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History of Mercedes Benz

"Das Beste oder nichts", German for The "best or nothing" is the slogan for car manufacturer Mercedes Benz. They make up one third of the "German big 3" luxury car makers, and along with BMW and Audi make the best selling luxury cars in the world. With it's brand name appearing initially in 1926, Mercedes-Benz boasts a rich history of innovation and business and marketing talent, which has hoisted them to the top of the automobile industry. Instead of giving you a standard history lesson on the topic, we've rummaged around to find the lesser known facts alongside some pivotal moments in the history of Mercedes-Benz.

1897: Emil Jellinek, a wealthy European entrepreneur who designed the first modern car engine, named it after his 9 year old daughter, Mercedes, and so the name was born.

1923: The renowned Kompressor is designed and developed by Ferdinand Porsche- and yes he also founded Porsche in  1931.

1924: Mercedes-Benz developed the first passenger road car to have brakes on all four wheels of the vehicle.

1930: During the 30s, Mercedes-Benz produced their 770 model which reached it's popularity during the Nazi period. It was this model that Adolf Hitler drove during his time in power with the addition of bullet proof windscreens. 

1955: This year marks the date of the Le Mans disaster when a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR rammed an Austin Healey. The Austin flipped into the stands killing over 80 spectators. This prompted Mercedes-Benz to withdraw from motorsports for a considerable amount of time.

1976: Mercedes unveils their first station wagon, the W123, with a production run that lasted until 1986.

1978: Mercedes produce their first turbo diesel, the 300SD, with a top speed of 103mph.

1980: Only two years after producing a car that’s top speed was 103 mph, Mercedes-Benz built the world's first robot car, capable of speeds over 110mph. This car was tested on the Autobahn in Germany, where high speeds are permitted, and it's abilities have gone on to influence robot car research on a global scale.

1981: The European market first sees the introduction of the air bag. The first model to be equipped with air bags was the S-Class. After more than 250 vehicle crash tests, 2,500 sled tests and over seven million kilometres of trials in test cars, the airbag was finally ready for production in December 1980 when it celebrated its world premiere together with another innovation, the seat belt tensioner, in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. 

1987: Over 30 years after the Le Mans disaster, Mercedes-Benz made a bold come-back to Le Mans, and also competed in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DMT) and Formula One. 

1999: Mercedes-AMG intergrates with Daimler Chrysler and becomes Mercedes-Benz AMG on 1st January 1999.

2005: Mercedes-Benz introduced 3 new bicycles in 2005, and went on to produce the 'Foldingbike' in 2007. They also produced the Mercedes-Benz Carbon Bike, the Trekking Bike, the Fitness Bike, and the Trailblazer Bike.

2007: In 2007, McLaren-Mercedes was fined a record 100 million dollars for stealing confidential data from Ferrari in the Contructors Championship. 

2008: Mercedes-Benz flaunt seven hybrid models at the Frankfurt Motor show. These included the  F700 concept car with a hybrid-electric drivetrain featuring the DiesOtto engine, and the looks of a car that James Bond would be proud to drive. 

2009: Mercedes-Benz damaged their track record yet again with another record-breaking fine of 30.66 million dollars for their decision to not meet the corporate average fuel economy standard. As a result, some Mercedes-Benz cars, including AMG models sold in the United States, face an additional gas guzzler tax.  

2014: On the up side, a study carried out by Reuters concluded that Mercedes have the lowest vehicle recall rate. 

Trivia time! Did you know...

  • The three pointed star that is the Mercedes-Benz logo represents 'land, sea and air'.
  • Mercedes have won a total of 35 F1 Grands Prix, where they took part as either a constructor or as an engine supplier.
  • Mercedes and Benz joined forces over 88 years ago.
  • The oldest known Mercedes in the world is 99 years old.
  • A slightly modified version of the first M-Class was attacked by two T-Rexs in Jurassic Park and survived….just about!
  • Mercedes-Bez has naming rights to 3 stadiums – The Superdome, New Orleans, America; The Arena, Shanghai, China and The Stadium of Bundesliga, Stuttgart, Germany.
  • 19.4 million Mercedes cars have been sold in the last 100 years- a tribute to leaders of the automotive industry.

Offbeat  10/10/2014 13:24:43

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