The history of this legendary brand began in 1900, when Emile Jellinek, representative of the French division DMG (Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft), persuaded Wilhelm Maybach to name the company's new car after his daughter, Mercedes. In fact, her name was Adriana Manuela Ramona Jellinek (Adriana Manuela Ramona Jellinek), the nickname Mercedes (Mercedes) was assigned to her in the family circle. In 1902 the title Mercedes became the official trademark of the company.
This one, the very first Mercedes was a racing car that won more than one victory in sports, finding the brand loud fame. Moreover, Jellinek himself sometimes sat behind the wheel. Doing it anonymously, under a pseudonym Monsieur Mercedes - nevertheless, concurrently, he was also a diplomat, which did not fit in well with the career of a race car driver. By the way, in 1903 he officially changed his surname to Jellinek-Mercedes. Thus, he can be safely called a man who literally fashioned this brand with his own hands. Jellinek first encountered DMG in 1890 when he started selling their cars. He constantly bombarded the company's management with advice, sometimes not stinting on strong expressions if he found serious shortcomings in one or another design. Thanks to his efforts, more than a dozen cars were sold DMG, which in those years meant an excellent result. He poured serious sums into the company, on the condition that he be accepted to the board of directors and given the exclusive right to sell cars in some European countries. No wonder Jellinek had such a big influence on Maybach.
That very first Mercedes (Mercedes-Simplex), developed by Maybach under the close supervision of Jellinek, made a splash, developing a fantastic speed of 60 km / h in the competition. The success of the brand was guaranteed. Satisfied Jellinek told the press about the beginning of the "Era of Mercedes".
|Mercedes Simplex 40 PS (1902 - one of the first models)|
However, he did not last long in this era. When in 1907 from DMG Maybach left, the company's management did not want to endure more antics and tyranny of Jellinek, who by that time had become completely unbearable. His contract was terminated. Cars, created according to the concept he thought out, remained the invariable winners of races until the First World War.
After the First World War, in 1926, the unification of Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft with company Benz & Ciefounded by Karl Benz. As a result, there are companies Daimler-Benz (now just Daimler) and car make Mercedes-Benz. A three-pointed star is now framed by a wreath taken from the Benz logo. In the future, this wreath will be abolished into the usual circle, which is still used today. One of the simplest (and recognizable) logos in history has become a symbol of luxury and wealth. In those years, Ferdinand Porsche became the chief engineer of the company, who had yet to become famous as the creator of the famous magnificent sports and tiny cars. Two years later, another, lesser-known but no less talented engineer, Hans Nibel, takes his place.
Thanks to the merger, it was possible not only to survive in the difficult post-war period, but also to rise high again. There's a return Mercedes in car racing. Successful return, it should be noted! In the future, the Nazis did a lot to maintain this success - victories in international sports competitions are important for any totalitarian regime. In those years, Mercedes with a swastika reigned on the tracks. In addition, the new government needed luxury cars, so the company had enough orders. The very first car that Hitler came to power was a Mercedes-Benz 630 convertible, which he “borrowed” from the displaced Hindenburg. In the future, the top of the Reich used the Mercedes-Benz 770 K, which even received an unofficial name. "Uberauto" – "supercar". With the outbreak of World War II, the company switched to military orders.
|Mercedes 300SL "Gullwing" (taken from here)|
After the end of the war, the company's factories were almost completely in ruins. So it took a long time for them to recover. But at the same time, the first post-war Mercedes began to roll off the assembly line as early as 1946. These were small sedans with 38-horsepower engines. The company did not need to restore its glory, so with the reconstruction of the factories, a revival began again Daimler-Benz. By the beginning of the 50s, luxurious hand-assembled limousines were starting to be produced again. In 1954, the 300SL sports coupe appears with doors nicknamed "gull wing" (Gullwing) - this model became one of the most recognizable in those years and in the company's portfolio in general. By that time, Mercedes cars had regained their reputation for luxury. Then there is a rejection of compact dimensions, to which they will return later - in the 80s.
In order to tell about all the magnificent model range of the company, produced both in the pre-war and post-war periods, it would take more than one massive volume. And this encyclopedia will include a wide variety of cars, many of which have become real legends even in the years of production.
In October 1998, an attempt was made on the life of Georgian President E. Shevardnadze. His cortege was fired at first from grenade launchers, and then from automatic weapons. The president was not injured thanks to his armored Mercedes. Company Daimler immediately replaced the crippled car with a new one. They couldn't even imagine a better advertisement. Especially against the background of the tarnished reputation of the brand in 1997, when Princess Diana and all her companions crashed in the W140 model.
By the mid-1950s, the company Daimler-Benz already fully recovered from the upheavals caused by the war. Mercedes are starting to shine on the racetrack again. But the Silver Arrows not only won prestigious awards, but also inscribed a bloody trail in the history of motor racing - during the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1955, a Mercedes W196, driven by Pierre Levegh, at a speed of about 220 km /chas flew to the spectator stands and exploded. 85 people were killed, another 120 were seriously injured. The race was not stopped, so that the crowds of people remained in their places and did not interfere with the work of the doctors who came to the rescue. Victory on the track then went to Jaguar. The catastrophe of 1955 entered the history of motor racing as the worst.
In 1999, at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the company Daimler again expected an unpleasant surprise and again in the form of a "flying" Mercedes. Fortunately, this time there were no casualties. There were aerodynamic problems with the CLR models, which, having accelerated well, simply took off into the air to a decent height, after which they fell down. Such a nuisance happened to two fireballs, and the second one managed to fly a very decent distance. The remaining third car was immediately removed from the track.