Mercedes-Benz seems to be a brand with the most transparent reputation. But when it comes to history, there are curious facts most Mercedes owners do not know.
The industry insiders from the Indy Auto Man dealership share surprising and entertaining actuality about this German car brand widely represented in their Indianapolis stock.
The founders never met
Karl Benz and his colleague Gottlieb Daimler – today, these two names seem inseparable from each other – after all, the company that produces Mercedes-Benz cars was called Daimler AG (before 1998 – Daimler-Benz). However, during their lifetime, two brilliant German engineers were not even personally acquainted, although they lived at the same time and were only a few dozens of miles from each other!
And if Karl Benz is rightly considered the creator of the world’s first car (1886), then Gottlieb Daimler is just as rightly known as the author of the first motorcycle – the Daimler Reitwagen, introduced in 1885.
The two paths crossed only in 1926 when Gottlieb had long been dead. To withstand the severe economic crisis conditions reigned in Germany in the 1920s, Benz & Cie and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft merged into one company.
Many US motorists do not know how to pronounce the name of the German mark. The popular version of Mercedes is valid only in colloquial speech. Mercedes-Benz is the only correct name. Just like Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, or Isotta Fraschini.
Another question: why Mercedes-Benz? There are no questions about the second part of the name, but where did Mercedes come from? After all, this name appeared back in 1903.
So Why Mercedes?
Everyone heard something about a girl or a woman named Mercedes, who was either a daughter, a wife, or a mistress to one of the founding fathers. Maybe a Daimler, maybe a Benz.
However, the name Mercedes on Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (or simply DMG) models came from Emil Jellinek, an Austrian businessman and car dealer. He bargained with DMG for the right to christen a new model with the name of his daughter, Mercedes, having promised to buy a large batch of cars.
However, this version is not entirely true because Jellinek’s daughter was named Adriana Manuela Ramona , no hint of Mercedes. And the secret of the origin of the name is that Emil Jellinek himself was slightly out of his mind.
With a beautiful female name Mercedes (translated from Spanish as “merciful”), the Austrian calls, for example, two of his villas in Nice and his yacht. Yes, and his daughter, the same Adriana Manuel Ramon, he also called Mercedes, although she had a completely different entry in her passport. Emil just thought that the word “Mercedes” brought him good luck.
At the end of his life, Emil would even change his surname, officially becoming Mr. Jellinek-Mercedes.
The first of the modern
Mercedes-Benz is also known as the creator of the first modern car. In this case, we are not talking about the 1886 Benz Patentwagen, but about the Mercedes 35 h.p. 1903.
Until the beginning of the 20th century, most cars looked like carriages with motors. Only Mercedes 35 h.p. – the very first Daimler, named after a woman – was molded according to modern recipes. The engine was in front of the passenger compartment and not under it. A long wheelbase and a wide track did not resemble the dimensions of a horse-drawn carriage: wheels of the same diameter in front and behind, a honeycomb-type radiator, and a gear lever in the cabin. All this and much more gave out in 35 h.p. a new generation car.
Historians of Mercedes-Benz insist that the modern history of the car began with the first Mercedes. And with this judgment, perhaps, it is worth agreeing.
Buying a competitor
Today, BMW is considered the main competitor of Mercedes-Benz. And this surprises no one. Another thing is funny: the company acts as if they had long guessed about such a development of events and even tried to prevent it. At least twice in its history, Mercedes-Benz wanted to add the Munich brand to its portfolio. The first time the thought of buying flashed back in the mid-1930s. Then Daimler-Benz saw in BMW the potential of a budget brand specializing in motorcycles and cheaper cars. Plans were interrupted by World War II.
The second try was made in the late 1950s when the position of the Bavarians was very difficult. At the annual meeting of shareholders on December 9, 1959, Hans Veit, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of BMW, announced a proposal to join Daimler-Benz. Only the persistence of dealers and the investment group Quandt, which became one of the leading shareholders of BMW, did not allow this to happen.
And probably, for the better. Otherwise, BMW in the modern world would compete with Opel, Fiat, and scooter manufacturers.