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Mercedes-Benz: A German stroke of genius

Written by Melvin Brown

Apr 23, 2022

April 23, 2022

Mercedes-Benz: A German stroke of genius

Mercedes-Benz: A German stroke of genius

The very apt slogan for the world’s largest (and oldest) manufacturer of premium vehicles is — The Best or Nothing.

In 2018, Mercedes-Benz sold 2.31 million passenger cars.

To understand the German carmaker’s philosophy, it is necessary to look at how the company started.

The beginning

Mercedes-Benz originated with Karl Benz’s internal combustion-engine car of January 1886, Gottlieb Daimler’s skills, and Wilhelm Maybach’s stagecoach.

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Bertha and Carl Benz married on 20 July 1872. In his memoirs, Benz wrote: With this step, an idealist is at my side who knows what she wants, from the small and narrow to the grand, clear, and vast.

Bertha Benz’s dowry financed the first car on the planet.

Karl Benz submitted a patent application for his vehicle with gas engine operation to the Imperial Patent Office on 29 January 1886. Today, we regard this patent specification (Patent-Motorwagen or Patent Motor Car) as the birth certificate of the automobile.

The first motorcar ran on a volatile petroleum spirit named ligroin, not petrol.

First automobile endurance event

A formidable woman, Bertha Benz and her two sons (Eugen, 15 and Richard, 14) drove the third version of Patent Motor Car from Mannheim to Pforzheim. The 100 km trip was her contribution to demonstrate the motor car’s practicality… and she wanted to visit her mother.

The world’s first truck

Benz released the world’s first truck on 1 October 1896. Equipped with a rear-end 2-cylinder Phoenix engine, it developed four hp and could carry 1500 kg.

The world’s first truck

Benz released the world’s first truck on 1 October 1896. Equipped with a rear-end 2-cylinder Phoenix engine, it developed four hp and could carry 1500 kg.

Daimler and Maybach

Gottlieb Daimler (born 17 March 1834 in Schorndorf, Germany) trained as a gunsmith and attended the Polytechnic School in Stuttgart from 1857. He worked as a drafter in Geislingen. Later, he became workshop inspector in Reutlingen and this is where he met Wilhelm Maybach.

Wilhelm Maybach (born 9 February 1846 in Heilbronn, Germany) was a world-renowned designer, industrialist and famous for his high-speed internal combustion engines. In the Second World War, his company (Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH) manufactured engines for the Tiger tank and Zeppelin airships.

Daimler and Maybach formed Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG), and in 1909 registered both a three-pointed and four-pointed star as trademarks. Both are legally protected, but from 1910 onwards, the famous three-pointed star became the sole DMG emblem.

Who was Mercedes?

In 1902, Emil Jellinek (a European automobile entrepreneur who worked with DMG) registered the trademark Mercedes — named after his daughter Mercedes Jellinek. The 1901 model, with a 35 hp engine, first carried the Mercedes name.

The first Mercedes Benz was an instant hit at the March 1901 Nice Race Week — it was light and powerful, unlike any predecessor.

Daimler-Benz AG

In June 1926, the two oldest automotive manufacturers (Benz & Co. and DMG) merged to form Daimler-Benz AG. The new company combined the three-pointed star emblem with the now-famous words Mercedes and Benz.

The October 1926 Berlin Motor Show displayed the fledgling company’s first joint project, a passenger car with the Mercedes-Benz name.

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The pre-war racing era

In the 1930s, Mercedes-Benz joined forces with Rudolf Caracciola, who became the decade’s most prominent German racing driver. He won various titles in Mercedes-Benz racing cars, including three European Championships.

This decade, Mercedes-Benz fielded their legendary range of compressor cars (K, S, SS and SSK). In 1931, Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the Mille Miglia in the 221 kW SSKL — a legendary feat for the time.

The Mercedes W 25 that powered Rudolf Caracciola to his first championship win had the fantastic M 25 inline six-cylinder engine, continuously improved until 1936. It peaked at 363 kW.

The W 25 also gave the marque its racing nickname, The Silver Arrows.

In 1934, the Grand Prix competition rules stated a maximum car weight of 750 kg. To quickly comply with the regulation, Mercedes engineers stripped the cars of their body paint.

The resultant bare-metal cars famously dominated the Grand Prix scene. To this day, German racing cars tend to be silver.

Caracciola set numerous speed records. He reached an unbelievable 432.7 km/h on a standard motorway in January 1938 — his record stood for 80 years.

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Mercedes-benz legends

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The classic SL

The famous Mercedes SL (super-light) series is the result of motorsport involvement in 1952.

The 300 SL achieved tremendous international success, winning the 24 Hours of Le MansCarrera Panamericana, and many other races. Drivers such as Rudolf Caracciola, Karl Kling and Hermann Lang were masterful in the 300 SL.

The SL had a lightweight roll cage, magnesium-aluminium body and powerful six-cylinder engine. Many people regard the 1954 standard production version as one of the most beautiful cars ever built.

The beautiful Mercedes 230SL (also called the Pagoda) became the first cabriolet featuring a safety body (a rigid passenger cell with fore and aft impact crumple zones).

With the 2012 SL-series, Mercedes-Benz introduced the first all-aluminium body for large-scale production. It saved 140 kg in weight.

As an illustration of the SL’s loyalty base, the R 107 (280 SL – 560 SL) had an 18-year continuous production run — a company record for a passenger car, except for the G-Class SUV.

The 600

The legendary Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100) was an ultra-luxury car produced from 1963 to 1981 and the forerunner to the current Maybach. For decades, the 600 Grosse Mercedes (Grand Mercedes) technical marvel was the favourite mode of transport for celebrities and state heads.


An implement-carrying tractor, truck and virtually unstoppable in any terrain — the Unimog (Universal Motorised Working Machine) celebrated its 75th anniversary on 9 October 2021.

Since its inception, the four even-sized wheels, four-wheel drive and capable differential locks have given the Unimog legendary off-road capability.

The vehicle’s high payload, ability to power almost any ancillary implement at the front, middle or rear, and high road speed have made it a firm favourite. Farmers, the military, emergency services, government services, the police, and explorers — anyone that needs the most capable and robust vehicle buys a Unimog and have done so for 75 years.


Mercedes-Benz competes in the ultra-luxury segment with the famous Mercedes-Maybach S600 sedan and the GLS 600 SUV. The Maybach series is the ultimate expression of luxury, quality, and safety.

It fills the shoes of the legendary Mercedes 600 and old Maybach — a favourite to the marque’s rich, famous and VIP clientele.

The Mercedes-Benz influence in automotive history is evident.

The company’s adherence to The Best or Nothing – moto has ensured a steady supply of dependable, innovative, and safe vehicles to the motoring world.

Karl Benz’s Patent Motor Car of 1886 was a stroke of genius.

Does your Mercedes have an unexpected windscreen crack and needs a car glass replacement?

Our mobile service is on offer all year round from 9 AM until 5 PM, and our specialists will drive to any area which we can reach on land or via a bridge.

Find your instant quote and book online on UK Car Glass .


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