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Karl Benz debuted the world’s first automobile in January 1886. The Benz Patent Motor Car, as it was named, was a three-wheeled vehicle. A few months later Gottlieb Daimler debuted a four-wheeled vehicle, with engineer Wilhelm Maybach, powered by the Daimler engine. The first Mercedes was built right after Daimler died in 1901. Emil Jellinek, a primary distributor for Daimler, commissioned the vehicle to be built by Maybach. The car was named after Jellinek’s daughter Mercedes.
Fast forward to 1926 when the Daimler and Benz companies merged and formed Daimler-Benze AG. This was the conception of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The Mercedes-Benz insignia was dreamt up by Daimler years earlier. A three pointed star wreathed in laurel, the three points signifying an engines use by land, air and sea.
In 1931 Mercedes-Benz distinguished itself in the world, with the Mercedes-Benz 170. The Benz 170 was the first car to offer four-wheel independent suspension. During the 1930’s and 1940’s Mercedes continued to establish itself as the luxury brand of choice for car buyers. The in 1950, Mercedes-Benz debuted the 300SL “Gullwing,” which is touted as being the world’s first sports car. Technology continued to push Mercedes-Benz ahead of the rest. The marques Mercedes-Benz 220 sedans were the first cars to use the patented “crumple zone” body, which upon a crash would absorb the impact.
The in 1963 Mercedes-Benz secured its luxury reputation with the launch of the Mercedes-Benz 600. The 600 featured a futuristic air suspension system and 300-horsepower V8 engine. The next launch was the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 which was a full size sedan that could do zero to 60 in under seven seconds. Making the 300 SEL 6.3 the fastest car in its day.
Safety technology continued throughout the 1970’s with the introduction of anti-lock breaks and the birth of the S-Class range. In the 1980’s the Mercedes-Benz company became the first car manufacturer to offer airbags and traction control. Multilink rear suspension was also introduced and is still a vital component in Mercedes vehicles today. In the 1990’s Mercedes-Benz partnered with AMG which was a performance and tuning shop. Mercedes eventually bought out AMG to help focus on high-performance vehicle production. In 1995, the first AMG model hit the U.S markets. The sporty C36 AMG was well received.
Mercedes-Benz & McLaren
Mercedes-Benz has also designed a sports car with McLaren Cars. The joint-venture is an extension of the collaboration by which Mercedes engines are used by the Team McLaren-Mercedes Formula One racing team, partially owned by Mercedes. The 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren had a carbon fiber body with a 5.4l V8 supercharged engine. This is the same body as featured in SL55 AMG and the CLS55 AMG. The SLR has a maximum speed of 209 mph and costs about $500,000. Unfortunately, McLaren has decided to stop production of the SLR in 2009 because of European pedestrian-protection regulations.
Today Mercedes has a wide range of sedans, coupes, SUVs and roadsters. Mercedes-Benz is still a premier status symbol and a popular culture icon. As Janis Joplin sang it in the 1970’s, “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?”The song holds relevance to this day because Mercedes-Benz is still relevant.