Born: 25th November, 1844
Died: 4th April, 1929
Karl Friedrich Benz, sometimes spelt Carl, was born on 25th November, 1844, in Karlsruhe, Germany, was a German engine designer and automobile engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the gasoline-powered automobile.
Other German contemporaries, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, also worked independently on the same type of invention, but Benz patented his work first and, after that, patented all of the processes that made the internal combustion engine feasible for use in automobiles. In 1879 Benz was granted a patent for his first engine, which he designed in 1878.
In 1885, at Mannheim in Germany, Karl Benz created the Motorwagen, the first commercial automobile. It was powered by a four-stroke gasoline engine, which was his own design. He was granted a patent for his automobile which was dated 29th January, 1886. The automobile had three wheels, being steered by the front wheel and with the passengers and the engine being supported by the two wheels in the rear - some now refer to it as the Tri-Car.
Among other things, he invented the speed regulation system known also as an accelerator, ignition using sparks from a battery, the spark plug, the clutch, the gear shift, the water radiator, and the carburetor.
In 1893, Benz also introduced the axle-pivot steering system in his Victoria model. The Benz Victoria was designed for two passengers and intended to be sold for a lower cost to encourage mass production of the automobile. The model was successful with 85 units sold in 1893.
In 1894, Benz improved this design in his new Velo model. This was produced on such a remarkably large scale for the era - 1,200 total from 1894 to 1901 - it may be considered the first production automobile. The Benz Velo also participated in the first automobile race, the 1894 Paris to Rouen Rally.
In 1895, Benz designed the first truck in history, with some of the units later modified by the first bus company: the Netphener, becoming the first buses in history.
In 1896, Karl Benz designed and patented the first internal combustion flat engine with horizontally-opposed pistons. Flat engines with four or fewer cylinders are most commonly called boxer engines, boxermotor in German, and also are known as horizontally opposed engines. This design continues to be used in various, motorcycles, cars, and some high performance engines used in racing cars. During the last years of the nineteenth century, Benz was the largest automobile company in the world with 572 units produced in 1899.
Karl Benz founded the Benz Company, precursor of Daimler-Benz, DaimlerChrysler, and Daimler AG. Before dying he would witness the explosion of automobile use during the 1920s, thanks to his inventions.
Karl Benz died on 4th April, 1929, at his home in Ladenburg, Germany.
For more information about Karl Benz, click here
Born 17th March, 1834
Died: 6th March, 1900
Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler, was born on 17th March, 1834, in Schorndorf (Kingdom of Württemberg), in what is now Germany. Gottlieb Daimler was an engineer, industrial designer and industrialist. He was a pioneer of internal-combustion engines and automobile development.
Daimler and his lifelong business partner Wilhelm Maybach were two inventors whose dream was to create small, high speed engines to be mounted in any kind of locomotion device.
They patented in 1885 a precursor of the modern petrol engine which they subsequently fitted to a two-wheeler, considered the first motorcycle and, in the next year, to a stagecoach, and a boat.
They are renowned as the inventors of this Grandfather Clock engine.
Later, in 1890, they founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG). They sold their first automobile in 1892. Daimler fell ill taking a break from the company and upon his return experienced difficulty with the other stock holders that led to his resignation in 1893 that was reversed in 1894.
Soon Maybach resigned also and he returned at the same time as Daimler. In 1900 Daimler died and Maybach quit DMG in 1907. In 1924, the DMG management signed a long term co-operation agreement with Karl Benz's Benz & Cie., and in 1926 the two companies merged to become Daimler-Benz AG, which is now part of Daimler AG.
Gottlieb Daimler was accepted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1978. Gottlieb Daimler's motto was: "Nothing but the best."
Gottlieb Daimler died on 6th March, 1900, in Cannstatt, Germany.
For more information about Gottlieb Daimler, click here
Born: 9th February, 1846
Died: 29th December, 1929
Wilhelm Maybach, was born on 9th February, 1846, in Heilbronn, Germany. Wilhelm Maybach was an early German engine designer and industrialist. In the 1890s he was hailed in France, then the world centre for car production, as the "King of constructors".
From the late 19th century, Wilhelm Maybach together with Gottlieb Daimler developed light high-speed internal combustion engines suitable for land, water, and air use and these were fitted to the world's first motorcycle and motorboat, and after Daimler's death, to a new automobile introduced in late 1902, the Mercedes model, built to the specifications of Emil Jellinek.
Maybach became technical director of the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, also known as Daimler Motor Company or DMG, but he did not get on well with its chairmen. Maybach left DMG in 1907 to found Maybach-Motorenbau GmbH together with his son Karl in 1909, manufacturing Zeppelin engines. After the Versailles Treaty, they produced large luxury vehicles, branded as Maybach, until the 1940s.
Wilhelm Maybach died on 29th December, 1929, in Stuttgart, Germany.
For more information about Wilhelm Maybach, click here
Born: 6th April, 1853
Died: 21st January, 1918
Emil Jellinek, was born on 6th April, 1853 in Leipzig, Germany.
Seeing an advertisement for a DMG car in the weekly magazine Fliegende Blatter, Jellinek, aged 43, traveled to Cannstatt, Stuttgart in 1896 to find out more about the company and its factory and the designers Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. He placed an order for one of the Daimler cars which was delivered in October of that year.
DMG seemed a reliable enterprise, so Jellinek decided to start selling its cars. In 1898 he wrote to DMG requesting six more cars and to become a DMG main agent and distributor. In 1899 he sold 10 cars and in 1900 29.
Every year in March, the French Riviera celebrated a speed-week, attracting many of the local high-society to races at various locations. In 1899 Jellinek entered his cars in all of them. As the usage of pseudonyms was common, he called his race-team Mercedes and this was visibly written on the cars' chassis. Monsieur Mercedes became his personal alias and he became well known by it in the region. Using the DMG-Phoenix, Jellinek easily won all the races, reaching 35 km/h (22 mph), but he was still not satisfied with the car.
Jellinek came to an agreement with DMG on April 2, 1900 by promising the large sum of 550,000 Goldmark if Wilhelm Maybach would design a revolutionary sports car for him, to be called the Mercedes, of which 36 units had to be delivered before October 15. Jellinek laid down a strict specification for the Mercedes stating "I don't want a car for today or tomorrow, it will be the car of the day after tomorrow". The model would be officially called the Daimler-Mercedes which the DMG chairman accepted readily as it overcame the problem of the Daimler name in France being owned by Panhard & Levassor.
In 1901, the car amazed the automobile world. Jellinek again won the Nice races, easily beating his opponents in all the capacity classes and reaching 60 km/h (37 mph). The director of the French Automobile Club, Paul Meyan, stated: "We have entered the Mercedes era", a sentiment echoed by newspapers worldwide. The records set by the new Mercedes amazed the entire automobile world. DMG's sales shot up, filling its Stuttgart plant to full capacity and consolidating its future as a car making company. The number of employees steadily increased from 340 in 1900 to 2,200 in 1904.
In 1902, on June 23, the company decided to use the Mercedes name as the trademark for its entire automobile production and officially registered it on September 26.
For more information about Emil Jellinek, click here
Mercedes JellinekBorn: 16th September, 1889
Died: 23rd February, 1929
Mercedes Jellinek, was born on 16th September, 1889, in Vienna, Austria, and named Adriana Manuela Ramona Jellinek, although known as Mércédès, (Spanish for grace) she was the daughter of Austrian automobile entrepreneur Emil Jellinek and his wife Rachel Goggmann Cenrobert.
She is best known for her father having Daimler's Mercedes line of cars named after her, beginning with the Mercedes 35 hp model of 1901. Also, at the 1902 Paris Automobile exhibition, her father hung a large picture of her.
Mercedes lived in Vienna, and was notorious for marrying twice scandalously. She played music and had a good soprano voice, but never shared her father's passion for automobiles. She died at the age of 39, on 23rd February 1929, from tuberculosis.
Born: 3rd May, 1849
Died: 5th May, 1944
Bertha Ringer, was born in Pforzheim, Germany on May 3rd, 1849 and was 23 when she married Karl Benz on July 20th, 1872. She passed away on May 5th, 1944, two days after celebrating her 95th birthday in Ladenburg in the state of Baden, where the family finally settled.
History is punctuated by the efforts of women who have made significant contributions to the life's work of their famous husbands. One such figure is Bertha Benz, the resolute lifetime companion of Karl Benz, the father of the automobile. Without her strong will and unshakeable belief in the success of her husband, the Benz company may never have prospered.
Bertha Benz gave her husband all the support she could, driving him on when the brilliant inventor and design engineer suffered serious technical setbacks and increasing self-doubt about the direction his life's work was taking. Her unflinching optimism and ability to find the best solution to difficult situations constantly saw her re-emerge from life's troughs.
Even during the engagement before her marriage to Karl Benz, Bertha made a determined and selfless decision that would prove essential to her husband-to-be. When it emerged that Karl Benz had been maneuvered into a nearly untenable financial situation by a business partner, Bertha Benz barely hesitated before prematurely offering her dowry. Although not a huge amount of money, it was enough to buy out the partner and secure all future decision-making powers for Karl Benz.
Although his work was constantly afflicted by one setback or another, Karl Benz was given strength by Bertha's unshakeable belief in him and his invention, on January 29th, 1886 he applied for a patent for his three-wheeler with a gasoline engine. This represented an important step for mankind, one in which Bertha Benz played a considerable role. The patent specification is recognized today as the birth certificate of the automobile.
The dynamic Bertha reasoned that the only way to convince people of the actual performance of the motor car was to prove it to them in practice. In the early hours of an August morning in 1888, without the knowledge of her husband, she set off in Karl's three-wheeler with the couple's two sons, Eugen (15) and Richard (14), on the 106km journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim.
On reaching Wiesloch the three adventurers stopped off at a chemist's shop to fill up with "ligroin" - as gasoline was still known at the time. In Bruchsal the services of a blacksmith were required to repair the drive chain; in Bauschlott a shoe smith fitted new leather to the brake shoes - and an interim report was sent by telegram to Carl Benz. At regular intervals Bertha Benz also had to unblock the fuel line using a hat pin. And she sacrificed one of her stocking garters to insulate the ignition. But these were mere minor inconveniences.
As darkness fell, the intrepid trio arrived safe and sound in Pforzheim. They then sent Karl a telegram to tell him that they had arrived and that the first long-distance journey undertaken in his motor car had been successfully completed. Three days after this pioneering achievement, the three of them drove safely back to Mannheim. News of this sensational event spread like wildfire. Two children and a woman in a hissing, snarling horseless carriage - it had to be the work of the devil incarnate! Yet Bertha Benz had achieved what she had set out to do. The critics were won over by the reliability of the Benz motor car.
Karl Benz later wrote in his memoirs: "Only one person stood by me during those times when I was heading towards the abyss. That was my wife. With her bravery and courage she could always find new hope."
On April 2, 2008, a school in Wiesloch, not far from the town's chemist's shop, was renamed "Bertha Benz School".
To mark the 120th anniversary of this pioneering achievement, the town of Pforzheim unveiled a sculptured monument in honor of Bertha Benz and the first long-distance trip in automotive history on 3rd May, 2008. The celebrations were attended by her great-granddaughter Jutta Benz. The sculpture was created by the Pforzheim artist René Dantes.
The sculpture is designed entirely from stainless steel. The upper part - the female figure - has a satin finish, whereas the lower part - the vehicle - has a dark brown patina that seemingly anchors the artwork in the past. It is mounted on a platform of real cobblestones that originate from the era of Bertha Benz. The sculpture is approximately 2.40 meters high and 3.40 meters long, or four meters including the plinth. This makes it slightly larger than the original Benz patent motor car, but it was deemed important for the work to "dominate the square and be easily noticeable, even at a distance," explained Dantes. The artwork was funded by Verkehrsverein Pforzheim, with the assistance and support of many of the town's inhabitants, public figures and sponsors.
In a letter, Gottlieb Daimler wrote to his wife in the 1870's, was a historically significant remark. On a panoramic postcard of Cologne, Gottieb Daimler traced a three pointed star, writing: "one day this star will shine over our triumphant factories".
The motto inspired Daimler and Maybach to use petrol engines in three ways, on land, water and air.
Daimler's star became the trademark of DMG-Mercedes.
On 1st May 1924, owing to economic necessity after World War I, DMG-Mercedes and Benz & Cie. entered into an "Agreement of Mutual Interest" valid until the year 2000. On the 28th June, 1926, DMG-Mercedes merged with Benz & Cie. The Mercedes logo was introduced at that time, with an addition of the Benz laurel wreath to signify the union of the two firms. The current, plain ring enclosing a star was first seen in 1937.
For more information about the company logo, click here
The hyphenated brand name
The hyphenated brand name Mercedes-Benz, was established after that merger of DMG-Mercedes with Benz & Cie.
The brand name Daimler had been licensed for use on other automobiles in France and the United Kingdom, and was therefore not available to Daimler-Benz. Instead, the name of its seminal Mercedes model designed by Maybach over twenty years before was chosen for the DMG portion of the new brand. Thus, Mercedes-Benz became the brand name applied to one of the models of the new firm. Because of its eponymous tie to Karl Benz and his early vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is also the name of the world's oldest continuously produced automobile line.
For more information about the Mercedes-Benz name, click here
Mercedes-Benz, the world's oldest automobile maker, can look back on a unique tradition. Today it is the core brand of the Mercedes Car Group.
Mercedes-Benz stands for modern, innovative automobiles, for quality, safety and comfort. Mercedes-Benz enjoys an excellent reputation, particularly in the area of safety technology.
Many pioneering technical innovations that are standard automotive features today were first seen in a Mercedes-Benz car.
Brands & Products
The products supplied by the Mercedes-Benz Cars division range from the high-quality small cars of the smart brand to the premium automobiles of the Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Benz McLaren brands and to the Maybach luxury sedans.
Most of these vehicles are produced in Germany, but the division also has production facilities in the United States, France, South Africa, Brazil, India, Vietnam and Indonesia, and since the year 2005 also in China.
Worldwide, Mercedes-Benz Cars has 17 production sites. Its most important markets in 2007 were Germany with 27% of unit sales, the other markets of Western Europe (34%), the United States (19%) and Japan (4%).
The Maybach name stands for one of the most luxurious and exclusive cars in the world.
Since 2002, the Maybach 57 and the Maybach 62 have carried on the illustrious tradition of Maybach, which, along with Mercedes-Benz, was one of the elite carmakers in Germany and internationally in the 1920s and 1930s.
In 2005, Maybach added the Type 57 Special high-performance luxury sedan to its model family.
The first smart was delivered in October 1998.
Since that time, the newest car brand in Europe has been introduced into 36 markets worldwide, with total sales of more than 850,000 vehicles.
Thanks to its extraordinary design and uniquely creative concept, the smart has long since achieved cult status. Driving a smart is perceived as an expression of personality, joie de vivre and lifestyle.
Automobile enthusiasts the world over are familiar with the catchy ring of the AMG name. The letters do not stand for "Affalterbacher Motoren-Gesellschaft", but for the company founder Hans Werner Aufrecht, his companion Erhard Melcher, and Aufrecht's place of birth, Grossaspach.
Founded in 1967 as a racing engine forge, AMG soon saw owners of Mercedes' sedans queuing up for the high HP-engines for their luxury vehicles. Success was not long in coming - AMG ultimately faced very little competition in this segment.
Mercedes-AMG GmbH. Based on Mercedes-Benz's core values - quality, security, comfort and environmental friendliness - the same high standards that apply for any other vehicle with the famous star are brought to bear during the development and production of every AMG high-performance automobile. Since each AMG model is a genuine Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-Benz's extensive servicing and warranty services are also available for vehicles with the AMG logo.
The above was made possible by the early involvement of Mercedes Car Group in the strategy and product phases. From the beginning of the design stage, new high-performance AMG vehicles are integrated in the product requirement specifications. In the same way as for all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, these run through all development stages until a vehicle is ready to enter production. All resources of the Mercedes Car Group - including all the Group's high-tech test benches - are available to Mercedes-AMG as part of these processes. An independent Mercedes-AMG test center at the Nuremberg Ring also aids in the implementation of particularly demanding AMG-specific development and test programs on the racecourse's North loop, which is generally acknowledged as the most difficult stretch of track in the world.
In addition to high-performance engines and complete vehicles, Mercedes-AMG develops special sports equipment and accessories for all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. The newly opened AMG performance studio can fulfil the most specific of wishes. This is where seasoned professionals realize exclusive and dynamic small-series vehicles in traditional single piece production, along with unmistakable single-edition automobiles - while making the highest quality and safety demands.
For more information about AMG, click here
Mercedes-Benz have been at the forefront of safety and innovation for many years.
- "safety cage" or "safety cell" construction with front and rear crumple zones in 1951
- anti-lock brakes (ABS) - 1978
- airbags in the European market - 1980
- pre-tensioners to seat belts - 1981
- traction control - 1986
- world's first 7-speed automatic transmission called '7G-TRONIC' - 2003
- stability control
- brake assist - 2005
2005 - Mercedes-Benz's PRE-SAFE uses radar to detect an imminent crash and prepares the car's safety systems to respond optimally. It can also calculates the optimal breaking force required to avoid an accident and makes it available for when the driver depresses the brake pedal. Occupants are also prepared by tightening the seatbelt, closing the sunroof and windows, and moving the seats into the optimal position. Volvo has a similar system in place on its larger models.
2008 - Mercedes Benz is in the process of pioneering a fatigue-detection system that warns the driver when they are displaying signs of micro-sleep (when the eyes stay closed for slightly longer than a natural blinking action). The system will use a variety of data including the individual driving style, the duration of the journey, the time of day and the current traffic situation. Fatigue mostly sets in gradually.
The fastest (production) automatic road car in the world is the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren at 334 km/h or 208 mph. The car was co-developed by DaimlerChrysler and McLaren Cars.
Mercedes-Benz in motorsport
Throughout its long history, Mercedes-Benz has been involved in a range of motorsport activities, including sportscar racing and rallying, Formula Three, DTM and Formula One.
For more information about Mercedes-Benz in motorsport, click here
The Mercedes-Benz Museum is an automotive museum housed in Stuttgart, Germany. Stuttgart is the home to the Mercedes-Benz brand and headquarter of Daimler AG. The building, designed by UN Studio, has a unique design comparable to a cloverleaf, consisting in geometric terms of three overlapping circles with the center cut out to form a triangular atrium. It was completed in 2006.
The museum was reportedly built at a cost of $192-million. The building's height and "double helix" interior design maximize space, allowing 16,500 square metres of exhibit space on a lot of just 4,800 square metres.The museum contains more than 160 vehicles.
For more information about the museum, click here
MBCNSWThe Mercedes-Benz Club NSW, was founded by a group of 9 Mercedes-Benz car enthusiasts with a common interest, 43 years, 7 month and 2 days ago, on Saturday, 29th January, 1972, in the Sydney suburb of East Linfield. The Club was officially incorporated under the NSW Associations Act in 1990.
The club's first event was a picnic held, 43 years, 6 month and 25 days ago, at Sydney's, Queen Elizabeth Park, on Sunday, 6th February 1972.
The Club's membership includes owners, drivers and admirers of all models and vintages of Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
As well as running its own state based events the club also maintains considerable co-operation with the other Mercedes-Benz clubs in Australia holding interstate tours and events. A National Rally is held in a host capital city every two years where interstate club members gather for a week of Mercedes social, car events, tours and car displays.
The Club is a member of the Mercedes-Benz Club Management, which was established to promote and assist Mercedes-Benz clubs around the world.