian-born American businessman, became one of the most influential importers of luxury European automobiles in the 1950s.
Hoffman’s Role in the Mercedes Biography
While Hoffman is known to have been the source of Volkswagen imports in the Eastern United States from 1950 to 1953, as well as the sole BMW importer from the mid-1960s through 1975, Hoffman is most famous for his influence in the popularization of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing.” Following his recommendation of the model, over 1,400 units were sold in the US
At the time, this made the 300SL the first Mercedes-Benz to achieve commercial success outside of Germany, with the additional effect of solidifying the reputation of the Mercedes-Benz brand as a manufacturer of high-quality, high-performance luxury sports vehicles. Contributing to its marketing success, the 300SL was the first automotive to utilize newly available fuel injection technology.
Following the initial commercial success of the brand in the United States, an American subsidiary of the Daimler-Benz AG Company was started. In 1965, following a 1957 decision to expand the company’s position across the Atlantic through a distribution agreement with the Studebaker-Packard Corporation, the Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc. was created. The name was later changed to its current iteration, Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC.
Novelization of Development
The 1960s, commonly recognized as a decade ruled by both the interior and exterior development of muscle cars, was an era of change in the Mercedes biography. Mercedes AMG, a specialized high-performance division, was formed in 1967 by Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher, a pair of engineers working on the 300SE racing engine for Daimler-Benz at the time when the company suspended its racing related development projects.
Their reputation for optimizing the power and performance of novel engine designs was solidified when the 300SE roared to 10 victories in the German Touring Car Championship. The division was named for the two men (Aufrecht and Melcher) and the German village of Großaspach. The first car credited to the division was the 300SEL 6.3 V8 Saloon, introduced in 1968.
Melcher and Aufrecht in the Mercedes Biography
Initially, Melcher and Aufrecht work took the form of an independent engineering firm under the name of “Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach engineering firm, design and testing for the development of racing engines.” Over the next two decades, AMG produced exclusive performance packages for the Mercedes-Benz line, including engines, wheels, and styling options.
They began independent engine manufacturing facility in 1984 when Melcher developed an independent cylinder head with four valves or cylinder. During this period, AMG was also responsible for “The Hammer,” an E-class coupe with a 5.0-liter V8 developed by their company. Daimler-Benz and AMG began to collaborate in the latter portion of the 1980s, when the produced the 190 race car, which achieved 50 DTM victories between 1988 and
1993. An official contract was formed between the two companies in 1990, and in 1999, and AMG was officially incorporated into the Daimler-Benz name.
The Modernization of Daimler Benz
Independent of AMG, the Daimler-Benz company conducted their own modernization over the next few decades. Both the SL and SLC 107 lines, widely considered to be the most popular in the company’s history, were introduced during this time period. The R107 and C107 were destined to become the second longest running line of the Mercedes-Benz brand, produced from 1971 to 1989.
The SL and SLC Class
Both models, ironically, were composed of pretested components: they combined the chassis of the iconic, though eventually less publically acclaimed, W114 model to the M116 and M117 engines. The SLC derivative of the C107 is commonly referred to as the first instance of a coupe model based on the SL platform, previously exclusively used for roadsters. The US versions of these lines were sold using the smaller, 4.5 liter engine, however, they also contained an early variant of electronic engine management system known as the Bosch D Jetronic fuel injection system.
After 1974 in the Mercedes biography, it was possible to order these cars with a 2.8 liter straight six engine (known as the 280 SL/SLC), and later versions also included the Bosch K variant of fuel injection system.
The G Class
In addition to the S-Class and the SL and SLC 107 lines, the G-Class was soon introduced in the 1970s. Sometimes shortened to G-Wagen (a shortening of the German term Geländewagen, or “cross-country wagon”) or Puch G, the G-Class was originally developed, upon suggestion from the Shah of Iran as a military vehicle.
When used in such a capacity, the G-Class has been referred to as “The Wolf.” According to the Mercedes biography, it first appeared as a vehicle available to civilians in 1979. The G-Class did not make a commercially available appearance in the United States until 2002, however. For the connoisseur, “grey-market” models of the G-Class were available in the United States as early as the 1990s, although these were often sold for over $100,000 given the time’s limited supply and demand.
Modern Vehicles for Modern Concerns
In the 1980s, modern interest turned from muscle cars to modern cars, with the individual consumer more concerned with their environmental impact and fuel emissions than personal vehicular power.
The Mercedes-Benz brand became one of the first contemporary automotive companies to acknowledge and adapt to this commercial demand, responding to and complying with environmental concerns as early was 1981 with the innovative introduction of the closed loop three-way catalytic converter, as well as filters for oil and air intake and exhaust ports. The E-Class and C-Class lines also made their official, commercial debut during the 1990s, expanding the presence of the Mercedes-Benz brand as a publicly available vehicle for luxury sports car consumers.
Recent Additions to the Mercedes Biography
Mercedes-Benz hasn’t been idle since the turn of the century. They’ve been furthering their environmental goals with the BlueTech system which was introduced in 2005 to continue reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. The ultra-luxury Mercedes-Maybach line, available under the Mercedes-Benz name until 2013, may now be found marketed under the exclusive Mercedes-Maybach title. Further collaboration is being conducted with a Chinese market brand to produce a commercially available electric vehicle under the name of Denza.
The Perfect Mercedes for You
The Mercedes biography spans over 100 years, delivering the unmatched pinnacle of power and performance in sports luxury vehicles to their consumers worldwide. Today, thanks to market globalization and a growing concern for quality of life supported by the availability of first-world amenities, the Mercedes-Benz experience is available to the extraordinary customer, like you.
Explore the Mercedes-Benz selection at Falcon Luxury and Exotic Car Rental today to learn more about our offerings.