Daimler Heritage: Topics in 2011

Stuttgart, Jan 3, 2011
125 years ago – on 29 January 1886:
Carl Benz filed a patent application for his three-wheel "gas engine-powered vehicle". German Reich patent office registration no. 37 435 of 2nd November 1886 is generally regarded as the automobile's "birth certificate". Daimler AG will be opening the anniversary year with a special ceremony.
115 years ago – on 14 January 1896:
Henry Lawson founded Daimler Motor Company Ltd., the oldest automobile factory in Great Britain.
100 years ago – on 1 January 1911:
the takeover of Süddeutsche Automobilfabrik Gaggenau GmbH provided Benz with a complete range of commercial vehicles in one fell swoop. At the turn of the year the company was reorganised as Benzwerke Gaggenau GmbH.
60 years ago – on 23 January 1951:
a patent application was filed for the safety passenger compartment. This invention by Béla Barényi, protected under patent no. 854 157, forms the basis for passive safety in the automotive industry to this day.
35 years ago – on 1 January 1976:
the wearing of safety belts in the front seats became mandatory in Germany on this date. Mercedes-Benz had already been fitting its passenger car models with front-seat safety belts as standard since 1973. The company first offered a safety belt back in 1957 – for the 300 SL Roadster.
35 years ago – on 27 January 1976:
Mercedes-Benz presented the 123 mid-range line in Bandol, southern France, comprising the 200 D, 220 D, 240 D, 300 D, 200, 230, 250, 280 and 280 E models. As the successor to the "Stroke/8" models of the 114/115 lines, this became one of the most successful Mercedes-Benz lines ever. The models are much sought-after today as modern classics.
30 years ago – from 26 January to 1 February 1981:
the anti-lock braking system (ABS) for commercial vehicles, developed in collaboration with brake manufacturer WABCO, was presented to the international press in Rovaniemi, Finland.
20 years ago – from 12 to 20 January 1991:
at the "North American International Auto Show" in Detroit, Mercedes-Benz presented the F 100 experimental vehicle incorporating numerous innovative design features.
15 years ago – from 6 to 15 January 1996:
Mercedes-Benz presented the "AA Vision" concept vehicle, a study for an all-wheel-drive sports utility vehicle, at the "North American International Auto Show" in Detroit. It featured design elements of the subsequent M-Class.
15 years ago – from 11 to 21 January 1996:
the new light van by the name of "Vito" was presented to the general public at the Nutzfahrzeug-Salon motor show for commercial vehicles in Geneva. It was duly voted "Van of the Year 1996".
75 years ago – from 15 February to 1 March 1936:
the world's first series-produced diesel passenger car, the Mercedes-Benz 260 D (W 138), was unveiled at the International Automobile and Motorcycle Show in Berlin. Also on display at the show were the new passenger car models 170 V (W 136) and 170 H (W 28).
65 years ago – on 22 February 1946:
the first car engine to be built after the end of the war, a 1.7 litre four-cylinder model for the Mercedes-Benz 170 V, was produced in Untertürkheim.
60 years ago – on 24 February 1951:
Daimler-Benz competed in the "Premio Presidente de la Naciòn Juan D. Peron" in Argentina with three pre-war W 154 racing cars.
25 years ago – from 3 to 8 February 1986:
Daimler presented key vehicle safety elements in Rovaniemi, Finland – acceleration skid control (ASR) for passenger cars and commercial vehicles and the automatic locking differential (ASD) for the automatically activated four-wheel drive (4MATIC) in passenger cars.
125 years ago – on 8 March 1886:
Gottlieb Daimler ordered a coach from coachbuilder Wilhelm Wimpff & Sohn in Stuttgart, ostensibly as a birthday present for his wife, Emma. In the same year he had a high-speed engine fitted to the coach at the Maschinenfabrik Esslingen engine works, building his first four-wheel automobile in the process.
125 years ago – on 25 March 1886:
Gottlieb Daimler had his surface carburettor patented (German Reich patent office registration no. 36 811, issued on 16 September 1886).
110 years ago – from 25 to 29 March 1901:
at "Nice Week", works driver Wilhelm Werner won the Nice – Salon – Nice race over a distance of 392 kilometres in a Mercedes 35 hp. Werner also won the Nice – La Turbie hill-climb race, clocking up an average speed of 51.4 km. The new car's impressive wins prompted Paul Meyan, secretary-general of the Automobile Club of France, to write after the race: "Nous sommes entrés dans l’ère Mercédès" ("We have entered the Mercedes era").
95 years ago – in the spring of 1916:
Benz & Cie. established an apprentices' department with full-time instructors at its factory in Mannheim, initially offering 30 apprenticeship places and later 80. In July of the same year, DMG also established an apprentices' department.
80 years ago – on 22 March 1931:
Manfred von Brauchitsch won the Nizza – La Turbie race.
60 years ago – in March, 1951:
a month after the end of production of the O 5000 omnibus, production of the O 6600 was shut down in Sindelfingen and transferred to Mannheim. Omnibus production was now concentrated at the Mannheim plant.
45 years ago – in March, 1966:
production of the 300 SEL passenger car model (W 109) began at the Sindelfingen plant. Air suspension as standard and a 10 centimetre longer wheelbase distinguished the new model from the 300 SE.
30 years ago – on 2 March 1981:
a model O 305 test bus running on methanol was presented in Untertürkheim. Three days later a large-scale trial involving 30 methanol-fuelled 280 SE passenger cars began in Berlin as part of the "Alternative Drives" project backed by the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology.
30 years ago – from 5 to 15 March 1981:
the airbag and the belt tensioner were highlights of the Geneva International Motor Show as key elements in the field of passive safety. Daimler-Benz was the first manufacturer worldwide to present such features. From 20 July they were available for the driver and front passenger as optional extras in the S-Class saloons (W 126).
30 years ago – in March, 1981:
the new customer centre opened in Sindelfingen.
30 years ago – from 17 to 22 March 1986:
the newly developed T 2 large-capacity van line, also known internally as LN 1, was presented to the international press in Rome. It initially comprised models 507 D to 811 D, with a permissible gross vehicle weight ranging from 3.5 to 7.5 tonnes.
20 years ago – from 7 to 17 March 1991:
model line 140 of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class was unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show, featuring the 300 SE/SEL, 400 SE/SEL, 500 SE/SEL and 600 SE/SEL models. In addition to a host of technical innovations, the new luxury saloon also presented the traditional Mercedes radiator grille in a new guise, featuring an integrated radiator and the star positioned on the bonnet.
15 years ago – from 7 to 17 March 1996:
as part of its product offensive, Mercedes-Benz presented three world firsts at the Geneva International Motor Show: the estate models of the C-Class (model line 202) and the E-Class (model line 210) plus the people carriers of the V-Class (model line 638) based on the Vito van.
120 years ago – in April, 1891:
Daimler Motor Co., founded by William Steinway in September 1889, has America's first serviceable vehicle engine produced under licence in Hartford, Connecticut/USA, according to original plans by Gottlieb Daimler.
100 years ago – on 23 April 1911:
Bob Burman broke Barney Oldfield's record, covering a mile from a flying start at an average speed of 228.1 km in the "Blitzen-Benz" at Daytona Beach, Florida/USA. This was the highest speed ever attained by a road vehicle and set up a world record which remained unbeaten until 1919.
80 years ago – from 12 to 13 April 1931:
Rudolf Caracciola became the first foreign driver to win the "Mille Miglia" long-distance race. Together with co-driver Wilhelm Sebastian he took first place in the 1000-mile (1635-kilometre) race from Brescia to Rome and back, averaging 101.1 km/h at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz SSKL (W 06 RS).
60 years ago – from 19 to 29 April 1951:
Mercedes-Benz presented the two six-cylinder car models 220 (W 187) and 300 (W 186) at the first International Motor Show (IAA) held in Frankfurt/Main. The 300 model, the largest and fastest series-production car manufactured in Germany, later became popularly known as the "Adenauer" car – along with other leading business and political figures, the first German chancellor displayed a predilection for travelling around in this car. Also on show for the first time in Frankfurt was the O 6600 H, the first Mercedes-Benz bus to be developed after the war as a cab-over-engine variant. With its rear engine and its distinctive chassis which was no longer adopted from a truck, this vehicle marked the beginning of a new era of bus development at Daimler-Benz.
40 years ago – from 1 to 8 April 1971:
a track-guided large-capacity vehicle was presented at the Hanover fair as part of the "O-track" concept. The 24 metre-long, four-axle double articulated bus O 305 G 2 accommodated 238 people and was powered by two electric motors, each rated at 250 kilowatts.
40 years ago – on 14 April 1971:
Mercedes-Benz presented the new SL 107 model line, featuring numerous safety innovations. The first vehicle was the 350 SL.
25 years ago – from 9 to 16 April 1986:
at the Hanover fair, Daimler-Benz presented the powertrain of the new O 405 GTD diesel-electric duo bus and components of an experimental car based on the 230 E running on pure hydrogen.
15 years ago – from 25 April to 5 May 1996:
the production version of the first Mercedes-Benz SLK (model line R 170) was unveiled to the public at the International Motor Show in Turin.
105 years ago – in May 1906:
the Mercedes six-cylinder racing car designed by Wilhelm Maybach was completed in Untertürkheim. At the beginning of August the 120 hp (88 kW) new vehicle proved its mettle on extensive test drives on the Semmering and Ardennes race courses. A crack in the cylinder head then prevented it from competing in the Ardennes race on 13 August, however.
90 years ago – on 29 May 1921:
Max Sailer won the "Coppa Florio" for the fastest standard production car at the wheel of a Mercedes 28/95 hp in the "Targo Florio" in Sicily. He completed the 432 kilometre course in 7 hours, 27 minutes and 16 seconds, clocking up an average speed of 57.9 km/h.
75 years ago – on 17 May 1936:
Rudolf Caracciola won the Tunis Grand Prix at an average speed of 160.3 km/h. This was the final victory for the Silver Arrows from Mercedes-Benz in the 1936 racing season.
65 years ago – in May 1946:
post-war car production started up at Daimler-Benz AG with the final assembly of the model 170 V (W 136 I) panel vans, delivery vans and ambulances. A total of 214 rolled off the production line up to the end of the year.
60 years ago – in May 1951:
the Gaggenau plant took over production of the Unimog from the Gebr. Boehringer engine works in Göppingen.
55 years ago – on 4 May 1956:
the first 563 vehicles of the new 190 (W 121), 219 (W 105) and 220 S (W 180 II) passenger car models left the Sindelfingen plant and set off for the branches and agencies where they were presented to the public a day later. The "pontoon"-style body was a defining characteristic of the vehicles.
30 years ago – in May 1981:
Daimler-Benz took over American commercial vehicle manufacturer Freightliner. Vehicle sales rose twofold in the following decade, and in 1992 the company was the leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in North America. This leading position has been maintained with various brands up to the present day.
15 years ago – in May 1996:
the research team at Daimler-Benz presented another vehicle with a fuel cell drive – the "NECAR II" (New Electric Car), based on the V-Class.
15 years ago – from 7 to 11 May 1996:
the compact Unimog UX 100 equipment carrier was presented at the Internationale Fachmesse für Entsorgung (international trade fair for the waste management and disposal industry) in Munich.
5 years ago – on 19 and 20 May 2006:
the new Mercedes-Benz Museum was opened. Situated directly outside the Untertürkheim plant, it presents Mercedes-Benz's unique traditions through a diverse range of exhibits. It is the largest automobile museum in the world, with its own very special architectural stamp.
115 years ago – on 26 June 1896:
haulier Friedrich Greiner ordered a "Victoria" Daimler motor car with taximeter for the purpose of operating a "motor car coach company" in Stuttgart. This was the world's first motorised taxi company.
100 years ago – on 24 June 1911:
Juan Manuel Fangio was born. He is recognised as the most outstanding racing driver of the 20th century. His name is inseparably linked to Mercedes-Benz. In 1954 and 1955 he achieved key international successes for the brand, including the Formula 1 world championship title. He died on 17 July 1995.
100 years ago – in June 1911:
the Mercedes 8/18 hp went into series production at DMG, adding a further lower-priced, small-displacement model to the model range. At the same time, Daimler's rival in Mannheim launched the Benz 8/18 hp, a small car developed by design engineer Karl Ketterer in the summer of 1910 in the course of an internal competition at Benz.
85 years ago – on 28 and 29 June 1926:
Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie., which had been allied for two years under a special partnership agreement, amalgamated to form Daimler-Benz AG. The company was domiciled in Berlin, with its central management based in Untertürkheim.
35 years ago – from 12 to 15 June 1976:
in a 64-hour record drive on the test track in Nardo, Italy, the Mercedes-Benz C111-IId broke three world records and 16 class records. The 140 kW (190 hp) five-cylinder OM 617 A diesel engine with turbocharger was based on the mass-produced engine installed in the model 240 D 3.0 passenger car (W 115).
30 years ago – on 10 June 1981:
at the end of a production period spanning almost 18 years, the Daimler-Benz Museum took delivery of the final Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100) to roll off the production line. The car was recognised as the most outstanding prestige vehicle throughout the world.
25 years ago – from 10 to 14 June 1986:
the O 405 T trolley bus, a joint development with Dornier and AEG incorporating an innovative electric drive, was unveiled at the "transport '86" fair in Munich.
125 years ago – on 03 July 1886:
the "Neue Badische Landeszeitung" newspaper reported on the public drive undertaken in the morning on Ringstrasse in Mannheim with the patented motor car developed by Carl Benz.
105 years ago – in July 1906:
two companies involving Emil Jellinek and Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft were founded in Paris – the "Société des Automobiles Industrielles" and the "Société Mercédès Electrique"
95 years ago – on 1 July 1916:
DMG set up its own apprentices' department in Unterturkheim. Within two years, the original capacity of 36 apprenticeship places had increased to 140. Benz & Cie. had established an apprentices' department back in the spring of the same year.
85 years ago – on 11 July 1926:
Rudolf Caracciola won the German Grand Prix in the Avus, notching up an average speed of 135.2 km/h. The winning vehicle was the first eight-cylinder Mercedes and the first car to be designed for DMG by Ferdinand Porsche. The 2-litre supercharged eight-cylinder racing car was generally referred to as the "Monza", in allusion to its racing debut in the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on October 1924.
35 years ago – in July 1976:
the MB-trac 1100 went into series production. The 1300 followed in October as the second model of this heavy-duty line. The agricultural vehicles of the MB-trac line were produced at the Gaggenau plant until December 1991.
30 years ago – on 20 July 1981:
airbag and belt tensioner became available as special options for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W 126) – the very first series production vehicle to offer such features.
125 years ago – in August 1886:
Gottlieb Daimler undertook initial trial trips on the Neckar near Cannstatt with a motorboat powered by his high-speed single-cylinder engine. The same engine was also installed in his first four-wheel automobile in 1886. With this drive assembly and its successors, Daimler kept his sights firmly set on developing engines for land-bound, water- and air-borne transport.
80 years ago – in August 1931:
Mercedes-Benz drivers Rudolf Caracciola and Manfred von Brauchitsch notched up four wins in the space of a month.
20 years ago – on 27 August 1991:
the new generation of Mercedes-Benz touring coaches, model series O 404, was presented in Sindelfingen. Series production began at the Mannheim plant in January 1992.
125 years ago – on 5 September 1886:
the newspaper "Generalanzeiger der Stadt Mannheim" dedicated a comprehensive feature to the patented motor car designed by Benz and announced that "Mr Benz is now to begin building such carriages."
90 years ago – from 23 September to 2 October 1921:
DMG presented the 6/20 hp and 10/35 hp passenger car models with a four-cylinder supercharged engine at the Berlin Motor Show. This was the first time that the power-boosting compressor was used in a series production vehicle.
80 years ago – on 20 September 1931:
following his victory in the Svab hill climb, Rudolf Caracciola scooped the title of "European Hill-Climb Champion for Sports Cars" once again, this time in a Mercedes-Benz SSKL.
55 years ago – in September 1956:
production of the light van model L 319 as a panel van and pickup began at the Sindelfingen plant. The minibus variant went into series production at the Mannheim plant as the model O 319.
55 years ago – on 28 September 1956:
Daimler-Benz AG opened a factory of its own in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil. Today, a workforce of around 11,000 produces light- to heavy-duty commercial vehicles, bus chassis and engines there.
50 years ago – from 21 September to 1 October 1961:
premieres at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt/Main included the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE (W 112), featuring automatic transmission, air suspension and dual-circuit brake system on front and rear wheels as standard. The 190 and 190 D models (W 110) and the new 220 SE Cabriolet (W 111) were also unveiled.
30 years ago – from 17 to 27 September 1981:
the S-Class 380 SEC and 500 SEC Coupés of model line 126 premiered at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt/Main. The "Mercedes-Benz Energy Concept", which enabled a substantial reduction in fuel consumption for six-cylinder and eight-cylinder passenger cars, was also unveiled. The "Auto 2000" research vehicle was presented at the International Motor Show as a test object for innovations in the automotive field.
25 years ago – on 1 September 1986:
Daimler-Benz offered all petrol engine-powered passenger car models with a three-way catalytic converter as standard.
20 years ago – from 19 to 22 September 1991:
premieres at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt/Main included the C112 experimental vehicle with V12 mid-engine and active chassis.
15 years ago – from 21 to 29 September 1996:
Mercedes-Benz presented the "Actros" class of heavy-duty commercial vehicle at the IAA Commercial Vehicles fair in Hanover. The vehicle was individually configurable according to its intended area of use. To this end there were nine different cabs and eight engine variants from 235 kw (320 hp) to 425 kw (578 hp) on offer. The "Vario" high-capacity van, the O 550 "Integro" country bus, the O 405 NÜL low-floor inter-urban bus and the "Innovisia" omnibus study were also presented.
125 years ago – on 9 October 1886:
Gottlieb Daimler filed a patent application for his marine engine (German Reich patent office registration no. 39 367, issued on 1 June 1887).
115 years ago – on 1 October 1896:
the world's first truck was delivered by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in Cannstatt to the British Motor Syndicate, Ltd. in London. The vehicle was fitted with a 4 hp two-cylinder engine (2.9 kW) and designed to carry a payload of 1500 kilogrammes.
85 years ago – from 29 October to 7 November 1926:
the first model range of the newly established Daimler-Benz AG was presented at the Berlin Motor Show.
80 years ago – from 1 to 11 October 1931:
the model 170 (W 15) which Mercedes-Benz presented to the public at the Paris Motor Show showcased a highly advanced chassis concept. The model 170 was the brand's first standard production car to feature swing axles with independent wheel suspension at front and rear. Against the background of the Great Depression, the smallest passenger car model available from Daimler-Benz AG was just the right car at the right time.
75 years ago – from 1 to 11 October 1936:
the model 540 K (W 29) was presented as the successor to the 500 K at the Paris Motor, featuring an uprated 5.4 litre supercharged engine. The model 230 (W 143) was also premiered. Its 2.3 litre six-cylinder engine was rated at 55 hp (40 kW).
60 years ago – from 4 to 14 October 1951:
the Mercedes-Benz 300 S (W 188), a sporty two-door variant of the model 300, was presented at the Paris Motor Show.
50 years ago – from 26 October to 5 November 1961:
the team comprising Walter Schock and Manfred Schiek won the Argentinian Road Grand Prix for touring cars in a Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W 111).
40 years ago – on 23 October 1971:
Daimler-Benz filed a patent application for the airbag system (patent specification no. DE 2152902 C2). Ten years later it was introduced by Mercedes-Benz as an optional extra. Today, there are few vehicles from any manufacturers which are not fitted with at least one airbag.
40 years ago – from 7 to 17 October 1971:
the new 350 SLC Coupé model (C 107) was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. Series production began in February 1972.
40 years ago – on 26 October 1971:
Daimler-Benz presented the ESF 05 at the "Second international conference on experimental safety vehicles" in Sindelfingen.
25 years ago – on 1 October 1986:
the PROMETHEUS research project initiated by Daimler-Benz, which aimed to establish new prospects for the future of transport, was launched as part of the "EUREKA" European research initiative , with the involvement of 14 European automobile manufacturers. Various electronic assistance systems which are standard today first arose in the course of this project.
15 years ago – from 3 to 13 October 1996:
the F 200 Imagination research vehicle, embodying numerous technical innovations, was presented at the Paris Motor Show. The absence of a steering wheel and pedals in the fully operational experimental vehicle caused a particular stir.
105 years ago – in November 1906:
the Österreichische Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft presented the new "Mercédès Mixte" passenger car models with hybrid drive. A combustion engine rated at 45 PS (33 kW) or 70 PS (51 kW) drove electric wheel hub motors in the front wheels via a generator.
90 years ago – on 5 November 1921:
Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft registered utility models for new variants of its trademark. A three-dimensional three-pointed star in a ring was registered with the patent office in various embodiments, including a version as a radiator figure. Trademark registration took place on 2 August 1923.
75 years ago – on 11 November 1936:
Rudolf Caracciola broke five international class records and one world record in a fully streamlined Mercedes-Benz "Rekordwagen" on the Frankfurt – Darmstadt motorway. He attained a record speed of 333.48 km/h from a flying start over a distance of 10 miles.
30 years ago – on 8 November 1981:
the foundation stone of the new research centre for the Daimler-Benz Research Group Berlin, which was established in 1977, was laid at the Berlin-Marienfelde plant. Daimler-Benz invested 25 million marks in the construction of a driving simulator, to enable even more detailed research into the behaviour of driver and vehicle in road traffic in future.

15 years ago – on 25 November 1996:
Mercedes-Benz presented Brake Assist (BAS) as a further pioneering contribution to the improvement of road safety. From December of this year it was introduced as a standard feature, initially in the S-Class (W 140) and the SL-Class (R 129).
115 years ago – on 5 December 1896:
Benz & Cie. dispatched the first "delivery wagon" based on a Victoria chassis to the Parisian department store "Du bon Marché".
110 years ago – in December 1901:
the performance capabilities displayed by William K. Vanderbilt jr.'s Mercedes 35 hp prompted American billionaires Rockefeller, Astor, Morgan, Taylor and others to order Mercedes cars.
105 years ago – in December 1906:
the first fire engine in the world to be powered by a petrol engine went into service with the Berlin-Grunewald voluntary fire brigade. The model 32/35 hp chassis with a four-cylinder engine was produced by the Süddeutsche Automobilfabrik Gaggenau.
40 years ago – on 17 December 1971:
the OG 305 natural gas test vehicle fitted with a 172 hp (127 kW) horizontal six-cylinder in-line engine was presented to the public.
10 years ago – in December 2001:
the world's first prototype of a near-series bus featuring fuel cell technology, a Mercedes-Benz Citaro, was presented to its customers in Vancouver, Canada. The vehicle was subsequently tested in day-to-day service.
10 years ago – in December 2001:
Mercedes-Benz introduced a driving safety system corresponding to the ESP® for trucks. The Telligent Stability Control system was introduced initially for Actros semi-trailer trucks at a price of 2000 euros.